In Black Rock City, the desert, there isn’t sand -- it’s playa dust, and people are covered head-to-foot in it. It’s sticky, stays on things (and in your eyes) for days, and can only be removed with fierce scrubbing. It can also damage a camera’s sensor, so it’s best to wipe down your equipment at the end of each day. Showers are few and far between, so bringing some form of self-care is important. A good chapstick and lots of sunscreen are staples, and many bring eyedrops for the dryness of Black Rock City’s air and salve to protect their cuticles.
Some Burners stay in camps that provide a community, services, and accommodations for the week of the event. These can range from small, private groups of friends to large, organized communities. They may offer food, water, and electricity or simply a place to sleep. Many participants are aware of Burning Man’s ethos of radical self-reliance, and they make an effort to come prepared with everything they need for the week. This includes clothing, shelter, a bicycle and bike lock, at least 2 gallons of water per person daily, and gifts to give away to their neighbors.
Other participants choose to camp on their own and find their own space on the playa, the flat stretch of sand where most of the event happens. Some camp in their own tent, others pitch a tent near a friend’s camp, and some opt to sleep in a vehicle or RV. The organization that hosts Burning Man has a strict no-fly-in, pre-paid RV policy and has booted some “plug-and-play” camps that provided all amenities for a hefty fee.