The countdown is on. It seems as soon as August hits, all things Burning Man take center stage in one’s consciousness. How long do you go for? Do you arrive early to help your camp set up or stay after to clean up? What do you camp in?
How long you stay is critical to how you prepare and what you bring with you to the Burn.
Last year, we saw some of worst dust storms and cold weather that many veterans had experienced in years. When temperatures soar in the daytime and drop to near freezing at night, what you have to wear is a big deal. Being prepared for dust storms is a must — make sure you have a gator, bandana and goggles.
“… radical self-reliance is the game. It’s critical to have enough food and water for yourself, depending on how long a stay you plan.”
Some camps prepare food together and have a great kitchen scene, so it’s less work for one person. But, radical self-reliance is the game. It’s critical to have enough food and water for yourself, depending on how long a stay you plan. The rule of thumb is 1.5 gallons of drinking water per day and one additional gallon per day if you plan to shower. For some, showering is not necessary. However, washing your feet daily is a must. Vinegar and water helps guard against playa foot. Make sure to pack a bin for foot bathing.
How many coolers do you need? Many people take three: one for the first few days, one for thawing and beverages, and one with dry ice for later in the week. What is in your cooler depends on how you manage your food scene. For those with a camper or RV, planning is easier than for those camping in tents or yurts.
Burritos are a go-to for playa food: they are easy to freeze and warm up and can be eaten at room temperature. Breakfast burritos with eggs, cheese and bacon are delicious after a long night of dancing, while chicken and veggie or bean burritos are easy to grab for lunch or dinner.
Veteran Burner and local Truckee massage therapist, Jodi Hubbell, prepares pre-cooked bacon for her coolers.
“It’s easy to freeze and the salty goodness is so satisfying,” she says, adding that you shouldn’t freeze burritos that contain lettuce or sour cream. Hubbell’s cooler holds cold pizza and ribs, sliced cucumbers, pickles and olives. She recommends adding salami and cheese and frozen smoothies.
Pre-packaged meals and meals that can be boiled in a bag can be frozen ahead of time. Last year, I vacuumed sealed lentil dal and basmati rice and Thai chicken curry and veggies. Hubbell added that meals bought from a restaurant can be frozen and brought along.
Jerky is a Burner favorite protein that doesn’t have to be cooked. Avocados are easy to prepare. Bring them un-ripened and they’ll be ready to eat in a day or two. Cut in half, squeeze on some lemon, add a dash of salt and pepper and you’re good to go. Preparing guacamole in a bowl with some chips is pretty easy and the fat and salt content is helpful in the desert — or take along pre-packaged guacamole.
Vacuum-sealed salmon, hummus and hard-boiled eggs are all protein-rich, easy snacks. Trail mix and protein bars are perfect to pack. Use your fruit and veggies for the beginning of the week and freeze grapes for a fruit fix later in the week.
In addition to drinking water, bring a supply of coconut water and electrolyte packets. Because it’s so hot, you don’t eat as much as you normally do, so keep this in mind. Consider teaming up with people to share the food preparation workload.
The KISS principle for Burning Man is key for me: Keep It Simple (and) Smart. Remember, whatever packaging you take out to the playa needs to come back with you — leave no trace.
I’ll explore other ways to prepare for your trip to the playa in the next edition of Tahoe Weekly.