Welcome Black Rock Citizen!

Welcome to our Burning Man Survival Guide. We hope our tips help it make The Best Burn EVER!

What To Do Before & After Burning Man

What To Do Before & After Burning Man


Every crew has a ritual of sorts developed over the years to make sure everything goes smooth going in and out of the desert. Depending on how far away you are traveling, alone or with a group, some things will vary of course. Here are some tips and tricks that we found helpful along the way, whether you are coming from abroad or coming in from the states.

Before you go...

  • Aquire missing gear from hardware store, camp outlet, thrift shops
  • Test Bikes if you are not renting them on the playa
  • Test your gear, tent, lights, etc.
  • Check your gear list and all gear is packed
  • Buy Groceries, Water, Personal Care Products
  • Precook meals and freeze them to insta cook at the playa.
  • Check Your Maps
  • Fill up Gas, Tires, Brake Fluid, Oil, etc.
  • Cover car/RV interior with second hand sheets (found at second hand shops)
  • Have a good dinner
  • Get a good night sleep - You don't want to fall asleep at the wheel driving in.

The day before, actually a couple days we start. Depending on how much you need to still get, give yourself some extra time to find it. We make sure that we have all the gear on our checklist. Usually we have to replace, fix, upgrade something, so we pickup anything we might be missing at the hardware store or camp outlet. Thrift shops are a great place to pick up sheets, costumes, furniture and other decorations to make a camp nice.

Grocery Tips

You will need to make sure you get enough food and water for the trip. If you wait till the last grocery store before Gerlach, you may find a lot of essential items missing from the shelves. Other burners have been before you. Make sure to get your groceries at least the day before you go. Some last minute items you could probably find along the way, but better safe than sorry.

Here is a tip. Rent an AirBNB apartent with a kitchen, you can precook a lot of your meals. Then freeze them and place them in coolers to be heated up on the playa. Pastas, soups, chilis and the like are good examples.


Lost on the road?

As you begin to get closer to the burn, you will notice the man on different vans and caravans. An art car on a trailer is a good giveaway. Usually these folks know where they are going...

Fill Up The Gas

If you are driving in, make sure to fill up your gas, and grab an extra portable tank with you just in case. More than one burner has run out of gas on the way back from the burn. Hours of waiting in line with the AC running, and no more gas....



There is a safeway leaving Reno going to Gerlach. We have gotten a safeway pass just for the burn. When you do grocery shopping at Safeway, you gain points. You can use those points for free gas at the Safeway Gas station in Reno. A great tip for the thrifty Burner.


When You Come Back From Burning Man...

There are a number of chores to do after you return from the Burn. Here is a short list to help you check.

  • Waste Disposal - See below for a list of places
  • Grey Water Disposal - See below for a list of places
  • Recycle - See below for a list of places
  • Gear cleanup - Find a car wash, get some coins and get spraying.
  • RV / Car Cleanup -Make sure to clean your vehicle after the Burn. The playa dust will create havoc otherwise. Here are tips on how to clean your RV or Car
  • Laundry - While some are washing the gear, others can use the laundromat to wash clothes.
  • Storage - If you are putting your gear into storage, make sure it is all dried and clean before you do. You don't want to have dusty or moldy gear sitting for a year.
  • Shower - All your gear is clean, time to get you clean. It's amazing how much dust you will find. Pack a set of clean clothes before the burn in a sealed bag. Put this on when you are back and you will feel a lot better.
  • Stuff your face with food - Nothing like getting back, getting clean and getting food to tie a group together. Sparks has a great BBQ festival going on at the end of the burn. Not for vegetarians or vegans...
  • Get a mani - pedi - Yes, your poor feet and hands will thank you. Make sure to give a good tip to whoever has to deal with your broken toes and fingers.
  • Find A Local Decompression - There is an adjustment for a lot of people back to the old world. There are a number of parties and get togethers that local burners do to "decompress". Go join one of these events and connect with the community more.

Waste Disposal

Make sure to keep your waste separated into recyclables as much as possible. Use separate garbage bags for paper,  for cans, food waste and plastic. This makes waste disposal much more effective. There are drop off points at a number of stores and facilities in Reno and surrounding cities. More recycling options at www.earth911.org.

Do not throw your garbage into a dumpster behind a store. If you do go in and have a meal at a restaurant, you can ask them if you could put a couple of bags in their dumpster. Be cool about it, not sneaky. Every year new burners dump garbage on the side of the road and any free dumpster right away. It gives a bad name to burners and does not follow the Leave No Trace principle of Burning Man. It is also ILLEGAL! So do not do it! 

Here are a number of locations which you can goto and dispose of your waste

Whole Foods Market - Trash-Recycling
6139 South Virginia St, Reno, NV
Open 6am – Midnight Sept. 3 – Sept. 7
$5 per 35 gallon trash bag
Free Recycling Clean, sort, and unbag recyclables before depositing – Hazardous waste prohibited

Nixon Gas Station & Store - accepts trash only
State Rt 447 corner of State Rt 446, Nixon NV
24 hours from Aug. 24th to Sept. 6
$5 bag

Waste Management: Fernley/Churchill Transfer Station - accepts trash & recycling
1100 US Hwy 95a S. Fernley NV
24 hours Sept 3 - Sept. 5 • 8am-4:30pm Sept. 6 – Sept 10 • Closed Lunch 12-12:30pm
$16 minimum for land ll, per cubic yard – Free Recycling

Waste Management in Stead - accepts trash and recycling
13890 Mt Anderson St. in Reno
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Prices not available

SaveMart - accepts trash and recycling from Sept. 2 to Sept. 6
525 Keystone Ave in Reno
24-hours from Sept. 2 to Sept. 6 for disposal and recycling
$10 for a 35-pound bag; recycling is free

