Posts Tagged ‘Burning Man’

Jaded Veteran’s Guide to What You Need to Survive Burning Man, and Maybe Even Have Some Fun: Personal Care

May 13, 2019

Note: Amazon is evil and must be punished. However, before their amoral employee practices were brought to light, they were my go-to for burn supplies. The embedded links are “affiliate” links, so if you end up buying something from my link, I might make like, $00.005! YEET! (note: still not sure what yeet means.)

In the 10+ years I’ve been going to Burning Man and regionals I’ve acquired extensive experience with gear. I know what I thought I needed, what I need, and what I don’t need. My suggestions, over the years, have been embraced by virgins and veterans alike.

Number one recommend of ALL TIME: Pstyle. If you are someone who needs to pee standing up, you need a Pstyle. Not a She-Wee. Not a GoGirl. You need and want a Pstyle.

pstyle

You want at least two, really. One to keep on you at all times, and one to keep in the tent for when you lose the other one. It’s the easiest to use, the most discrete, it’s a women-owned and run company and as you can see, not just marketed to cis women.

pstyle 3

It shakes clean and dries instantly (except for if there’s a lot of thicker blood). Stick it in your pocket. Stick it in one of their cute-azz Pstyle carrying cases.

pstyle case

It’s a game-changer, a life-changer, and great for dive bars with no toilet seats, road trips, and just about anything you do that involves emptying your bladder. I’ve been using it for almost 10 years!

pstyle 4

My search for a way to pee that didn’t involve sitting was inspired by the L Word and, thanks to Pstyle, didn’t end up involving catheters.  Sadly it looks like the Pstyle song isn’t online anymore! It was riot grrl realness.

Runner-up: Freshette. Freshette was my first pee funnel and it does have advantages. First, the way it forms a seal and does more to prevent over-flowing (which I’ve only done twice, with a Pstyle, because I wasn’t paying attention). Second, the tubing is nice for directing the stream away, but then you have a second piece to deal with and it’s not as easy to clean as the Pstyle. I lost the tube, but keep the pink part in my tent; it’s perfect for the pee jug. Speaking of, learn from my mistakes and pee-covered tent floor. Get a big container with a handle for your pee jug!

I recommend this water, or an Arizona tea jug.

51-ysv1GWbL._SY450_

Not a little Gatorade bottle, not a coffee can, something with a lid for when it’s not in use (again, please learn from my mistakes!) and a handle to make it easy to carry and empty. If the idea of being seen with a bottle of pee is keeping you from using one, or emptying it properly, decorate it.

Now, onto the rest! I’m going to go in order of your day, from waking up to going to sleep.

Ah, eyeballs. To use mine properly I needed contacts. Which meant clean hands and saline, all liquidy and drippy-droppy. I came up with a little contacts corner, where I kept wipes to initially clean my fingers and a bottle of saline to rinse again, before touching my eyeballs. Sham Wow made it easy. It absorbed the saline instantly, keeping the tent floor dry. It dried quickly, no damp cloths lying around, caking up with playa dust. This also meant I could keep the contacts case nice and clean, rinsing and adding fresh saline every time (just dumping the used saline onto the Sham Wow).

Sham Wows ended up being fairly handy for things like the aforementioned pee jug incident (ok, ok, incidentS, lessons learned and re-learned). I’ve had the same two or three for years, now (I don’t know where they came from). They wash clean and are good to go again and again.

Baby Wipes: For my first two or three years, I didn’t use baby wipes. So MOOPy. Smelly. Don’t they leave a sticky film/gross feeling?

Also, I’m not a baby.  Please click on that; I can’t embed Tweets.

Then one year, my campmate offered me one from his cooler. It was magical. So get you some wipes. Use them to clean yourself, your gear, blow your nose, clean the inside of your nose, etc.

I go barefoot indiscriminately. Again, around year 2 or 3, I learned me some lessons. Playa dust will do things to your skin you didn’t know possible. It’s a point of pride to look as dusted as possible. If you look clean, you clearly aren’t doing it right.

However. After a particularly bad year of skin so dry it’d beat Norm McDonald in a stand-up competition, I began a skin care routine that has served me well.

  1. Moisturize. Non-stop. Cuticles and inside your nose, especially. Swipe a Q-tip through some Vasoline and get up in there. I’ve found the new cocoa butter flavor to be pleasant.

Listen, people joke about playa dust, it’s considered that thing you just have to learn to love, but it is not good for your body. It is not good for the inside or the outside.

dustWhy Do We Act As If Playa Dust is Safe?

It’s not sand, it’s not dust, it’s a bunch of chemicals that will, scientifically speaking, fuck your shit up. 

