Theme camps or Solo?

Theme camps and villages are the interactive core of Burning Man. This is the place to announce and discuss camp and village plans for Burning Man 2018.
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JMS
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Theme camps or Solo?

Post by JMS » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:43 pm

Hi,

Virgin burner from India coming to BRC for my first burn.
I want to participate and contribute as much as I can but i also want to experience BM to the maximum..
Do you recommend being part of a camp or coming solo and camping on my own?
Also, please consider that ill be flying in from India and wont have a lot of options to carry a lot of stuff myself...

If i am part of a camp and volunteer within the camp a lot..how much time would i still be left with to go see other camps at day or night..?

See you in the dust

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Papa Bear
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by Papa Bear » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:11 pm

Unless you have found a camp that really resonates with you as something you want to spend a lot of time doing, I would recommend going solo. The amount of time you need to spend helping out with camp activities varies widely from camp to camp, but it's always a commitment.

If you're going to be putting in that effort instead of being off doing other things, it's best to make sure what you are doing is a labor of love rather than a chore. Even if it's a labor of love, that can be an issue in and of itself - I rarely ventured outside my camp my first two years because I loved what I was doing. I had to go camp separately the third year just to break myself out of that.

Also, even if you join a camp, you will still need to bring everything you need to survive yourself. That includes food, water, shelter, etcetera. A camp may offer some of that, but the smart thing to do is treat anything you get from a camp as a luxury that supplements what you've brought yourself.

For example, let's say the camp has a meal plan. That's fine, until whoever is organizing food screws up and doesn't plan enough for everyone, until refrigeration fails and some of the food spoils, or until you just happen to not get back to camp in time for the group meal. At times like that, you'll need to have your own food to fall back on. Once in a while, there are even "camps" that rake in fees from members and turn out to be almost entirely fraudulent - it's rare, but does happen.

One other thing - you don't need to be part of a placed theme camp to participate and contribute. There are all sorts of formal volunteer roles you can take on (such as lamplighters), but you can also just wander down the street and see who looks like they could use a hand. That's also a great way to meet people.

Taking part in another camp's activities is also participation as well. For example, if you go into "What would you do for a pickle" camp, spin the wheel, and act out whatever role comes up, you're participating. If you just wander in and laugh at other people who are doing those things, you're spectating.

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Canoe
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by Canoe » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:19 pm

Exactly what Papa Bear said.

Perhaps said another way. Go solo and you can go with your own flow. You're not on anyone's schedule. You can volunteer with a camp - or contribute whatever - right on the spot, for ten minutes, a few hours or pull shifts for the rest of the Burn. Don't try to do the Maximum. Can't be done. Just head out and explore. Enjoy the moment, without worrying if you're missing anything.
Google eplaya (eplaya search sucks) about how to solo camp. As in, what's needed. It doesn't have to be expensive; it doesn't have to be complicated; can even be minimalist.

Although you may want a bit more than a cot, a sleeping bag and a tarp to wrap up in.

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trilobyte
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by trilobyte » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:02 am

You're welcome to either camp solo or with a group - there is no one single right or wrong way to burn. How much time you would need to contribute to camp-related activities depends entirely on the camp and their expectations (every camp is different). However, if your only interest in joining a camp is to take advantage of amenities, my advice is to not join a camp at all. Participating in a theme camp should be its own amazing, wacky, and weird experience that can involve working with strangers, building art, and serving the community.. and a person who comes into the group but is not interested in participating in the group's activities is often a source of camp drama (theme camps often love helping participants coming from great distance, but hate being treated like a hotel or hostel).

If you might be interested in a more participatory experience, then I'd recommend checking the listings here and on the partial list of theme camps and villages that was published recently. If one of the camps or villages sounds like something you want to be a part of, I recommend reaching out to them and finding out more information (including what kind of expectations the camp may have).

Good luck!

