Easy ways to do Burning Man for indivduals and couples

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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phil
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Easy ways to do Burning Man for indivduals and couples

Postby phil » Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:00 pm

Okay, so all the big theme camps have stockholders, boards of directors, fund raisers, and high-powered lobbyists. There used to be a camp of individuals who got together online and planned a camp where they could help each other out, but I think they faded.

What I'd like to start is a thread of suggestions for individuals and couples who don't have time and money to set up a theme camp and who want a way to get in, get set up in a reasonable amount of time, and have a reasonably comfortable home base for Burning Man without having to have a fund raiser and contributions.

Louise and I have a list of shade structure articles at
http://www.cieux.com/bm/bmtoc.html#abodes
and I have reservations about many of them. Domes are not area-efficient and are a royal pain to set up. Yurts, parachutes, et als, don't provide as much actual shade as the surface area may indicate. My personal preference is a tarp or similar square shape on either a square (flat roof) or a-frame (peaked roof). My suggestion is to browse the abodes links and figure out your shade based on abilities and costs, then buy the fabric and connectors online, and buy your poles locally. Louise and I have used both electrical conduit and chain-link fence posts as our support for the tarps, and both work. Electrical conduit is smaller and lighter, and it cuts easily at home with a small pipe cutter (hack saws work, but pipe cutters are _so_ much easier and faster).

Louise and I have put up our shades at home to practice, then erected them on the playa in a few minutes (or much longer depending on the wind at the time). Flat roofs shed wind better, but if it rains, the don't drain. If you use a flat roof, make the legs higher than six fee, because the tarp droops in the middle. We prefer a peaked roof because they shed rain and don't droop in the middle.

There are carpet stores in our area, and we start trashpicking their remnants in the summer. We could get huge room-size carpets, but they are heavy, hard to pack, hard to roll back up, and a dirty mess after the Burn. Smaller pieces work better for us, as we can handle them efficiently individually (which gets us less dirty) and squeeze more smaller pieces into nooks and crannies than we can one big one.

Check our page at
http://www.cieux.com/bm/quickMeals.html
for quick meals, many of which are cook-free (you don't have to set up a camp stove, get out plates, etc.), many of which require only boiling water. Especially on your first day, you won't have to use time and energy preparing, cooking, and serving a meal. Louise and I also use them when meal-time falls during a high wind event, and our camp stove just doesn't cook. The don't-cook meals are more expensive, but they have a shelf life of years and can be used elsewhere when you need them.

Little things: we have an air matress with a battery powered blower. This is a real convenience for us, as we don't have to lay or sit there in the tent blowing into the air mattress. We set it up and continue doing things while the matress inflates. We set up the shade first and roll out the carpet, then put our stuff in the shade as we set up; we keep our water there and rest and drink as needed. On the first day, it can be a bear getting used to the playa again, so take it easy. If staying a week is too much, come Thursday evening. It's a two and a half hour drive from Reno to your camp; plan to arrive at 4:00 pm or so and set up in the cooling evening. (Sure all the good places will be gone; they were taken at 12:01 am Monday morning.)

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StevenGoodman
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Postby StevenGoodman » Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:30 pm

My recommendations, which are different from yours!

1) Go out and spend some bucks on a GOOD tent. Like a Springbar or other good canvas cabin style tents. Something with a lot of room, you can stand up in, and won't blow away on the playa.

2) Go to Sportsman's Guide, and buy some of the Swedish Snow Blind tarps; those white tarps with the holes that are all over Burning Man. (Yes, Sportsman's Guide has them again, they are cheap, and will probably sell out fast.) They are cheap, and the holes let them breath and flop in the wind.

3) Put one white tarp over your tent, it will help a lot.

4) Use another white tarp, a couple of 8' poles, guys lines, etc, and make a shade area off the front of your tent.

5) Get a good stove, and practice with it. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it needs to be reliable, easy to use and put out lots of heat. Plan easy food, but your easy and my easy will be different.

