Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby trilobyte » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:49 pm

I have the unfortunate task of announcing that the long-running RV Camper's Survival Guide... is no more. The helpful guide that had been linked to in the original post, and referenced in dozens of responses to the discussion, have unfortunately gone away and the site replaced with generic adverts.

So I'm starting this new thread, and like the old RV survival guide I'm making this one a stickythread so it's pinned to the top of the board. So many of our users (newbie and veteran alike) have been successfully bringing RV's (both owned and rented) to the playa for years, please share some of your favorite tips and tricks with the rest of us so that newbies can not only have better experiences but take better care of the equipment that they bring out to the playa.

One request, please post your tips and tricks in the body of your post, and do not cross-post to guides on other sites. I'd hate to find ourselves in a similar predicament down the road, if we keep the content on this site it will be of longer term benefit to our community. Thanks!

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby silversqurl » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:58 pm

Argh! I'll be bringing my 77 Airstream for her virgin burn this year. Would love to hear some good advice since we've never camped in an RV at BRC.
We're trying out the new solar system this trip too. We built brackets for the 4 x 100 watt panels that we have and plan on making some type of 'playa staples' to hold them into the playa.
Anyone have any advice to share on this??

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Skuzzy61 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:06 pm

Glad I got to digest the original RV survivor guide before it met its fate in the bit bucket! It was very helpful!
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Jackass » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:08 pm

Start all of your practicing and trying right now! Don't wait another minute. Make sure all of the things work and know how to use them.
Don't go off half-cocked...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Skuzzy61 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:31 pm

Jackass wrote:Start all of your practicing and trying right now! Don't wait another minute. Make sure all of the things work and know how to use them.
Don't go off half-cocked...


Well, we do not pick up the RV until Thursday of next week and roll out on Friday. I have downloaded and printed the owner's manual and will make sure everything is working when we pick it up.

The Wife will get familiar with the things as I clean and poly seal the exterior and treat the rubber seals. If we have time, we will cut the Reflectix for all the windows before we leave.

We have all our bins packed and inventory listed. RV should load up pretty quickly. I have mapped where everything goes as we went and took pictures and measurements a few weeks ago.

I am sure we will miss something, but right now, we are feeling pretty good about it all.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Jackass » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:55 pm

That reply wasn't necessarily aimed at you Skuzzy, but pretty much applies to everyone's gear and infrastructure. For Burning Man or just camping in general, RV or tent, bought, borrowed or stolen. It's just solid advise...

Everyone can set up their monkeyhuts or tents in record time in the backyard or park, but setting up and fixing stuff in BRC can feel like having a bag of concrete on your back and a heat lamp aimed at your head. It's surprisingly taxing...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby EGAZ » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:07 pm

Having been camping since child hood. From tents, to truck cappers, slide-in campers, Class B, Class A, MHs & Toy Haulers.

Space is limited even in the largest of RVs. Get into the habit of putting things away when done using them. Every time! If you can follow this one rule, your RVing life will be much more relaxed. That is, if you don't normally live in a home decorated in modern hoarder. :wink:

Put together a notebook of all the equipment in and on the RV. Owners manuals, notes, how too's. I even have wiring diagrams of the rig. Anything that may help when something quits working goes into the three ring binder.

Almost forgot this one. RVs are not cars!! They are heavier, wider, more top heavy. The take a wider arch to make a corner so swing wide, especially with a trailer. Don't mash the gas when starting off, slow and easy is the key. Same for braking, plan your stops much further ahead of time. Again slow and easy is key. Driving an RV like a car will only burn more gas & brake pads.
Last edited by EGAZ on Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Eric » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:08 pm

The big one: DON'T EVER BELIEVE AN RV CAN SLEEP THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE ADVERTISED
Think about it: the RV has to hold 10 days worth of stuff for every person in it, plus some of the beds are "kid" sized. A "5 person" RV is basically 3-4 adults if some are couples, or super comfortable, otherwise it's 2-3 people (1-2 on the back bed, 1-2 in the over-the-cab bed, 1 on the convertible table-bed that is too small for most adults). We house 3 in a "5 person", when we used a "7 person" we housed 4.

