Sock's Beginners Guide to Burning Man

Sock's Beginners Guide to Burning Man

Is this your first time going to Burning Man? You have been hearing so much about the burn and you can't wait to check it out. Maybe you are going with friends, or maybe you are taking on this adventure solo. No matter how you want to do it, it is going to be an amazing life experience you will never forget! 


You have made the decision to go but now what? Well first, you are going to need a Burning Man ticket. There are a few ticket options and sale dates to be aware of, which you can find here. We recommend getting your ticket as soon as possible as they generally sell out within minutes of going on sale. if you missed the window to buy a ticket DO NOT WORRY! Lots of people change their mind or are unable to attend last minute so it is possible to find a ticket if you look hard enough. Burning Man has a Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) that you can register for where tickets are securely resold on a first-come-first-served basis. There are also a few facebook groups dedicated to finding and exchanging tickets, and if you are really determined (or a little crazy) you can beg for tickets at the gate. Although, we highly recommend purchasing them through the Burning Man organization, as there are a lot of scams out there. 

Joining a camp

Now that you have your ticket, or have a plan to get a ticket, you will want to join a camp. A camp is not necessary, but is highly recommended! Joining a camp ensures you have a "home base" and allows you to become an active participant in the Burning Man culture. Usually the camps offer shared amenities, new friends, and fun activities that can make your camping experience better and more comfortable. It is important to find a camp that resonates with your values and can provide the experience you are looking for. In most cases, you make new friends and bonds that can last a lifetime! All camps are different depending on what you are looking for, but most (if not all) will require some kind of dues, have mandatory meetings, and work shifts. For our camp in particular, we strive to make the dues as cheap as possible and keep the work at minimum so our campers are comfortable and can spend the majority of our time enjoying ourselves!

What to expect

Okay so now you have a ticket, have joined a camp, and are ready to go to the burn!  What should you expect? Well the first thing to expect is that there are no expectations. Everything you expect will get thrown right out the window when you first arrive. Whether it's your first time or you are a veteran burner, you will never be able to predict what lies ahead. Burning Man is: a party, a festival, a spiritual journey, a personal experience, a shared experience, an art show, a place to learn and create, and above all - it is the experience you need to have. You will be tested in many ways. emotionally, physically, and mentally. I have never once gone and not learned something new about myself. However, it's not something to be afraid of but something be excited about! My favorite part of it is always whatever you are looking for you will find. If you are looking for friends, love, fun, something new, anything really - it's all there and waiting for you. Everyone's experience is unique and different. That's one of the most beautiful parts about it!

What should I bring?

This is a question only you can really answer. We have have a packing list of recommended items in our packing list guide (coming soon) that can help you get started! My biggest advice is to keep it simple. Although the climate can be tough, keep in mind most people are often over dramatic about it. I find roughing it to be a part of the fun, although many people would disagree! There are sand storms, wind gusts, hot sun, cold nights, and maybe rain. Its unpredictable but you will survive! I would bring lots of lag bolts (stake everything down!), a few tarps for shade or rain, and lots of blankets for the cold nights. Food and water is a must! You will hear people mention that the "playa provides", but you want to make sure you are as self-reliant as possible for the best possible experience. A couple of necessities everyone should have is a bicycle, dust scarf, camelback, a cup, reusable plate, a headlamp, and a wide-brim hat. A word of advice, don't leave camp without these items!

When to Arrive/Leave 

Many first time burners believe that the burn is similar to a festival in the way that you have to arrive on a certain day. Burning Man takes place at Black Rock City so throughout the event you are free to come and go as you like. Keep in mind there is no cell service and it's a one lane highway to get there, meaning it can take a long time to get in or out of the city depending on what time you arrive/leave. I would recommend getting there near the beginning of the burn week since the experience changes as the week goes on. Sunday through Wednesday are very laid back with chill vibes, Thursday through Saturday ramps up with more visitors and parties. Sunday is back to relaxed and chill vibes while many camps begin breaking-down. You do want to make sure you are there to experience the man burn Saturday night and the temple burn on Sunday night. Most people leave on Sunday, but I would highly recommend staying until after the temple burns and leaving on Monday so the traffic has died down. Whichever day you decide to leave, make sure you have plenty of snacks and water within arms reach as you may be stuck in 10+ hours of traffic to get out!

What's The Deal With The Burn?

The Man Burn is the main event on Saturday night where they light the massive wooden man in a spectacular display of fireworks and explosions. They start the event with a fire procession and showcase as everyone gathers to watch the man burn. Once then man turns to ashes, it is followed by the largest party night of the week. Of the course nothing at the burn is mandatory, but you won't want to miss this! 

The Temple is another massive structure that they burn on Sunday night and marks the official end of the event. The temple is a remarkable place where people go to hang memorabilia, pictures, art pieces, etc. in remembrance of their lost loved ones or to symbolize something they would like to let go of. It's a place filled with many different energies and is important to walk through at least once during the week to feel what it is really about. It is magical to experience the temple burn as everyone gathers around in silence to experience a unified emotional release. People cry, they laugh, they sing, it's a very powerful moment and always feels like a great ending and beginning to the new burn year.

How Can I Participate?

Burning Man is about participation and not spectating. Although your first year, you will likely want to see what it's all about. it is a very rewarding feeling to have a place and purpose in the magic of the city. helping and contributing to your camp is the best thing to do, but there are also many volunteer opportunities within the burning man organization as well! keep in mind just because you are in a camp doesn't mean you have to contribute exclusively to them! Many of our djs play other camps and we share workshops too (and we encourage it!). If we don't offer an outlet for you to share, you can find your place just by looking around. This is one of the biggest pieces of the magic of the playa.  


All this information might feel very overwhelming, but it is perfectly normal. The emotional roller coaster starts as soon as you buy your ticket and embark on your burn journey. Just hang in there and I promise it will be the best decision you have ever made for yourself! If you need any help or have questions you can always message us at

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