Gear needs, budget & advice
What you need and spend will depend on a huge variety of factors including how much money you have/want to spend, what your camp setup is like, how rough/comfortable you want to be, how much alcohol you want to drink and what sort of food you are eating. I was incredibly lucky to have a very supportive and generous camp of very experienced burners – I look forward to helping others as my camp helped me in my first year!
Summary (including return flights)
- Absolute minimum: $2200 NZD (rough and lucky!)
- Comfortable and some luxuries: $3500 NZD (what I spent)
- Deluxe baller: $5000-$8,000 NZD (I am not sure if you are quite 'getting it', but thats just my perspective!)
1) The Event Ticket (390 USD + booking fees, about $600 NZD)
- More info at: www.tickets.burningman.org
- You need to 'pre-register' for the ticket sale early Feb (this was how it worked in 2015) and then be online to 'click purchase' mid-Feb when they go on sale. You can purchase two tickets per registration. Last year they sold out in a few minutes and many people missed out (though alot of tickets go into circulation for sale, especially as you get closer to the event). Make your your credit card is ready, laptop charged and WIFI connection good...
- In addition to the main sale there is usually an early sale in January (pre-sale more expensive tickets for $800 USD) and a late sale in July/August (OMG sale). The ticket info for 2016 will be updated soon, if it has not been yet.
- You can also purchase a $50 USD vehicle pass if you want to take a car onsite (I got one for my camp).
2) Return Flights from NZ – San Francisco ($1200-$1600 NZD)
- Set up price watch on Adioso.com
- Ideally arrive 3-10 days before the event. This allows time to prep personally and/or be involved in prep with a camp. I got a huge amount out of helping the pre-event prep as I got to know the team more and felt like I had put more into the event. It also gives you time to mentally prep…
- I personally booked my flights in February for $1400 NZD return Auckland-LA. From LA I got a flight to Denver and then drove with my camp mates for two days to the event in Nevada, after helping them with prep (and visiting friends). Though before I left NZ I changed my return flight as I later went on to San Francisco, New York and then Europe as part of the Mirroman World Tour. If you have some extra time before or after then it will make the trip more worthwhile (be aware you will need 3 days of sleep to recover and you won't be the same ever again...).
3) Getting there and back ($0-$400)
- Internal Flights within the US if your travelling before or after (I.e. I flew to Denver then drove). Some people also fly into Reno near the event (you still need to get a ride out there).
- Hire a car, grab a ride with a friend (petrol) or hitch. There is also forums/facebook pages to organise lifts. This is all part of the adventure!
- There is a bus 'The Burner Express' to the event from San Francisco ($100 USD, around $150 NZD each way). I found a ride back to San Francisco post event with people I met at the event.
4) Food and alcohol ($200-500)
- Very dependent on your budget and if your eating with others. I spent about $300 on food and alcohol as part of our camp and we ate very well, plus we had a decent stocked bar setup.
5) Camp contribution and supplies pre event ($50-$300)
- Depending on your camp there will be a cost for general camp supplies such as cooker gas, generator petrol, rubbish fees and water filling fees. I spent about $50 NZD on these.
- Camp gear including shelters, cookers, tie downs and other communal setup items. My camp had most of this gear already (the value of joining an established camp), though I spent about $100 NZD on random items such as bolts, stakes, tie downs and camp art and installation supplies.
- Onsite you can only purchase two things: coffee and ice (you will need both to survive!).
6) Gifts (0-$200)
- Due to the gifting economy you are going to receive (and give) all sorts of weird and wonderful gifts including cocktails, hugs, body paint, showers, water, crystals, necklaces, rocks, full meals, smoothies, chocolate and lollies, kisses, stickers, costumes and clothing, massages, coffee and much more.
- You should plan to have some sort of gift to give. It does not need to cost you, the key is something meaningful such as rocks from your home country or bracelets you make.
7) Essential personal items to pick up in NZ before you go ($50-$200 NZD)
- Buff neck scarf or similar (keeps dust out of your mouth/face and keeps you warm at night) - $30.
- Futuristic but comfortable googles (recommend looking on trade me for 'Steampunk') - $30.
- Cheap watch (you wont have your phone on you, its nice to be able to tell if the sun is rising or setting, cheap as it will get dusty and scratched out there) - $20
- Sealable cup with carabiner clip to hang on your belt (you get free drinks everywhere, but you need your own cup and you want to be able to bike around with a cocktail sealed in your cup!) - $20.
- Durable water-bottle (ideally you can hang on your belt, some people had water backpacks, make sure its not plastic tasting!) - $20
- Torch and spare batteries (ideally a head touch you can also hang on your belt) - $20.
- Some LEDs (for you/your bike in deep playa (desert) to avoid collisions with other speedsters) - $10-40.
8) Essential personal items to get in the US or bring from NZ ($50)
- Baby wipes, Sunscreen, aloe vero moisturiser, hand sanitiser, insect spray.
- Spare plastic water bottle to spit teeth brushing water into (don’t spit it into your evaporation pond as it will cause a plague!).
9) Camping gear to take or borrow
- Tent + shade structure (or vehicle to sleep in+shade structure). You could also build something or rent/buy something more elaborate but expensive...
- Sleeping bag, airbed/mat/stretcher and blanket (it gets COLD)
- Personal eating utensils
10) Personal Clothing to take or borrow
- Warm hat, thermals top and bottom and gloves (temperatures can range from 0-45 Degrees C).
- Warm fur coat (stylish and warm). I took a puffer jacket which I never used as it felt too plain - however I used my $30 op shop fur coat alot!
11) Costumes! ($50-$300)
- As many costumes as you can fit in your backpack without confusing customs and taking into account how many months you would be on the road afterwards (oops).
- Personal favourites included: 'Tutu Tuesday' attire (yes including booty shorts), sequin space pants, viking horns, 'Ladies Night' attire, full body human disco ball suit (Mirrorman), colourful clothes, fur coat, LEDs, EL wire and stripy pants. Basically you want something amazing to wear everyday if you can manage it!
- I highly recommend you get right into the costume side of the event - let loose! Make stuff before you go and borrow things off friends!