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The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada

Packing and preparing for Burning Man is an absolute mission.

I can tell you that for free.

Packing for Burning Man is not something you can rustle together a few days before you head into the desert. If you do? There’s bound to be things you forget and things you then don’t have time to source. You’re going to need to make Amazon orders and store pickups alongside both Walmart and Costco outings for this one.

Burning Man is the real deal. Burning Man is the festival of all festivals and as the commandments state, this festival is all about radical self-reliance, i.e. you have to rely on yourself and no one else.

You can read the official 10 commandments of Burning Man here.

A complete guide to attending Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

Is there really no money at Burning Man?

Correct. Well, barre one thing… The only thing that you can purchase when you get to Black Rock City (the festival location) is ice.

Ice price at Burning Man 2017 (you will need cash): $4 per bag/block or $24 for 6 bags. (No deal. No deal there at all.)

I think that’s all you can buy anyway. I read somewhere that you can buy coffee too, but I never saw it.

I’m so confused. How is there no money? How does it work?

  • Aside from the ice pick up, you won’t find a dollar insight during your time in this pop-up city.
  • You have a week to survive the desert heat, dust, raves and energy-zapping activities galore – and you must bring enough to accommodate for all.
  • Shopping for the latter is rather difficult when you have no idea what your week is going to entail and therefore have no idea what you’ll be wanting. Right?

That’s where I’ve got you! 

I guess the mystery surrounding Burning Man was one of the things that attracted me to the ‘playa’ all this time. The mystery, the magic and the fact that until you go – you really don’t know what goes on in this famous playground.

Oh now, I do, I really do. 

Now that I’ve been to Burning Man I have a pretty good idea of what one might need and what one might want during the week. My second Burn was more successful in my eyes because I knew what I needed the second time around. I knew what my body would go through and what it would crave.

In this blog post, I am going to do my best to inform you of all the things I deem essential when attending Burning Man.

Here’s My Ultimate Packing And Shopping List For Burning Man:

Disclaimer: This packing list will vary from person to person depending on how you choose to camp, how much of a desert princess you are and how dirty you’re ready to get.

The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

The Burning Man Wardrobe

What is the weather like?

You are in the middle of the Nevada desert in the summer heat so days are hot (30-38 deg C this year) and nights are usually pretty cold. Friends that had attended last year (2016) emphasised to me the need to bring ALL THE FUR for the nights, but this year most evenings were super mild and I only wore a fur coat out twice.

This year the wind was also not so het up (hence the milder temperatures) and so we only had two little dust storms during our time at Burning Man.

I actually didn’t use my dust masks or goggles at all and guides I had read made me think I’d wear them 24/7. Saying that, they are a good idea to protect particularly your nose from dust build up. More on that later…

Basically, you have to be prepared for all potential weather here in the desert and it has the potential for anything.

What outfits do I need to pack?


Girls, you’ll pretty much be naked, or half naked at least. It’s simply about how far you’re comfortable to take it. As the week progresses and you settle into your new home, you’ll be wearing less and less. You’ll soon realise no one cares and that there always someone more naked than you. It’s HOT and we prioritise being comfortable in the desert.

Think Along The Lines Of:

  • Leotards / bikinis / swimming costumes
  • Hotpants
  • Floaty long skirts (transform yourself into the ultimate Playa Princess)
  • Pasties (nipple covers)
  • Jewelled crops / bralets
  • Shoulder chains / feathers
  • Flipflops (for pottering around camp in the day)
  • Glitter / face and body jewels

Must Haves For The Day:

  • Hydration bladder – shop here
  • Sunglasses (bring a selection, you’ll probably end up losing a pair)
  • A vacuum insulated bottle – shop here
  • An awesome quality pair of boots (you’ll be doing a lot of dancing and walking, it’s worth the investment otherwise… hello blisters. I got my black ones (see below) from Unisa and absolutely loved and lived in them)
The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada
The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog


  • Jumpsuits
  • Awesome leggings
  • Netted dresses
  • Leotards

(Basically daytime clothes with the addition of layers depending on the temperature)

Must Haves For The Evening:

  • Hydration bladder – shop here
  • LED lights (these are perfect, Amazon all the way)
  • More LED lights for your bike (You can literally never have enough LED lights)

You should never go out at night without lighting yourself and your bike up.

Dollskill, Amazon, Asos, Burnt Soul Clothing, Ebay, Goodwill (second hand stores located all over the US), Haight Street (If you make a pit stop or come from San Francisco, which most people do, head to Haight Street. It’s literally got everything you could possibly need for Burning Man in one single street.)

Top tips For Outfits:

  • Use Ziplock bags to separate things (under wear, leotards, jewellery), keep them fresh and away from dust
  • There’s a thing called ‘tutu tuesdays’ at Burning Man so if you want to get involved – pack your tutu!
  • Grab a couple of big tubs from Walmart for $3 keep your bits separate and stored efficiently
  • I actually bought a pair of sculpting black hot pants from Primark for £2 and ended up living in them. They were the best comfy daytime option that transferred to a great evening option with some sparkles on top half. I would grab a couple extra pairs next time.
  • Clothes with LED lighting can be pretty expensive. If you want some but need to stay in budget, we added some LED’s to our lights with safety pins so grab some LED’s shop here and then a pack of safety pins!
The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

The Big Food Shop

Food purchases depend on whether you have a generator for running a fridge, whether you have a freezer or whether you’re camping with cool boxes. We got mainly food that didn’t need to be cooked and took a few cool boxes that we topped up with ice (which we bought on the playa, see above).

