Health Risks of Playa Fires

If you are going to burn your art, read about the environmental effects of burning on the playa, and how to lessen your impact when burning. Here we will describe the effect that burning on the playa can have on your health.

What toxins are produced when you burn?

What’s being burned? Everything, it seems. From building materials like PVC, rebar, and plastic to old couches and decorative objects. Many of these items can pose a serious environmental and health risk as they burn.

In order to get a good idea of the toxins produced when items like these are burned, we looked at the production of toxins from accidental construction fires and open burning of household wastes.

According to a study done by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, open household waste fires burn at low temperatures and can result in particulate emissions, heavy metal vapors, acid gases and other pollutants. Most are highly toxic and some can cause cancer.

Unlike incinerated waste, fire in a barrel or pile does not burn hot enough to destroy the poisonous substances released by burning materials. Since there are no safeguards to capture the toxins released in the smoke, they are released in a concentrated form at ground level where they are easily inhaled.

A study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that each pound of garbage burned in a barrel emits 40 times more particulates than if that same pound of garbage was burned in a high-temperature incinerator with air pollution controls.

Another chief concern is the production of dioxin and furan. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to man; burning common household trash at low temperatures can form these compounds, both of which are carcinogenic. Benzopyrene is another potent carcinogen produced by low temperature fires. Open fire smoke contains 70 parts per million of carcinogenic benzopyrenes, about 350 times higher than cigarette smoke.

Studies of construction fires point to another major hazard of playa burning. PVC — the playa construction material of choice — is highly dangerous to both personal health and the environment when burned. PVC is one of the worst offenders when it comes to toxic substances. PVC can emit highly corrosive and toxic hydrogen chloride when burned. It is also is a source of dioxin and phosgene gas when burned at temperatures below complete combustion. Coincidentally, phosgene, an odorless gas that can damage the lungs, is one of the substances used in chemical warfare. Samples of soot taken from fires in PVC-containing buildings that have burned have been found to contain dioxins in very high concentrations. The soot, however, represents only a small part of the problem: more than 90 of the dioxins produced in a structural fire are found in the gaseous phase and escape into the atmosphere.

For these reasons, PVC should never be burned. Please make sure anything to be burned is PVC-free.

In reality, there are no materials that are safe to burn. Everything emits a wide range of toxins, some more directly lethal than others. Even plain, untreated wood contains over 100 different chemicals or compounds when burned. Some of these compounds are extremely poisonous and carcinogenic. Cancer of the skin in chimney sweeps was linked to soot as early as 1775.

How do you protect yourself?

Quite simply, keep small children away from burning piles. That goes for anyone with asthma or other breathing problems as well.

Burner Express Bus

In an effort to reduce traffic and limit the environmental impact of the Burning Man event, Burning Man organizers are offering the Burner Express bus service for the 4th year in a row with pickups in San Francisco and the Reno Airport to Black Rock City and back. This service offers faster arrival, speedier entrance, reserved camping, and quicker departures.

Burner Express is ideal for participants flying into the event and for Burners involved in art projects and theme camps who are having their gear hauled in by campmates.

Tickets start at $83 one way from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and $123 one way from the Civic Center in San Francisco. Additional charges apply for extra luggage, for water, for a stop at a grocery store in Reno, and for bikes. Tickets can be purchased as one way or round trips to and from Black Rock City. Participants have the ability to pick up their Will Call or Low Income tickets prior to departure at the point of embarkation.

Departures begin from both locations Saturday before the event and return trips begin Friday during the event. Service to San Francisco from BRC will run through Monday after the event, and service to Reno will run through Tuesday after the event.

Burners will travel to Black Rock City on large motor coaches, enjoying a relaxing, scenic drive. Once on Playa, there will be a “bus only” lane to sidestep traffic backups at the Gate. Once through the Gate, the Burner Express Buses will proceed to the Burner Express Bus Depot located at to 6:15 and J streets for disembarkation and greeting!

Bus riders have the option of camping in HOVerlandia, a reserved camping section on the 6:15 access road or taking shuttles out to 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock along E or J Streets. Shuttles will stop on E street at 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, 7:30, 9:00; and J street at 2:30, 3:45, 5:15, 7:15, 8:15, and 9:30. Riders will then need to make their own way to camp.

For more information and to reserve tickets visit the Burner Express Bus website.

Reno Airport

Thousands of Burning Man participants from all corners of the earth migrate their way through the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RTIA) on their way to Burning Man, making this period the airport’s most popular travel time of the year. We’ve compiled information and a list of resources that will help make your travel through RTIA as smooth as possible.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport

2001 East Plumb Lane – 775-328-6400 – map

  • Flights information here.
  • Airport information here.
  • Airport Frequently Asked Questions here.
  • Lost items at the airport info here.  Items lost at a Travel Security Administration checkpoint info here.  If you believe you lost an item on an airplane, please contact the airline you flew with.
  • Wifi is freely available.
  • No showers or storage facilities at the airport. Highly recommend you clean up and dress fully before getting to the airport and on the plane as many people are from other walks of life and it’s a common courtesy.
  • Do not bring your trash to the airport or to the car-rental agencies! Go here for info on where to take your trash and recyclables.
  • There are Prohibited Items that cannot be taken on-board an airplane due to safety requirements. Propane, nitrous oxide canisters (aka “whippits”), lighters, knives, tools, fireworks, and various other liquids and gels are the most common prohibited items. Many people are also unclear on the various regulations regarding what is allowed in baggage vs. carry-on, so take a careful look at the Transportation Security Administration’s listings of prohibited items hereAnd be sure to properly dispose of them before arrival at the airport.
  • No drugs at the airport!
  • Finally, you will be treated to a showcase of Burning Man’s impact beyond the playa in Nevada. “Burning Man – Igniting Nevada’s Creative Fire” will be on display from August to October in the airports gallery space between the arrival / departure gates and the security gates. The exhibit includes photography of community events around Nevada and art made, worked on, or placed all over Nevada by Burning Man participants and artists.

New for 2023: The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is undergoing construction in summer of 2023 which may impact your travel. You should arrive at least two hours prior to your flight to accommodate any extra time needed. If you are using Burner Express Air, there is a new BxA location in the airport which necessitates a one-hour walk. Learn more about using Burner Express Air from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. 

