Burning man is overwhelming on almost every level. From the cacophony of sounds to the level of radical self reliance and preparedness expected that goes along with it.
I decided early last year that I would buy a ticket with my girlfriend and we would undertake the experience that is Burning Man.
I am not one to be unprepared for anything!
No one thought we were Burning Man virgins and were shocked when we revealed that fact.
I want to share with you my top tips and preparation guide to be a prepared playa virgin!
About the time you buy your tickets (Feb) you should be narrowing down on what camp you should join. As a first timer choosing a well organized camp will save you tons of money, connect you with a community of people, and help you prepare. Be ready to spend $100-$350 on dues for the camp and attend multiple work days.
Our camp was amazing and had showers, water delivered, a greywater tank that was serviced right on the playa, an amazing shared kitchen, shade for the tents, use of the generator for recharging electronics in the evenings, and an epic community of half veterans and half virgins.
Start thinking and working early on at least one or two outfits to start making or buying. Mix and match items work great because you can come up with a variety of looks. Don’t forget to think about cool warm vests/jackets to wear at night! Two themes out on the Playa you may want to join is Tutu tuesday, and the White Party. Here is a cheap way to make a tutu. The white party is usually pretty epic and is worth a trip to a thrift store for an all white outfit. My girlfriend made some amazing rainbow hair inserts so she could keep her hair in pony/pigtails using the same method of the Tutu tutorial but using braided colorful yarn around an elastic hair tie. Planning how you are going to keep your hair from dreadlocking as a woman should be a priority. Don’t have time for making more costumes, get body paint!!!
You will also likely be creating some artistic project or clothing item to bring, but don’t delay on planning time for it. If you still have stuff to make and it’s august, you likely won’t get it done.
I can’t recommend this packing list enough: Stitch’s Best Ever Burning Man Packing List
Here were things we brought we found to be essential:
Tent with as few vents as possible to keep the dust out. The Coleman Instant 6 person tent was a fantastic tent. We also made sure to get some rebar and bend the tops to candycanes to replace our tent stakes. Rebar is a must; if you don’t have a way to bend the top get tennis balls to cover the stakes.
Fitted sheet to put over all your bedding during the day to keep the dust off. Baby wipe down before going to bed and your bed will stay almost completely dust free.
I froze (took 4 days in the freezer) a case of 1l water bottles and filled our 5day rated cooler with them instead of using ice. We ate a lot of dried food but did freeze a few things prior and brought those in the cooler. We didn’t need to add ice until 6 days in. 3/4 water bottles frozen and 1/4 food (some frozen) was a good mix.
Go nuts on LED and other lighting. EL wire your bike at a minimum. Maybe learn some arduino and try something fun from adafruit.com I made their led belt kit into a bandolier and wore it almost every night. Glowsticks just dont cut it. If you are looking for cheap buy the 12 packs of jelly led rings. Get 3 or 4 packs and pass out the extras to the dark-tards out on the playa.
Goggles are pretty cheap on amazon but do get one of each both dark and clear. The color changing ones reactive to light don’t work so well in the heat.
Bandanas work just fine in my opinion for dust protection. I had a couple dust masks with valves on them just in case and never used them. Your mileage may vary.
Buy a kickstand for your bike! This was one thing that was really annoying. Not essential if you are trying to save some money but I wished I had one.
Buy a cheap string of battery powered white christmas lights to decorate the inside of you tent. You will be surprised how much time you spend getting ready to go out at night.
Bring a folding table for inside your tent if you have room! It is so incredibly useful.
Bring your stuff in as many bins, milk crates, and storage containers as you can. They can be stacked and the mess stays so much more compartmentalized; making it easier to find stuff and not mess up the tent.
A small 12oz cup with a lid and clipped to your pack with a carabiner is CRUCIAL. I don’t drink alcohol so i figured I wouldn’t bother. There were so many times people offered me Chai, Lemonade, Sodas, Energy Drinks, etc where I wished I had brought one. If you drink, it is a necessity along with your ID to get alcohol at any of the camps serving it.
A luggage lock for your tent zippers. Theft is becoming more an more of an issue. We caught one guy sawing through a propane tube of our neighbors camp to steal the tanks. Don’t be low hanging fruit; lock your bike, lock your tent zippers, don’t leave your bags unattended.
Buy a 12 pack of socks and throw them away after you wear each of them, it will save your feet. I washed with vinegar once but found wiping down my feet with baby wipes each night sufficed to ward off “playa foot”.
Pre-packing day and night packs
One of the biggest time wasters seemed to be packing everything you need in the morning and after dinner when going out. In the future I am going to buy a small mesh drawstring bag and pack one for day and one for night with the following. That way I can just shove the bag in my camel back and go after getting dressed up.
