So You Want to Camp at Burning Man?

Hooray for camping at Burning Man! This is your guide for how to get started.

Burning Man is not a festival, it’s an event and a city in the desert. At most festivals you’ll find friends camping together in their cars and tents in what looks like a giant parking lot behind where the main festival activities take place. It’s very different at Burning Man!

The Burning Man organization does not produce entertainment or experiences for attendees. Your experiences are brought by people like you, by theme camps, artists, mutant vehicle owners, and individuals. That’s why instead of attendees, people who go to Burning Man are participants and citizens of Black Rock City.

The majority of people who go to Burning Man are part of planned, registered camps. The main event is everywhere, it’s where people like you contribute interactive, creative, incredible experiences to share with everyone. Camps are organized groups of people doing just that. Camps are the heart of community in Black Rock City.

You have a few options for camping at Burning Man:

  1. Join a registered camp
  2. Camp in the open camping or walk-in camping areas of Burning Man
  3. Start your own registered camp

We also have some notes about bringing RVs to Burning Man.

Join a registered camp

If it’s your first year coming to Burning Man, it’s a great idea to join a registered camp. Coming with an established group allows you to learn from their experience. Burning Man is all about your participation, so being part of a registered camp gives you a direct way to participate and contribute to the city we co-create together. Here are a few ways to find a registered camp to join:

  1. Theme Camp Listings
    • Every year camps submit their information for our listings. Many camps include a website or email address.
    • Step 1: Go through the list! Search by your hometown, state, country or a way you want to contribute (such as painting, yoga, fire spinning, or any skill or talent you have). Or just scroll through alphabetically and marvel at everything camps contribute to Burning Man!
    • Step 2: Once you’ve found some awesome camps, reach out to the ones you want to join. Tell them why you’re interested in being part of their camp and why you want to go to Burning Man. Tell them about your skills and interests. Tell them why you want to contribute and participate. Keep in mind camps get a lot of inquiries to join, so personalize your message to them. Many camps close their registrations in the early summer (May or June) so the earlier you reach out, the better!
    • Here are the Theme Camp Listings! If last year’s listings are still up, don’t worry, most camps return to Burning Man every year. Here is the archive of past year’s Theme Camp Listings and events.
  2. Your Local Regional
    • Wherever you live, there is likely a Burning Man community in your area.
    • Within that local community, there are likely local events and established camps who go to Burning Man in Nevada. Your local community likely has an email list and online group you can join.
    • Check out the Regionals Global Directory and attend a local meetup or Burning Man event! You’ll meet great people and likely meet camps who are traveling to Burning Man in Nevada this year.
  3. Spark
    • Have a skill to contribute? A talent to share? Check out Spark, Burning Man’s tool for online collaboration. Camps post listings of the kind of people they need, such as electricians, builders, DJs, etc. Maybe that’s you! Reply to their post and get connected.
  4. Social Media
    • There are many platforms and groups on social media where you can share that you’re looking for a camp to participate in. ePlaya is an advertising (but not snark)-free message board for event and year-round community connections. You can also search on your preferred social media platform, Burners are everywhere!
  5. Your Community
    • You may not know who in your community has been to Burning Man or knows people who go to Burning Man! Tell the people in your life and your social media friends that you’re planning to go. Ask if they know anyone who is part of a camp. Yay for making new friends!

Camp in the open camping or walk-in camping areas of Burning Man

Space for reserved, placed camps is marked on the playa with blue survey flags. They are located along the Esplanade with decreasing density toward L street. Some of these plots are so large that they may appear unclaimed and available, when they actually are not. When you arrive, be sure to camp outside the blue flagged zones to avoid encroaching on reserved zones and then having to relocate your camp.

For walk-in camping — located between 2:00 and 5:00 — park your vehicles across L street at the flag fence, and set up your camp on the other side of the parking flag fence.

You can camp on your own, with a small group, or a larger group in open or walk-in camping. Keep in mind there are thousands of people also camping in open camping and many city blocks fill up on Sunday, the day the Gate opens. Since you can’t reserve space in these areas, you won’t know exactly where you’ll be camping until you find the space.

See the City Plan (coming soon) for where these areas are located.

(Photo by John Curley)

 

Start your own registered camp

A quick note, if this is your first year coming to Burning Man we usually recommend being part of a returning camp for at least one year before starting a new camp (unless you’ve organized a camp at your local Regional or have other direct experience with Burning Man). Remember this isn’t like camping at a festival, it’s being an active group contributing to the city. There’s a lot to learn and experience!

If you’d like to be considered for an opportunity to receive a reserved camping spot for your camp or village at Burning Man, you’ll need to learn the placement process and submit the Camp Placement Questionnaire before the deadline. The questionnaire deadline is the last Thursday of April at 12pm Noon Pacific Time. There’s a lot of important information! Read all about the placement process. Read through the resources for how to organize a camp.

RVs at Burning Man

Many people ask about how to find or bring an RV to Burning Man. There are many wonderful ways to camp at Burning Man — tents, yurts, living containers, RVs, and many more creative living solutions. The Burning Man organization does not provide or sell RVs to participants. You cannot buy an RV with your Burning Man ticket. We do not connect participants to RV companies.

If you’re joining an established camp, you’ll want to talk with them about how they handle RVs in their camp. Some camps don’t have or allow any RVs.

There is no way to pre-arrange for RV pumping at Burning Man. Your only option is to try and flag down the few service trucks that patrol the city. We strongly suggest that you limit your usage of water for showers, cooking, etc. so that you do not need to be pumped while at the event. One of Burning Man’s 10 Principles is Radical Self-reliance, which is important to keep in mind!

If you encounter a company or are invited to join a camp that sells you a “Burning Man package” (all included ticket, transportation, RV, food, costumes, etc), please email placement@burningman.org to tell us more about this company or camp.

If you are not driving your RV in yourself, please note that companies saying they can deliver RVs on the playa to your campsite must be part of Burning Man’s Outside Services Program.

For more information about RVs in general, including generator etiquette and RV pumping procedures, please see this section.