Burning Man Basics

Though Burning Man isn’t strictly a music festival, it holds a place of honor in the heart of the festival world. Burning Man boasts a long tradition of revelry, community, artistic expression, and experimentation and should be on every festival-goers bucket list. Here you’ll find the Burning Man basics that will help you prepare practically and mentally for this incredible experience.

Survival Is The Name Of The Game

Burning Man is all about self-reliance. Be prepared to bring everything you need to survive your trip, including food, water, toilet paper, shelter, cooking gear, and more. There’s a reason why RVs and campers are so popular at Burning Man, and it isn’t just having a private toilet. Renting or bringing your own RV ensures you’re able to pack everything you need or want. If you don’t have access to an RV, you’ll want to have a vehicle large enough to store everything you need. The only things sold at Burning Man are coffee and ice. That’s not an exaggeration; you indeed will not find any other type of vendor. Sharing and borrowing are pretty common, though!


Joining a camp can make your experience even more memorable. Each camp is a small community within the larger Burning Man community. Camps are themed and come in all different sizes and specialties. Some camps are extremely family-friendly; others are geared more towards an adult-only experience. Camp fees tend to cover the camp’s themed shade structures, communal meals, and more. More luxurious camps offer an exclusive experience, with meals catered by 5-star chefs, massages, spa treatments, and more. Finding and joining a camp is usually done by referral from friends who can vouch for you, by connecting digitally through the official Burning Man website, or on dedicated FaceBook groups. Themed camps also get premium real estate at Burning Man, taking places of honor close to the center of Black Rock City.

Live The Principles

Burning Man is built on the back of 10 principles that reflect the spirit of this radical community experience. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the ethos and prepare yourself mentally!

Radical Inclusion

No one is a stranger, and everyone is welcome at Burning Man.


Be prepared to receive and give gifts freely. From the tiniest of flowers to clean toothbrushes, yoga sessions, massages, aura readings, and more, each gift is welcomed and cherished.


You won’t find sponsorships, advertising, or vendors at Burning Man. These capitalistic concepts are wholly rejected in favor of the spirit of gifting and living in the experience.

Radical Self-Reliance

Be prepared, be self-reliant, and push your boundaries. If you’ve forgotten something, get creative and be resourceful.

Radical Self-Expression

Some of the greatest gifts a person or group can bring to Burning Man are the gifts of the spirit, collaboration, and connection. Whatever gifts you choose to share should be given freely and should be gifted with respect for the rights of those receiving said gifts.

Communal Effort

Collaboration and cooperation are vital to the success of Burning Man. Be ready to help with set-up, tear-down, maintenance, or anything else going on. Get your hands dirty and get into the true spirit of creation. You are consciously and intentionally contributing to your community here.

Civic Responsibility

Leave Burning Man better than you found it. Help pick up litter, clean up after yourself, obey the local and state laws, and stay civil.

Leave No Trace

If you pack it in, pack it out. Bring extra trash bags so you can help keep the playa clean. This space is considered sacred for so many, so respect it.


Come ready to work and play. Get off the sidelines; silent observation isn’t what Burning Man is about. Engage, experience, grow, and connect.


Everything in Burning Man is temporary. Live in the moment, follow your heart in this space, and get out of your head. Do and be whatever and whoever you want.