After being in sandals all day, I thoroughly clean and moisturize my feet before putting on boots and socks. I also clean any skin that’s going into tighter clothing. Most days, especially as warm as nights have been the past several years, I don’t change into warmer clothes. If I do swap from shorts into leggings, I clean the skin to prevent chemical burns. Nivea cream, or anything with all the heavy moisturizing ingredients, works well. When I take boots and socks off for bed, I probably clean again, depending on how uh…”tired” I am, slather on more cream, and sleep in cheap little socks. 

Sleeping in socks – sleeping in anything – is gross. Not as gross as sitting in a hotel room, crying, because your feet and hands are splintered, red, bleeding, and burnt.

I try to do a pretty good wipe down, before bed, to keep the bed cleaner. For….at least five years I’ve had the same queen-sized air mattress from ALPS.  It’s comfortable, holds air well, the rechargeable pump has never died on me, during the event. The reverse air-sucking means it will fold up tight. Sleep is SO important to me. I can’t nap, so when I’m down, I want to stay down and sleep well. Having a foam top the last few years has been bougie and beautiful. My burn bed is so comfortable it’s hard to leave.

BACK TO SKIN

IT PUTS THE LOTION ON

Contacts in, skin wiped and slathered, sunscreen time!

The sun at Burning Man is RELENTLESS. Put it on, and never take it off. If you pass a table with sunscreen, spray some on. I don’t care if you just left camp. Spray, squirt, rubbidy dub. This is the one time of year I splurge on fancy sunscreen, both by Neutrogena.

Usually I hate scented stuff, but I like this one. 

6887274-pizza

Yes, I’m aware that it’s putting on enough and putting it on often that does the trick, SPF numbers are fairly meaningless. I don’t care. The desert is trying to kill me and I’ve never gotten a sunburn when I use this.

To super protect my tattoos I keep the 100 on me.

71cs8H84YiL._SL1500_

They both go on evenly, dry quickly, and don’t leave me feeling like a greased pig.

mn-weird_state_laws

Advertisements

Gentler reader: (unpublished from July)

December 18, 2009

Yes, actually, a small broom and dustpan is a good idea for your tent, unless you’re going to lay down rugs (or carpet squares, etc).

Best thing ever: bring a giant sheet to put over your bed. When you get up in the mornings, tuck it over everything (pillows etc). That way, your bed is clean when you climb into it eventually. Nothing worse than a bedful of playa. But seriously, it gets everywhere, and you get used to it really fast.

Seems rugs would just collect more sand! I will add broom to the packing list. However, I need to, at some point, consolidate with the people I’m camping with…definitely bringing a sheet. My bed is one thing I always try to do nicely, sleep is SO important at a burn for me – and I’ve never done the burn life for so freakin’ long.  I think five or six days is my max (because I go early and leave late). So big-azz sheet, check. Broom, check.

I know several of those people. They’re awesome. Yes, you do want to camp there…although they’re gunning for Center Camp ring placement, and camping around Center Camp can be pretty overwhelming.

As opposed to the rest of it, hm? Ha! I am also working on a confession worthy of entrance into Sinister Minister. A few years ago I was watching footage of burn night, and theme camp names were scrolling across the bottom of the screen. It was more interesting than the burn! I laughed out loud and thought “Man, I could never pick just one!”

And here I am, 12 years after I first heard of it, doing just that.

These pics are great:

2819604640_0235a2ed6b

Really gave me a good idea, visually, of all the crap I’ll have to lug around all day.

I don’t know if the link will work (being the coding neophyte I am), so check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/62641147@N00/2819604640/ .

And last, but not least,

Rumour has it that trying to meet up with someone you had planned to can be difficult. The sand storms are only one blockade…there’s also the ability of a Burner to take your attention away from your planned activity and whisk you away to something else.

So with that “danger”, I’ve been told that walkie-talkies are the answer.

Don’t suppose you’ve shopped for those yet…?

I looked at them briefly, on amazon.com, to get an idea of prices. However, I don’t really have anyone to give one to. I’m a rogue burner, dontchaknow!

And I’m pretty much expecting to have, well, no expectation at any given time, of where I should be, or what I should be doing.  It would be really fun to have a bunch of them, to just give to random people I met and like, so we can hook up later (by either intent of the phrase).

DOOM! dome!

August 20, 2009

 

Ah, life has been kind. Well, the internet and dead people have been kind. Dead people make me money, and donate shit to the Goodwill, like this beeeyouuuteeful ensemble:

playa 001

Black and white checks (NOT gingham, mind you) with flowers of ungodly yellow and pink.

Not to mention….DOOM! dome:

playa 009

After we FINALLY @#$%^ got it set up (five people, three people more than they insisted it would take). 1.5 hrsish.

George asked me what its named was. “Hadn’t thought about it…” I cocked my head.

