Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

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spacetime
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Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:14 am

Hello everyone!

I'm from Portland, Oregon but relocated to the bay area this past year.

I wanted to attend last year and had ticket in hand but my life wasn't cooperating. I couldn't make the time and energy to do even basic preparation.

That's changing this year. I'm planning to solo camp my first Burning Man.

My decision is coming this late because I wasn't sure if my life could reasonably allow it to happen. But now we're here and it can.

I don't have a camp to fall into, and after looking around and reading these boards it sounds like solo camping might be a better fit for someone like me.

I'm putting together my gear and plans now. It feels late, but I have a lot of what's required already and like a challenge.

I've done a lot of outdoor hiking and camping, led camps at music festivals and attended Rainbow Gathering. I realize Burning Man is a unique happening but I am still hopeful that this combination of experiences will be useful.

From reading these forums, I can tell there is a special feeling around the balance of veteran burners and virgins. Importantly virgins need to be self-sufficient. So, I hope I can do this right.

My goal is to get past survival and logistics so I can handle fun details like personal lighting, gifting and other good ways to participate on my first time on the playa.

So, hello.

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Elorrum
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Elorrum » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:14 am

Hello back. Sounds like you know the drill. Add shade, water, gray water containment, trash holding, big wind possibility. Solo can be great. You will likely find your neighbors are the perfect people you would have planned to camp with if you could have planned it.
"Ask again later." - Magic 8-Ball

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by lucky420 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:39 am

Hola spacetime!

You've got plenty of time to prepare and be ready, plus you live relatively close...

Come to the Eplaya meet & greet at Barbie death camp 6:30 & e. Or come by dye with dignity 6:30 & g and say hello.
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Aurelia » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:24 am

Hello Spacetime

You sound exactly like someone who will enjoy this life experience and greatly appreciate the nuances learned

And if you get to a point where you are ready to check in; come to ALC camp and find me..6:15 and D

xoA.

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Elderberry » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:46 am

Hey there, welcome to eplaya!
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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:40 am

:D Thanks for all the welcomes and invites. I am still working on timeline related stuff for prep. But I will also start keeping a list of meetups and things to do once I'm there. Look forward to meeting you all! :D

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by trilobyte » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:11 am

Hello and sounds like fun! If you haven't already done the required reading, check the first timer's guide and survival guide linked in my signature below, and browse around the boards to check out other stuff related to your prep. There's plenty of info in the various preparation sub-categories, and if you don't see your question covered...post a thread and ask :)

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by mdmf007 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:36 am

Awesome - some of my favorite years have been solo.
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Lonesomebri » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:33 am

One of the coolest things about camping by yourself at the Burn, you don't.

As for gifting, you can always gift a positive presence, participate in the dream of others, provide a cold drink to someone thirsty, lend a hand where needed...
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by AfricanFire » Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:03 pm

Welcome! And for the record, personal lighting IS survival.

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Savannah
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Savannah » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:20 pm

AfricanFire wrote:Welcome! And for the record, personal lighting IS survival.
Took the words right out of my mouth. :) Personal lighting is not optional.

Spacetime--Bring a string or two of battery operated Christmas lights or a headlamp (to wear around your neck [when in a crowd] so you don't blind people). A blinkie on your back is nice too. Don't get run over. :)

Welcome!
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by dragonpilot » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:46 pm

You're gonna be fine! The tentage, food, water etc are mostly no brainers. There is ice to be bought so keeping things cool isn't a big issue...and the Center Camp Cafe has a wonderful selection of espresso-based drinks, teas, lemonade, chai for purchase (only things that can be purchased at BRC), not to mention a huge big top-like canopy for getting out of the sun, plus places to lounge.

I find setting up a sturdy shade structure can be intimidating given the strong winds that can pop up unexpectedly. Lots of folks do it, but it has to be solid. The inside of your tent will be hot enough to bake a cake at midday. If you're lucky, you might set up camp next to someone who has a substantial shade structure in place. Get to know them...bring cookies!
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:54 am

Thanks for all the replies and tips.

