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RV Rental Burning Man | Ultimate Guide to the Festival in an RV

  • Mar 12, 2015 by Alex

Burning Man 2017, a festival like nothing on earth

The first tickets have been snapped up and the buzz surrounding Burning Man Festival 2017 has already ignited. For many RV travellers it’s considered the zenith, the peak, the ultimate conception of love, life and all that is positive in the world. The most ecologically-friendly event on the planet, Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada is transformed into a circular-shaped city, with the Burning Man at its centre – and for seven days you can park up your motorhome rental and enjoy this life-changing experience of art, community, self-reliance and celebration! But first you must connect with the Motorhome Republic Ultimate Guide to Burning Man in an RV. We have the inside track on where to rent and all of the key RV suppliers. Then, over the next few weeks we will give you further tips and handy guides to the event, as well as a few surprises. So, strap yourself in… it’s gonna be one hell of a ride!

The hottest campervan ticket in town

Burning Man 2017 runs from Monday August 27 to September 4. And although it’s still months away, tickets and RVs are in incredible demand. The first ticket release generated major news when around 200 hackers accessed the Ticketfly site and jumped the queue - festival organisers are vying to track down the sly dogs. But however it happened, 40,000 tickets sold out in under an hour, costing $390 each. So, what are the key questions you need to ask yourself when renting an RV for the Burning Man Festival 2017?


Burning Man RV Rental

Where shall I pick up my RV? Los Angeles/Las Vegas/Salt Lake

  • Now seeing as everything happens at Black Rock City which is in the middle of a desert, you obviously need to fly-in or make your own way to a suitable pick-up point for an RV rental. The most popular spot is Reno, a 3.5-hour drive (110 miles) to Black Rock. However, demand here always exceeds supply. The same situation applies in San Francisco, which was Burning Man’s original spiritual home at Baker Beach back in 1986. You can try, but you’ll be lucky to land a San Francisco RV. But do remember that RVs outside of San Franciso and Reno are generally cheaper and you can also enjoy a longer, scenic drive to the festival.

  • A more direct route, although taking upwards of 10 to 11 hours, is Los Angeles. Just head north, bypassing San Fran and Reno to the west. Las Vegas is a similar drive and there are obvious attractions to Sin City to get you in the mood. Perhaps starting your adventure at the most commercial, shallow, money-fuelled destination on the planet, then finishing at the epicentre of pure self-sufficiency and natural expression appeals.

  • Salt Lake City is a little gem to the east, around the same travelling distance as LA and Vegas. Somewhat under the radar for Burning Man RV rental, if the other spots are sold out, this could work for you. And, of course, you can enjoy Great Salt Lake and beautiful mountainous landscapes on the way (Motorhome Republic will be focusing on Salt Lake in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!)

  • Or perhaps consider Portland for your Burning Man RV. It may seem like a distant starting point north-west of the Black Rock Desert, but can be travelled in around 10 to 11 hours. It’s also a picturesque journey through Willamette and Seschutes National Forests. There’s even a special event called SOAK - a multi-day interactive arts festival and camping event where Burners get together in Western Oregon for their own unique celebration (May 21-May 25) as a prelude to the big week.   


RV suppliers for Burning Man… compare the top brands

It’s one of the biggest weeks in the motorhome rental calendar, where demand far exceeds supply. Don’t be surprised if RV rates are somewhat higher than at other times of the year – everyone is at it, so adapt a reflective, forgiving, Burning Man-style attitude, because there’s nothing you can do about it. But it’s not all bad… remember, if a few of you are travelling in your motorhome you can split the cost, so it could be around $70 bucks per night accommodation depending on numbers. But here’s what you need to know about how the major RV rental companies work with regards to Burning Man:

  • Cruise America has been in business for more than 40 years and is a major player in RV rental for Burning Man 2017. They ‘flex’ their rates for Burning Man, which basically means that as the RVs get booked, prices rise. They are a massive company so you have to get in as soon as possible. Returning the vehicle in good shape is absolutely essential, or you will lose your deposit. 

  • Escape Campervans have a good reputation for the quality of their vehicles, with their 2- to 4-berth options perfect for Burning Man 2017. A premium payment is part of the deal, alongside extra cleaning fees. Also, make sure you tell them you’re travelling to the festival – there are special insurance dispensations, as mentioned in their terms.

  • Lost Campers have a minimum hire period of 10 days, but they do operate out of Salt Lake City. Expect additional fees and booking costs, but while their smaller vehicles are not self-contained, these are cheaper and can help keep your costs down.  

  • It was back in 2013 that El Monte RV marketing director Joe Laing called Burning Man, ‘…the busiest time of the year for us.’ And as Motorhome Republic have many El Monte vehicles on offer, it’s a busy time for us too – their Reno office has even been moved to Grand Sierra just for the festival. Hidden costs are not El Monte’s style, although prices here are often higher as they flex rates to cater for supply and demand - but a popular motorhome choice come Burning Man time.

  • Apollo vehicles are a maximum of three years old and they are an international brand with a good reputation. Generally sleeping up to five adults, you will have to pay a Burning Man surcharge but there are no other hidden costs – just make sure you tell Apollo where you are going.

  • Star RV have motorhomes that are less than one-year-old and their comfort levels are a big plus-point. From two to six people can be catered for.

  • Jucy green vehicles aren’t difficult to spot and their ‘Champ’ sleeps up to four. Their fuel-efficiency is a major plus-point and the smaller vehicle can be easier to get around with than a larger vehicle. Although, like most suppliers, Jucy has a cleaning fee, you can get up to half of the fee back if you bring the vehicle back in the same state it was picked up in, saving you up to $350!

  • Road Bear RV have brand new vehicles that they want to sell at the height of summer, but they strictly limit RVs at Burning Man and your chances of getting hold of one are slim. However, they can be cheaper than their competitors.   

  • Expedition knows how difficult it is to keep RVs clean, so you can hire a dust-buster to keep things spick and span!


Now you have the basics for your Burning Man Festival 2017 RV adventure. But we want to know your tips and advice for other motorhome and RV adventurers. Have you been to Burning Man Festival before and possess inside knowledge? What have we missed? Do you have any questions you want answered? Please drop us an email in the comments section below.

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