A while later, eating inside, marveling at its wonder, I laughed, “DOOM! dome,  of course that’s it!”

Not dome of doom. DOOM! dome. Get it right.

So…we’ll see. It has a floor. Should be sturdy enough. Has the big nail stakes, not sure if I should get the similiar ones with plastic pull tops, or some of the almight rebar (google “burning man rebar” and have fun)(Just kidding about the fun).

Clear, plastic windows that come with a pocketed curtain are AWEsome:

playa 010

L to R window with curtain, one to three doors, uncovered window.

playa 011

Circle (no mesh) in top middle, zipper pulls dangle down. Nice bright purple nylon.

Was suggested I put a fan up there. Not sure. Wondering if rain fly would be too stiflely, or if having it atop the poles would do that layering thing…like create a cool air zone between it and the tent.

I mean dome! DOOM! dome!

Ha ha, I just realized I’ve now got DOOM! dome and Camp CAMP!

So that’s it, folks. Domicide mission accomplished. I’m not even going to set up the other tent I purchased to try out. Done and done.  I’m not thrilled about not being able to do it by myself, so it won’t be an every burn thing, but it is pretty neat.

TENTS!

June 19, 2009

Serious tents, this time. Not like last time.

I’m eyeballing this teepee:

 

But I fear it’d be too flimsy. Not a lot of reviews for it, or pictures detailing set-up.  I do have a tent, an actual tent, not the EZ Up but it is “The Bastard.” A pain to set up, and it’s an all-mesh dome with a rain-fly that prevents any sort of breeze.

I saw a pop-up thing at Sportsman’s Warehouse a la:

But I need to go back and see how it ties down.  And what the roomage is like. I was just joking, when I first saw it – I wasn’t going to the playa, yet.

I’m curious about these pop-ups.  I got the EZ Up because I hated dealing with poles (and it was on sale, and is so freakin’ EZ!) and all the rolling up and stuff.

I’m not even sure this comes with the floor, though. And “Sand pockets along the bottom for stability?” Like, there’s pockets, and I’m supposed to put sand in them? It claims to be 3-season (I’m still not sure what that means, really).

One of my all-time favourite burners camps in this tiny little thing, and I just fear I would be miserably cramped and claustrophic. Plus, I can’t afford the hundreds of dollars those Keltys n’shite cost.

In which I reply to commenters!

June 18, 2009

Woo-hoo! I exist! First, from Mr. Chris:

*scribbles furiously on a piece of scrap paper*

Wait..wait…it’ll be my first time too….let me get all this down…”eye drops”..damn you’d think something like that would be so obvious, yet it never occurred to me…

Ha! I know, right? I am determined to be fully and most radically self-reliant, hence googling the stuff out of “burning man tips” and such.  I recommend you do the same – and join tribe and read eplaya.

Though this is my first time at Burning Man, it isn’t my first burn. And, a few years ago, when I plunged into Burnerland, I read everything I could find. So, there’s a lot I won’t cover in this blog, because I’m prepared for it.

Like ear plugs. Just get a bag of them from wherever, the foam kind. Roll them up between your fingers. Pull up on your ear, so you can fit them better into the ear canal. Sleep. 

I have a bed, I like – get a nice piece of polar fleece, to put on top of an air mattress. It will keep you much warmer (some sort of science something…I forget).

 

Next, from Monsieur  Tiberious:

To cover your rebar stakes, buy some foam swim noodles at Wal-Mart  Cut them to fit the above-ground rebar.  Try to find them with smaller holes for a snug fit. They’re tough, light, brightly colored, can be cut to fit, and cheap. If someone does trip on them, it can then be funny instead of tragic.

Yep, just got to figure out what to camp in, first…I finally heard of someone who camps in an EZ Up, my standard abode, but I’m still worried it’ll get broke and all blown up and away.

My Taj Mahal

My Taj Mahal

But yeah, noodles and solar lights are the plan – I think I’ll be camping with my friends in Big Puffy Yellow, so there’ll be a nice little cluster of us.

And lastly, from Randall – repeat commenter!:

I brought three weeks of food my first year, not really knowing how much I’d eat or what I’d be hungry for.  I had lots of leftovers, and lots of stuff to share.

What I mostly found was that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on food.  I was pretty happy to just make something fast and get back to the festival.

Breakfast was usually the “big meal” since it was quieter and there were fewer things I’d be missing while I ate.

I drank a gallon each of apple juice and grape juice, which not only broke up the monotony of all the water but provided a boatload of vitamins.

I had a lot of granola bars, mostly because I could carry them around all the time.  Luna is my favorite brand, and again, it has oodles of vitamins

If you are going to at least be able to heat water, there’s lots of “pouch” foods in the grocery store – rice and noodle products, mostly.  Even though I brought my backpacking stove and some jet fuel, we only used it twice… once for a potluck dinner and other time to heat up someone’s branding iron.