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport has their own webpage with info relevant to Burners flying in/out of this airport. Also see relevant info on the Burning Man webpage

If you’re traveling through the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and looking to donate your bike, they are now accepting limited bike donations from those embarking from the airport. Hours of operation for bike donation:

Friday 3pm – 7pm
Saturday 3pm – 7pm
Sunday 8am – 6pm
Monday 8am -6pm

Air Playa Info

Through the coordinated efforts of the Burning Man Project, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and local and international resources, Air Playa Info was established in 2008 to provide information and resources for travelers on their way from the airport to Burning Man.

Located next to Baggage Claim inside the airport, volunteers at the Air Playa Info table help answer your questions, provide directions and maps, and share information about Black Rock City, means of transportation, and all kinds of Reno resources.

Air Playa Info will be available 9am-10pm on Friday before Burning Man begins through Thursday during Burning Man.

Finally, please Leave No Trace at Air Playa Info and the airport!

Transportation to the Playa

The various means available to get to Black Rock City from the airport include air, bus, rideshare and rental car. However you get to the playa, it really is best to have your means of transportation arranged before you begin your departure for Reno. After landing in Reno, check in at Air Playa Info, as aside from information on other resources, some of these options are coordinated with the help of its volunteers.


In an effort to reduce traffic and limit the environmental impact of the event, Burning Man has contracted with The BusBank to offer the Burner Express. This service also offers speedier entry and departure from BRC and reserved camping for participants. Buses will depart twice daily from the airport to BRC from Saturday before through Thursday of the event. Return buses will also be available from Friday of the event through Tuesday after the event. One has the option of taking an express bus straight to Black Rock City, or one has the option of taking a bus that will make a pit-stop at the Save Mart Supermarket to get supplies. Go here for more info and here to reserve your seat.


There are various air charters that offer flights daily between Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Black Rock City Municipal Airport before, during, and after Burning Man. Go here for the listing of approved air charters and other BRC flight information.


There are several rental car agencies that operate at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Check out the listings in the yellow pages here.


In case you are unable to arrange means of transportation to the playa before landing in Reno, you also have a few Rideshare possibilities.

First, experience proves that for many participants, a ride to the playa is possible directly from the airport. Many fellow participants fly in just like you, and many of them rent cars and are generous when it comes to sharing a seat on their way to Burning Man. You may also be able to get some supplies with them, as most everyone flying into Reno has to obtain supplies in the region before heading out to BRC.

A few helpful tips for possibly landing a ride to the playa from the airport:

  • Check in at Air Playa Info inside the airport. Most Burning Man participants will stop by here and the Air Playa Info volunteers can be of help in figuring out your options.
  • Offering to chip in for gas is a plus!
  • Everyone in the vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt — it’s the law.
  • Be comfortable with those with whom you may share a ride.

The second location to go to in Reno for ridesharing is the rideshare base at Save Mart on Keystone Avenue. This location is a 10 minute drive from the Reno Airport, next to Interstate 80 (the primary highway Burners take to BRC).  It is also the busiest spot in Reno during Burning Man.  In case you do not have means of transportation to the playa, are unable to negotiate a ride from the airport to the playa, or want to get some supplies, this is your next best option, as the experience of previous years proves that you should be able to negotiate a ride here without too long of a wait. The Rideshare Base, where you shall please Leave No Trace, is at:

Save Mart Supermarket
525 Keystone Avenue – 775-786-2150 – map
Open 24 hours. Other store info here.

If you need to get to the Rideshare Base, you have several options:

  • Rideshare – Check in at Air Playa InfoYou may be able to negotiate a ride from the airport to the Rideshare Base (if not to the playa).
  • Taxi – A taxi should cost you around $12 to the rideshare base. MAKE SURE you tell the taxi driver to use the freeway. You can check in with Air Playa Info to find people with whom to possibly share a taxi to the Rideshare Base.
  • Regional Transportation – No direct bus routes from the airport to the Rideshare Base. If you don’t mind taking a few different buses via transfers, check out the RTC website for bus routes and schedules here.

Directions to Black Rock City, NV

Here’s how to get to Burning Man from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Travel time is approximately 3 hours.

  • Upon leaving the airport you will find yourself westwards onto Plumb Lane. US-395 is about 1/4 mile ahead.
  • On Plumb Lane, get in right lane, take US-395 NORTH
  • About 2 1/2 miles north, you will see signs for I-80
  • Get in right lane, take I-80 EAST
  • There are two routes to take from here:
    • Route 1 – From Reno, Nevada, take Hwy I-80 east 28 miles. Take the Wadsworth / Pyramid Lake Exit #43. You can get gas here. Then, go north one mile to Wadsworth and turn left, staying on Hwy 447. It’s 78 miles to Gerlach, and then 8 miles north on State Route 34 to BRC.
    • Route 2 – From Reno, take Hwy I-80 east 4 miles. Take Pyramid Way Exit #18 to Hwy 445. Turn left and travel north 31 miles. At Pyramid Lake, turn right on Hwy 446 and go east 12 miles to Nixon. You can get gas here. Turn left on Hwy 447, traveling north. 54 miles to Gerlach, and then 8 miles north on State Route 34 to BRC.

Reno-Sparks Resources and Storage

We recommend checking out the thorough listing of Reno-Sparks resources found in the Reno Pages for what you may need before making the journey to the playa. Most everyone flying or driving through the region needs to get supplies and these chock-full pages are intended for you.   Also, if you are interested in storing some of your camping or other supplies for next year (rather than parting with them), check out the storage facilities near the airport here.

Traffic Info

As we have 60,000+ participants traveling to and from Black Rock City along a two-lane rural highway every year, traffic (and avoiding it) can be a significant part of the Burning Man experience. Please know that the Burning Man Organization is working year-round to analyze the problem(s): we are consulting with traffic engineering experts, listening to the best ideas from the community, and brainstorming new solutions to the traffic challenge. Each year there are improvements to our design and each year we value participant feedback.

Ultimately, it’s up to every participant to help alleviate the traffic problem by becoming educated, making sure their friends and campmates are educated as well, and planning ahead! Here are links to important information to help YOU plan, thus helping the community as a whole:

Thank you for playing your part in our event’s successful future!