Use blue painters tape to hold up your Reflectix: it will come off easily at the end of the event, and the heat won't cause it to leave tape residue

Don't bother trying to cut your Reflectix to the exact size of the window(s), just make sure it's a little larger. Then tape it up. We also leave it off the window over the table - if we're eating inside we still want to see what's going on outside.

If you're in a rental RV, don't expect it to have silverware/ knives/ etc. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Bring what you know you need (honestly - I bring 1 knive, 1 spoon, 1 fork, all just for me, and just sponge them off with detergent after I use them. No mess, no fuss)

If you're going to use the oven or stove, do it at night, in the cool of the morning or right after sunset. You don't want that heat going during the day. That's when the microwave is your friend (I only bring microwave or non-cooking food, YMMV)

Bring your own pillows/ sheets/ blankets (blankets!!!! - it could be a balmy 60° at night, but it could drop to the low 30s). Cover the bed(s) with a crap fitted sheet from a thrift store, then put your better fitted sheet over that - it will help keep dust off the mattress)
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Skuzzy61 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:11 pm

Being somewhat acclimated to 100F+ temps (had a steady string of 103-104F days, so far) with a lot higher humidity, I think what is going to hurt the most is the thinner air. Higher altitudes will take their toll and quickly.

All you can do is be patient and take your time. Understanding you are not going to be able to just do what you do as fast as you do it, at sea level is key. Then again,...I am driving this thread off the road. oops.

What Eric said! And jackass said! And,..and....crikey!
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Jackass » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:18 pm

Thinner air and the lower humidity, you may not feel it at first but you start drying out as soon as you get there.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Eric » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:26 pm

Jackass wrote:Thinner air and the lower humidity, you may not feel it at first but you start drying out as soon as you get there.

I start upping my coconut water/ electrolyte intake once we hit 447. It helps me with acclimating. And to keep the thread on topic(ish), I do it while sitting in the RV as we drive up... :lol:
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:31 pm

This RV is new to you?

Have the belts and hoses checked.

Change ALL the fluids.

Above all, check the tires for cracking on the sidewalls.

RVs tend to sit around a lot and those tires may not make the trip!!!
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Skuzzy61 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:36 pm

If I may suggest. Pack a couple of heater and radiator hose repair kits for the RV.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Doctor VonBacon » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:13 pm

Pay for a good RV roadside assistance plan. (AAA, Good Sam or whatever)
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby captvic » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:01 pm

My camp has detailed advice for taking an RV to Burning Man. On our camp blog address -https://chaoscamp.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/bringing-an-rv-or-van-to-burning-man/

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby jcliff » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:58 pm

I made the leap 5 years ago to purchase an old rig strictly for Burning Man. I live in Illinois, Brenda (my '71 Sportscoach) is cared for in Reno year-round by a trusted Burner (my RV Daddy) who dry-docks RV's for Burners on his property just north of Reno. Although she was a money-suck in her early years with me, Brenda has leveled out as a beautiful part of my Burning Man life. Although I don't have any workable plumbing in her, or air conditioning, or any accouterments that most people look for in an RV, it is nice to sleep in a bed and have some space to stow away my stuff. As a flyer to the Burn every year, the biggest benefit I get from owning an RV is leaving my stuff in it so I can minimize what I travel with. Beyond that, it's great to offer a couple living spots to my Lamplighter family each year.

If you are interested in purchasing an older rig for Burning Man, you can get one for a reasonable cost, especially at this time of year (November). I purchased mine for $1900 in 2012.....and she was running at that time. My best advice is to take your purchase cost and double it.....the doubled figure will be what you have to pay additionally over the next 2 or 3 years to fix all of the issues that you didn't know about at the time of purchase. If the tires are worn at purchase time, add another $750. Look for rot in the ceiling and the floor. Any water stains are a red flag for bigger issues later. Look for cracks in the outside panels. Any old RV needs to be run/driven every month to keep the carburetor cleaned out. The money I pay to my RV Daddy pays for that.

