For a great review of what to bring, check out this post on PlayaDiva or this post on Yerdle.

Of course – before reviewing this list, make sure you pack your ticket. Did you check? Ok. Good. Now make sure it’s really packed in your bag and that you don’t lose the ticket or your bag. Ok – now for the other items.

Burning Man Daily Bag v.2
sample day bag

(1) A tent — the bigger, the better. And make sure it’s robust enough to withstand 50-60 mph winds.

(2) Shade covering for your tent — or you will slowly bake inside beginning at 9am (remember that you may have been partying until 4am).

(3) Extra large (12″) metal tent stakes, or rebar — regular tent stakes will not penetrate the playa. Seriously, regular tent stakes JUST AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH. Even the V-shaped metal ones will just buckle. Rebar is best, or the tent stakes that look like giant nails. Also, if you have a sledge hammer or pin hammer for driving in the rebar, bring it.

(4) Sleeping bag — it gets really cold at night, so make sure you will be warm.

(5) Air mattress/foam pad — preferably something really comfortable to sleep upon. Air mattresses tend to die out there, so be prepared in case you return to a deflated mess late one evening.

(6) Headlamp/flashlight — very important. I would bring a backup just in case the first one goes out.

(7) Bicycle — having a bicycle is critical. Bring a beater bike. Decorate it with crazy lights (not just the standard red safety blinker), fur, sparkles and other stuff. Distinctive lighting will serve you well at night. You may also want to bring a bike lock. People often have bikes “borrowed”.

(8) Clothing for nighttime adventures — keep in mind that it can get quite cold late in the evening. You need a good outfit which is warm and works with your costume. Fake fur coats are the best outerwear but can be expensive (although searching craigslist may help). Consider bringing long underwear, gloves, and a warm (furry) hat.

(9) Wide brimmed hat — to protect your precious face from the deadly solar rays in the middle of a scorching day.

(10) Earplugs — if you have difficulty sleeping when there is background noise, you should bring these. A neighboring camp may decide to start a 4am jam session, or a party car may drive by blasting music at 7am after you’ve just drifted off to sleep.

(11) Goggles — an absolute necessity for surviving dust storms. Get something lightweight, stylish and decorative. Do not buy expensive ski goggles. They may get thrashed.

(12) Head scarf/face mask — for dust storms.

(13) Umbrella/parasol — great for sun protection during daytime promenades. Decorate your parasol, stroll without fear of UV radiation, and watch others gravitate towards you.

(14) Sunscreen — or you’ll be burned by the second day and unable to receive massages.

(15) Water bottles/camelback/electrolytes — I generally keep 2 liters with me at all times. You could get by with a single liter bottle but will have to plan on asking strangers for water when the bottle runs dry. You can’t imagine how much water you will drink out there. Electrolytes are a great complement to water if you do get a little dehydrated and as an additional preventive measure — powdered gatorade, glucose, Emergen-C.

(16) Moisturizer — unless you like crackly, dry skin. The playa is an EXTREMELY unfriendly environment for your skin. However, by practicing a meticulous daily sunscreen/moisturizing regime, I have actually left BM with my skin in better condition than when I arrived. But it takes work. And believe me, nothing is worse than a serious case of playa-foot when you’re trying to dance the night away. I recommend that you bring heavy duty lotion for your feet and hands, and something a little lighter to put all over your body. And do yourself and everyone else a favor and get a big bottle of SPF 30 or 45 – you’ll use more than you think. For special treatment of the feet, a plastic basin for foot baths, some white vinegar, and the ubiquitous Dr. Bronner’s are very handy to have.

(17) Saline nasal spray — The dry dusty climate can make your nasal passages pretty painful. This stuff really helps to keep all your membranes hydrated.

(18) Spray bottle — Nice for spraying that someone special with cool water in the middle of a scorching day.

(19) Extra toilet paper — the port-o-potties sometimes run out of TP, so having your own stash can be a godsend.

(20) Sexual lubricant — for those special moments with one or more desired partners.

(21) Costumes — for night-time and daytime. Do not hesitate to be completely outrageous. There is no way to go over the top.

(22) Lighted adornments for evening adventures — you should get some lights to cover your body in the evening for two reasons. First, everyone’s doing it. Second, it really helps others in your crew to track your location. It gets very dark on the playa. Having some noteworthy light will reduce the possibility that you get separated and can’t find others. Consider EL wire, strands of small lights, or anything emitting a unique glowing pattern.

(23) Rechargeable batteries for all electronic devices — we can recharge these with our solar system. Don’t bring disposable batteries that turn into toxic trash after a single use!

(24) Footwear — whatever you do, don’t plan to walk barefoot – the highly alkaline surface of the playa will start eating away at your feet in a matter of minutes. It’s hard to avoid completely (and not worth trying) but you may find that a nice pair of socks and (brightly colored/painted) sneakers is a welcome alternative to flip-flops.

(25) Large and small ziplock bags — it’s best just to expect to get dust on EVERYTHING you bring even if you have an RV or keep stuff in your car. Your best friend in the battle with the dust is the ziploc bag. Bring your gear pre-packed into ziplocs – one for underwear, one for socks, one for first aid, etc. and open them only as needed. I always keep a spare towel in one for later in the week, and an “escape pack” with a change of clothing that stays closed until after I leave the playa, so that I don’t roll into Applebee’s in Reno on Labor Day looking like I got into a fight with a 50-pound bag of flour.

(26) Travel mug (preferably with a cover) — it comes in very useful when a roving coffee dispenser or bar offers drinks but has run out of cups. And it’s much more ecologically friendly!

(27) Your Ticket – remember that first announcement at the very top? Well, here’s that reminder – don’t forget to pack your ticket. Seriously. Don’t forget it.

For a nice look at what your day bag could look like, check out this photo :

Burning Man Daily Bag