Asthmatic on Playa

FAQ – Asthma at Burning Man

Like most deserts, the Black Rock Desert is dry and hot. Add to that the alkaline gypsum dust that makes up this dry lake bed getting kicked up by winds and vehicle travel, late nights out, and trying to stay hydrated, and the playa has the potential to challenge the health of even a mild asthmatic.

Q. What is asthma?
A. Asthma is a condition in which the airways of the lungs become narrowed or blocked, impeding breathing

Q. What triggers asthma?
A. There are many triggers, but those you may experience on the playa are:

  • Playa dust
  • Stress (emotional, physical, lack of sleep, change in normal routine, etc)
  • Change in humidity
  • Cigarette smoke

Q. How can I control my asthma?
A. Different people respond to different remedies. For some, removing themselves from the irritant (dust, smoke, heat, etc) is enough. For others, medication is necessary. Most asthmatics respond well to inhaled medications that dilate the lung airways, while others need to take a maintenance dose of either inhaled or oral steroids every day. A peak flow meter is an inexpensive, portable way to objectively self-monitor how your lungs are handling the playa environment.

Q. Will my asthma get worse at Burning Man?
A. The vast majority of people living with asthma do just fine at Burning Man. Some will notice no difference, while others will notice a heightened sensitivity. That said, if you have a history of complications with asthma, especially if they have resulted in hospitalization and/or intubation, please talk to your doctor before deciding to come to the playa. Being prepared is the best way to cope with the possible complications and we recommend the following:

Q. What can I do to minimize asthma complications while at Burning Man?

  1. Always carry a dust mask or bandana and your inhaler(s). Bring at least one dust mask or bandana for each day you’ll be on the playa.
  2. Get plenty of rest and drink enough fluids.
  3. Check your peak flow frequently.
  4. Saline nose rinses at least once or twice per day.
  5. Minimize playa dust in your living space as much as possible. A trailer, or two layers of entry into your living space (a small tent inside a larger tent works well) helps to keep your space relatively dust free while you rest and sleep.
  6. Bring enough inhalers and/or medication to last your stay on the playa, plus one extra inhaler in case you lose one.
  7. Make campmates aware of your condition, and aware of how they could help you if you need help. It is also highly recommended that you wear a medic alert bracelet at all times.
  8. Be aware of where medical resources are at Burning Man. There is medical available at Center Camp and at both the 3:00 and the 9:00 plazas.
  9. You may find a portable humidifier or mister for your tent or trailer helpful.


Diabetic on Playa

FAQ – Diabetic at Burning Man

Burning Man is held in one of the harshest environments on the planet. For a participant with no medical conditions, the conditions can be uncomfortable. For a participant with diabetes, it can be downright challenging. This short FAQ addresses some things you should know if you have diabetes and plan on attending Burning Man.

Q. What is diabetes?
A. Diabetes is an endocrine system disease in which the body is not able to control blood sugar levels.

Q. How is diabetes controlled?
A. Blood sugar levels are often monitored with small test strips and small blood samples. Blood sugar levels are controlled by a combination of diet, and either by-mouth diabetic medications or insulin injections.

Q. What are the challenges of managing my diabetes at Burning Man?
A. Sleep and eating schedules and activity levels are often different than you are used to keeping at home. Hydration is a challenge. If you use insulin, you are responsible for monitoring your own blood sugar levels, and for storage and administration of insulin.

Q. Will Burning Man keep my insulin refrigerated for me?
A. No. You are responsible for maintaining your own insulin supply, and for having all the test strips, syringes and needles, and anything else you will need to control your diabetes.

Q. I am prone to infections in my feet and legs. Should I be concerned about this?
A. The playa is a harsh, unforgiving environment where it is much more challenging to keep clean than it is at your home. If you are prone to foot and leg problems, wear shoes and socks at all times. Going bare foot on the playa is a recipe for undue drying, cracking, and open sores.

Q. If I have a hypo/hyperglycemic episode or get an infection or have any other complication with my diabetes, will someone be able to help me?
A. Burning Man encourages you to take care of yourself as best as you can. If you find yourself in a situation that you cannot handle, Burning Man’s medical staff can provide initial evaluation and care, and has available ambulance resources to transport you to Reno if necessary. While medical care on the playa is provided for free, you (or your health insurance) will be responsible for the cost of ambulance transportation and care provided off-playa.

Q. What can I do to minimize complications with my Diabetes while at Burning Man?

  • Get plenty of rest, drink enough fluid, and be aware of your body and what it is telling you.
  • Bring an amount of medications, supplies, and any equipment you will need that will last for the entire time you are on the Playa.
  • Make campmates aware of your condition, and aware of how they could help you if you need help. It is also highly recommended to wear a medic alert bracelet at all times.
  • Be aware of where medical resources are at Burning Man. (There is medical help available at Center Camp and at both the 3:00 and the 9:00 Plazas)

Pregnant on Playa

FAQ – Pregnant at Burning Man

Q. I’m pregnant. Should I come to Burning Man?
A. The best advice to this question comes from your provider. In general it is advised that any person who is pregnant and planning on going to Burning Man to discuss with their provider whether or not they are high-risk (e.g. history of ectopics, diabetic, previous miscarriages, history of eclampsia, history of pre-term labor or delivery, incompetent cervix, preeclampsia, PROM etc.). All the OB/Gyn provider needs to know is the minimum about Burning Man … that is, a week long outdoor experience in the high desert with limited local medical facilities, and with the closest hospital 100 miles away. Given this basic information about Burning Man and the specific considerations for your pregnancy, they will be able to give you the best advice possible.

Q. What about all the dust and dirt? How will that affect me and my baby?
A. There is a worry that the playa environment with all its dust and lack of bathing water is bad for a pregnant person. Remember that people have been having babies in every conceivable type of environment for millions of years. The human body is a marvelous thing and if you take the care to eat well and drink lots of fluids (once you experience the thirst sensation you are already 5% dehydrated), wash your hands as appropriate, and rest when it’s time to, your body will respond by being healthy. Your baby will respond in kind.

Q. Will the desert heat harm my pregnancy?
A. The playa is a hot place. And then you have a little “oven” in your belly. The heat is a tough thing to handle when you are pregnant because you feel big and round and hot already. Our body has a thermostat though, so that when we get hot we sweat to cool down our bodies. When you are pregnant you are less able to compensate for heat because of already dilated arteries due to the higher levels of estrogen in your body. Again, drink lots of water and if you feel too warm, get out of the sun.

