It’s getting to be that time! With Burning Man getting closer and closer every day, your thoughts are probably starting to turn to the important things: Costumes! Art! Tents, shade structures, bikes, headlamps, rebar, libations and oh yes, sustenance.
It’s a lot of STUFF to pack for just one week, especially when you have to pack it all out again. But you’ll figure out a way to have it all in Black Rock City — with a little help from The Burner’s Guide to Leaving No Trace!
|Today’s edition of the Guide is about managing all that STUFF, and making sure your experience doesn’t go from|
|THIS …||to THIS!|
As a community, we have a real junk-in-the-trunk problem. 50,000+ Burners can accumulate a tremendous amount of “supplies.” Before you pack those ten extra water jugs, four backup cantaloupes and 27 tapestry swatches — even if you have room for them in the car — think about how many you will actually need.
Your goal: To have extra space in your vehicle. It’ll come in handy in steps 4 and 5.
One of the easiest ways to save space (and to have less MOOP to deal with at Burning Man) is to take everything out of its packaging as you pack. Lose the plastic, cardboard, peanuts and paper; take the time to fold things neatly; and you can fit much more STUFF into much less space.
Fill a car to the brim with loose beer cans? It’s been done, though that’s sort of against the message here. The point is, you don’t need the cardboard box. UNLESS…
Here’s a use for some of your big boxes and bags: Use them to sort garbage in your camp! Create a trash station in a common area, or near your gray water jugs. Get everyone in camp on board, so they know where to put their unwanted items. This is the absolute best way to get your trash out of camp without a lot of hassle, mess and lost space. For example:
- Aluminum: Donate to Recycle Camp or drop off (and maybe collect a little cash) at one of the many 24-hour recycling stations on the way home.
- Plastic: At the end of the week, stomp on it to squash it flat. Drop it off on the way home.
- Glass: Uh… don’t bring it! Beer, wine, even champagne comes in boxes and cans these days. If you must have glass, bring a sturdy container you can close tight. Drop it off!
- Burnables: Hey I hear that stuff burns!
- Wet Trash (food mostly): During the week, keep it in a mesh or paper bag. It will dry out and be easy to pack out! Lighter and less gross, too.
- Seriously Just Trash: Drop it off at one of the disposal points on the way home.
Here’s where it all comes together: When you’re driving down the highway at full speed with five bikes and a bag of trash strapped precariously to your roof.
Ever been there? Trust me, you don’t want to be. And Burning Man doesn’t want you to be there either. With 50,000+ people leaving Black Rock City in thousands of vehicles, there’s bound to be a little road debris. But when those vehicles are carrying ridiculous loads covered in faux fur and ribbons … you can imagine the result.
Highway garbage is a real problem for the towns along your route home. Spilled trash bags are a serious issue, as are bigger hazards that can bounce into the roadway and cause accidents — or just result in an hour or two of work for a Burning Man volunteer.
As you leave Black Rock City, make time for one final gift, one last bit of human connection: Look for someone with an unsafe load, and help take some of it off their hands (or at least tie it down securely).
Most people don’t want to strap a full bag of trash to their roof. They just might not have anywhere else to put it. And that’s why The Burner’s Guide to Leaving No Trace encourages bringing less, so you can pack out all your stuff, and maybe help a friend in need.
Remember, less is less. Everything you need is already within you. Except (hopefully) baby wipes.