Each year, 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada, in a dry lake bed, a community of like-minded individuals unify in the dusty desert to participate in a movement known as Burning Man. Burning Man is the space where people gather to honor both self and community, while temporarily leaving behind all prejudices, commodities, and worldly possessions. Each person who crosses the threshold of Black Rock City, the domicile of Burning Man, transforms from a solitary being to a thriving member of a global community, destined to uphold the community's ten principles: immediacy, participation, leave no trace, civic responsibility, communal effort, decommodification, gifting, radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, and radical self-expression.
Burners, the people who take part in Burning Man, participate in the art installations. No member of the community is only an attendee because every Burner becomes one with the community and one with the art. The Burning Man Community embodies the experience for the weeklong event.
The Burning Man experience revolves around Center Camp, the center for civic activities, and the camping arrangement is organized in two-thirds of a circle, set up in time zones for location purposes. The exact arrangement varies from year to year, but the outline of the city remains the same. The man, the focal point of the ceremonial burn that takes place on the last full night of Burning Man, is located approximately a quarter-mile north of the Center Camp.
Burning Man is one of the most unforgettable experiences people will have in a lifetime. The event merges so many concepts into one thoughtful movement; it's almost impossible to explain an event of this grandeur without experiencing it for yourself. The organizers know that attending Burning Man for the first time is overwhelming. Several online guides are available that provide tips on survival, preparation, leave no trace (MOOP), first-time experiences, and even how to do Burning Man with kids. All potential Burners are encouraged to read the guides before arriving at the most diverse, yet centering activities on the planet. If you've ever considered being a part of Burning Man, take a giant step toward a life-changing adventure, and RV your way to the Nevada desert with 70,000 of your closest friends.
People who attend Burning Man are encouraged to become active participants in the movement by breaking down self-imposed barriers and becoming vulnerable and trusting of everyone within Black Rock City. Burners must purchase a ticket for the entire time frame, but may leave early, or purchase a come and go ticket if it is necessary to leave for a short time. Tickets are available online before Burning Man begins, and in recent years, tickets have sold out. Children are welcome at Burning Man, and kids under a certain age are admitted free with the purchase of an accompanying adult ticket. No tickets are sold at the gate.
Getting to and from Burning Man requires patience. Traffic is something that every driver must contend with heading into Black Rock City, so it is best to follow the up-to-date recommendations posted on the website. Failure to follow directions could result in longer wait times or more significant problems. Please don't attempt to arrive before the gate opens because parking along the highway or in unauthorized locations is hazardous to everyone on the road. Adhere to all speed limits, and turn on your headlights when you are prompted.
Black Rock City is located off of County Road 34 and NV-447. Both roads are considered rural routes with narrow highways. All drivers should remain in their vehicles at all times leading to and from Black Rock City, and stay inside of the vehicle, even when traffic is at a standstill.
The Burning Man website updates information relating to traffic concerns, entry points, and other important driving information each year, as the logistics of driving and entry may change. On opening day, tune into the local radio station that broadcasts traffic updates or follow the Burning Man traffic reports posted on several social media outlets.
Before heading to the vehicle entrance, please ensure that you have your tickets as well as a valid parking pass. If you are picking up your tickets at will-call, double-check the procedure and parking instructions before you arrive. The gate staff isn't permitted to let anyone inside of the city unless they have the proper tickets and permits.
Once you pass through the gates, proceed to your camping area. Black Rock City has many different camping options, and drivers will park their vehicles and set up camp near their registered, open, or walk-in camping areas. Registered camping areas are usually theme-based, so make sure you find out where you plan to camp before heading to Burning Man. You don't want your RV to be the only blue rig in the red-rig camping location.
Getting to Black Rock City via public transportation is costly because of the distance to and from major cities. People interested in sharing a ride with another Burner should visit the rideshare boards on the Burning Man website to arrange a carpool.
The Burner Express Bus, a Burning Man-sanctioned shuttle bus helps to alleviate traffic and emissions by providing paid shuttle services to and from the Reno Airport and the San Francisco Airport. Burners interested in the service should visit the Burner Express Bus website.
A daily shuttle service runs to and from the Empire General Store for people who require supplies during Burning Man. Information on the Empire shuttle can be found available on the Black Rock City map.
The only way to attend Burning Man is to stay onsite. People come to Burning Man in RVs, truck campers, camper vans, and other modified car campers, but be aware that RVs and other camper vehicles must adhere to the specified RV rules. RVs are welcome because they help to serve as a wind barrier for the tent-dwelling Burners. All RVs must be self-contained and comply with the Burning Man leave no trace policy. RVers should fill their tanks before driving to Black Rock City and monitor tank levels accordingly to prevent hazardous spills. RV service trucks run throughout the Playa during the week of Burning Man and will dump RV tanks for a fee. RV service trucks must be flagged down, and the drivers only accept cash, so come prepared. Once you arrive at Burning Man, you will find an available camping spot on a first-come, first-served basis if you are not a part of a registered themed camp. Visit the RV Guidelines page on the Burning Man website for more information.