Food Bar (like a powerbar, larabar, or Kind bar)
Bag of salted nuts
Shaker bottle with gatorade to add to drinks to up your electrolytes
Bag of dried fruit and or jerky
Ziplock with toilet paper
Ziplock with baby wipes (don’t EVER put in portapotties)
Light pullover shirt
Bag of snacks
Small water bottle with lid (I often dance with and carry this and just fill it up using my camel back)
A couple extra AA batteries for your various lights
Ziplock with toilet paper
Ziplock with baby wipes (don’t EVER put in portapotties)
If you prep these before you even leave for BRC it will be super easy to find if you end up arriving in a long line and need your sunscreen, goggles, bandana, and hat. Especially if(most likely when) you hit traffic. Having your playa essentials at hand means you can run around and meet people in line with you while cars are stopped waiting.
Plan out your meals and don’t bring more than the plan. You will eat less than half of what you bring. We stuck with granola and almond milk most mornings, with one day of pancakes, and one day of scrambled eggs early on in the week. We also brought a bunch of Pre-boiled eggs.
We never ate lunch and mostly just snacked very lightly. Some apples, cookies, chips and hummus, apple sauce in squeeze containers, jerky, nuts, and dried mango was about all we brought for snacks.
For dinners we made an asian seasoned beef mix and froze it ahead of time. That made great tortilla wraps, quesadilla filler, and more interesting scrambles. We also bought two backpacker meals that you just add boiling water so we could be lazy for a couple nights to make dinner. Everything else went uneaten. You can almost guarantee someone will share an evening dinner with you once or twice as well.
Everyone told me how wrecked my car would be if I drove to the Playa, they were flat out wrong; at least with a little Pre-planning on my part.
Be sure to make a light check to ensure all of your brake, signals, license plate, and headlights are in full working order. The cops are INSANE on the way in and out and will pull you over for any little thing. Remember if you bring bikes your license plate cannot be obscured.
Before you leave cut cardboard to the size of your windows so you have custom fitted window shades. Also bring a couple paper bags to put on the floor like you see mechanics use when your car is in the shop. If you put them down as soon as you hit the playa you can get in and out without getting tons of dust in your car mats. Also bring a couple extra sheets to throw over your seats so you can do the virgin dust angels.
Once you get to camp set up, put your window shades in, and don’t go back in your car all week. I have a black car and black interior and using these tips I barely had to vacuum my car out when I got back, there was very little dust inside. On the way out we stopped at a gas station to change into some Pre-bagged clean clothes, took off the paper floor covers, sheets off the seats, and changed the air filter in the car. Beyond a good wash and wax when we got back, there was very little post playa cleanup and maintenance needed for the car.
Other optional ideas we saw or thought of for next year:
Bring a small mailbox/whiteboard and a flag or something distinctive you can mark your tent with. You will likely have a few visitors and having a place for them to leave messages/gifts is a really nice touch.
Bring a small entryway mat for outside your tent and a hall runner carpet for inside your tent. I brought a dustpan and broom and it was useless.. Carpets trap the dust and can be shaken out easier.
Bring more lights! The intensity of LED’s on people, camps and art cars gets brighter every year. A small bit of EL wire on a hat or clothing is now almost the minimum requirement at night; Glowsticks are a waste of time, money, and are very MOOPy. Think of more ways to be lit up!
Use burnermap.com to find your friends and let people know where you are camped.
In Reno use google maps on your phone and zoom in on BRC. That will cache the image then if you find something cool that you want to return to you can turn on your GPS to see where you and it is. I’m sure sooner or later there will be an app for that if there isn’t already. My goal next year is to GPS map the mid and deep playa porta potties so I can find them even in a dust storm. Those porta potties are like getting keys to the executive washroom, so clean and nice!
Pick up some candied ginger and always carry some with you to tame mild stomach upset/nausea from food or substances you imbibe.
Almost 400 shelves for the Ninja Standing Desk were picked up this morning from the sewing house!
Over the course of this week and next, I will begin the final assembly process and start packaging each desk to be ready for shipping.
The printed instructions are almost done with our favorite Ninja Illustrator doing all the illustrations.
US Pre-Orders placed before Dec 17th should receive their desks before Christmas! (Unfortunately we can’t promise the same for International customers as International shipping can take 3-6 weeks)
I am so excited to hear everyones feedback and more importantly pictures of where you use yours! Please post a picture of your current “Stack of Boxes” standing desk and/or your new Ninja Standing Desk setup on our Facebook Page (and don’t forget to like our page if you haven’t already!)
Thanks everyone for all of your support! This project could have never been made without you!
Where will your Ninja Standing Desk go?
