7 Tips for RVing Your Way Through Burning Man

Tips for RVing to and during the Burning Man festival

Burning Man is one of North America’s largest gatherings. Taking place in Black Rock City in the deserts of Nevada, this pop-up community tackles concepts such as radical inclusion, self-reliance, participation, and a leave no trace behind attitude. 1986 marked the first year of Burning Man, and since then its ideas of inclusion, participation, and community have sparked an almost cult-like following for those who attend each year.

RVing is one of the best ways to stay at the Black Rock desert playa. Let’s look at seven of the best tips for RVing to Burning Man and enjoying the once in a lifetime experience it offers.

  • 01 of 07

    Don't Get Overwhelmed by the Amount of Dust

    Burning Man effigy
    John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images

    Whether you’ve lived in the desert or tackled particularly dusty climates, you will not be prepared for the layers of dust at Burning Man. You, your rig, and your things will be covered in dust before, during, and after Burning Man. Wear bandanas during the day to mask your mouth and nose from dust. Wash off the best you can before you enter your rig, even for a quick trip inside. All the tips, even from those who’ve been going to Burning Man since day one, won’t prepare you for the dust you’ll encounter.

    Pro Tip: While there’s a lot of dust, it’s nothing to fear. It can’t hurt you, and if you cover your mouth and nose when out in it, you’ll be fine.

  • 02 of 07

    Prepare Your RV Before You Arrive

    Motorhome
    Nigel Killeen/Moment Mobile/Getty Images

    Preparing your RV before you arrive at the playa is the key to avoiding as much dust as possible. While there’s no surefire way to keep dust out, you will want to close all your vents, tape over all switches and seams where possible, and consider double-venting external vents with cheap AC filters. Get your RV waxed before the trip to give the exterior an extra layer of protection against the dust, especially when the wind picks up.

    Pro Tip: Burning Man is all about planning! Make sure to plan everything from how you’ll prepare your rig to how you’ll cook meals and everything between for a smoother experience.

  • 03 of 07

    Practice Boondocking or Dry Camping Before You Go

    Boondocking in a trailer
    Jordan Siemens/Taxi/Getty Image

    Burning Man is a boondocking trip most RVers will never forget. This means no hookups, maximizing your resources, and thinking outside the box to stay comfortable. Avoid running your generator if possible, no matter how hot it is outside. Try to prolong the use of your black water tanks. Unplug all electronics when not in use, even your RV appliances. Solar-powered outdoor lights make for great lighting at night inside your rig and out.

    Pro Tip: If you’ve never been boondocking or attempted to dry camp, do so before you head to Burning Man. You don’t want to realize after you arrive on the playa that you can’t RV that way.

  • 04 of 07

    Only Open the RV Door Only When Necessary

    Burning Man dust
    John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images

    Avoid opening your RV door whenever possible. Only use one entrance and exit. Try to make as few trips into your RV especially when the wind picks up. Consider creating a dust-free zone as you enter the RV to help avoid tracking dust into the rig. You can lay down plastic on the floor and keep wet wipes handy to help those wipe down before they head further inside. Make sure everyone is taking shoes off and leaving them by the door before they walk through your rig, too.

    Pro Tip: Use your generator sparingly. If it’s unbearably hot during a dust storm, consider running it for a bit to cool down then ride it out. Sometimes it’s cooler to stay outside during a dust storm.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Protect Your RV’s Interior

    Burning Man camper van
    John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images

    There’s only so much you can do to avoid bringing dust into your RV. Consider investing in plastic wrap, tarps, or furniture covers to protect everything from your carpets to your sofa to your bed. Bring extra sheets in a trash bag and keep them closed until you need them. Do the same thing for your clothes and shoes. After Burning Man, you may want to take your shoes, clothes, and lines to the laundromat to get the dust out.

    Your RV will need a deep cleaning after Burning Man as well. Consider bringing your RV into the dealership and paying them to do it. It may take time for you to deep clean yourself, and honestly, you'll find dust for years after your first trip to Burning Man. Have your rig brought in to the shop so they can clean out dust in the engine, vents, and other areas you can't reach.

    Pro Tip: Wear comfortable sandals for your trip. This helps keep dust out of your rig, along with keeping your feet from being suffocated by sneakers in the heat. Make sure to take your sandals off and weigh them down outside before heading back into your RV.

  • 06 of 07

    Be Cautious with Air Flow Even When There’s No Wind

    Black Rock Desert
    Grant Kaye/Aurora/Getty Images

    It’s the desert. It’s Nevada. It’s going to be hot during Burning Man. While your awning will provide some level of shade and you can set up a canopy, the dust storms, and the wind that spring up may not make it safe to leave either up for long periods of time. If you venture inside, be careful with how you open your windows or vents to let in air. Dust will get in no matter what you do so watch the situation as the wind picks up and close shop if a dust storm comes into the area.

    Pro Tip: Dust storms are one of the highlights of Burning Man. Don’t hide in your rig! Invest in some goggles and head into the city for an unforgettable experience.

  • 07 of 07

    Bring Water, Conserve Water

    Drinking bottled water
    Guido Mieth/Taxi/Getty Images

    The only water you’ll have on the playa during your time at Burning Man is what you bring with you. So, plan wisely! Consider what you’ll use water for, such as drinking, doing dishes, and taking a shower. If you can cut taking a shower out of the equation during your time there, you’ll be able to conserve more water than you can imagine. Use wet wipes and dry shampoo to keep yourself clean. When doing dishes, cleaning up, and more, consider evaporating the water instead of dumping it into your gray tank.

    Pro Tip: If it rains, which happens rarely, you can collect rainwater to boil for drinking, cleaning, and more. Make sure to have at least one clean bucket available to stick outside at a moment’s notice for this purpose.

    Burning Man is enjoyed in many different ways by travelers from all walks of life. If you’re an RVer, you already have an easy way to get there, stay, and take advantage of the experience. Consider adding Burning Man to your RV bucket list for a once in a lifetime travel adventure.