1. A huge (faux) fur jacketSurprising for first-time visitors to the desert, temps can drop drastically at night—just ask anyone who’s ever visited Palm Springs in January—so it’s important to stay warm, especially since the fest offers a plethora of reasons to be out and about after dark. Stay warm and look fabulous with an outageous fur—faux of course!—coat. “The bigger and ballsier, the better, ” says our insider.
2. A reusable plastic mug or cup
You’re going to want to drink plenty of Tang at Burning Man. We’re kidding, of course. In truth, you’ll not only want to stay hydrated during your time under the hot desert sun, but also want to booze it up if you’re so inclined. Our insider argues against using those ubiquitous red party cups that are busted out at collegiate soirees. Instead, “take a reusable cup or mug, that you can attach to your outfit, so that you can always welcome the plentiful beverages that will be directed your way, ” says our Burner. “No cup, no boozing.”
3. A bikeBurning Man is seven square miles, to put that number into perspective that’s roughly the size of San Francisco (where the festival started). Arriving without a proper mode of transportation (mountain bikes and adult-sized tricycles outfitted with outrageous lights and colors are de rigueur) means you’ll be left hoofing it from camp to camp or spending the entire week trying to score a free lift from people. Make your life easier and bring a bike!
3. A bike lock
Despite the communal spirit that prevails at the festival, there will always be some drunken fool who steals your ride in the middle of the night. Remain mobile throughout the week by bringing a sturdy bike lock. Also, nobody wants to tote a key around so purchase a combination lock and make the code an easy one to remember.
4. Outfits, outfits, outfits
Our Burner describes the festival as the world’s biggest dress up party and says that a classic rookie mistake is to not bring a range of outrageous costumes to the world’s biggest dress up party. Take it from those of us who’ve been to themed parties on both cruise ships and at festivals around the world, even a minimal effort goes a long way toward making you feel part of the crowd. Hint: Go with the boldest, brightest outfits you can possibly find.
5. An open mind
Burning Man is not a Sunday worship service. You’ll likely see and experience gratuitous boozing, nudity, drug use and radical self expression. Our source recalls riding a bike on the playa when he ran into a guy with a giant fake fish head on his shoulders. “My immediate reaction was that he looked like an idiot, but then I decided to actively banish any judgements for the week, ” he says. “Not always easy, but the best decision I could have made.” Amen.