All Burners stay onsite during Burning Man, but several small cities and towns within a 150-mile radius welcome and support burners coming and going from Black Rock City. Many of these cities and towns have campgrounds or permit-camping available, but because of Burning Man's isolated location, these camping areas fill quickly near the event.
The towns of Wadsworth and Pyramid Lake have camping opportunities for Burners both before and after Burning Man. The community of Lovelock is close to Rye Patch State Recreation Area, and it is an ideal place to stay on travel days.
RVers looking for a full-hookup campground to empty black and grey tanks and reload with fresh water before or after Burning Man should consider staying near Winnemucca. Winnemucca is about 230 miles away and is the ideal place to stage your RV and finalize your trip plans from the east.
The only way to maneuver within the Playa is by walking or riding a bike. Art cars are allowed with the purchase of a special permit. Vehicles and RVs are expected to remain parked for the duration of your stay. Bring your decorated bicycle and bike light to ensure you can get from one point to another, safely, under any weather condition. Burning Man is a wheelchair-friendly event. People requiring more information on accessibility should visit the website or contact a member of the Burning Man staff.
Do your research before packing for Burning Man because there is no one-best response on what to wear. Anything goes in the Playa, and that includes your clothing choices. Themed days often present Burners with eclectic dress-up days; you don't want to miss out on wearing a tutu if the other 70,000 members of the community are wearing a tutu, too. Even on themed days, clothing is part of an expressive movement, so wear what you feel most comfortable wearing. Wear what you want, even if your outfit is deemed boring or extreme. The weather may impact some Burners' clothing choices as the weather changes from hot and windy to frigid and windy in a matter of minutes.
Packing your gear for Burning Man is one of the most important steps to prepare for the weeklong, dusty event in the desert. The Burning Man community practices self-sufficiency, which means each Burner should pack what he or she will need to survive for a week in the elements. Consider packing earplugs, an eye mask, RV necessities, outdoor chairs, awnings, and blankets. Pack items to tie down anything that could blow away. Pack everything you need to participate in the artist movements you'd like to join in, and pack your bike and bike light, your costumes, and a refillable cup. Don't forget to pack plenty of water. You will need enough water to make it through the week.
The health and safety of every Burner is a priority. The Burning Man community encourages all Burners to prepare for any situation or circumstance. Self-reliance is one of the 10 principles of the experience, and part of being self-reliant is arriving prepared with a first-aid kit and any other medical supplies you or your family might need to survive for a week outside of the comforts of home.
Food, water, and cooking supplies are the essential items to pack when attending Burning Man. It's best to pack everything you need to survive in a harsh environment for a week. If you don't want to cook while you are camping, prepare your meals ahead of time. Burning Man doesn't sell any food items, so it is up to each person to exercise self-reliance and bring all of the things you may need to survive for a week. There is no electricity in the Playa, so if you plan to cook, be sure to have your onboard propane filled before heading out to Black Rock City.
While attending a movement like Burning Man, participants stay onsite and don't leave the premises for food and drink. The small towns close to Black Rock City have restaurants, but it may prove challenging to get in and out of a restaurant during peak travel times. The closest thing to a restaurant is the communal kitchens that many groups establish while living at Black Rock City. If you are part of a group, follow the instructions on how to volunteer and prepare for group mealtimes.
Burning Man is an experience, not a festival or event. Because the purpose of the establishment is to bring together people as one, money and selling are not welcome in the Playa. Coffee and ice are the only two items for sale, and the funds made on the coffee and ice support the staff and the surrounding communities. If you don't have what you need, ask a friend or neighbor. Generally, the spirit of sharing and giving prompts people to help those in need. If you want coffee or ice, don't forget to bring your cup with you. You might be able to find ice for sale, but you won't be able to find a container to hold it.
Safety, rules, and regulations are a part of what makes Burning Man, an event of 70,000 or more people run smoothly. The rules are enforced by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rangers, local and state law enforcement agencies, and a team of volunteer safety staff.
All members of the Burning Man community will have their gear searched upon entry. The more things you have, the longer it will take to search your vehicle. To speed the process along, please make sure you have a valid ticket and parking pass before coming to Burning Man. Visit the website for a list of items not permitted inside Black Rock City before you pack. Leave your contraband at home; it's the fastest way to get inside the Playa without any delays.
During Burning Man, the weather is usually extreme and vacillates between uncomfortably hot daytime temperatures and frigid cold nighttime temperatures. The wind causes blowing dust almost continuously, and a dry and hot day can morph into afternoon thunderstorm with torrential rain in a matter of minutes. Burners are encouraged to read the Survival Guide before coming to the Playa and come prepared for any weather condition.
An event that takes place in extreme weather conditions can take a toll on the body. Burning Man participants should prepare for medical needs by drinking plenty of water and watching for signs of dehydration or overexertion. Should a medical emergency arise, visit one of the Ranger Outposts. Minor medical needs can be taken care of on site, and there are services to get a participant to the closest emergency center if the situation warrants medical transport to another facility. Pharmacy needs are best if acquired before arriving since services may be as far as two hours from the event site.