6) Bring a couple of folding chairs, having nowhere to sit is bad! Some kind of small table is good too, and some carpet. You will probably want one piece of carpet for the shade area, and one for in your tent.

7) For a few bucks more, get one of the good carports from Costco. Good, strong, pretty easy to deal with. They just a need some rebar to hold them down.

More later!
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Dork
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Postby Dork » Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:52 pm

Definitely get a Costco carport instead of a cheapie if you're going that route. Carports aren't particularly attractive, but if you aren't up for building something they work well. Monkey huts (PVC tunnels) and tensegrity shades are great alternatives to domes.

Use bungees to hold tarps along as many grommets as you can and keep them taut. Sagging tarps will catch the wind and begin flying around violently. If you can afford it, go for 90% shade cloth or aluminet. Tent shade is very important to me - it should go all the way to the ground to the East and extend out or down quite a way to the South to allow some sleep in the morning.

Your vehicle makes a great wind block and the wheels and roof rack are wonderful tie-down points for shades.

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AntiM
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Postby AntiM » Mon Dec 04, 2006 5:13 pm

Next year we should all take photos of our camp set ups and post them in one thread.
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phil
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Postby phil » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:42 pm

Me standing in front of our shade just after sunset:
Image

We have two side flaps, one on the southerly side which stays up pretty much all day and another that we move from the east to the west as the sun moves across. With two flaps, we keep from enclosing the space and making it into an oven. Our shade roof is completely opaque - no infrared (which are the hot rays) nor UV (which provides the burn).

Our tent is behind that white flap, which comes up at night. In the morning we open out tent and crawl out under the shade onto our ground cloth.

Also check this link out:
http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm
It has a ton of ways to set up a tarp to provide shade, shelter, and showers (well, a bath, but that didn't alliterate).

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Postby AntiM » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:34 pm

Image

This is the set up at Singularity. For Burning Man we've gone to both carports down on their sides, under that's tents and storage and kitchen, and we've switched from snow camo to camo netting doubled up for the center shade area. We have to use extra support for the netting or all the tall people get tangled in it. As you can see, side or end walls on a carport are optional.
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Postby Tiahaar » Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:14 pm

Image
Great camp photos! Here's mine, Camp Palomino, showing how a tarp can be attached to a vehicle on one side (bus in this case but panel truck/tall van would work well too), and run over a ridgepole for a shelter that is very strong and wind resistant. Tiedowns are bungees, tarp is heavy catering tent weight. It just begs for a mural on the side though...hmmm....
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Postby nogganoodle » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:56 am

StevenGoodman wrote:
Go to Sportsman's Guide, and buy some of the Swedish Snow Blind tarps; those white tarps with the holes that are all over Burning Man. (Yes, Sportsman's Guide has them again, they are cheap, and will probably sell out fast.) They are cheap, and the holes let them breath and flop in the wind.



How heavy are these tarps. Would they be light enough to put in a suitcase for air travel? The only thing that I regret from last year was having no shade over my tent. I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!
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Postby unjonharley » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:09 am

nogganoodle wrote:
StevenGoodman wrote:
Go to Sportsman's Guide, and buy some of the Swedish Snow Blind tarps; those white tarps with the holes that are all over Burning Man. (Yes, Sportsman's Guide has them again, they are cheap, and will probably sell out fast.) They are cheap, and the holes let them breath and flop in the wind.



How heavy are these tarps. Would they be light enough to put in a suitcase for air travel? The only thing that I regret from last year was having no shade over my tent. I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!



/
I had a 12X12 nylon picnic cover w/poles that would fit into a small sack. LOaned it=mistake.

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Postby unjonharley » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:18 am

This thread is right down my ally. Been saying for a long time "Less camp = more fun". Learned last year: Don't need rebar for shelter. I used plastic sand stakes. THe wind kick the shelters ass but the staks stayed put. This will cut 40 plus pounds off the load. oh! and a plastic hammer.

