Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

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Thibault
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Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Thibault » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:24 am

Hey guys !

I am a French birgin who's going to attend BM '14 and I have a few thoughts and question to share with you.
First things first, let's put things in context, I live in New York and have a limited budget. I am willing to start buying gear every weeks or so so I don't have to spend everything at once of course.

So here is my issue, I really don't know if I should start a camp, so far it is just my wife, a friend and I.
I want to, several ideas came to me, and if it is not a camp, it could just be a project, or food. But I live in fucking New York, and bringing all the required gear is going to be a pain in the ass, and expensive, and the more ambitious, the more gear is needed...
Also, coming from that far,I might not be able to bring enough to create an awesome camp, and I am pretty sure there are a lot of awesome camps from what I read.
So sometimes I ask myself "is it really worth it ? Am I really going to make a difference ? Maybe I should just come with my tent and help other people out ?
Is there any burners from New York, or anywhere on the east coast who could give me a couple of advices ? How big is your camp ? How did you bring your art, MV, structure... From the other side of the country ? How expensive was it ?

Also, I am pretty good at self reliance, don't get me wrong. When I camp, I think of everything and don't need anyone's help. And if I miss anything, I just deal with it.
We won't need an RV, couldn't afford it anyway, but I am considering getting a small generator, or solar panel, but these things can get pricey and here comes my second question:
Can I expect to borrow electricity from a neighbor ? Or maybe the use of their oven if they have an RV ?

Basically, here is my issue. We are supposed to be completely self reliant at BM, but for some people it makes little sense to invest on gear that I might not use before the next year, and since I am a birgin, what I am buying now might not be adapted to what I will plan for '15.
Is it selfish to bring batteries and charger and expect to charge it with someone else's generator ? Is it bad to rely on people's help to achieve your goal ?

The money I can save by using someone else's resources could be spent on other things the community could enjoy...

I know my post is a little bit confusing ( must be my frenchness ), sorry about that !

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts with me !

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Simon of the Playa
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Simon of the Playa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:33 am

CONDAMNÉ !!!



( dooooooooooooooooooooomed !!! )
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by H.G.Crosby » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:34 am

page deux...
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Roberto Dobbisano » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:36 am

"10 principles? you cant HANDLE the 10 principles..."

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:54 am

There is a shipping container from New York every year you can buy space in, but you need to get in on that early.
It's not necessarily "selfish" to borrow power from a neighbor, but it's very bad planning. The likelihood that you have someone right next to you with power to spare, if at all, isn't that great.
Solar just for burning man is a well proven waste. Lots of expense for hardly any power. Solar only makes sense for full time use or for people interested in it on a hobby basis.

My advice: don't worry about putting up a theme camp your first year. Just go!
You'll have a ball and you'll come home knowing exactly what you want to do next time, what works and what doesn't, what's important and what's not, etc.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by VultureChow » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:05 am

Welcome to Eplaya.

I too am an East Coast burner. There is already a ton of information here on the forums and on the Burning Man website itself to help you get started.

If you take one thing away from this topic, it should be this: Never think that you have to bring a big project or an awesome theme camp to contribute to Burning Man. Or if your are going to make a difference. The only things you need to bring are what you need to survive and a good attitude. Your first year, especially, all you need to focus on is a) not dying and b)not leaving a mess. Your reactions the first year are your gift to veterans.

If you want to do more, you can join an established camp of village and help out. You can help build something in NYC off-Playa. NYC usually builds a CORE effigy. That might be a good introduction for you into the community, and a way to be a part of building something awesome.

You are correct that the logistics for us East Coasters are more complicated. My personal advice would be to try and make some connections with the Burner community in NYC and eventually join up with an established camp or village. Life is much more luxurious for less money (depending on the dues) when you are not shipping everything out or buying everything in Reno.

But you can definitely live perfectly nicely on your own. Plenty of people do it.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by trilobyte » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:17 am

I'm moving this over to the Preparation -> Q&A board, since that's a better fit for general preparation questions.

Hooray and welcome and all that. While you may think of yourself as a soon-to-be French Burner, you are also a soon-to-be New York Burner. As in, you live in NY, and will be coming from there. Now, take a deep breath and get over it. You're coming from New York. Yes, that's further than Reno, San Francisco, and LA, but get over it. There are people who come to the event (and bring shitloads of art) from Europe, Russia, Asia, and Africa. It's just logistics - it might seem like an awful lot, but you've got this. There's plenty of time to sort things out.

Do start connecting with the NYC area burners. Even if you don't join a theme camp, look up some of the bigger New York camps (Disorient and Kostume Kult come to mind, though there are others), since they organize various parties and events throughout the year in the area. That makes for a great opportunity to meet and connect with other like-minded people. Not only can you make some great friends, but they face the same challenges you do.