JMS
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by JMS » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:45 pm

Thanks..great read...thats really helpful... Im thinking im just going to get a tent in a theme camp.. im traveling alone anyways...so i guess tent it is then.. any recommendations for which one? not a very expensive one as I cant store it anywhere and cant carry it back to India with me either...would it be possible to sell it after? and Walmart or REI would have enough tents and options im guessing...even if i get in just a couple of days before the Burn...If i get a larger one (which says that it sleeps 4/8 people) just for myself, would it be rude to set it up in a camp which might already have limited space or do the camps have enough space?
Do you recommend being part of a big camp in a village or a smaller camp? Does it leave enough time to wander about and explore? And im not sure how Im going to get all my stuff to my camp / tent... from Reno and then from the gate entrance...Thanks

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gaminwench
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by gaminwench » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:54 pm

Look into Burner Express Bus.

You should be completely self-reliant, don't rely on strangers to provide you with anything you need to survive on the playa.

You can't just show up and 'join' a camp at the event.
BXB riders make a camp at the playa Depot called Hoverlandia.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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PocoJoe
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by PocoJoe » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:16 pm

Do you have any experience camping? Will you be renting a car? Will you be driving like you are still in India?

Get the survival guide and read it, then make a shopping list of the items that you cannot bring with you from India and that you will need to get in the US. You are going to need to have food, water, a tent, and a sleeping bag regardless of where you go. Cooking is optional in the sense that you can choose to not cook, but you cannot choose to not eat! There are lots of ready made foods that can be eaten at playa temperature that do not require a stove to prepare, an entire range of options open up if you are willing to boil water.

You will also want a bicycle.

Not much of this stuff fits under the seat in front of you or in the overhead space.

I see a spreadsheet in your future.

Have a great burn!

Joe
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73 de PocoJoe KI7WV

JMS
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by JMS » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:56 am

gaminwench wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:54 pm
Look into Burner Express Bus.

You should be completely self-reliant, don't rely on strangers to provide you with anything you need to survive on the playa.

You can't just show up and 'join' a camp at the event.
BXB riders make a camp at the playa Depot called Hoverlandia.
Thanks...but isnt finding the camp that is a right fit for you also being self reliant...rather than letting the camp find you...and "Communal Effort" is also one of the principles..
And coming from overseas and for the first time...its going to be a tough challenge...but i hope to be as self reliant as possible... :)

JMS
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by JMS » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:57 am

PocoJoe wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:16 pm
Do you have any experience camping? Will you be renting a car? Will you be driving like you are still in India?

Get the survival guide and read it, then make a shopping list of the items that you cannot bring with you from India and that you will need to get in the US. You are going to need to have food, water, a tent, and a sleeping bag regardless of where you go. Cooking is optional in the sense that you can choose to not cook, but you cannot choose to not eat! There are lots of ready made foods that can be eaten at playa temperature that do not require a stove to prepare, an entire range of options open up if you are willing to boil water.

You will also want a bicycle.

Not much of this stuff fits under the seat in front of you or in the overhead space.

I see a spreadsheet in your future.

Have a great burn!

Joe
Thanks..youre absolutely right...ive read the survival guide twice and it seems like a tough week...but i couldnt be more excited...and the spreadsheet was started about a month back itself... :)

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gaminwench
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by gaminwench » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:44 pm

JMS wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:56 am
gaminwench wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:54 pm
Look into Burner Express Bus.

You should be completely self-reliant, don't rely on strangers to provide you with anything you need to survive on the playa.

You can't just show up and 'join' a camp at the event.
BXB riders make a camp at the playa Depot called Hoverlandia.
Thanks...but isnt finding the camp that is a right fit for you also being self reliant...rather than letting the camp find you...and "Communal Effort" is also one of the principles..
And coming from overseas and for the first time...its going to be a tough challenge...but i hope to be as self reliant as possible... :)
No camp is going to 'find you'.
Our international population is awesome; it *has* been done, successfully, many times over.
One doesn't *need* to find a camp, many people camp solo, and it is suggested by veterans that this is the best way to do one's first burn.
Participating in a Theme Camp often requires that one do shifts during the week to support the camp contribution, build and/or strike, pay dues, and deal with camp culture (drama). First-timers may be best served by acclimating to the culture, being self-reliant, chasing squirrels, and volunteering in-the-moment as they can.

Hoverlandia is a camp for BXB folks, not a theme camp, so no requirements other than self-reliance.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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AddamsonFlint
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Re: Theme camps or Solo?

Post by AddamsonFlint » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:53 pm

Hey, I'm in Ohio and just put up a post about my camp, the Flint Fix-It Fort. Hit me back if any of it interests you.

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