Q. What if I have a high-risk pregnancy?
A. Be sure to talk with your Ob/Gyn provider about the risks and considerations specific for your pregnancy. Be gentle with yourself and your baby. If you are having problems with your pregnancy, being on the playa places you several hours away from medical facilities equipped with the resources and medical experts to help you. Make wise decisions based on that fact. Pregnancy is a marvelous and natural event. Listen to your body and you will do well. But if you do experience any bleeding, cramping, or other problems on the playa, please don’t hesitate to contact someone at one of the medical outposts (3:00, 9:00, and Rampart at 5:15 and Esplanade) for an evaluation.

Q. The dust on the playa is highly alkaline. Is that bad for me and my baby?
A. We’ve researched this a fair bit. There is no evidence that we can find that the alkaline dust is detrimental to anyone, pregnant or otherwise.

Pregnancy is a marvelous and natural event. Listen to your body and you will do well. But if you do experience any bleeding, cramping, or other problems on the playa, please don’t hesitate to contact someone at one of the medical outposts (3:00, 9:00, and Center Camp) for an evaluation.

Sober on Playa

Each year, as the city grows, so does its sober community. The following is a compilation of suggestions some have found helpful in experiencing Burning Man clean and sober.

Before You Go

If you follow the 12-step program, review pages 100-102 in “the Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you have a sponsor, talk to them. It’s recommended that you have a serious dialogue with your sponsor before buying your ticket. You will see (or smell) people partying and drinking. The conditions are harsh and daily life can, at times, be overwhelming. Be honest with your sponsor about these things. Additionally, your sponsor should also know that there is much MUCH more to Burning Man than they’ve heard from the media. Learn as much as you can about the event so that you can describe the elements of the experience that have drawn you to it. Your decision to participate is between you, your sponsor, and your higher power.

Read the Survival Guide.

Fill Up Your Tank

When we don’t have time for meetings is usually when we need them the most. You will no doubt be very busy in those countdown days before the event. It’s easy to underestimate how long it will take to finish projects, pack, shop, and do all the things that people do before leaving town (and work) for 7–10 days. This would not be the ideal time to cut back on meetings. In fact, we suggest making time to work in an extra meeting wherever possible.

Planning Your Camp

Just because your friends may party or drink alcohol in moderation outside of Burning Man, don’t expect them to be moderate while camping with you in the Black Rock Desert. Consider having a discussion with them early in the planning process. Or, consider camping in a clean and sober community like Anonymous Village and Run Free CampCamp Stella*. If you feel you can no longer camp with your friends, you’re welcome to move into these camps. This option has saved people’s sobriety in past years.

*Please note: Camp Stella and Camp Run Free combined forces back in 2018.

While Living in Black Rock City

Find a Home Meeting

In the “real world” Home Groups help us stay sane and sober for many different reasons. There are now more than 10 12-step meetings daily in Black Rock City. Pick a time and place that works for you and return to the same meeting regularly. Burning Man only lasts eight days, but seeing and hearing the same people even just a few times can be really helpful. Some Burners find it helpful to ask a new friend at an on-playa meeting to be their “Playa Sponsor” for the duration of that year’s Burn.

Remember HALT!

HUNGRY: Many people report a loss of appetite while in Black Rock City. Don’t forget to eat! You don’t want to be miles away from camp when you remember that you forgot to eat lunch. Some of us have found protein bars handy for instant hunger relief. Pay attention to the clock and eat regularly.

ANGRY: Remember, there are now about half a dozen meetings each day in Black Rock City, and “program people” are nearly always available if you need to talk.

LONELY: Ironically, some participants report that the one moment where virtually all 70,000+ citizens come together, the night the Man burns, can be the single loneliest moment of the week. Be careful not to have unrealistic expectations for this event. It is a spectacular performance by any measure, but it’s rarely anyone’s single favorite moment of the week. Usually, participants’ most-revered experiences are random unplanned personal encounters. We suggest that you go to the burn with people that you trust will be sober and stick close. Once the Man falls, it’s very easy to become separated. Every year a group of sober people from Camp Anonymous attend the Man Burn together. Listen for announcements at meetings towards the end of the week.

TIRED: Do not go to Burning Man expecting to ever get a full 8 hours of deep restful sleep. It’s possible, but unlikely. After the sun disappears over the mountains each evening is when the real magic begins. There are only 8 nights of Burning Man a year and you’ll want to get the most out of them. This means staying up as late as you can. Unfortunately, sleeping in late isn’t so easy. The unforgiving sun illuminates your tent, the temperature rises, and neighbors will be noisy as they start their day (or end it). Before you go to bed each night, put on a pair of eye shades (available at most drug stores). This will trick your body into thinking it’s still dark outside. Bring a couple pairs of ear plugs to muffle the thumping of distant rave parties. Finally, if you are hydrating properly, you will need to pee in the morning while it’s still cold outside. Women may choose to make a funnel or a jug for this purpose; guys, designate an empty water jug. Sorry to be graphic, but a quick pee in (or near) your tent may enable you to get back to bed quickly and squeeze out a few extra hours of sleep. You’ll be less likely to fall back to sleep if you have to get dressed and take a bike ride to the nearest porta-potties when it’s bright and sunny but freezing cold outside.

Allow yourself to head home early if that’s what your body is telling you to do. We are only human and there’s only so much we can do. No matter how hard you try, you will only see a fraction of all there is to see at Burning Man. Make it an early night and you might be able to stay out later the next night.

Develop a Routine

Addicts sometimes do better when we have a daily routine. This can help give us a sense of stability in a world where nothing seems normal. Here are a few ideas.

  • Go to Center Camp to read the paper each morning.
  • Have breakfast with your campmates while reviewing the days possibilities in the WhatWhereWhen Guide or while listening to Black Rock Radio.
  • Find a workshop or class to attend on a daily basis.
  • Make a daily commitment to a regular volunteer gig such as the Lamp Lighters or Recycle Camp.
  • Go to the same meeting at the same time each day.
  • Plan on having dinner with your campmates each night.
  • Remember your 11th step. There are spiritual experiences and workshops all over the playa, many of which are specifically chemical-free. But also whatever your daily practice may be at home, bring it to the playa! Add to it! Evolve it! But don’t leave it at home. The things that ground you elsewhere will also ground you in the dust.