To join a camp or not join a camp, that's a common question. If you haven't already done the required reading (First timer's guide and survival guide, linked from the main burningman.com page), go do that. Next, read a couple of the threads at the top of the Theme Camps board (namely, the how to join/start a theme camp threads). That info applies whether you're doing art or something with a theme or not - LOTS of Burning Man participants camp either solo or with friends without having a particular theme or bunches of infrastructure. You've still got plenty of time to do some reading and figure out what you want to do.

It's also worth pointing out that the minimum requirement is pretty much just survival. You don't need to build or bring big art, lots of costumes, an elaborate camp, or any of that. Just get there.

Be as self reliant as you're able, given your situation of time, location, and resources. There will always be someone out there on the internet to look down their nose at what you're doing and talk about how they did it with more self reliance, or with fewer resources, or better, or whatever... it's YOUR burn. Besides, unless you're walking to the event, carrying only supplies that you grew or made yourself, all our notions of self-reliance are really just varying degrees of compromise.

Good luck!

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Thibault » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:28 pm

Thanks for your advices !

I should have mentioned I did my share of reading regarding camps, electricity etcetera... and the New York community doesn't seem very active as of now, I expect thing to change once the theme is released. :-)

Thanks for giving the name of some camp from New York, burning man's website doesn't make if easy to find a camp by where it is from.

I was aware of the container coming from New York, but they cants guarantee it will be at BRC on time, which is a deal breaker for me. I still wonder how the other camps are doing, maybe they own a truck or something.

As for cooking I might use the generosity of Big O-ven if they are there this year.

I was of course not asking if I should create/ join a camp, I noticed and read the threads talking about it.

So I guess I will have too be on the "over prepared" side and bring my own, QUIET, generator or join a camp if I need the electricity. It's all up to me now to figure out if I really need it or not... The eternal need/convenience choice...

But I think smaller is better for a first timer like me. It should be cheaper, I will have more time to help out other people and will focus on nice gifts to share with the community.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by BBadger » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:12 pm

It's Burning Man. You don't need to keep up with the Joneses. There are a million other cool things around that are more important to other people than what you didn't bring or do.

Just pack your shit into a car, set up a camp somewhere, don't be a burden on everyone else (but don't be afraid to ask if you really do need help), and clean up your messes. That's all we ask.

Not gifts.

Not costumes.

Not art projects.

You can bring all the above if you want, but they're not requirements.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:42 pm

I'll take slight issue with calling it "over prepared" to bring your own power. That is not being over prepared. It's simply being prepared.
It's been said that a good rule is to arrive as if no one else were going to show up.
Now, burners are usually really nice and cool. I have run power cords to neighbors and let people cook on my grill etc... if you see my boat (pictured in my avatar) be sure to yell for Captain Goddammit and I'll tour you all over the place - people are going to help out randomly. But you shouldn't be counting on anything in particular from anyone. There's a HUGE difference between graciously accepting random gifts and depending on them.

It sounds like you're getting your shit together and are gonna do fine! You're gonna love it!
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Ratty » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:23 pm

Welcome, One of the camps mentioned is active all year. Kostume Kult. They are a reason to move to NY! They have parties, parades, fundraisers and all in costume all year through. Go to their website. Get on their email list. There will be a huge Santa parade coming soon. They have an enormous burner community. I'm jealous just thinking about it.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Thibault » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:13 am

@captain : Wait, your boat... Is it a MV ?! Do you just ride it or do you also sleep in it ?

By over prepared I mean bringing gear I won't need. Like if I plan correctly the amount of battery I'm gonna need, I shouldn't need the generator. And if I run out of power it's not the end of the world. But you are right and better safe than sorry so I'll invest in a Honda eu1000 before BM. :-)

@ratty Thx for the tip ! Their website seems down at the moment but I'll make sure to check it out later. I look forward attending the santacon !

@BBadger maybe the best advice of all ! It removes some "pressure" , thx ! I guess I'll just gather my gear, find the car and not make it more complicated than it should be. I'll bring a couple of gift anyway, at least some duck confit to share with the neighbors :-)

Thx all !

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Simon of the Playa » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:22 am

remember, due to the large influx of Foreigners last year, this year, Burning Man LLC will be putting a Cap on the number of frenchies, russians, germans and Brits.

Australians are already WAY over their allotment, and may be purchasing "auslander" tickets, at a higher price, available through the website to offset the clean up from their prolific vomiting.

i believe the number of French Men allowed on the playa is being held to 50, as that is even way too many, but alas, even their money is green or pink or blue or something.