I don’t think I started eating “real food” again until mid-September.

If you don’t do a cooler, pretty much everything you eat will be “astronaut” food.

I’m gluten-free, so  a lot of bar stuff is out of the question. Plus, they’re kinda expensive. I did snag some on sale, that I’m saving.

I love cooking, but not washing dishes on the playa. I probably will get a cooler (another thing I have to research), so that at least for the first few days I can have cold water. The places we’re stopping for food, I don’t have one here in town, so that’ll be a pain, wandering around looking for stuff.

I know I want some Tasty Bites, that is an easy, no fridge, no cooking treat.

Gluten-free bread stuffs suck, too, unless they’re toasted. I’ll have to see what, exactly, Big Puffy will have lying around…I”m a natural grazer, so I do just fine without “meals.”

And, I’ve never been to a burn and not returned with most of the food I took!

Now, likker, that’s another story…

Boots part une

May 17, 2009

I worry they’ll be too hot for my feet, due to the fleece lining:

http://www.zappos.com/product/7389315/color/158138

I like these more for casual wear, not iamaplayagoddess awesomeness.

 

There were actually my first pick:

http://www.zappos.com/product/7420884/color/71771#product-reviews

Until I realized they sounded too warm. But I love the simplicity, and the accent.  Simplicity also drew me to these

http://www.zappos.com/product/7430724/color/106

But at $160, I think I can do better.  That’s halfway to my dream boot:

http://www.zappos.com/product/7431097/color/182903

I’ve been interested in these for at least a year, since reading about them. Simple style-wise, comfortable and would help my back…I just wish I could try some on before making the investment. 

No, there is no way in heck I could ever buy these. They cost more than my f’ing mortgage!

Merkins are the new black.

April 12, 2009

I’ve actually heard the word a few times the past few years, in non-burner related scenarios. I even got gifted one – non PETA approved. “How the heck would this work…”  I asked myself. For those not mechanically inclined, Miss Karina has your back:

MissKarina.etsy.com

MissKarina.etsy.com

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

April 12, 2009

But sometimes vanity can be practical. Although, if it serves a purpose/function, is it vanity?

I digress.

The Podbelt is a great idea. “Punk rock” belts are a dime-a-dozen these days, and ‘beaners are 2-4-1 at the dollar store.  As if my list of thingsishouldmaketotaketoburningman isn’t  big enough…and I don’t wear belts. I’m actually thinking about boot pockets…but boots are another post.

Anyways, I’d be curious to know how much it’d all weigh.  Theoretically, you’d somehow be carrying around all this stuff anyways, no?

SintheteX Podbelt Deluxe

SintheteX Podbelt Deluxe

Is it comfortable?  Sure looks “cooler” than a fanny pack.

fannypacktourist

Invaluable site

April 12, 2009

For its own content and a plethora of links, The Civilized Explorer.

I’ve learned a lot from that one, and enjoyed reading – I actually read it a while back, because I read everything about camping/survivalism (well…glitter-soaked survivalism) I find, but it’s now recaptured pertinence, as it actually applies to me, as I read and take notes.

Goggles

April 12, 2009

I have an aversion to googles.  It brings to mind ravers. And 4 Non Blondes. Which I DID like. Ravers, gravers and other idiots I’ve known who just liked to stick big goggles on their head for no reason.

The only mystery is why people watch your show.

But, I have a reason now to obtain my own pair. Sand storms. Brings to my mind Tatooine and Jawas, but it’s a serious issue on the playa.

Brad Horn-AP
Brad Horn-AP

Would the $20 standard military issue do fine (http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=7277&TabID=548) ? I mean, they’ll sit in my bag until I need them. But…but…

SteamSociety.etsy.com

SteamSociety.etsy.com

the precious.  Some googles cost two hundred bucks – and they don’t even have night vision, or lasers. Swim goggles are five bucks. I wish there was a store I could go try some on in.

These seem alright, they’ve got the foam (which I’m told I want) and they’re only $20: http://www.botachtactical.com/bolatgog.html

 

For twice the price there’s these “sand goggles,”  http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0034375523201a.shtml , I can’t really tell a difference.  The first ones look a little more bad-ass to me, that’s about it. But perhaps, as technology goes, the smaller, thinner object is actually the more advanced and desirable one.

Another step up sees these sand goggles, with a fancy nose doo-dad http://oakley.com/pd/3608 .

Again, what’s the big difference? The $65 dollar pair comes with two different lenses, but again, they’ll be in my bag until I actually need them. My main concern is my contacts: without them I am bliiiiiind.

Too bad the boyf doesn’t ship out to the desert for another two years, or that L didn’t make it home, I could ask them what they prefer.