These are just a few ideas. Having a daily routine can be really helpful, but be careful not to over commit or stretch yourself too thin.


As you probably already know, nothing helps us get “out of ourselves” better than service work. We recommend making a formal commitment to volunteer, even if it’s just one shift. Informally, there are many opportunities to help out your fellow citizens. Maybe you could help a neighbor pitch their tent help or help a stranger by carrying a bag of ice.

Attending Meetings

While some see Burning Man as a big party, many see as an opportunity for growth. Going to meetings may help you get the most out of your experience. Besides, where else can you go to a meeting where people are wearing costumes or perhaps nothing at all? Black Rock City is one of the few places where baskets are not passed around during meetings. In fact, with the exception of ice and coffee in center camp, cash transactions are not permitted at Burning Man.

Following is a tentative schedule for daily 12-step meetings. Be sure to check the WhatWhereWhen Guide or visit sober camps to confirm these times.

Run Free Camp hosts a variety of 12-step meetings. Anonymous Village hosts several large “Any A” meetings, where AA, NA, OA, SLAA, and any other fellowships can support one another’s recovery together, as well as that are fellowship specific. AV also maintains a space available for non-12 step recovery programs if that is how you recover. Also, if you need a meeting, you can start one at time! Grab a friend.

Time Program Camp
7:00am Open AA Anonymous Village
9:00am Women’s AnyA Anonymous Village
10:30am AlAnon/CoDA Anonymous Village
Noon AnyA Anonymous Village
Noon Open AA Run Free
1:30pm OA/AnyF Anonymous Village
3:00pm NA Anonymous Village
4pm MWFSa Open NA Run Free
4pm TTh MA Run Free
4:30pm AnyS – SLAA/SAA/SA Anonymous Village
6:00pm AnyA Anonymous Village
7:30pm MWF MA Anonymous Village
7:30pm TTh GayA AnyA Anonymous Village
8pm Open AA Run Free

… And there are even more meetings that meet once or twice during the Burn! Check your WWW or, better, yet, drop by the sober camps when you arrive!


Be wary of food and drink offered to you. Know what you are eating and drinking. Burning Man thrives on a Gift Economy. You will probably be offered food or beverages by well-intentioned burners. Always ask if what you are about to ingest contains alcohol or any other substances. Consider the source and use good judgment based on the answer you get. The medical tent gets cases every year of people who were dosed without their knowledge.

The Roots of AA at Burning Man

An account by Anonymous Camp co-founder Dan A.

In 1997, there was one meeting at noon next to the Center Camp Cafe on the day of the Burn. We found each other through a small ad that someone who wanted a meeting put in the Black Rock Gazette. We called ourselves the Burning Desires group. Twelve of us sat on straw bales in the blazing sun near a generator that was supposed to cover our voices. I’m not sure how successful that theory was as we had to raise our voices above the generator. From the shade of the Cafe, one would have seen a dozen people in a tight circle cooking in the sun and yelling “Hi Dan” in unison. It was probably obvious what was going on. Anyway, we talked about getting a theme camp together for the next year. We collected a list of e-mail addresses at the end of the meeting and stayed in contact.

The Clean & Sober Camp was a registered theme camp that didn’t make it to the playa in 1997 because of cascading last minute problems. The next spring, I contacted the Burning Man office and asked if they had a contact name and phone number for the Clean & Sober Camp people. Within minutes, Steve in San Francisco got a call from some guy in Minneapolis who he’d never heard of before. Soon we were talking about registering a theme camp and combined the on-playa list with a list Steve had collected of people who inquired about his camp. Thus was born Anonymous Camp.

We made our first appearance on-playa in 1998. Although most came to meetings as a result of our listing in the What Where When, many just happened to be walking by and recognized, much to their surprise, that a meeting was going on. Of all the strange things I saw and did on the playa that year, the strangest was signing someone’s court card. We’re everywhere!


If you want more information or to join their camps, you can find Camp Stella / Camp Run Free on Facebook or contact them via email:

You can find out more about Anonymous Village over on their website.

Many thanks to the members of the sober Burning Man community for writing this helpful guide and advice.

Emergency Contact

This page contains info about two kinds of emergency contact: how to contact people on playa about an off-playa emergency, and how to “call 911” inside Black Rock City.

Sending Emergency Messages to People on Playa

Q: What if friends or family at home need to reach me for an emergency?
A: Unfortunately, given the nature of the event, finding a participant on the playa is usually quite challenging. Cell phones don’t work, and people don’t generally have satellite phones. There is but limited internet access. Now add the fact that addresses on the playa are inexact even if you do know where you’re camping ahead of time, and finding a person’s camp can become very difficult. Preparation will help you stay in touch in an emergency.

Q: How can friends or family send me a message?
A: Emergency messages should be sent to The message will be passed to the Black Rock Rangers, who will do their best to deliver it. We will also make the message available at Playa Info in Center Camp, so if you’re awaiting news or expecting emergency transmissions, you might want to plan to check in each day.

Q: What details should be included in an emergency message?
A: The message should include first and last name, as well as any known nickname that you might go by around camp. It should also include the name of your theme camp or other affiliation (volunteer team, etc.), and its location if known, along with your vehicle make/license plate and any other unique features that will help with the search (such as, “camp has a 20-foot inflatable duck,” etc.)

Q: What can prevent me from getting the message?
A: Just a few of the variables that can get in the way: your camp relocates, or nobody’s ever in camp when we come seek you out; your camp spot is obscured from view by other camps; the 20 foot inflatable duck deflates due to a leak; there are three camps with 20-foot inflatable ducks, and none of the neighbors know anyone named “Chris” because you have been introducing yourself all week as “Captain Underpants, Lord of the Duck People!” You get the picture.

In other words, you’re heading to the middle of the desert, and there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to deliver a message in an emergency; it’s important to weigh that before you leave home. If you are awaiting news, you can actively check in at Playa Info, and in truly dire circumstances, you can find a ride into Gerlach to use the pay phone there.

Any further questions can be addressed to

“911” Service in Black Rock City
If you have an emergency in Black Rock City, the fastest way to get help is to flag down a Black Rock Ranger, a member of law enforcement, any other event staff or volunteer with a radio or send someone to fetch help at a Ranger Outpost or ESD Station. Cell service in BRC is spotty at best, and if you are able to connect via 911, it will take time for them to contact law enforcement on the playa.