Rabbit Traxx Store - accepts trash-recycling
580 Patterson Way, Cedarville CA
24 hours Sept. 3 – Sept 7
$5 per 35gal trash bag • Free Recycling
Hazardous Waste Prohibited – Clean, sort, and unbag recyclables before depositing

Waste Management in Reno - accepts trash and recycling
1392 E. Commercial Row in Reno - trash
1100 E Commercial Row in Reno - recycling
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
$25 for one cubic yard, $15 for additional cubic yards; recycling is free

Waste Management in Fernley - accepts trash and recycling
1100 Highway 95 A in Fernley
24 hours from 2 p.m. Sept. 4 to 4 p.m. Sept. 6; normal hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
No prices available

Waste Management east of Sparks - accepts trash and recycling
2700 E. Mustang Road, Sparks, NV
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Prices not available

DPW Team Ready To Clean! Photo via  burningman.com

DPW Team Ready To Clean! Photo via burningman.com

Donate your Food and Water to Cleanup Crew

Did you know that volunteers stay for a months to make sure that everything is cleaned up completely from Burning Man? This does not mean that you can dump your stuff. They make sure it is spotless as should you. Make their job easier. Besides making sure you leave no trace, you can donate your unused water and non perishable food to the volunteers. While driving out you will see a drop-off station near the festival exit. Just pre-pack everything in a box or bag to hand to them on the way out. Good karma!


Photo by  Vito Fun

Photo by Vito Fun

There are a number of camps at Burning Man which recycle waste.
Cans can be recycled at the Recycle Camp. They are crushed and taken to schools for deposit in Gerlach.
Wood pieces can be given to Burners Without Borders starting Sunday at 3, 6 and 9 on the Esplanade. Drop off your usable lumber (full size pieces of 2 x 4, 4 x 4, and plywood only, please; no scraps), as well as certain building materials (pipes, conduit, wiring, tools, and other re-useful non-liquid hardware items). Got some time to kill after the Burn? Help them organize, clean & sort donations!

Grey Water Disposal

There are a number of places where you can dispose of your grey water wether you are in an RV or have canned it to bring back with you. Do not dump your grey water out off the road, into the sewer or somewhere else just as bad. Dispose of it properly, otherwise you could start the next ebola outbreak or worse. Here is a list of places where you can dispose of your grey water.

Golden Gate Petroleum - RV Dump & Gray Water
11055 S. Rock Blvd, Sparks NV
Dumping hours 5am-9pm

TA Travel Center - RV Dump & Gray Water
800 N. McCarran Blvd, Sparks NV
24 hours  - Limited to RVs, 55–gal drums

Safari RV • RV Dump & Gray Water
2802 Kietzke Lane, Reno NV
Mon-Sat 8:30am-5:30pm • Sun 11:30am-3:30pm
$8.50 per dump or free with $25 in- store purchase

Pyramid Lake Marina & Campground - RV Dump & Gray Water
2500 Lakeview Dr, Reno NV
24hr Credit Card Kiosk , $10

Modoc District Fairgrounds - RV Dump – Gray Water
1 Center St, Cedarville CA
(530) 279-2315 contact for hours, capacity, costs

Love’s Travel Stop - RV Dump & Gray Water
(Gray Water Only – No Black Water – No Hoses Available )
825 Commerce Center Dr, Fernley NV
24 hours , $5

I–80 Smokeshop & Campground - Trash – RV Dump – Gray Water
1000 Smokeshop Circle, Wadsworth NV
24 hours
$5 bag trash – Price TBD RV dump/grey

Reno Boomtown - RV Dump – Gray Water
2100 Garson Rd, Verdi NV

Gold Ranch RV - RV Dump – Gray Water
320 Gold Ranch Rd, Verdi NV
9am-5pm for dumping if campsites available

Alturas Chevron - RV Dump Station – Gray Water
1080 North Main St, Alturas CA
(530)233-5114 contact for hours, capacity, costs


Photo by Stuck at the airport

Photo by Stuck at the airport

If you are not planning on coming back and hate camping, you may want to get rid of your camping gear. Please do not just throw it away. If it's in good condition there are a number of organizations that will take your equipment and use it for good causes. Do not be insulting and dump a bunch of items that are trashed just because you're too lazy or cheap to bring them to the dump. If the items are not damaged, but maybe lightly dusted, try to get as much dust off the items as possible and make sure that they are otherwise clean.

Here is a list of donation points for bikes, food and gear. There is also a link to these locations on a google map.

St. Vincent’s of Catholic Charities – accepts all items
500 E. Fourth Street in Reno (other locations are available throughout Reno and Sparks)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday

Reno Bike Project -- accepts bicycles and tools
541 E.4th St. in Reno
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Kiwanis Club -- accepts bicycles
145 Catron Dr. Reno, NV
2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday; 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday

SaveMart – accepts water, food, bicycles
525 Keystone Ave in Reno
6 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Sunday
Pallets of unopened water and food are donated to the Nevada Food Bank and bicycles are given to the local Kiwanis Club.

Morris Burner Hostel – accepts all items
400 E. 4th St. in Reno
9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Reno Sparks Gospel Mission – accepts all items
2115 Timber Way in Reno
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday


As you can see there is a lot to consider when going to The Playa. Don't be afraid to reach out to other burners on your trip. You will begin to notice each other more and more. Also remember that your actions reflect on ALL BURNERS, so make sure to leave a good one. Happy Burn!

If you have any tips, please let us know in the comments.

Where to get Tickets for Burning Man

Where to get Tickets for Burning Man

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