Obviously possibilities are endless if you take a gas stove, generator, camper van or RV. Maybe next time!

Here’s what we bought (to feed two of us) from Costco on a no-cook basis:

  • Dried mango
  • 8 pack pre-cooked chickpea curry sachets
  • 8 pack brown rice and quinoa sachets
  • Fresh food for first few days (lettuce, tomatoes, salad bits)
  • 4 x guacamole tubs
  • Tub of pesto
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Pop tarts
  • Oreos
  • Mixed peppers
  • Coconut chips
  • Broccolli
  • Cauliflower rice (went off and SMELT straight away – do not recommend)
  • Hummus
  • Almond butter
  • 30 X Berry and protein smoothie sachets
  • resuable water bottle
  • bin bags

Other great ideas for no onsite cooking:


  • Water – aim to 1.5 gallons each per day. You don’t want to run out!!!
  • Coconut water (amazing for hydration)
  • Energy shots (amazing for… energy!)
  • Fruit juices
  • Chosen alcohol spirits
  • Mixers of your choice
  • Milkshakes

Tip: Pick up your water in Reno on the drive through. Less weight to carry.

A complete guide to attending Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

Housing, Comfort And Getting Around

The Main Choices You Have For Desert ‘Accommodation’ Are:

  • A tent (hardest option, unless you have a fan or a generator to run A/C through)
  • Hexayurt (these are awesome but take a couple of days to prep before you get to the desert)
  • RV (ultimate)
  • UHaul it (I mean this isn’t a legit option that people consider, but it’s what we did)

If you’re camping / yurting you’ll need:

  • Mattresses
  • Duvet and pillows
  • Sheets

Getting Around:


You can pick one up at Walmart for as little at 79$. I ordered one online and picked it up at Reno Walmart on my way through to Nevada.

Tip: If you can, get a tricycle where you can put a cool box on the back for daytime explorations. When you’re in the desert and dancing you’ll be gagging for anything cold. Having a toolbox of beers and drinks is the ONE. Next time.

For Comfort, Also Consider…

  • Spray bottle/mister

This will change your entire life, I made BBF’s with anyone that had one. I wouldn’t go without one again.

  • Shade structure.

Seriously. Create shade. Noone likes hangovers in the desert heat.

  • Big mirror

To check up on your awesome outfits, apply glitter and generally check you’re alive. Obviously.

  • Outdoor chairs

To chill on in the day, to use while you eat or are pre-gaming.

  • Foldable table

To raise food/clothes/cooking equipment off of the floor.

  • Cutlery, cooking utensils etc.

Tip: Costco stocks lots of cheap pillows, mattresses, sleeping bags and cushions. Walmart has all your camping essentials.

Toiletries / Beauty

  • Medical kit including emergen C (vitamin c sachets popular in America), electrolyte drinks and packets, blister plasters, lip balm with SPF (I got sun blisters on my bottom lip after spending a full day in the sun), Advil / paracetamol.
  • party recovery vitamins (Berocca, vitamin mix, 5 HTP)
  • baby wipes, face wipes
  • tangle teaser, shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, hair oil
  • tarpaulin for a shower, stop mud pond
  • nose filter
  • tissues
  • toilet roll
  • eye mask (you’ll be trying to sleep in the day after an all-night party at least one day trust me)
  • face and body moisturiser
  • eye drops
  • quick dry towel (even if you don’t have a shower, you can pour water on yourself)
  • gum
  • hand sanitiser

… and of course your standard toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, earbuds, facial cleanser and moisturiser, shower gel, sun cream etc.

My Top Tips:

The fine white playa dust will get EVERYWHERE… up your nose, in your hair and everywhere on your body.

  • Your nose is likely to dry, bleed and block unless you take nose plugs or wear a dust mask. You kinda embrace it though. Keep tissues on hand for nose bleeds and vaseline to soothe it.
  • Your hair (even if you don’t wash it for a week like me) won’t get that greasy. The playa dust kind of acts like a dry shampoo and does wonders for your hair volume and styling. Don’t stay on top of it though and it will begin to matt and dread. I left conditioner and hair oil on the ends every day and ran my tangle teaser through it. There were breakages but it wasn’t totally destroyed. Others get their hair braided, keep it up or wear wigs to protect it.
  • Your body will just need to surrender to the dust. I would recommend body lotion to keep it hydrated though.

My Absolute Burning Man Essentials:

Just don’t go to Burning Man without the following:

Personal essentials:

  • hair oil
  • glitter (Make sure it’s biodegradable and playa friendly. Leave no trace.)
  • lip balm
  • wet wipes
  • hair clips
  • Invisibobble hair ties
  • face mask (I had a bandana that I kept around my neck and lifted if there was a sand storm)
  • batteries for lights (usually AA) – shop here
  • portable charger to give my gopros juice – shop my favourite here
  • disposable camera (keeps the mystery of photos a treat for when you’re home, no battery issues and easy to carry)
  • scissors (cutting things, opening things, adjusting outfits)
  • spare tyres/bike pump (your bike is so essential you do not want to be without it)
My reaction to Burning Man plus your FAQ’S answered | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

I think that’s everything! If I think of something I missed, I’ll add it in.

Do you want to read more about my Burning Man experience?

Check out my complete guide to Burning Man here

See my reaction to Burning Man 2017 here.

Of course, ABSOLUTELY make sure you have travel insurance and a valid ESTA to enter the US with.

Have You Been to Burning Man?

What were your essentials!?

Love as always + happy adventuring,


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The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada
The ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man, Nevada




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