Get a trusted mechanic that will take the time needed to keep your old rig on the road! You'll need a tool kit and a collection of hoses that are specific to your rig so repairs can be done in transit or on playa. You would be amazed at how many Burners are equipped to help you if you have the needed tools/supplies. Your trusted mechanic can help you build a tool/supply kit. The beauty of old rigs is that they are normally auto mechanics 101, no computers to gum up the problem. Get your rig into your mechanic for a Pre-Burn check-up every year!

You'll need a fire extinguisher. And the BEST advice I can offer....purchase Good Sam RV Roadside assistance and make sure you renew your policy every year. In 5 years my Brenda has been towed 4 times (3 in the early years, 1 in 2015 on the way home because of a shot starter). In 2015 she was towed from Pyramid Lake to Reno at no cost to me. That easily would have cost me $1500.

I feel very proud that I'm able to give my old rig a second life as a Burner RV.

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:12 pm

No plumbing? No A/C? No shower, no toilet, no sink, I'm guessing no electricity. You've basically got a box truck and should have bought one, they're more durable. Why have an RV with virtually none of the comforts?

If you're capable of using a tool kit and emergency supplies like radiator hoses, you should be capable of making the sink work. It's just a little 12 volt diaphragm pump and some plastic pipe.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby jcliff » Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:23 am

The holding tanks are broken. Something must have hit them. I looked into replacing them but I was told that the tanks have to be custom made and would be very expensive.

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:50 pm

There's so many junk old RVs, if I had a busted tank I'd just get one from another rotted rig.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby NoAngel » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:18 pm

Here's what I've learned after 11 burns and owning 2 RV's and several boats:

Test it and use it otherwise expect it to not work when you get on playa.

Fix it if it doesn't work. If you can't do it pay someone else to fix it. If you can't do either then sell your RV and buy a tent. I can't tell you how many of my friends own an expensive rolling aluminum tent that costs them a fortune to own and store and almost nothing works. What's the point in having a toilet, AC, or a refrigerator if it doesn't work? You might as well save your money and buy a nice tent. I own a 1972 Airstream Sovereign and everything in it works. Is that because it's an Airstream? Nope! It's because I test it out before I hit the playa, something always fails, and I fix it.

As someone already noted, rubber is your real enemy with a motor-home. That includes all the hoses, fan belts, gas lines, and tires. If you own an old motor-home have them changed out and keep up on maintenance. I own a 1979 American Clipper that I keep around to take to local parties. I get a kick out of wrenching on it but I'd never try to baby it up 80 to the playa much less across the country. Old fuel is another enemy. Especially now that ethanol is a frequent additive. If you're going to store your motor-home for more than a couple months at a time use a fuel/ ethanol stabilizer. Otherwise expect to need the services of my next bit of advice.

Good Sam / CSAA Premium (Platinum) Towing. Guess what it costs to tow a RV from Gerlach to the Bay Area? Around $1400 if you can manage to get it off the dirt. Otherwise add another $650.00. A good towing service costs around $100 / year. Do the math...

You're almost always better off with a travel trailer than a motor-home if you have the means to tow it (Truck, Small SUV, Etc). A Travel trailer has all the goodies of a motor-home without the thousand failure points of an overworked drive train (Engine, Cooling, Fuel, Transmission, Differential, Suspension, Brakes, Etc). A TT costs far less and the running gear is cheep and easy to work on.

RV parts are crap. Boat parts are not. If you have choice between using a component made for RV service or one made for marine service buy the more expensive marine equivalent. RV's are designed to sell. Boats are designed to keep you alive and well on a piece of the planet that you don't have the physical abilty to survive on without help. Somewhat like the playa...

