Burning Man toiletries and sundries: A list for the desert

In this one time at burning man by summerburkes1 Comment

But first, an anecdote: Scouring the Mission for dust-proof sunglass-goggles that don’t make the wearer look like a bug-eyed raver — WHY DON’T THEY SELL THOSE? ANYONE? — we passed a thrift store that shall remain nameless which sported a window display captioned BURNING ANGELS.

This display consisted of wire-and-pantyhose “angel wings” — you know, the kind that poke your eye out in crowded domes when drugged-out giggle-chicks are dancing to the UNCE UNCE UNCE — “angel wings” festooned with chicken feathers and loose glitter.


Hey. Why stop there. Throw some carpet and astroturf frayings, sawdust pieces, “live” (soon to be dead) plants and flowers, used tampons, and half-eaten raver candy into the display and you’ve got yourself a standard nightmare scenario for the DPW, Burning Man’s setup and cleanup crew.

Oh yes, before we forget: Please tape all unfinished carpets and astro-turf with three rows of duct tape (one folded, one top, one bottom) BEFORE you get to the desert. Doing it after you get there (or with any other type of tape) is not sufficient, as the dust will negate all your tardy efforts with a quickness.

(climbs down off soapbox)

And now, at the request of newbies who say they need help picking stuff to bring, here’s a list of what’s in our toiletry case right now. We’re not done yet so double-check against your own radical self reliance for things we’ve forgotten so far.

DPW tip: please duct-tape your salvaged astro-turf or carpet pieces before you pack for Burning Man - dust works fast & it's useless to try taping runaway frillies once you're out on the playa

DPW tip: please duct-tape your salvaged astro-turf or carpet pieces before you pack for Burning Man – dust works fast & it’s useless to try taping runaway frillies once you’re out on the playa

Keep in mind we’ll be out there for weeks and are sort of girl scoutish, so you don’t have to cobble together all this. But if you’ve got room, then go for it.


MEDICAL STUFF (in a Mom-tote from the thrift store, 50 cents)

First-aid kit, 2 Ace bandages, pointy tweezers
Band-Aids, mercurochrome, extra wet-proof adhesive medical tape
Benadryl stick for bug bites (wet nicotine and tape will do in a pinch)
Tea tree oil (so many uses you should look it up)
Cough drops; ginger for stomach upset
Saline for rinsing out eyes in dusty weather; eye patch if that doesn’t work
Spray catnip (the best non-toxic mosquito repellent EVER)

WATERPROOF LIQUIDS AND LOTIONS BOX (‘70s plastic traveling case, $1)

Vitamin E oil; almond oil, the all-important COCONUT OIL
Sunscreen; face sunscreen
Face scrub and cuticle softening oil we probably won’t use
Toothpaste, toothbrushes
Wipey face-pad things for refreshment; fancy hand-me-down spray toner
Extra contact lenses, solution, cases
Arnica oil for sore muscles and bruises
On-sale aromatherapy bottle of “comforting geranium” (try putting it in ur clown nose)
Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner
Shea butter for hair protection (though some would say it makes dust stick harder)
Foot brush and pumice; nail clippers

NON-LIQUIDS BOX (‘60s traveling case with cool satin interior, $3)

Various makeup in plastic zipper case, to be stored in cooler so shit don’t melt
Barettes, clippy jaw-things for hair, no-pull rubber bands
Safety pins; sewing kit
Cotton balls, cotton pads, Q-tips, napkins
Washcloths (so nice to sponge down before night; re-apply thick-ass coconut oil & rest naked in tent for 15 mins while it soaks in)
Mirror, brush, headband
Flashlight, tent light that velcros to stuff
Lighters, matches
Six pair sunglasses (yes we said six — breaking your one pair in throes of passion & not having sunglasses on the sun-soaked moon-surface is literally too harsh for your eyes)
Mustache, clown nose, earrings, leather string, O-ring bracelets, Billy Bob teeth


Hammer, flathead screwdriver, Phillip’s head screwdriver, mallet
Twist-ties, wire
Alien tool (bikes), Allen key
Tape measure
Grommets, grommeter
Big black paperclip thingies, carabiners, rubber bands, rope
Electrical tape, Scotch tape
Scissors, Sharpies
Rags, big garbage bags, little plastic bags, Ziplocs of all sizes
…. and of course, the Holy Trinity: Leatherman, Duct Tape, and Zip Ties.

And finally, as a wise man once said: Don’t forget to bring a towel.

No, we’re not talking about Towelie. We’re talking about Ford Prefect from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

A fictional book which, incidentally, has the words DON’T PANIC printed in giant letters on the front of it.

And remember, if it’s your first time, have fun, read all the instructions beforehand, carry your water bottle with you everywhere you go, and don’t be a f**king idiot.

Dont Panic Button


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