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Postby pinemom » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:27 am

Oh this is a mighty fine thread...I like it...we also did the "work your fanny off on first day", which this yr. was a plus as it wasnt that hot on Saturday mid-day!

We errected 1 lg star tent, 1 carport, 1 ez up...then everyone went to their personal space and set up their personal shade structure.
I beleive the plan this yr is a common shade area...so with lots of peeps setting up main shade, it should go quik
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Postby unjonharley » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:43 am

Droping "stuff" and weight is my goal this year. I'm taking a couple ajustable wenchs and the triple A card. This will save another 40 plus pounds. Now if I could drop 25 pounds off this fat ass of mine......

For a kitchen, it will be my climbing stuff. Food will be 12 to 15 pounds. I already know how to cook this way but will practice a little.

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Postby phil » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:56 am

unjonharley wrote: I'm taking a couple ajustable wenchs and the triple A card. This will save another 40 plus pounds.

Yeah, adjustable wenches are a big weight saver, and they're soooo Burning Man. :->

unjonharley wrote:I used plastic sand stakes. THe wind kick the shelters ass but the staks stayed put.

Where did you get them and how did you use them? The sand stakes I'm seeing say they're to be buried under a foot of sand. Did you bury them in the playa or are these a different kind of sand stake?

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Postby unjonharley » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:42 am

phil wrote:
unjonharley wrote:I used plastic sand stakes. THe wind kick the shelters ass but the staks stayed put.

Where did you get them and how did you use them? The sand stakes I'm seeing say they're to be buried under a foot of sand. Did you bury them in the playa or are these a different kind of sand stake?


/
I used the one foot sand stakes from the outdoor store. They were driven to flash with playa.(no triping) The line loop was exposed/dug out a bit so the lines could be attended. Some one in another thread suggested a "ensigns" knot for line tention. It worked great. I use it around the shop/house. A little practice makes it worth the little effort.

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Postby unjonharley » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:55 am

HOpe no one gets me wrong about rebar. Rebar is a good way to go.. My capmate has two 12x12 pop up's. For that you want rebar. There way up in the wind.

After messing with rebar for 5 years I learned a few.. To make it easy to drive and attach line to: Bend it in half to look like a big staple. You will be able to hit it without chasing it all over the playa. Drive it flush with the playa and you wont trip over it.. Dig out the loop/staple top with your finger and you have a padeye to string your line through. The loop give you some thing to grab to pull it out on your way home.

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Postby SED » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:20 am

If you just stay loaded constantly and never sleep, eat or lie down, the whole issue of logistics becomes much simpler.
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Postby phil » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:38 am

SED wrote:If you just stay loaded constantly and never sleep, eat or lie down, the whole issue of logistics becomes much simpler.

There's something to be said for that.

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Postby StevenGoodman » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:29 pm

nogganoodle wrote:
StevenGoodman wrote:
Go to Sportsman's Guide, and buy some of the Swedish Snow Blind tarps; those white tarps with the holes that are all over Burning Man. (Yes, Sportsman's Guide has them again, they are cheap, and will probably sell out fast.) They are cheap, and the holes let them breath and flop in the wind.



How heavy are these tarps. Would they be light enough to put in a suitcase for air travel? The only thing that I regret from last year was having no shade over my tent. I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!


According to the label, in Swedish, 2.7kg each.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:43 pm


nogganoodle wrote:

How heavy are these tarps. Would they be light enough to put in a suitcase for air travel? The only thing that I regret from last year was having no shade over my tent. I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!


We could be persuaded to bring one for you.
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Postby SED » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:39 pm

nogganoodle wrote:I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!



Maybe it was because you're such a hot babe to begin with.
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Postby nogganoodle » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:11 am

AntiM wrote:
nogganoodle wrote:

How heavy are these tarps. Would they be light enough to put in a suitcase for air travel? The only thing that I regret from last year was having no shade over my tent. I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!


We could be persuaded to bring one for you.