Bring back-ups of the basic items that make the RV work: Water pump, Power converter, LPG lines, Refrigerator board (s), Sewer fittings, Water fittings, Electrical wire, Tank patch, etc, etc, & etc. I've used them all on playa or have been able to save someone's day by having them available.

When I decided I wanted to go the BM in 06 I found a very useful website run by a guy named Phred that had dry camped for over 20 years. He generously shared his experienced. He passed away but several other thoughtful people have archived his writings. http://manmrk.net/tutorials/RV/phred/phredex.html
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby dragonpilot » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:29 pm

I've got my own RV House Rulz and Survival Guide that I happily share with anyone that asks. PM me. Edited over a 12 year period.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby EGAZ » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:50 pm

Google doc it.... :mrgreen:
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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If you are another Solo Burner & very 'Radically Self Reliant' - Maybe we can 'Do What We Do!' :P

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Rusted Iron » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:13 pm

We have a nice little travel trailer, 20 feet with everything but an onboard generator. We use everything in it, with a portable Honda EU... except the toilet. We got used to trekking to the portas and using a midnight bucket. I've seen too many neighbors desperate for a pump out. The smell carries throughout the RV.

Frozen chunks of bannna peels and commercial RV toilet solution helps though.

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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Eric » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:00 pm

dragonpilot wrote:I've got my own RV House Rulz and Survival Guide that I happily share with anyone that asks. PM me. Edited over a 12 year period.


eldergeekaz wrote:Google doc it.... :mrgreen:


^what he said!
Being able to just post a link & say "here's my knowledge" is one of the great things about this group. You don't have to put it in your sig-line, but a solid "all in one place" RV Survival Guide would be a marvelous thing.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby some seeing eye » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:00 pm

Is the original guide and thread available by the Archive Org Internet Wayback Machine? My search did not find. Highly doubtful the original topic and guide would become outdated.
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby EGAZ » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:55 pm

My short list of rules are the following. Realize it has never been more than four people, and the RMC is much smaller than most RVs, but I grew up camping in all types & size RVs. The rules stay the same.

1. Put shit away! When you are done using something, put is back where it was. RVs are small and they become cluttered very quickly. If you don't, I will and you will not like how I pack your stuff. Wet, dry, dirty, clean, it all goes into your bags.

2. At night, turn off the lights, genny running or no. Batts get drained and by learning to do this 'all the time' it saves not having batt power when you need/want it.

3. Don't let the water run. I never camp with full hookups. Its always dry, LNT camping. Water is a valuable thing so don't waste it. And it goes into the grey tank which causes another issue. Don't cause yourself more problems.

4. When grabbing something out of the cooler(s) or fridgy, ask if anyone else needs something. Open it once, grab yours and others items, close it. Don't linger deciding what flavor soda you want.

5. When you wake up in the morning, get dressed and make up the bunk. Many RVs have combo bunk/sofa/dinette units. Just like your stuff, when done sleeping, switch it back to a sitting area.

That's pretty much it. Packing depends on where you are going, doing, etc. so it changes from trip to trip.


....commercial RV toilet solution helps...

This is key! I have a 6 gal Sears port-o-potty in the RMC. It's very old (no longer made, parts difficult to find anymore) and I had to replace the seals in it a couple of years ago. But when cleaned, properly stored, & RV chems used, its pretty much odor free. Other than my odors while in use...... :roll: At the burn I pee in the 'blue boxes', poo in the port-o-potty.

RV black water tanks do need a full cleaning every once in awhile. There are wands one can use to fish down in the tank to spray everything down inside. There are also chems to add, fill the black tank. drive around town with lots of stops and turns to 'slosh' the contents. Neither is perfect but it does help. :coffee:
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Karinahularina » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:39 pm

Hi all,

I scoured many of these forums before we hired our RV and wanted to reflect on my own experiences and provide tips for others who may be as anally retentive and over-organized as me (I posted this in the original RV forum which is now defunct). It was my third burn but my first in an RV and despite the hellish logistics I would definitely hire one again. Hopefully it will be easier second time round. This post is mostly geared at international burners who have limited time and resources and so there won’t be any mention of swamp coolers and hexayurts.