Bon Chance! and remember, that Number ALSO includes Quebecois Men, so if i were you, i would try to pass as an american with a speech impediment.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Thibault » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:33 am

Sacrebleu !

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Simon of the Playa » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:35 am

Zut Alors!
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by AntiM » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:42 am

Small batteries for cameras and such do well with a small solar charger. Just have extra batteries, one set to use while the other is charging. We do have a larger set up, but rarely use it.

We're on the same tank of propane for our fancy stove/oven for a few years now. Before that we used a little butane cookstove, they're under $20. You won't eat three hot meals a day anyway.

Have fun!

We had a French newbie stay with us a couple years ago, nice kid, pitched in with ice and camp chores, brought us booze from France. Glad we got one in under the quota! :lol:

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:47 am

Thibault wrote: I'll invest in a Honda eu1000 before BM. :-)
I own two of those… if you count the one I can't find and don't even care to look for. DON'T DO IT!!
The 1000 is worthless for so may things. The EU2000 is superior BY FAR!
Read this thread: http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... 78&t=67943

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Drawingablank » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:54 pm

Welcome to Eplaya.

I didn't see an actual reason why you felt you needed a generator. I have never used one or plugged into one. Most folks don't use one for their personal camp although they are handy for larger public / theme camps. It's really just a matter of planning to not need house current unless you have some type of medical device that requires it.

My camp lighting is solar path lights. Everything else runs off alkaline batteries. For rechargable stuff like Ipods just bring an adapter that will plug into your vehicle's lighter socket.

Transportation wise I have driven to the burn (the drive home is unbearable), but now I fly.

The NY container is cost effective, but a hassle. It is loaded in New Jersey. Once on the playa you will have to collect your stuff and hump it to your camp then bring all it back before departure. Finally you have to make another trip to NJ to retreive it.

I personally find it much easier and about the same cost to UPS it to my hotel in Reno (when you figure gas, tolls, and time for 2 trips to New Jersey).

As mentioned above NY does have a large burner community - between Disorient and Kostume Kult there is something happening almost every weekend. Additionally there is a weekly get together / happy hour every Wednesday - usally at a bar in Greenwich Village.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by LowePro » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:17 pm

How much power do you think you need? My 2cents, for a group of 4, you don't need a generator and solar is getting cheaper by the minute, you can get a 50 - 100 watt panel kit for less than $250 and it will probably be even cheaper in 6 months.That should be enough to give you plenty for some lighting, stereo, charge batteries, and any other basic electronic gadgets (but what do you really need? Not much for a group of 4). 1 propane camp stove for 4 people is enough cooking apparatus. The big thing to transport would be bikes. If you have a big SUV or van with a bike rack, I but all 4 of you could go in a single vehicle. Just pack light and keep it simple. Or if you split up and caravan in 2 cars for 4 people, that's more than enough room.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Savannah » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:27 pm

Everything I bring is battery-powered, butane-powered, or can be plugged into an inverter in a car. No gennie!

One day I might get really ritzy and buy a camping stove, but I dunno . . . it comes dangerously close to creating work for me. :D
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by VultureChow » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:19 pm

For the record, you can't ship a generator that's been used in the NYC containers.

Also, add my support to the no generator list. AA batteries are mad powerful for camp lighting, and I manage to bake on a propane stove with one of these: http://www.coleman.com/product/5010D700T

It literally just sits on a burner and folds to the size of a baking dish. Cinnamon rolls in the early morning are delicious, and even lovelier to gift.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Ratty » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:14 pm

Savannah, Nobody cooks less than me. I don't cook or shop at home. It's all the 'Other half'. At the burn I have a $20 butane stove available at any asian mkt. Water, instant coffee, soup, the occasional noodle if I'm starving. 3 cylinders cost about $7.50 and last well through the event.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Drawingablank » Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:10 pm

Ratty wrote:Savannah, Nobody cooks less than me. I don't cook or shop at home. It's all the 'Other half'. At the burn I have a $20 butane stove available at any asian mkt. Water, instant coffee, soup, the occasional noodle if I'm starving. 3 cylinders cost about $7.50 and last well through the event.
OMD,I can't even imagine being so extravigant! I don't even bring a heating device. All food in my camp is heated on the dashboard of the vehicle (translation : eaten cold out of the can).
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Thibault » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Thanks for your great advices !

In another thread, someone mentioned the power champion generator ( 2000w for $400-600 on eBay) which looks like a good alternative to the much pricier honda ones. But you guys are right, AA batteries could go a long way, propane stove as well. I guess I might just invest in some rechargeable batteries.
Do you think a solar panel could recharge AA batteries within a single day ?

