Burning Essentials... and a Bit of Bug Spray

Bugs are turning up on the playa prior to Burning Man 2015.
Bugs are turning up on the playa prior to Burning Man 2015.

Burning Man 2015 is just around the corner and we want to make it easy for burners to get last-minute supplies before venturing off to the Black Rock Desert. NOTE that this list is not all-inclusive and will not contain everything you need out on the playa, just a few things we carry at the store that will make your stay in Black Rock City more comfortable.

And, yes, it’s true: According to blog.burningman.com, there are bugs out on the playa this year, so come on into the store and peruse a variety of insect repellents.

Insect Repellents
Whether it’s some sort of Black Rock Desert bug, mosquito or other annoying creepy-crawly insect, you can find a variety of insect repellents at Tahoe Mountain Sports. Along with a variety of sprays check out the Coleman Cintronella Candle Lantern. The lantern may or may not repel the burner bugs but it does multi-task: 40-hours of pleasant-smelling, mosquito repelling ambient light.

Platypus Water Tank 6


Burning Man is a lot of things to a lot of people, but first and foremost it is desert survival. Water is the single most important thing you can bring out on the playa. The rule of thumb is 1.5 gallons per person per day. Bring more if you are using a solar shower, mist sprayers or anything else that uses additional water. For in-camp water storage, check out 5 Gallon Foldable Water Carriers or the 6 Liter Platypus Water Tank. All of these water carriers can be folded up to save space on the way back. For hydration out on the playa, we carry a variety of hydration backpacks, hydration reservoirs and water bottles.

Bike Accessories

Bikes are an indispensable mode of transportation on the playa. You will be able to see and do more on a bicycle than you will traveling on foot and hopping on art cars or mutant vehicles. Need to carry some cargo? Check out our selection of bike bags and bike baskets. For nighttime riding, bike lights are a must. These Nite Ize Spot Lit lights are perfectly small for playa use as they can be clipped to a bike, clothing, tent door or anything you need to locate in the dark. Better yet, they cycle through the colors of the rainbow. And if you want really want to pimp your ride, check out the Nite Ize See’Em mini spoke lights for extra flair.

Sun Protection

The sun’s rays are very powerful in the high desert, and the reflection off the light-colored alkali ground amplifies the sun’s effects. Protect your skin with Sol Sunguard Altitude SPF 40 or Alpine SPF 25 sunscreen for non-greasy, sweatproof sun protection. Lip Balm is also one of the best things to have with you after a couple days in the desert. Sunglasses are a good idea as well, but will not protect your eyes against dust storms, but something like Suncloud’s Cassandra shades look great. Snow goggles, work well for keeping dust out of your eyes. A big hat like the Kavu Chillba Fisherman’s Hat is another great way to keep the sun off your face.


Your camping list will vary quite a bit depending on whether you are camping in an RV or in a tent. Here are a few things that will be useful in any camp in Black Rock City. Visit our camping page for tents and other camping gear. For starters, no camp should be without a first aid kit. A fairly basic one should suffice, since there are emergency medical services available. Nite Ize Knotbone Adjustable Bungee is tremendously useful for tying things around camp down or to secure a shade structure. If you have cameras or other small electronics that might need to be re-charged throughout the week, check out Go Zero Venture 30 re-charger and grab a Seal Line dry bag to protect them from dust.

Personal Playa Gear

There are a few things one should never leave camp without. Water for one. Another thing to bring along is a cup to use at any of the hundreds of free bars in Black Rock City. Select one with a handle that can be attached either by a lanyard or a carabiner. If you smoke, a windproof lighter is essential, as is a container for ashes and butts. I also highly recommend carrying around a headlamp, even in the middle of the day just in case you don’t make it back to camp before dark. Bring along a compass as well, since BRC is very difficult to navigate after Saturday night when the man has burned and all the street signs have been taken down.

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