The booking process:
Like everyone says – do this early, AKA by December the year before. Every week you leave it the price goes up. Every RV in California will be rented for BM so don’t worry if you’re only stuck with Cruise America to chose from. It ultimately comes down to bad luck if yours breaks down or the generator stops working. Don’t delay – just book now. Also, understand that there’s really only about 4 major companies that rent RV’s. Road Bear is actually Star Drive, Motouris is also known as Pure RV, Apollo is also known as Star RV etc.

You might find it easier to use a ‘broker’ like ideamerge.com who has access to multiple RV companies and their real-time availability and they might have customer service staff in your country that you can speak to on the phone.

Important to note: whether using a broker or the RV Company directly – understand that filing in the online form to check RV availability for your dates means nothing. They might say they have a 5 person RV left at $3500 but they actually don’t have it in stock or it’s actually $4700. Availability online does not reflect actual availability - you need to speak/email a real person to confirm there are some left and at what price.

Understand how your RV works before you pick it up:
Watch this video http://bit.ly/YC87H0 (there are probably others for the other companies). You don’t need to know most of the stuff about rigging things up to camp sites – you won’t be doing that.

And thanks to Michael for compiling this helpful guide – print and bring with you. [url]http://titanradiator.com/rv/Burning_Man_camping.pdf
[/url]
In summary – there are two separate batteries; one for the engine and one for ‘everything else’ i.e. to run the fridge, the lights inside, the water pump etc. Therefore the fridge stays on and cold the whole time as it runs off the accessories battery (and uses the propane gas tank as fuel, not the main gas tank). A panel next to the door indicates the levels:
of gas you have left to run the fridge (you will pick it up with a full tank and this will last the whole week easy)
of grey water filled up from sinks and shower
of black water levels filled up from toilets
of fresh water left on board (don’t use for drinking. Washing dishes and self is fine)
of battery power left for the generator. The generator runs off the main gas tank and uses about a gallon an hour. This powers your air con. The generator also powers the ‘accessories’ battery. It generally wont let you turn it on if your fuel tank is less than a quarter as it saves fuel so you can get home. (We bought a bottle of 30 weight generator oil out of over-preparation anxiety but never used it).

Picking up your RV
When we booked ours the pickup location was listed as SF but it was actually Fremont, about 50 mins away. We caught the BART to Fremont station from Downtown/Union Square then a cab. I initially imagined there might be about 20 or so RV’s and if we got there early we would get the best pick. Not so. These RV pickup depots are huge with about 400 vehicles in them and your RV is already assigned. Expect to spend at least 2-4 hours here waiting to get your paperwork then your vehicle. They will be super busy on burn pickup days so don’t expect much attention or a guided tour of how to use the RV. They just handed over our keys and were like ‘have a good time’.


Gas
Get it at Wadsworth. Fill up as it’s the closest reliable place to BRC (closer than Reno) and you never know how much gas you will use in ingress/exodus or with your generator on playa. It cost about $200 to fill ours up.


If hiring an RV from San Fran don’t leave it to Reno to get your supplies
There are Wal-Mart’s, hardware and grocery stores all over the i-80 that wont be overcrowded and will still have a full supply of sleeping bags, baby wipes, vinegar and shade options – use them. We ended up buying all our food from a 24 hour Savemart off the highway and it was blissfully peaceful and took 30 mins. Similarly a hardware store that wasn’t in Reno was happy to cut some metal poles to size for a fellow camper’s shade structure.


Cleaning supplies
We bought a broom, dust pan and broom, vinegar, spay bottle, carpet matt, a bunch of cleaning cloths, paper towel, gardening gloves and latex gloves, all of which came in handy. A sink plug and dishwashing liquid will be added next time.