That said, there is a way to directly call for help. The Emergency Services Department’s on-site emergency dispatch center monitors a designated emergency channel that is available for your personal radios. NOTE — this is a change from the past years in which the MURS (Multi User Radio Service) radio band was used. MURS will not be monitored for emergencies, which gives participants access to all five channels for their needs.

  • You can purchase your own radio to contact BRC 911. Large camps or villages might choose to make a radio part of their planning efforts and store it in a public place for emergency use. You might also be able to rent a radio from your local radio rental shop.
  • Program your radio to 451.9000 MHz with a CTCSS/PL tone of 91.5 and 12.5 kHz spacing to reach the Black Rock City 911 Dispatch. This is limited to 4-watt power output (typical limit of most handheld radios). Please refer to your user manual to see how to program your radio. We are developing a generic programming guide and of course, our wonderful Burning Man community is full of people with a desire to help.
  • FOR ALL RADIO USERS: you are responsible for following FCC rules regarding programming. Not all radios meet FCC regulations for this specific frequency. This channel is licensed to Burning Man and you are being granted access to use this channel as an emergency reporting channel only. Unauthorized use could face fines imposed by the FCC.

This radio channel is referred to as “BRC 911 Alt”. To contact Emergency Services on this radio channel be sure there is no one speaking and press your PTT button to call out to “Emergency Services.” We recommend that you test your radio before you need it in an emergency.

If you don’t want to buy a radio for this purpose, you can contact your local two-way radio rental service in your area and inquire about renting a radio for this purpose (and they would program it for you as part of the rental, making configuring the radio hassle free if you’re not tech savvy).

Learn more about BRC Participant Emergency Reporting including details for programming a radio here.

If you have further questions, please contact and don’t forget to check the eplaya forum.

Medic Alert Bracelets

Black Rock City’s Emergency Services Department highly encourages folks who normally wear a medic alert bracelet to do so on playa as well. If you don’t usually wear a medic alert bracelet but have a serious medical condition, we encourage you to wear one on playa to ensure Emergency staff can take appropriate care of you. Questions? Email

Playa Foot

PLAYA FOOT is a malady unique to the Black Rock Desert caused by the alkali dust that makes up the desert. It is, in essence, a chemical burn. The most common cause of playa foot is exposure of your feet to the desert floor by not wearing socks and closed shoes. While this malady is not serious, it is uncomfortable. The good news is that you may easily care for this yourself.


  • Wash your feet well to remove all the playa dust that is embedded in the cracks of your skin. This may require soaking them in a basin of water. Many people recommend adding a small amount of vinegar to the water to neutralize the alkali. 1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water is a good mix.
  • After washing your feet, dry them well and look to make sure you have gotten all the playa dust off of them.
  • If available, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the soles of you feet. This isn’t absolutely necessary and should only be done if you can keep your feet covered with socks and shoes or boots.
  • Keep your feet covered with socks and closed shoes or boots. Failure to do so will only allow your feet to get worse from the accumulation of more dust on your feet.
  • Continue to wash your feet a couple times a day to allow them to heal well.


  • Keep your feel covered as much as possible
  • Wash your feet well each day and apply a moisturizing skin lotion before climbing into bed, and before putting on your socks and shoes for another day of playa life.


  • You see any signs of infection (redness, swelling, increasing pain, red streaks running up your legs)
  • You develop a fever
  • Your feet become so sore that you are no longer able to walk on them

Rebar Safety

Rebar 101

Each year the majority of the injuries at Burning Man can be traced to collisions with rebar. These steel rods have become the tent stake of choice because they are relatively cheap and hold up against the playa winds better than standard-issue tent stakes.

Most rebar injuries result from stubbing a toe, piercing a foot or otherwise impaling a body part on the exposed metal. Injuries generally happen at times of low visibility, such as in the dark and massive dust storms.

The solution? Covering the exposed end of the rebar with a tennis ball, doll head, plastic bottle or other padding will help prevent injuries is a step in the right direction, but the best way to prevent injury is to HAMMER THAT SUCKER ALL THE WAY IN! However, before doing so, you have to make sure you are equipped to pull it out again. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Use a length of pipe to fit over the end of the rebar to bend it into a “J” before you hammer it in. Not only will this remove sharp ends that could hurt people, it will give you good attachment for guy lines and something you can grab when you’re trying to pull it out.
  • Bring a crowbar, pipe or something to pull it out with. The keyword here is LEVERAGE. Think Archemides, a fulcrum and moving the world.
  • Use vise grips or crow bar to twist the metal a rotation or two, tap it a few times on the side with a hammer, and it should pull straight out. If you’re still having trouble, remember: your car is stronger than you. Don’t forget work gloves.
  • Stubborn rebar can be coaxed out of the ground by pouring some water into the hole. Wiggle the rebar around a bit to get the water all the way down the length of the metal. Sometimes, this is all it takes to do the trick.
  • Whatever you do, DON’T leave the rebar behind, stuck in the ground. This is a Leave No Trace event, and part of the fun is the improvisation and community that comes from solving problems like getting that bastard out. If you can’t get it out, ask someone to help you. Adapt. Be dogged and tenacious. Don’t let it win.
  • Remember that guy lines are almost as dangerous as rebar. You don’t want to “clothesline” an unwary cyclist. Make guy lines more visible by sliding a short length (3- or 4-foot) of PVC over the line before driving peg into the ground. It CLEARLY marks both the line and the location of the peg, EVEN ON THE DARKEST NIGHT. When used with candy-caned rebar, it makes securing your structure fairly safe. (Thanks to Ray Leslie for this suggestion!)
  • You can also attach bright tape, ribbon or glow sticks. In a perfect world, guy lines would be marked with EL wire or Christmas lights to prevent people from clothes lining themselves in the dark, but do what you can.

For more detail, go to Securing Your Desert Structure

Playa First Aid Kit

Download the first edition of the ESD Playa First Aid Manual.

Here is a list of some of the basic things everyone should have on hand in their First Aid kit on the playa. Should an injury be serious or require more advanced care, the Emergency Services Department is there to help. Otherwise, the list below should see you through most minor injuries.