I''ve decided to do the entire burn, arriving late Sunday via Burner Express. I want to see the build up.

My plan is to camp around 6 and g in the section for bus folk. Seems like a good spot for the wandering. Is that too close to the action?

This weekend I focused on a gear inventory and planning to acquire what is missing, specifically a solid playa bike.

The bike
I realize you can go with a beater, but I wanted something cool I could use locally instead of my mountain bike and potentially in future burns. So I found a guy who restores bikes up in Marin.

I don't have a car right now so I put a rideshare request on Craigslist and ended up meeting another burner who picked up the bike in her car with me and then took me to a show in Fairfax she was headed to. I got my bike back to SF around 2am sunday and just before dropping me off at the bus stop she invited me to her camp! So, while I still plan to solo camp, I had a great, serendipitous night already just preparing for Burning Man!

The bike is a totally fixed up 1938 Colson step through. Not to flashy and has some great character.

Image

I am looking at taking it to this bike decorating party on the 7th to meet more burners, get it lit up and also ship it via playa bike repair rather than burner express, so I don't have to deal with it with my two large packages on arrival / departure.

Thanks for all the feedback! Here's some responses:

@savannah and african fire: Thanks for highlighting this important point. I saw this thread on personal lighting and am going to take it seriously. Any other suggestions on prior discussion on lighting to look at?

@dragonpilot: I am currently considering whether it would be worth trying to build a monkey hut before the event and then find a way to get that moved to and from the playa. I don't think I could fit the gear with my stuff on burner express. I think it would make sleeping a lot easier, and perhaps be an inviting thing for neighbors. But it is fairly close to the shade at center. I may make a thread specific to this question.

Anyone: I found out I have a friend coming in Thursday who can re-supply me in food and water. Is that a reasonable plan to reduce the amount I must bring in on day 1? Or is it better to plan to bring in 100% of my food / water providing for the full 7 days regardless?

Thank you to everyone for the feedback for the welcome and invites I'm going to try and reach out individually and make a little list of places to visit!

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Lonesomebri » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:24 am

What a great asset to the Burn. And you never mentioned "home", "bucket list",or "gift to the community". If you wear pants and aren't a DJ, you are gold by me. It's really cool to see someone who puts in the time to make it happen for themselves, instead of having visions. Kick ass and have a great Burn, and how could you not?
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Savannah » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:33 pm

Sweet bike! 1938, how marvelous. Make sure you lock it up when you park, either the wheel to the frame (usually enough) or to something solid (less common, but sometimes available). Bike lights are good, too. If you use a distinctive color or pattern of light, it'll be easier to find it in the dozens or hundreds of other bikes during the night. A rave can end up with hundreds of bikes parked in front of it. I heard someone here say she puts a lit flag on hers; I thought that was a fun idea.

Having a friend re-supply you with food and water is a decent gamble if the friend is reliable. There are friends of mine I would trust to do that, although I wouldn't depend on just anyone. I would have slightly more water than you think you'll need, just in case, and make sure they know the exact address of the bus camp and what color and shape of your tent and shade, and what the make and model of your car are (etc). That way if you're not in, they can leave your stuff for you. You should also get their camp address from them, and maybe have a backup plan ("If we don't connect on Thursday, meet me at high noon the next day in front of Lamplighters in Center Camp"--or whatever). Last year I met a man who had relied on a friend to meet up for a food drop, but they had not figured out the logistics very well and hadn't met yet! I gave him some of mine. :)

Playa Info will also let you register your locations, if for some reason your friend doesn't know where they're going to be. List your location to the nearest 5 minutes on the clock, plus the side of the street, etc.
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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:38 pm