I definitely won't use the shipping container, too much trouble for me, but the UPS idea is great.

What I need to figure out is my way of transportation to BM: train, bus, car, plane....
Flying is convenient but kinda expensive if I still have to rent a car once on the west coast. I'll see if I could share a ride from Reno/SF when we get closer to the event.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:08 pm

There's a bus that you can use as well. Burner Express, I believe. Be careful, there's another bus service that won't be allowed in. Maybe they won't try next year, but you want to be sure.
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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by LowePro » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:36 pm

I don't know much about exact electronic specs, but something like this:


+ 12V deep cycle battery + inverter should be more than enough for your basic lights, daily gadgets and battery chargers. But if all you need is AA batteries, buy a big package of batteries and don't even worry about a solar system. LED lights last a long time on a single set of batteries (I usually break or lose the lights long before the batteries go dead).

You guys ought to figure out how many people you have, and what are your electronic NEEDS vs WANTS and then decide what power supply best fits your particular group. Luckily there's plenty of time to plan and daydream.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by phil » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:49 am

Thibault wrote:Hey guys ! I am a French
Nobody cares.
Thibault wrote: I really don't know if I should start a camp, so far it is just my wife, a friend and I.
That's a camp. There's no need to do more than show up with everything you're going to need.
Thibault wrote:But I live in fucking New York, and bringing all the required gear is going to be a pain in the ass, and expensive, and the more ambitious, the more gear is needed...
That's a serious issue. The answer is to compromise. See my following comments.
Thibault wrote:Also, coming from that far,I might not be able to bring enough to create an awesome camp, and I am pretty sure there are a lot of awesome camps from what I read.
Awesome is overrated. My recommendation for your first year, just show up and learn. Seriously, you have no clue. I'd camped for years before my first Burn, and I thought I knew how to camp. Well, did I have a lot to learn. Before you invest in a bunch of stuff you'll find you never need and never use, go and see what's going on.
Thibault wrote:So sometimes I ask myself "is it really worth it ? Am I really going to make a difference ? Maybe I should just come with my tent and help other people out ?
Okay, yes it's really worth it; no, you're not going to make a difference; yes, just come with your tent and help other people out when you can.
Thibault wrote:Can I expect to borrow electricity from a neighbor ? Or maybe the use of their oven if they have an RV ?
No. No. You cannot expect that. It's likely that you could use someone's stuff once, but you become a pest if you come relying on the kindness of strangers for your needs.
Thibault wrote:Basically, here is my issue. We are supposed to be completely self reliant at BM, but for some people it makes little sense to invest on gear that I might not use before the next year, and since I am a birgin, what I am buying now might not be adapted to what I will plan for '15.
You've stated the problem correctly. It's a problem we all face and have answered in our own ways. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we expect big earthquakes. Most of the stuff we have for Burning Man will support us in the aftermath of the big one. We're also ham radio operators, and we volunteer to provide communications for various fund-raising events, so much of our Burning Man gear gets used during the year which keeps us in practice for the earthquake. So our gear usually provides triple duty: BM, earthquake survival, and volunteering.

It does make little sense to invest in stuff you'll use only once a year and have to store somewhere for 50 weeks. That's the compromise part. If you can find things you can use during the year or keep for emergencies (does New York ever have blackouts? I think I read somewhere it does), then those are the priority purchases for Burning Man.
Thibault wrote:Is it selfish to bring batteries and charger and expect to charge it with someone else's generator ? Is it bad to rely on people's help to achieve your goal ?
As I said, yes. My suggestion is to make friends with others who are going from your area and make some deals. If they'll agree now to let you use their stuff at the Burn, then you're not being a pest. Kindly provide something in return, even if it's in New York now instead of on the playa next year.

These are my thoughts; I have no authority and my thoughts are not worth the phosphors they're glowing on. Feel free to disagree.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by CaffeineGirl » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:03 am

Thibault wrote:
In another thread, someone mentioned the power champion generator ( 2000w for $400-600 on eBay) which looks like a good alternative to the much pricier honda ones..
If you do bring one of these, I guarantee you will get to know all of your neighbors real fast, and it will not be in a good way.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by Aurelia » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:08 am

laughing a lot and remembering a lot
phil says it the very best
DAblank the worst
and rechargeable batteries NO just regular Costco
remember it really is exactly as we are all saying
Your foray into self reliance vis a vie self expression
you will love whatever you do ..but if you want.. we do have space for you at our camp
xoA.

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Re: Bringing stuff from NYC and self reliance

Post by JayBobBoy » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:31 am

Awesome comments Phil! +1 :D
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