Packaged in an airtight container (Ziploc, Rubbermaid, etc):

  • Rapid COVID-19 self tests
  • Thermometer
  • A box of assorted sizes of adhesive bandages, aka “Band-aids”
  • 1 roll adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • Moleskin
  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons/pads)
  • 1” and 2” Coban or similar self-adhesive bandage wrap (works better than “Band-aids” and tape in the dust!)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipe packets
  • Aloe vera gel for minor burns and sunburn
  • Benadryl for minor allergic reactions, itching and a sleep aid too
  • Antacid (such as Maalox)
  • Anti-diarrheal medication (such as Immodium)
  • Laxative (such as Ex-Lax)
  • Saline eye wash solution
  • Breathing barrier (with one-way valve) ⟵ for mouth to mouth…let’s try to avoid this
  • Instant cold compress or zip lock bags to put ice in
  • Non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • Hydrocortisone ointment
  • Bandage scissors or Medic shears
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • One box sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • One box sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • Triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Chapstick
  • Sunscreen
  • Vinegar (to mix 1:4 with water for Playa Foot prevention).

Make a small kit out of the above supplies to have in your pack, along with your map and water bottle. (Have this in a small zip-lock, or just stuff it all into one of the exam gloves.)

  • Moleskin
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • I pair exam gloves

Optional items for a camp-sized first aid kit

  • Finger cots- these are great for keeping the dirt and grime out of wounds. Use them in conjunction with a dressing.
  • Alcohol wipes- use these to remove grease from around a wound before applying Benzoin. You can also use them to sanitize things.
  • Tincture of Benzoin- this comes in individually wrapped packages. They are swabs that you wipe on the skin around a wound (after cleaning said wound) to help the bandages stick.
  • Steri-strips- these are better than butterfly bandages for keeping wounds closed; use in conjunction with the Benzoin mentioned above.
  • Magnifying glass- to look for slivers and little tiny things.
  • Afrin- for nose bleeds

Any further questions can be addressed to

Don’t Get Sick

A few tips for staying healthy on the playa while you attend Burning Man.

Use hand sanitizer:
Use the hand sanitizer after using the porta-potties. Apply it faithfully and liberally. Black Rock Rangers have radios, and can help to make a refill request if a hand sanitizer station is empty.

Running after the water trucks:
DO NOT run after water trucks that are spraying water on roads for dust control to cool down or bathe. The water in these vehicles is full of bacteria and could make you sick. The playa gets very slick when water is applied to it and falling is another risk.

Regarding food:
Drink only bottled water or water that you know the origin of. Do not accept water from camps that you have doubts about, and do not share water bottles and canteens with other people.

Keep the refrigerated food in your camp colder than 41 degrees at all time. Restock the ice frequently and use a thermometer to make sure it is staying cold. If it becomes warm, bacteria will begin to grow and multiply and you will get sick as a result of eating it. This precaution applies to cut fruits such as melon as well.

If you are heating food, bring it to a full rolling boil or use a stem thermometer to make sure it gets to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not undercook fish, chicken or other raw foods of an animal origin. They are especially dangerous. Do not hold any food out of temperature more than 3 hours. Bacteria numbers by that time will be such that food borne illness will be very likely.

Keep the food surfaces in your camp as clean as you can. Wash your dishes in soapy water and rinse them in water that has 2 teaspoons of bleach added for every gallon of water. Dirty dishes can breed bacteria and make you ill.

Be cautious about where you eat and drink. While sharing is a great part of the Burning Man experience, food sharing has inherent risks associated with it. Be very careful about eating a food that you are offered if you are not sure that it has been prepared safely. Food sharing camps that are permitted by the Nevada State Health Division have been inspected and meet the minimum standards for cleanliness and food safety. They are on the playa every day. If you are unsure about a food sharing venue, ask them and they will try and assist you.

Giving food away, or trading for food is the same as a restaurant in the eyes of the Health Division, and permits and cooking standards will be enforced. Nevada State Health Division (NSHD) policy on communal kitchens is as follows: Any camp that is serving meals on a large scale (to 125 or more fellow campers at every meal consistently) must also obtain a permit. Go to, and scroll down to the flame icon for specific “Temporary Food Information for Burning Man”.

If you exhibit symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, high fever, jaundice and malaise, you may be carrying a viral pathogen that is highly contagious to others. Seek medical attention immediately and do not prepare or handle food.

Regarding the sun:
The sun is not your friend on the playa. It is a brutal source of radiation that can make you very sick and ruin your playa experience. Use hats, shades, sunscreens and shelters to minimize your dose!

Regarding sex:
Use protection and proper hygiene. You know, like always.

Health help on the playa:
If you have other health questions, members of the Nevada State Health Division, Bureau of Health Protection Services will be on the playa. They are happy to help your time at Burning Man be fun and healthy. You will know them by the Nevada State Health Division logo on their shirts.

Trash Minimization

Are you familiar with the Wayback Funk? It’s when you’re driving home from the playa with a stinking bag of trash in your car, and you’re reeking all the way back to civilization.

The funk begins to rise as soon as you start to drive and it gets worse the further you go, even when the funk is in the trunk. After all, there’s really nothing but a piece of cardboard between your trunk and the rest of your car, and it can get mighty hot back there.

Some people cannot abide the Wayback Funk. Last night they may have been wild primal beings, fearless and carefree and jumping over fires, but this morning they are deeply offended by the Funk. The odor of their own rotting history consumes them, enrages them, makes them mad. Where is my garbage disposal, my trash compactor, my sweet pine cleaner? Desperate, not thinking clearly, they jettison their bags in all the wrong places: in portajohns, at neighbor’s camps, near overflowing dumpsters and rumors of dumpsters, even along the side of the road; anything to be free of the Funk.

If this sounds like you, then roll down your windows and DEAL with it. With a little knowledge, and a little motivation, you too can limit your solid waste to a few compact, well-sealed bags that smell no worse than you do.

Gnostic Grocery Shopping

A successful garbage-reduction campaign begins in the supermarket. I mean your local store, not the one in Reno. While it may make sense to stock up on water and other heavy freight after you’ve cleared the mountains, there are a lot of good reasons to buy the bulk of your groceries at home, the day before you depart.

First, you’ll be able to do all your trimming and prep work at home, which not only simplifies cooking on the playa but also frees you from a particularly harsh source of Funk: animal bones and fat. Let’s face it: if you’re going to cut something off and throw it away, it makes sense to do it before you leave home, instead of buying that chicken bone a round-trip ticket to the Black Rock Desert. Moreover, it gives you a chance to jettison excess packaging and repack some of your perishable goods.