Savannah wrote:Sweet bike! 1938, how marvelous. Make sure you lock it up when you park, either the wheel to the frame (usually enough) or to something solid (less common, but sometimes available). Bike lights are good, too. If you use a distinctive color or pattern of light, it'll be easier to find it in the dozens or hundreds of other bikes during the night. A rave can end up with hundreds of bikes parked in front of it. I heard someone here say she puts a lit flag on hers; I thought that was a fun idea.
Thank you! I got my spare, repair patches and tool. I'm think going to get a mini u-lock to immobilize the bike. I like that idea of a flag! I may look at mounting something and rigging it up. I have to get that done in a few days if I'm going to send it off on the 7th!
Having a friend re-supply you with food and water is a decent gamble if the friend is reliable. There are friends of mine I would trust to do that, although I wouldn't depend on just anyone. I would have slightly more water...
Thanks for this feedback and the tips on registering my location and having a backup plan. I think that's a great idea and I will do it!

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by xstaticgibbo » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:58 pm

Hey! I spontaneously booked a ticket 2 days ago and will be quitting my job and flying over from London solo! Already I know it's the best decision! I'm also looking at the burner express, do you know how it works with lugging all your stuff (mainly the water).. do they make a Wal-Mart stop along the way or do we have to be totally prepared when we're collected?

Thank you and enjoy!

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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:01 pm

xstaticgibbo wrote:Hey! I spontaneously booked a ticket 2 days ago and will be quitting my job and flying over from London solo! Already I know it's the best decision! I'm also looking at the burner express, do you know how it works with lugging all your stuff (mainly the water).. do they make a Wal-Mart stop along the way or do we have to be totally prepared when we're collected?

Thank you and enjoy!
Awesome! I am by no means an expert, however I believe some of the Burner Express rides from Reno do make a stop. Check in on the faq here.

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by xstaticgibbo » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:52 am

Thankyou I didn't see the FAQ section before I posted!

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Gunslinger » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:13 pm

Anyone: I found out I have a friend coming in Thursday who can re-supply me in food and water. Is that a reasonable plan to reduce the amount I must bring in on day 1? Or is it better to plan to bring in 100% of my food / water providing for the full 7 days regardless? >>

I've found that unless you're camping at the same camp, meeting up with friends - even those who say they're reliable is at best 50-50. Things just happen in the black hole out there that turn ordinary reliable people into flakes or fools, not their fault really, it's just the nature of things. I find if you pack simple things like a Costco package of sub rolls, and two packs of their deli meats you can make it last the whole week. This is minimalist camping, but you can survive on it. Figure 2 subs a day for a single gent. You'll undoubtedly come across plenty of folks who are willing /wanting to give you food, extra grub etc simply because. I've overpacked food every time I've ever gone and end up gifting more than I ate... it happens. Water is a bit more of a concern. Without factoring in shower water, on truly minimalist burns I drank about a gallon a day of my own water. Yeah I should drink more but I'm a camel. I'll probably die of kidneystones or something. And showering was about another gallon per day of water.

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by dragonpilot » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:26 pm

I dunno...best laid playa plans frequently go south...that's why we practice radical self-reliance. That area around 6:00 & G is a huge block of real estate and by Thursday 2,000+ people could be camping there with 500 tents, 300 RVs and 62.5 hexayurts...oh, and 150 shade structures...give or take. What I'm saying here is that late in the week you're going to be a hard target to find unless your link-up plan is rock-solid.

I think most of us with playa experience would recommend bringing in everything you need on day 1...it ain't gonna be easy, but that's part of the deal when we sign up to attend this event. If it was like everything else in life, well, hell, we'd just stay home.
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:51 am

dragonpilot wrote:I dunno...best laid playa plans frequently go south...that's why we practice radical self-reliance. That area around 6:00 & G is a huge block of real estate and by Thursday 2,000+ people could be camping there with 500 tents, 300 RVs and 62.5 hexayurts...oh, and 150 shade structures...give or take. What I'm saying here is that late in the week you're going to be a hard target to find unless your link-up plan is rock-solid.

