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Dearest BM Virgin,

You have made the brave and life-enhancing decision to journey to Black Rock City! I may not know you, but know that I am deeply proud of you! In the spirit of gifting, we’ve created a list of the tricks and hacks that you oughta know, and likely won’t find anywhere else. Welcome to our dusty family!

It’s an honor to have you,
Hayley Starr


  • Don’t research TOO much before coming or look at pictures from previous Burns. Let yourself experience it anew the first time. I really pray I’m there to see the look on your face the first night you walk into the Playa. If not physically, I’ll be with you in spirit.
  • This year’s theme is ‘Robots’, and it’s the topic BM is asking us to consider. Much of the art will be centered around this theme. No, this doesn’t mean you have to dress like a Robot (unless you want to). Read more here: https://burningman.org/event/brc/2018-art-theme-i-robot/
  • READ THE 10 PRINCIPLES!!!!! (https://burningman.org/…/philosophical-center/10-principles/) Like, REALLY really read them.


  • If you run into someone more than once (out of 70,000), stop and talk to them... Spirit has them delivering an important message to you!
  • FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T USE YOUR PHONES (unless on airplane mode to take pics, yet even that is taking you out of the moment). DON’T TEXT PEOPLE TO MAKE PLANS!!!!! YOU WIIIILLLLLLL LOOSE THE MAGIC OF WHAT BM HAS TO OFFER YOU. LEAVE YOUR F*CKING PHONE ALONE AND AT HOME. Consider bringing a camera instead. (Yes, I’m upset… Phones are RUINING the Flow of BM)
  • Gifting is a huge part of the experience, bring something, anything that you think would be a nice contribution. If you don’t, fret not, you get a pass your first time!
  • Follow the music, your heart and your gut… NOT the people or the party!!!
  • ‘Saxaphone’ is a code word for ‘I need a moment to myself and am called to separate from the group to follow my Flow’. Let your friends know the word and don’t be afraid to use it. (Thank you, Daniel Claussen)


  • Don’t be precious about your cleanliness. Let go. Playa dust makes everyone pretty!
  • There are only 2 things to purchase on the Playa: ice and coffee. BRING ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ELSE WITH YOU.
  • Eat well. Don’t skip available meals. Carry a snack (protein bars are good) in case of emergency to avoid glycemic disasters.
  • Hydrate constantly. Bring water canteen with you always. No plastic bottles! Plastic is evil for the environment and when heated, will leach hormone mimickers (yuk!).
  • Electrolytes capsules are the best! (also see my List of Must-Haves) http://amzn.to/2wjHEmq
  • Log on to Burner Maps and let people know where you’re staying so you can try and find each other! https://burnermap.com/welcome.php
  • There are cops and rangers everywhere on the Playa. Be low key about your drug use (should you use them) and share everything BUT drugs with strangers. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND A MUST READ FOR ALL… How to deal with the cops: https://burners.me/2014/08/17/prepare-for-the-playa-police/
  • Keep a paper copy of your ID on you at all times.
  • MOOP is BM for ‘Matter Our Of Place’, and it is NOT tolerated even one little bit. Don’t pee in the dirt, don’t spill water, no cig butts (buy a Juul!), no sparkles, no feathers, none of it! Pick up all found trash, EVEN IF IT’S NOT YOURS.
  • Bring ear plugs and eye masks in case you need to sleep during the day, which is likely.
  • The Playa dust is super alkaline and can be irritating to skin. You’ll want to clean your hands and feet regularly with wipes, witch hazel or diluted white vinegar.
  • See a few sunrises, and definitely don’t miss the sunset. You can always go to bed early and wake up for sunrise!
  • Pack 2 of anything you can't live without (water bottle, goggles etc). 
  • Pack a "go home" outfit including shoes, and put in a ziploc bag, then another ziploc bag. Label "HOME", do not open until after first post-Playa shower.
  • Here’s a basic packing list: https://survival.burningman.org/your-survival-in-brc/survival-checklist/
  • Find a guy named Matty Mo and give him a big hug.


  • It’s hot as sh*t during the day, and cold as balls at night. Pack accordingly.
  • Bring close-toed shoes that are comfortable and easy to bike in. 
  • No heels, they make it impossible to walk in the dust. Platforms and boots are preferable.
  • Bring goggles and a bandana for dust storms, although I’m sure you’ve already gathered this. 
  • Tutu Tuesdays is a thing. Bring a tutu to wear on Tuesday.
  • Label everything with your name, number and camp address!
  • If using a tent, consider bringing a 10x10 shade structure to put above it if you’re a day sleeper, as the daytime heat can be unbearable and we’re expecting a hot year!


  • YOU MUST HAVE A BIKE!!! Please don’t buy one and just leave it there. You may believe you’re doing someone a favor but you’re not, it’s major moop… Why not rent one? https://playabikerepair.com/products/burning-man-bike-rental
  • Decorate your bike so you can find it in the seas of other bikes. Park it next to something stationary so that you can always find it again. Consider getting something like a pole to attach and identify it more easily. Tons of stuff on Amazon.
  • ALWAYS lock your bike, not because people suck, but because people will accidentally take yours or are too high to know the difference. Buy a lock with a code, not one with a lock key, as you are likely to loose it. 
  • If you’re bringing a regular bike and all your friends have electrical ones, you will lag and slow them down… Which is annoying for those who’ve invested in an electric bike. Consider renting one! https://blackrockbikerentals.com/
  • Bike baskets are very useful!


  • Don’t hook up with strangers after Wednesday! After Wednesday, people’s immune systems start to break down and any dormant STDs may be flaring. Keep it clean! (Thanks for this gem, Brandon Michael Anderson)
  • “Let go of the desire to hold on to things. I found myself wanting to get phone numbers / emails of people I met at the burn immediately after interacting with them but experienced the burn in a better way when I just let those good experiences exist without any expectation... I found that the people that were supposed to be in my life always found their way back to me, one way or another." (Thank you, Tiger Kaufman)
  • Take time to get lost. Make no plans. See where you’re taken, who you meet. GO ON SOLO MISSIONS... AT LEAST ONE!!!!! “The best experiences take place when you venture out on your own. Give yourself the time and freedom to do so. You will always find your people... especially when you aren't looking.” (Thank you, Erica Holland)
  • Consciously pace yourself, it's a seven day marathon. (Thank you, Ken Brand)
  • If you have a daily practice, DON’T STOP. Grounding is crucial. Consider a mini-alter as well. 
  • BM is pure magic, and there’s also dark energy at play. Read this article for some simple tools to protect yourself: https://www.thestarseed.com/darksideofbm
  • If you are camping with a plug-and-play camp (BM for fancy camp) your first year, be AWARE that you are technically going against the BM principle of self reliance! So be SUPER GRATEFUL that someone is working hard to do the hard work for you.
  • Don’t be a Sparkle Pony!!! BM for annoying hot girl who doesn’t contribute or help her camp, expecting everything to be done FOR her… EWWWW!
  • Let go of your self and just be you. (Yes, Adobe Kochina!!!)

more ON burning man 2018...


My gift to the Playa this year


 A guide to the darkness & how to protect yourself

magical BM packing list

2018 Hacks and Must-Haves