That would be very kind of you Anti M if you could. I still may invest in one though. You never know when you are going to need to camoflage something!

If they are only 3 kilos then they won't take up a lot of weight in my suitcase.
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Postby nogganoodle » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:12 am

SED wrote:
nogganoodle wrote:I thought I might die of heat stroke at one point!



Maybe it was because you're such a hot babe to begin with.


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Postby skygod » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:55 am

I <3 the costco 10'x10 carport. Peaked roof, sides that can be lowered. Cheap, like 80 bucks I think. Put a tent under it. Move your chairs and straw floor around during the day to catch the shade. Drive the rebar straight in, duct tape it to the legs. Easy and fast. No ropes or sharp rebar to walk into.
Same old story concerning refinements:
--small sledge hammer for driving
--gloves to hold hammer
--bucket to sit on while hammering
--visegrips to get em out when leaving
--saran wrap around the legs before duct taping to make it easier to get the duct tape off later.
The sound of hammer and rebar gives me goosebumps of pleasure.
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Postby phil » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:05 am

> --saran wrap around the legs before duct taping to make it easier
> to get the duct tape off later.

I hadn't thought of that. My way of removal is to get my knife out and run it down between the rebar and shade leg, cutting the duct tape all the way down. Then the whole thing just peels back in one swell foop - no need to unwrap it a layer at a time.

Any thoughts on whether that's easier than the saran wrap thing?

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Postby unjonharley » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:39 am

phil wrote:>
Any thoughts on whether that's easier than the saran wrap thing?


/
I drilled the holes out a little. Then drove the rebar at an angle so the end is close to the post/leg. We still stake "out" on grampa's pop-ups..Our first year was 01. We know what the wind can do. We did not stake the legs that year. The carport walk across the damn desert.

Or you could drive the rebar in, tie a line to it. Then set the leg over the rebar. Bring the line up and tie it to the carport. A simple clove hitch on the rebar and a ensigns knot on the cross bar. This woulds keep the top joints from pulling apart in hi winds.

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Postby timburly » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:04 pm

skygod wrote: ...straw floor around...



Isn't straw a huge moop problem to deal with?

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Postby AntiM » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:13 pm

Isn't straw a huge moop problem to deal with?


Bet he means sisal or a tatami type flooring, not loose straw. We have a sisal rug for under the tent.
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Postby skygod » Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:59 pm

Um, yus: Sisal. (I don't use that word much), it's squares of strawy type stuff sewn together, sold at cost-plus or other import places as a cheap floor covering. Holds together ok, not moopy. Kinda folds up for transport. The dust falls thru it.
One other refinement I forgot:
-- beer cozy to keep brew cold while your hammering.
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!

Postby Toolmaker » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:44 pm

Random rebar stake manufacturing tip:

1)Bend the top to your liking. Generally a torch will allow you to bend an "eye" which is pretty good for many uses.

2)Grind the tip fairly sharp on a grinding wheel.

3)Coat sharpened tip with rubber numberous times. Liquid rubber sold for the purpose of caoting tool handles works well for this. Coat the rebar with petroleum jelly or saran wrap etc. Than you can remove your rubber "cap" after it cures. The more patient you are and the more coats you use will give you thicker "caps".

4)Safety of the site requires something like tennis balls or racketballs. I prefer the blue ones myself but green tennis balls would be nice for 07.


As for tents.. I have a large canvas cabin tent from some military surplus place similar to sportsmansguide. I may be using that in 07 due to shipping costs of the dome. I fucked up and made the thing wayy to heavy. As an afterthought I probably should have just used cheap conduit.
I may not be able to get the "shadecloth" as planned due to cost, I will probably go with surplus parachute or camo netting.


BTW nice setups everyone, thanks for sharing. I was especially impressed with the use of the bus length to setup a nice big shade space. And yes it could use a mural :)

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flooring

Postby timburly » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:23 am

Ah nice idea on the sisal floor. I never thought of that :)


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