Think you have enough? GET MORE. Plan on about 3 gallons per day per person. There is an abundance of alcohol at the bars on the playa, but water (believe it or not) is not as plentiful. There are no places to “refill” your water bottles or canteens, so be radically self-reliant and bring as much water as you can.
2. Sturdy shoes that will last on the Playa
Note: that these shoes will never be the same again because playa dust will never come off. You should have two pairs of shoes with you in case something happens to your first pair. The last things you need is playa foot (feel free to google it if you’re even thinking about bringing one pair of shoes). Our suggestion is to rock out some combat boots so you can romp around care-free.
3. A bicycle that is in at LEAST mediocre condition.
Yes, this is a necessity because of how large Black Rock City is. If you do not have a bicycle or scooter or anything to help you get around, you’re going to get extremely tired very early and you have a pretty good chance of ruining both pairs of item #2.
4. Food you can eat or prepare quickly.
If camping alone, protein bars or shakes work great. Keep in mind that these should be food items that can be left out. Beef jerky and bagels are other good options. Don’t forget your vitamins and electrolytes for long days/nights. There is some food that is distributed from camps on the playa if you can track them down, but again, its better to be self-reliant.
5. LIGHTS. For yourself and on yourself for the night.
6. A structure to sleep in.
Camping in your car isn’t the best thing to do in extreme weather conditions and when you’ve spent all day running around on the Playa. Make sure you find a way to get yourself some (comfortable) sleep.
7. A shade structure to go OVER item 6.
The heat in Black Rock City is no joke. Make sure you can find relief in some shade.
8. Ear plugs and a sleep mask.
Black Rock City never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Find stillness at some point in the day (whether at night or mid day), and utilize a sleep mask and ear plugs to help you relax.
9. Your ticket/vehicle pass.
Can you imagine how you would feel if for some reason you left your ticket or vehicle pass behind after suffering in an 8 hour line in? Yep. Pack that bad boy first.
10. An open mind and heart!
You’ll see a lot of things on the Playa that you may not have seen in other festivals. Embrace the extremes, originality, and diversity. Keep an open mind and heart the whole time.
Other friendly reminders for the first timers:
- Everything is free in Black Rock City. So don’t even bother wasting your money on alcohol. It’s everywhere and it’s free (as long as you have a cup and an ID to prove your 21. Pro tip: Photocopy your ID and tape it to a reusable tumbler. Yes, they will check your ID everywhere.)
- The only thing you can buy in BRC is ice ($3 a bag).
- Bring trash bags and an empty container to spit out any water when you brush your teeth (or any other ‘grey’ water).
- Bring baby wipes to “shower”
- If you smoke, bring a small tin can for your butts thats portable and reusable.
- Then No Trace rule is taken VERY seriously.