Burning Man Express for First timers?

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Invention1
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Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Invention1 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:55 am

I'm planning ahead for 2015. Coming from a long way away, and not really interested in driving. I am trying to figure out how one can bring enough stuff on the Burning Man Express bus. Apparently this is done all the time!

You get 4 bags with the Large baggage option. Plus a bike.

1 "bag" will be water. 5 gallons/3 days if you are not using any kind of swamp cooler, two 5 gallon jugs strapped together would fit within the size limit.

1 "bag" will be 2 coolers strapped together fulla frozen food.

62 linear inches will fit around my biggest suitcase plus a sleeping bag tied onto the top.

I have a folding bike which is handy to travel with.

You get 2 "bags" on Amtrak, one is my biggest suitcase, one is my folding bike, plus a "carryon" which can be a generous daypack. Amtrak is not stingy about baggage which is why that's how I get to Reno.

I am a veteran camper. can camp with pretty minimal kit, although never camped in the desert.

Trying to figure out if this plan would work:

1. Come into Reno on Amtrak, carrying the large suitcase and the folding bike. Rent the cheapest hotel room i can find for overnight so I can stash my shit while shopping up food.

2. Spend a day biking around Reno collecting materials.

Coolers will be the cheapest foam coolers I can find, and I'll plan on buying ice every day on the Playa cuz cheap coolers won't hold cold. I'll have to jettison or gift the coolers when I am done, because they won't fit on the train. Not happy about planning to throw them away.

Buy a bunch of food, much of it frozen or canned. I will have very minimal means to heat stuff up, a very tiny camp stove.

Buy ice. If ice is stored in big ziplocks, it becomes drinking water instead of greywater. Could ice cut down on my need for water jugs?

Buy 2 5 gallon water jugs. these will have to be jettisoned/gifted at the end of the trip unless I decide to rely on icewater alone.

3. I haven't a clue how one brings enough shit on the bus to make decent shade given a small backpacking tent. Could buy a roll of reflective bubble wrap in Reno and wrap my tent with it. This would also have to be jettisonned at the end of the trip. Could depend on the kindness of strangers, bringing part of a shade structure (Good tarp?) and hoping to hook up with someone who has the rest of one (poles and stakes and so on). Or buy a bunch of rope and PVC and bring a tarp, figuring on jettisonning much of it at the end of the trip. I've seen the plans for galaxy tents and so on, looks like a lot of costly kit to throw away later.

Could all this shade stuff plus a week's camping gear possibly fit in one big suitcase?

Swamp coolers and so on are probably out of the question - power isn't available and 2 gallons of water per day in addition to what I drink sounds pretty daunting. Will I be miserable in the heat without one?

I'm liking the idea of showing up on Amtrak with the most baggage they allow (it is pretty cheap for me to get there that way) but not liking the idea of having to dump a lot of purchased stuff at the end of the trip, if I can't give it away it has to go in the trash. Costly and not sustainable. Besides, I'll need all that kit in 2016!

Any suggestions for a better plan that still uses the bus?
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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Elderberry » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:09 am

If you want to make your work a bit easier and have such things as shade, ability to shower,someone that will help to pack in your water, etc. you might want to consider joining a theme camp. They range from simple to luxurious, with cost and participation requirements varying from free to pricey.

The only thing I don't like about your plan is the styrofoam coolers.They break apart too easily and become moop.
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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Drawingablank » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:08 am

I agree, foam coolers are a complete waste and often a moop disaster. Even a cheap plastic cooler is preferable.
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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Jackass » Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:34 pm

A well packed plastic ice chest also ships well(UPS,USPS,FedEx)to your destination, or can be stuffed and count as "luggage". Many people go this route.

Styrofoam is crap, and would probably not survive the bus trip (think stacking). Much less use on the playa.
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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by spacetime » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:04 pm

I am a first timer and currently solving the problem of minimalist but comfortable solo camping via Burner Express for 2014.

I can't do the 4 suitcase option from SF, so I'm limited to 2 'large' suitcases.

Water is a top priority for my pack. I am in agreement that two strapped together 5 gallons is one suitcase. I'm planning to strap two of these together, as basically all other large containers seem to spring leaks. (Those soft ones with the handles seem treacherous) So far, I can't think of a more practical and compact way to bring enough water that fulfills the requirements of BE.

Shade is the next big thing. I originally wanted to do a Galaxy Hut, but found this was too complicated for me at this late stage and possibly adds unnecessary challenge to a solo camp. (It has parts that are 10' long) I've been focusing on a Noah's Tarp, and am happy with the setup and size / weight of that setup so far. (We'll see what happens out there though). I have been posting my progress on shade for solo camping on Burner Express.

I'm working my way toward Food. I'm planning that I will need to bring enough food for the week that does not require cooling. I won't rely on it, but I am hoping for a gift here or there as a cooked item.

