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:
- Join a registered camp
- Camp in the open camping or walk-in camping areas of Burning Man
- 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:
- 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 is the archive of past year’s Theme Camp Listings and events.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Your Community
Camp in the open camping or walk-in camping areas of Burning Man
Not everyone who comes to Black Rock City wants or needs to live in a registered camp. If this sounds like you, you can camp on your own with a small group or a larger group in open camping or walk-in camping. Keep in mind there are thousands of other 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.
Open camping is located throughout many blocks between H Street and K Street. Some of these blocks are entirely open for unplaced groups to camp in. Some blocks contain both open camping and reserved camping. Space for reserved, placed camps is marked on the playa with blue survey flags. When you arrive to claim an open camping space, be sure to camp outside the blue flagged zones to avoid encroaching on reserved zones and then having to relocate your camp. Please note, some of these plots are so large that they may appear unclaimed and available, when they actually are not. Camps are not allowed to land-grab large chunks of land during Build Week and should share the space with other open campers seeking space. If you need assistance determining if an area is available for open camping, talk to a Black Rock Ranger or a member of the Placement Team.
Walk-in camping is located outside the last street between 2:00 and 5:00. Park your vehicles on the outside of the last street, and walk in to set up your camp on the open playa side of the banner flag fence.
An annual City Plan is released each year that includes the locations of open camping and walk-in camping.
Start your own registered camp
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 Camp Placement Questionnaire can be accessed through your Burner Profile, and all deadlines are updated annually there. There’s a lot of important information to read, gather, and understand before applying! Read all about the placement process. Read through the resources for how to organize a 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!
Parking in Black Rock City
Unlike other events that have dedicated parking space away from campsites, Black Rock City’s camps are expected to accommodate parking for all their camper’s vehicles. This includes RVs, mutant vehicles, vans, and personal vehicles. The only exception to this is within Walk-In Camping as described above.
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 email@example.com to tell us more about this company or camp.
For more information about RVs in general, including generator etiquette and RV pumping procedures, please see this section.