We've always been super curious about Burning Man, and have always dreamt of hanging out in the playa playground of dreams - surrounded by all the creatives, all those free and crazy people. Our girl Megan has been a couple of times... and she's given us the complete load down - answering all the questions you might have - like do you honestly not take ANY money? Not showering for a week in the desert? And the age old question... what do you wear?!
A willingness to throw yourself into each moment head first is guaranteed to turn your time at Burning Man into a bizarre festival of the imagination. But fear not… If your inner cynical bastard is adamant on making himself heard that’s okay too. The rawness of the desert and all the feral folk who have come to inhabit it will have a way of freeing the freak you have inside and melting away your reservations.
You are expected to be self-sufficient and look after yourself here – health and safety is pretty much non-existent, so bring a few brain-cells along. But don’t panic! People want you to have a good time and will go out of their way to make sure you are fed, watered, warm and protected from the elements. If you do forget a vital element someone will have remembered it for you. Rumours abound of naked David, who goes each year in nothing but his birthday suit (I’m pretty sure I met him one year on the way in, but that may have just been another naked hippy called David); you will be fine. It’s common to find yourself humbled to the point of speechlessness over the love a human you’ve never met before has bestowed on you.
Oh darlings you are just perfect the way you are. But who said there is no improving on perfection? Your bag needs to be stuffed to the seams with all the glamour of Dame Edna meets Pocahontas. A Burnt Soul body is a perfect go-to daytime piece – comfortable, cool and easy to accessorise, or one our new mesh catsuits, keeping you cool but giving you a little more coverage! Night time can be nippy so a big fur coat, think walking sleeping bag, is a saviour. Pair this with a Burnt Soul catsuit, bum-bag and some elaborate face-paints. Glitter is a no go for Burning Man (with its Leave No Trace policy) so go hard on the body paint! Goggles are handy, although I rarely ended up using mine for dust storms but they look pretty funky anyways. And make sure you bring plenty of glow sticks, LED wire, UV paint and all that jazz so people can see you at night. The costumes on show will blow your mind so choose your own balance between feeling relaxed and looking like a god.
There always seems to be someone waiting with a watermelon cocktail when you feel a bit parched, or a toasted cheese sandwich just as you notice a tummy rumble, but do bring enough to supply yourself for the duration of your stay. I love tortilla chips with grated cheese, jalapenos, and kidney beans left in the sun for a bit (add tuna if you’re not veggie). Get creative but be sensible. It’s bloody hot out there! If you have the luxury of a fridge or cooler box some UHT milk and cereal is handy. Cereal bars, Gatorade, nuts and seeds, crisps and apples. We normally take a stove, which means canned meals with bread (mmm, nutritious) are a staple meal. Tonnes of water for drinking and a quick rinse (remember to collect your grey water). And booze. Lots of booze. Although the majority of large camps run free bars 24 hours a day they always appreciate the gift of a large bottle of spirits from time to time. Great tip I learned last year: you can buy giant cocktail shakers in Walmart…
Black Rock City is bigger than your imagination has space for, definitely take some wheels so you can see as much of it as possible (available from various BM friendly business or Walmart – see BM website for more info). A lock can be useful just in case someone mistakes your bike for theirs in the blackness of night. You will feel so much better about life if you stock up on decorations to make your bike as glorious as you are. And lights. Lots of lights. EVERYWHERE!
Contrary to popular belief there is no trading or bartering system at Burning Man, instead the idea is that everyone is giving to everyone. That means people don’t expect to be given something in return for gifting something to you. You can gift anything you like from the practical – lip balm, energy boosting sweeties, wet wipes – to the pretty – bindis, temporary tattoos, necklaces – to the precious – poetry, a song, a massage. But just contributing your time, energy and good vibes can be the biggest gift. To gift more officially consider joining a camp and dedicating some hard work to making the cogs keep turning. (Note: as of recent years there is some use for money – you can buy hot drinks at centre camp and ice at designated ice posts between specified hours each day – ideal for that giant cocktail shaker).