Driving the RV
We had three people – one to drive, one to navigate and one to nap and this worked well. I preferred driving exodus as no lane changing was required and it’s pretty straightforward. I managed with highways ok as there are wide shoulders and big lanes, albeit I did have sweaty palms. Everything is fine if you have someone in the passenger seat for moral support and navigation. Don’t let this put you off hiring one – you will be fine. Even on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.

Hints and tips: staying dust free and cool
This is the part that makes hiring an RV all worth it. With a bit of minimal effort our RV was clean, cool and dust free the whole time. We easily slept till 11.30am when needed and could nap even without the air con on. I have to admit that having the RV did make me a little less social this year as I would have spent more time in communal shade structure otherwise. But as much as I’d love to bring excess tents, shades structures, fu*k tents, and make hexayurts, this is not realistic for international travellers who are limited to one suitcase and whatever they can buy in Reno that they are prepared to throw out or gift afterwards.

Silver bubble wrap on windows with gaffer tape is a must
We bought a big roll and a small roll from Lowes I think it was. Cut it to size for each window. Tape over the whole window with painters/gaffer/blue tape. Yes its expensive but it works and doesn’t leave sticky reside like duct tape does. If you cover the whole outside window including the seams no dust gets in, really. Even in dust storms. Also cover the inside two air vents/windows above the beds, from the inside. You can probably do all this in the line while waiting to arrive at the gate – leaving the windscreen till last obviously. We had to get on each others shoulders to reach the outside top windows – fun! I imagine ladders would also work but be less hilarious for on lookers. This worked sooo well. It was like being in a 5 star hotel compared to previous years camping. Dust free, cool and clean.

Cover seats and dash with old sheets
I brought a bunch of old sheets sheets for home and they worked a treat. Over the drivers and passengers seat, dashboard, over the beds and over the table seats and lounge chair. The RV was so easy to keep clean this way. You could probably also buy these at a good will/charity store but being an international burners it was easier just to stuff them in my suitcase.

Close dashboard vents and tape up
Self explanatory.

Ban shoes
Use a bucket/tub at the door for shoes. Never allow shoes in on anyone. Have a piece of carpet/mat at the top step so people can sit down to take off their shoes. Our RV stayed sooo clean just by doing this.


Emptying the grey and black water while on playa AKA getting an RV service
We were lucky we were part of a theme-camp that prearranged and paid for this to happen on the Thursday and someone in our camp was allocated to arrange this. It went seamlessly and meant we weren’t worried at all about overflow. You can flag down the RV service trucks on playa and pay $50-75 cash if you want this service. It can be a pain to actually sit around and wait for them though and take up your valuable time. Pre arrange if you can. They also fill up fresh water I believe but that’s never really an issue as you will have your own drinking water in bottles – the main issue when hiring an RV is that grey and black water fill up too fast…

How to avoid grey and black water filling up too fast
There are more elaborate threads on this but essentially:
Don’t have too many people in the RV. We had 3 in a 5 person, worked well.
Don’t poop, only wee in the toilet
Don’t shower, or just use a spray bottle amount
Don’t leave any water running e.g. washing dishes (buy and bring a sink plug)
Use water sparingly
Turn the water pump off when not in use.

Problem solving: dead accessories battery/generator
We had a problem in that when we picked ours up from the rental company the accessories battery was flat i.e. the engine worked and we could drive around but we couldn’t turn on the fridge, air con, lights, water pump, levels indicator, generator. Of course there were no others to switch it with as it was burner central pick up time so we were stuck with this sucker. It was a shitty battery and got worse over the week but we kept temporarily bringing it back to life by starting the engine while parked, revving the accelerator to give the generator enough gas to switch it on at the panel till it kicked in (requires one person in the drivers seat and another at the panel) and then leaving the generator on for at least 20 mins to an hour so that would charge the accessories battery enough for the water pump, lights, fridge etc. to work. Such a pain in the arse to do this at 3am when everything started beeping ‘I’m flat’ but hey it’s all part of the radical self reliance fun. We were just unlucky to get this RV. Therefore our fridge worked ‘sometimes’ and the air con worked when we could be bothered going through this process. Keep the water pump switched to off when not in use.

