Burning Man gear

This part of my Burning Man report just didn’t fit with the rest of what I had to say, but I still wanna say it:

I’ve been camping three times in my life, including Burning Man. The thought I had was: ‘I may overcompensate. That’s OK.’ So I took just about every recommendation I got, and I managed pretty well.

The bike: the playa hates bikes. The dust gets in everything, and I mean everything. I didn’t ride much, but by Wednesday my bottom bracket was creaking, and on Friday it seized. My bike had a cool ‘Ganesha loves you’ sticker from my friend Srini, and Sunday someone said I should invoke Ganesh–he is the remover of obstacles, after all. So I picked up the bike and it rode fine.

Still, one lesson: don’t bring a good bike to the playa, but don’t bring the crappiest bike you can find. A neighbor at the coop had a bike she never rode, an ancient Free Spirit, and she gave it to me. Think of a bike as something you use up, like soap. You don’t want to run out of bike.

And another: make sure your bike is in good shape before you go. You can get help, but it’s better to deal with problems before you go, not once you get there.

One other lesson: maybe Ganesha really does love me.

I didn’t see as much as I wanted, I didn’t meet up with as many people as I wanted. I had a great time anyway.

The sunblock: This Neutrogena stuff is the bomb. I came back almost as lilly-white as I left. I have skin cancer in the family, so i don’t mess around with the sun. It’s also broad spectrum, which is a big deal, especially for those of us of excessively Caucasian persuasion.

The clothes: This was about as arty as I got. My friend Crystal decided not to go this year, but she helped me a great deal, just knowing what to bring. She made a couple brightly colored sarongs, which doubled as sashes and headscarves. She took a pair of gymshoes I never wear and turned them into these awesome leopard kicks. Check out the flaming shoelaces. A huge hit–everybody loved them.

The biggest compliment on the shoes was from 1-Luv, the girl who managed the Biodiesel Bus from the airport. She asked to see a show of hands who was a Burner virgin. I raised mine, and she gave me a puzzled look: ‘Those are not virgin shoes.’

The bag: Isaac of Chicagowig makes awesome messenger bags. Sam at the coop has one. I wanted one, and Burning Man was a good excuse to make the purchase. This is the bag. Well, was before impregnation with playa dust.

Great bag to carry stuff in. Great bag to ride in. I love the bag. Not such a great bag to live in: kinda heavy, especially with a full Camelbak. You gotta have your water with you at all times at Burning Man, and attaching it to a heavy bag didn’t work so well for me.

Nonetheless, I hope to get many years of solid use out of it.

The camera: This was the cheapest digital camera I could find, and it took great pictures. Crappy viewfinder, but I’m happy with how things turned out.

The shaving mug: I shave with a mug and brush and solid soap anyway. Coincidentally, this method uses very little water. Great way to reduce gray water.


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