The dust is your friend and the quicker you embrace that the less you care about your new dreadlocks and black snot. If you have paid to be part of a camp you may have showers available, but I find the dust almost cleans you, absorbing all your sweat and keeping you cool. Plus if you get stuck in a dust-storm you look like a bit of a silver-fox, or maybe more like you’ve been through an ‘age-me’ app. I’ve relied on babywipes a lot, but a friend introduced me to coconut oil and kitchen towel baths – amazing! Just rub in oil, wipe with kitchen towel, spray with water if you happen to have a vaporiser lying around (he did!) and hey presto, you are like a soft baby’s bum.
It might be called Burning Man but it’s the Temple that has everyone talking. Each year a new sanctuary is unveiled, a space to go for peace, to reflect, to grieve, to celebrate, to feel yourself drown in the beauty of life. The messages people write on the walls are often inspiring, sometimes silly, and frequently heart-breaking. I walked in last year giggling only to find myself face-to-face with a lesson in humanity, a lesson in my own mistakes and how to move on from them, which left me choking on tears and still sends a shiver down my spine. It’s not always that intense, but don’t underestimate the power of the temple.
(Photo: David Best & the Temple Crew)
Your playa name will find you if you don’t find it first. My first year I stumbled across a naming camp where 3 people gave you an in-depth interview then gave you your name (I was Re-mix, based on my passion for music and career messing with people’s minds as a psychologist). But it seems it’s better to let your name come naturally, my previous playa name gained on the journey in (from a particularly explicit tale) has stuck like glue, I’m still trying to peel it off and it can’t be replaced… From Firefly to Foxfluffer, The Guzzler to Silky Smooth, Cheeky Chops to Bullseye, The Mallet to Pirate Pete, the world is your oyster. Whether it’s already your nickname, something you make up en-route or a name that is gifted to you once on the playa you’ll know when it fits.
(Sergeant Smiles in his Vintage Burnt Soul Catsuit, Photo: Instagram)
There is so much going on it’s impossible to see it all. Take a look at the schedule for a flavour of what’s on (Tutu Tuesday is pretty wonderous, and the naked tit cycle…) but accept that you will probably be too caught up having a creepy snog with a side of sleaze at the kissing booth to make it on time for your mates Thunderdome battle. Art installations, mutant vehicles, live performances, interactive displays – it’s an incessant influx of WHAT?!?!?! to your senses. Walk as far out into deep playa as you can, there are some weird things out there, and take time to traipse through all the random back streets of the campsite too, it’s where the most memorable moments are made. I learned something I wish I’d listened to the first time I went: Never Go Back. There is so much to see and do just keep moving forwards.
(Photo: Spencer Tunick)
Hope you loved our top ten tips for Burning Man, we’d love to hear your thoughts or own tips in the comments section below. Please see the Burning Man website for a proper first timers guide, including sensible tips on what to pack, how to get there, where to sleep, law enforcement, how the festival is laid out and how to be safe at Burning Man.
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Follow our quick and easy video tutorial to add sleeves to any of your Burnt Soul Catsuits and Leotards and never be left out in the cold again!
Below is a size chart to guide you to your best Burnt Soul size along with some information of the different types of fabrics we use.
Fabrics - The amount of stretch you have in different styles will depend on the fabric it's made from.
Foils - We use a few different types of foils in our designs and they all act slightly differently. The black snake print we use for the Siren Catsuits is the most stretchy fabric we use but the rest of the foils tend to have less stretch due to the glue and foil coating.
Prints - The lycra we have recently started using for all our prints is a recycled Life Lycra. This is less stretchy compared to the Lycra we have used previously so if you're a repeat customer, you may feel the difference when buying the same sizes.
Sequins - The sequin fabric we use is embellished onto stretchy mesh so it has less stretch and acts differently compared to the Lycra catsuit. Whilst we have tried to allow for this in the sizing, if you're in between sizing then we suggest going for the larger size.
Leg length - All of the legs are cut more on the longer side and are comfortably suitable for an inside seam of 28"-35". Rebecca pictured here is 5'5" and we did roll these under by a few inches. If you want these tailored to your length click here to add an alteration along with the purchase of your catsuit. This will make the piece non-returnable.
Long torso - Due to the cut, the backless catsuits offer a lot more give so these are recommended for a longer body. We will also be offering torso alterations very soon!
Please contact us for more information or advice on sizing.
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