Japan is an incredible country that is so amazingly tight on space. Just watch a video of Shibuya crossing and you will get a sense of just how many people are cram packed into such a tiny space!
Through my travels i’ve had several occasions to need to work for an extended period of time and felt blessed to have my Ninja Standing Desk with me.
Houses are tiny and the chance my knees even fit under a normal desk were few and far between! However everywhere I stayed I found somewhere to hang the Ninja Standing Desk.
From a house in Osaka
To a few hours of productivity on the free WiFi at Kansai International Airport over a low glass wall.
Everyone I talked to in Japan wanted a Ninja Standing Desk! I can’t wait to ramp up production and get these desks out!
It appears the Sewing is finished back in Oakland CA, USA! The finished desks will be ready when I return on Dec 2nd to start prepping for shipping. The final assembly will take a short period of time as will the packaging and shipping. Kickstarter Backers will have their desks shipped out first and then those that have their pre-orders in!
Pre-Orders have been selling really well! But don’t wait if you want a Ninja Standing Desk. This run has a limited production and will very likely sell out! Get yours by clicking on the Order Now link!
I’ve been closely following the progress at the two sewing houses and things are going great!
One of the exciting parts of manufacturing in the USA is that I was able to get EXACTLY the quality and specifications I wanted for the desks. A really interesting specification was how tight the fabric wraps the inserts. If it is too loose the desk can actually twist, if it is too tight the poles become hard to disconnect for disassembly. However I feel a bit like Goldilocks and found a fit that was “Just Right!”
Everything is finely tuned and each sewing house is in the middle of production and have assured me they will be done by the beginning of December.
There isn’t much left for me to be hands on with the manufacturing so instead of twiddling my thumbs waiting for the production run to complete I’ve decided to do some field testing!
I’ll be working from the road doing market research, field trials, and of course having fun, in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea until the end of November.
I will still be available and working remotely on coordinating everything to be ready to ship out in the beginning of December as soon as the desks come back from the sewing house!
25 days with a small pack and my Ninja Standing Desk! Be sure to go Like the Ninja Standing Desk Facebook Page for more updates and pictures of the Ninja Standing Desk in action.
Tune in right here for lots of great travel tips, remote working tips, and more ninja goodness!
There is only a limited amount of additional desks being made for the December shipment, Pre-Order Today to be sure to get one by Christmas!
The Ninja Standing Desk is in the last stage of manufacturing and will be available for shipping in December.
Limited Availability To ensure the highest quality product we have manufactured this production run right here in the USA, in the
San Francisco Bay Area. Not only are we supporting the local and US economy, this helps us oversee every step of the process! Of course that
means only a limited number of desks are available for pre-order.
Don’t miss your chance! Pre-Order Now!
The Ninja Standing Desk is available starting at $159
-Includes a carrying case that even has room for your laptop, plus mounting hardware for doors and walls
Thanks to all of our supporters so much for helping to bring this vision to a reality! Using a standing desk completely changed my life and now I can help people all over the world find the same health, focus, and motivation that the Ninja Standing Desk has given me.
Wow these last couple weeks have flown by! I’ve been in the shop most days for 10hrs+ at a time working on cutting and prepping the inserts. All of the parts are now at both sewing houses and it is a race to see who finishes the job first. As soon as one finishes, I will have enough stock to send out to all the kickstarter backers.
This is my little biodiesel hatchback bringing one part of the materials to the sewing houses for the final manufacturing.
It does look like there will be a delay due to the christmas season rush at both sewing houses in completing the work. They did give me assurances that a good portion of the desks will be done by the end of November beginning of December. As soon as they are done I have all of the other parts ready for assembly and shipping!
Earlybird Desks and Magnets are all out in the hands of backers! We are in the process of drafting the instructions so please send me directly any feedback you have about any difficulties in setting your desks up the first time! International backers, how was the extra assembly step you had to do?
I am excited to hear any and all feedback and am looking forward to getting the rest of the desks out to backers!
Thanks again for helping make the Ninja Standing Desk a reality!
P.S. If you didn’t get a chance to pledge for a desk but would still like to pre-order one we are now accepting Pre-Orders.
Erin S of San Diego CA is the lucky winner of a brand new Ninja Standing Desk!
Congrats Erin, I hope you enjoy your new desk. For everyone else the contest starts anew. To be eligible, to win again simply be subscribed to our mailing list and simply share, tweet, post, or pin something about Ninja Standing Desks, our movie, a picture, or a link to our website. Then let us know where you posted!
We will be announcing the winner before Christmas!
We will be demoing the Ninja Standing Desk at Tech Cocktails 9/27 at the Mighty in San Francisco
This should be a fun event to check out some cool startups and even see the Ninja Standing Desk in person in the Bay Area.
Oh and they are having a vote for the hottest SF startup!