At this point I don't think I'll have a personal cooler and ice right now, but if I can, I'm hoping I can find a way to get someone to bring in a cooler. If I can get someone to bring in a cooler, and there is room in my large suitcase, I'll use a soft cooler for the ride in on the bus, then hopefully quickly move that to the cooler filled with ice bought at center.

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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Invention1 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:26 am

OK, Styrofoam coolers are out! One of the coolers I have is a collapsible softsided cooler, but still sturdy enough not to moopify in a week. Perhaps a couplea of these would fill the bill, and I could take them home on the train. The idea of using a huge cooler (with wheels!) as a suitcase on the train never occurred to me. Brilliant! I gots me one of those already.

Collapsible plastic water containers are crap! I bought one the other day, and it sprung a leak as soon as I hung it up in camp. Fortunately this was a cushy camp with a spigot 100 yards away. If I'd been at BRC I'da been screwed. 5 gallon plastic jerry cans of water, or gallon jugs (how the hell does one carry ten one-gallon jugs on the bus? Juggle them, obviously.) are the way to go apparently.

I didn't realize I could join a Theme camp. That might be a good option. How does one go about that?

Or teaming up with someone else going solo. How does one locate other bus-riders who might be interested in pooling resources?

I could borrow equipment. I know maybe two people in California well enough to borrow camping gear from them, there's another creative option. Maybe they have coolers and water jugs to borrow! Shit they are prolly 500 miles from Reno.

Team up with someone already going? I know one guy who goes to Burning Man every year, but he's a ceegar-smoking jerk, not fun to be around when he's puffing out pollution and bullshit. No camping with his clan. My wife thinks I am nuts and wants nothing to do with the enterprise, so my veteran camping partner isn't coming along. Which leaves me at the mercy of whatever camp companions I runs across.

As you may realize, I think it is as fun to PLAN a trip as to go on it. Different kind of fun, obviously, with a lot less dancing and Electroluminescent wire, but fun nonetheless.
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She was a lowdown pooper scooper
She had the roughest, toughest wail
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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Invention1 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:34 am

Jackass wrote:A well packed plastic ice chest also ships well(UPS,USPS,FedEx)to your destination, or can be stuffed and count as "luggage". Many people go this route.

Styrofoam is crap, and would probably not survive the bus trip (think stacking). Much less use on the playa.
Right. No Styromoop.

Hmm - $90 to ship a cooler with 50 LBS of shit in it via UPS to a destination in Reno (Presumably I'm laying over in a hotel to buy food). It's an option, not particularly cheap.

It it sometimes possible to ship things via the train one is riding. Haven't looked into this.
This is the story of Minnie the Mooper
She was a lowdown pooper scooper
She had the roughest, toughest wail
But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale

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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by bluemiragemi » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:13 am

I may have missed it because that was a lot of text, but, where are you travelling from? Are there local burners you can connect with? Maybe a truck is going out that you can pay to help ship your stuff? Or, a burner friend you can ask to bring your water? There are a million and one ways to plan your burn.

This is my first year and I'm coming in from Michigan. I'm blessed to have connected with great people and a very small (13 person) theme camp. Camp members are bringing extra water for me (YAAAAAY!) and I'm shipping most of my gear via the Videogasm bus from Detroit out of Philly. Flying Detroit to Reno, Burner Express from Reno to the playa. Once on the playa, I'm borrowing a wagon and some bikes and wonderful, kind, sweet muscles to get the gear from Videogasm to Pretty Pickle Camp.

Most of my food is shelf stable. I'm hauling some fruit and vegetables in my suitcase on the airplane. I have a sweet little butane burner stove and one pot I'm using to heat up meals and/or cook. Hope that helps, let me know if you have specific questions. :idea:
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Re: Burning Man Express for First timers?

Post by Invention1 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:15 pm

bluemiragemi wrote:I may have missed it because that was a lot of text, but, where are you travelling from? Are there local burners you can connect with? Maybe a truck is going out that you can pay to help ship your stuff? Or, a burner friend you can ask to bring your water? There are a million and one ways to plan your burn.

This is my first year and I'm coming in from Michigan. I'm blessed to have connected with great people and a very small (13 person) theme camp. Camp members are bringing extra water for me (YAAAAAY!) and I'm shipping most of my gear via the Videogasm bus from Detroit out of Philly. Flying Detroit to Reno, Burner Express from Reno to the playa. Once on the playa, I'm borrowing a wagon and some bikes and wonderful, kind, sweet muscles to get the gear from Videogasm to Pretty Pickle Camp.

Most of my food is shelf stable. I'm hauling some fruit and vegetables in my suitcase on the airplane. I have a sweet little butane burner stove and one pot I'm using to heat up meals and/or cook. Hope that helps, let me know if you have specific questions. :idea:

This is sounding like a good plan. I am planning to go in 2015, so sometime next summer I'll be looking up rides for my stuff.
This is the story of Minnie the Mooper
She was a lowdown pooper scooper
She had the roughest, toughest wail
But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale

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