Problem solving: leaking black/grey water
Our RV didn’t come with a ‘cap/cover’ for the grey water hose underneath. We found this out the hard way when we realised grey/black water was leaking straight onto playa (yes we mooped it out, yes it was gross). Make sure your grey/black water valves are ‘closed’ before you start using any water on board (find them underneath the RV and push them in to close) and keep a funnel and large bottle underneath any valves while parked on playa just in case.

Cleaning the RV
We had read forums about how this could take 6 hours and costs $200-$500 bucks. It took 2-3 of us 90 mins and cost, wait for it, $15. We took it to a self-service car wash in Reno where you pay for the time used for the hose and vacuum. It took 20 mins to clean the outside with a high-pressure hose (and was ridiculously fun) that had lots of different detergent/pressure options, including an engine clean and shammy air dry. Don’t forget to do the undercarriage. The inside we wiped down with cloths, vinegar-water and then vacuumed everything including curtains. Because we used the outside silver bubble wrap and no shoes rule, there was hardly any dust in it anyway. Also the rental companies aren’t super fussy about the level of cleanliness, they just want it to be clean enough to hire to someone else i.e. no layer of gross dust. When we returned ours they said of the 200 returned that day most were pretty clean and only about 6 people returned there’s completely dirty/filthy so they were overall happy with burners.

Getting rid of trash and everything else
Wholefoods in Reno had a depot set up this year collect to not just trash but all recycleables, old bikes, non-perishable food, our sheets and pillows and sleeping bags, kitchen stuff etc. We just donated them $20 to take literally everything off our hands, most of which was going to local charities. Everyone wins.

Hope this is helpful to someone!

User avatar
burner von braun
Posts: 1339
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:37 pm
Burning Since: 2010

Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby burner von braun » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:35 am

Thanks for the nicely organized information Karinahularina, and welcome to eplaya!

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Ratty
Posts: 5250
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:43 pm
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Tiger Man

Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Ratty » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:37 am

Karina,
Getting rid of trash and everything else
Wholefoods in Reno had a depot set up this year collect to not just trash but all recycleables, old bikes, non-perishable food, our sheets and pillows and sleeping bags, kitchen stuff etc. We just donated them $20 to take literally everything off our hands, most of which was going to local charities. Everyone wins.


This is great info for all those foreign travelers that can't figure out what to do with dusty camping gear. Thanks.
Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote
I a recovering swagaholic I have to resist my grabby nature VultureChow
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah
We're out there to play like adults with no adult supervision CaptG

Eddaytona
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:17 am
Burning Since: 2012
Camp Name: Black Hole Literary Society

Re: Tips and Tricks for RV's at Burning Man

Postby Eddaytona » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:56 pm

What the others said but here are a few of our rules and tips.
1. No pooping in the RV
2. Water and grey water are complimentary concerns. Grey water tank capacity will be your biggest problem. We turn on the water pump until it pressurizes the system and find we can use that dose for many of our needs. At the same time we minimize water into the grey water tank in case we don't get a pump out.
3. Buy a few dozen rags at Homer's depot. Great for cleaning and dusting. We have a cooler with ice solely for canned drinks. Dip a clean rag in the ice water for a refreshing " chorus girl" bath rather than a shower every afternoon.
4. If you only pee in the toilet, at the end of the week you will have lots of room in the black water tank. You can capture grey water from above and pour it down the toilet if your grey water tank gets critical.
5. I pack a large cooler just in case the fridge goes out. Alternatively, I have it ready in case I have to get rid of some grey water in an emergency.
6. A bucket and a sponge is also a way to clean off without using up your water and grey water tank. We have to buy ice a couple of times to keep the canned drinks cool so you will have extra water from that. Drain your cooler into the bucket in the morning and put in the shower enclosure. In the afternoon it will be kinda warm for a sponge bath.
7. Surrender to the dust.
One day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny.


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