Every year around Labor Day, the Man burns. If you’ve never been to Burning Man before, the Nevada festival probably conjures up a few things. Giant art installations on fire. Music. Naked people in the desert. All of those things may be true, but there’s a lot more to the world’s most well-known art show. Most of it you’ll have to find out for yourself, but some requires a little planning. Besides a good attitude, an open mind, and a willingness to explore, here are the five things you should definitely bring to Burning Man according to our two resident Burners, photography director Tara Guertin and business development director Lou LaGrange.
1. Wet Wipes
These are partially for the dust—which gets everywhere. But, you’ve got to bring them mostly because the festival doesn’t have any official showers. Wet Wipes will keep you moderately clean for the time you’re there, whether it’s two days or ten.
2. A Thin Scarf
Keep it tied around your neck so you have easy access to a mouth-and-nose covering when sudden dust storms strike. Or, wrap around your hair for a no-shower-chic style.
One of the great parts about Burning Man is the music. Musicians and DJs from all over the world play massive stages in one slice of the circular Playa. If you’re trying to sleep anywhere near those stages, though, you’ll have a hard time without earplugs. Even if the music’s not a problem, your (and others’) sleeping schedule might be. At Burning Man, there’s something to do 24/7, so you’re not necessarily sleeping only at night (or at night at all). Everyone ends up falling into the natural rhythm that works for them, so while some people wake up early to explore the installations and sleep when the sun sets, others stay up all night only to nap as the sun is rising.
4. Sun Protection and Wearable Lights
Sun protection includes lip balm, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen at all times. This is the desert, after all. Another thing to add to your must-under-all-circumstances-pack list: wearable lights. Think bike lights, reflective construction vests, flashlights, neon glow sticks, etc. It’s important to stay visible at night, when some drivable art installations roam the center of the Playa. Unlike cars, they don’t necessarily have headlights, so bring your own lights to keep from being run over.
5. Food, and lots and lots of water
You can’t buy food at Burning Man: only coffee and ice are for sale. The Playa is built on trading, or sharing with your neighbors. Plan accordingly (but don’t worry—your fellow Burners would never let you starve). Don’t skimp on packing water, either. In the desert, you can never have too much.
Want more festivals? Check out these 32 festivals worth traveling for.