The fine line between food and garbage gets particularly thin on the playa. If Food plus Heat times Time equals Funk, then the only way you’re going to prevent excess stinkiness is to eat all your perishables before they head south.

When selecting menu items for playa dining, it’s important to keep the “long view” toward any particular food. Are you sure everyone in your party will like it? Are the portions appropriately sized? When dealing with foods with high Funk quotients, like meat and cheese, risk assessment is crucial. Before you put an item in your shopping cart, perform this simple exercise: briefly imagine what it’s going to smell like when it’s been out in the sun too long. Fill your mind with that smell. If it makes you gag, put it back. It’s that simple.

Also, don’t make the mistake of bringing too much food; excess always equals garbage. If you’re like most people, your appetite will dry up after a day or two in the sun. It’s a natural consequence of putting your body in such an arid, inhospitable environment. Based on an informal survey of many playa-goers over the years, the average appetite loss seems to be on the order of 35 to 50 percent.

For planning purposes, that means you only need 2/3 of the food that you think you’ll need, and everything else is dumb waste. If you wind up with an excess of canned or dried food, no big deal; you can just haul it home, dust it off, and pull it out again next year. But when it comes to perishables, excess really bites.

Bottom line: don’t bother taking more than two days’ worth of fresh bread, fresh fruit, or fresh produce to the playa; they won’t last any longer than that no matter what you do. There’s no way you can win on this one: if you pack them in plastic, the greenhouse effect will steam them into mush. If you pack them in paper, they’ll be croutons in no time. In the high desert, perishables truly live up to their name.

When it comes to packaging, choose aluminum over plastic, and plastic over glass. Aluminum can be recycled in camp, plastic can be crushed flat, and glass is just a big pain in the butt. My only exception here is in the realm of alcoholic beverages, where glass seems to redeem itself despite a tendency to split the seams of cheap trash bags and slice up the occasional foot.While beer is available in cans, good beer is not. Likewise, wine-in-the-box may be an efficient use of packaging, but it also reminds us of how very easy it is to take this whole trash-reduction thing too seriously.

Here are a few more tips for your shopping basket:

  • Bring water in 1-gallon jugs instead of those 2.5 gallon “suitcases” — they’re easier to use, and much easier to cram into a trash bag. They’re also refillable, where suitcases are not.
  • Forget the watermelon; you’re not going to eat it. Every year, people leave a mountain of watermelons behind, and they never get eaten. I will never understand this.
  • Ask any miner: canned food is good food!

Purposefully Packing Provisions

After you get all your food and beverages home, it’s time to remove and discard all the excess packaging. For instance, your cereal’s already in a bag — why do you need a box as well? Buy a truckload of high-quality, “freezer strength” ziploc bags. Double-bag all your trimmed meats and freeze them solid — that way they’ll serve double duty as ice in your cooler (for style points, freeze in a marinade, then go straight to the grill when thawed). Bag everything you can bag, and freeze everything you can freeze, including fruit juices and plastic bottles of water. At our house, this strategy gives us an annual excuse to purge the freezer. We throw away all the year-old toaster waffles and fill it up with stuff we’re going to take out to the desert.

Pre-cooked and partially-cooked meals are well-suited to the relaxed pace of playa living — but only if you can find the time to cook before you leave (good luck!). One year I managed to smoke a bunch of game hens before I left, and that turned out to be a good move. We worked the birds into a variety of meals, or just gnawed on them cold when we were too lazy to light the campstove (which, come to think of it, was pretty often).

While you’re packing, please don’t forget to bring a flat-bladed shovel for scraping food accidents off the playa and two boxes of high-quality plastic trash bags. Be advised, a cheap bag can be worse than no bag at all. If it fails during a windstorm, or at 60 mph on the back of a Reno-bound truck, you’ve got an environmental catastrophe on your hands. Use a good quality bag, or better yet two, and make sure it’s tied off at all times to something reasonably sturdy, like a car door handle or a main tent support. We buy drawstring-top bags in the “tall kitchen” size, which we’ve found to be a lot easier to work with than the larger, 30-gallon size. Drawstrings help keep the trash in the bag, and make it a cinch to tie down.

Don’t air your grievances often; gravity does its job and keeps objects anchored to the playa in the expected fashion. But violent weather can arrive suddenly, at any time, and change that perception in an instant. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by clear skies and limp flags; the wind and rain are always on their way.

I’ve heard it suggested that a good way to reduce the funk factor is to spread one’s garbage out on plastic and let it dry in the sun before rebagging it and driving it out. While this can reduce the stench dramatically, a sudden storm could make you wish you’d left it in the bag. Better to separate the recyclables from the yuck as you go, and minimize the latter through good planning.

Waste Not, Rot Not

Camping leftovers are always nasty, and on the playa it’s even worse. If you choose not to finish your plate, where’s all that tasty organic goodness going to go? You might:

  • Persuade someone else to eat it
  • Scrape it into a trash bag
  • Fling it under a car and forget about it

The first approach is of course the best (after all, Burning Man is about giving, isn’t it?), but if no one has the stomach to deal with your half-eaten bratwurst, it’s going to have to go somewhere else. If you put it in the trash, someone is going to be mighty unhappy on the drive home — hopefully you. Don’t even think about ditching anything under my car (or anyone else’s, for that matter). Are you sure you don’t want to just take a few more bites and finish your plate? You can’t hide your leftovers in the bushes, because there are no bushes. If you pour anything out onto the playa, it just sits there.

The simplest answer here is to only cook what you can eat, and to eat every scrap of what you cook. And if this sage advice fails? The only sensible way to deal with leftovers and kitchen slop is to bring a bucket with a tight-fitting lid and use that for all your wet garbage.

When it comes to the perishables in your ice chest, keep in mind that your only ally in that endless entropic race between “food” and “garbage” is our old friend Ice. If you let the ice melt, then your deli drawer is going to go septic faster than you can say “ham.”

I May Be Trash But My Trash Don’t Stink

Reducing your trash, sorting out the recyclables, keeping bags under control: these are all pretty simple tasks if you think about it. I guarantee it will make for a better camping experience, and help lighten our group footprint in the process.