I think most of us with playa experience would recommend bringing in everything you need on day 1...it ain't gonna be easy, but that's part of the deal when we sign up to attend this event. If it was like everything else in life, well, hell, we'd just stay home.
Sound advice. I will plan to have everything I need.

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by talianaomi » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:13 pm

Hello! I'm new also and my cousin and I are thinking of coming via the Burner Express. We're nervous about transporting all that water though. How are you going to pull it off? Bringing it all on the bus somehow?

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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:59 pm

talianaomi wrote:Hello! I'm new also and my cousin and I are thinking of coming via the Burner Express. We're nervous about transporting all that water though. How are you going to pull it off? Bringing it all on the bus somehow?
Hey, It does seem a bit dicey transporting this much water. We've been talking about this issue some in this thread. Have a look.

I'm planning to strap two of these together as one large 'suitcase.'

Are you leaving from SF? If shade is also a concern you may want to check out this thread too.

st

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by snapnap » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:02 pm

Hi, I am virgin burn as well! In a similar situation. Let me know if you would like to chat! :) [email protected]

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by NikkiG » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:09 pm

You should Bring =>1 gallon to drink and wash with each day. The rest can be bought as ice. Anyway, it's true, you don't eat much during Burning Man. I typically ate breakfast which consisted of oatmeal, tea and a sports drink; lunch was a light snack like apple sauce and dinner consisted of a premade meal from the grocery store. I brought back half of the food I came with. I'm making burritos, quesadillas and hot sandwiches in my solar oven this year. Good food is a priority for me this year. I don't think I can eat another premade meal.....sigh.
Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. - Mark Twain

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by snapnap » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:23 am

I am in the same situation as well. Created a group for communications between folks of the same:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1443952289226498/

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spacetime
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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by spacetime » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:31 pm

NikkiG wrote:You should Bring =>1 gallon to drink and wash with each day. The rest can be bought as ice. Anyway, it's true, you don't eat much during Burning Man. I typically ate breakfast which consisted of oatmeal, tea and a sports drink; lunch was a light snack like apple sauce and dinner consisted of a premade meal from the grocery store. I brought back half of the food I came with. I'm making burritos, quesadillas and hot sandwiches in my solar oven this year. Good food is a priority for me this year. I don't think I can eat another premade meal.....sigh.
Water is sorted out now for me, but food--this is the last thing I'm working on this week. I've been basically worrying about camp stuff, water, some gifty / participatory type prep. But I've been saving food for this week. I'm probably going to be doing instant oatmeal type stuff for breakfast and other shelf-stable foods.

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by lucky420 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:06 pm

spacetime wrote:
NikkiG wrote:You should Bring =>1 gallon to drink and wash with each day. The rest can be bought as ice. Anyway, it's true, you don't eat much during Burning Man. I typically ate breakfast which consisted of oatmeal, tea and a sports drink; lunch was a light snack like apple sauce and dinner consisted of a premade meal from the grocery store. I brought back half of the food I came with. I'm making burritos, quesadillas and hot sandwiches in my solar oven this year. Good food is a priority for me this year. I don't think I can eat another premade meal.....sigh.
Water is sorted out now for me, but food--this is the last thing I'm working on this week. I've been basically worrying about camp stuff, water, some gifty / participatory type prep. But I've been saving food for this week. I'm probably going to be doing instant oatmeal type stuff for breakfast and other shelf-stable foods.
To me food is the worst part of planning for BM. From the planning, list making, shopping and the handing over all that cash! I really don't enjoy cooking. When I have the munchies I imagine whipping up fantastic meals when I'm not so hungry I think "meh, I'll just pack soup and jerky". I always fall somewhere in the middle...
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Hello, I'm new. (Solo camping my first Burning Man)

Post by Aurelia » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:43 pm

nuts , a big bag of cashews

xoA.

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