Burning Man is a huge annual institution for lovers of art, community and alternative lifestyles. Each year more than 50,000 participants gather on the hot, dry Playa in the Black Rock Desert to partake in the Burning Man community and explore the principles of the event which include, among others, radical self-reliance, communal effort, participation and self-expression. New and returning "Burners" are more and more turning to an RV as their accommodation of choice whilst attending the unique event; the festival provides no accommodation beyond space to pitch a tent, so a campervan or RV rental is a great way to be a little bit comfortable and combine transport with a place to sleep - if you do sleep!
Difficult to put into words, it’s a spiritual, musical, uplifting experience over one week. Basically, you have to taste it for yourself… The event starts 7 days prior to Labor Day (the first Monday in September). So, get online and book your campervan/RV with Motorhome Republic right now!
Those renting for Burning Man can pick up their vehicle from one of a few cities. Reno is the closest but not necessarily the most convenient for those travelling by air. It sells out fast, too - so if you want to rent an RV from Reno, get in quick! San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City are alternative choices which just mean a bit of a road trip to get there. All four are easily accessible to both domestic and international visitors thanks to major airports.
Getting in early
The biggest piece of information that we can provide for anyone considering attending is to book your RV rental early for Burning Man. There are a few reasons for this; firstly, many RV rental companies offer some substantial Early Bird Discounts. Usually those booking by December will receive 20% of the bas rental rate. There tend to be staggered deals with smaller discounts for those booking in January and smaller still for the remaining suppliers who offer deals until the end of February. Regardless though, a saving is a saving, it's more money back into your pocket to spend on something else! The second reason to book early is so that you can have a choice in what vehicle you rent or where you can pick it up from; San Francisco is by far and away the most popular location for Burning Man RV rental, it does mean though that vehicles sell out really fast in that location. There's nothing worse than gathering a group of 5 friends together, booking your flights to San Francisco and finding that there are no vehicles left to cater to your group. The issue is compounded by the rental companies holding back fleet from the Burning Man festival, it makes sense though, why send all of your vehicles to the desert for 7 days when instead they can go to customers who want a 30 day hire over that same period. All of this leads to a supply and demand imbalance and the net result is: "those who book early can save money on the RV hire and get the vehicle that suits their needs, those that leave it late face the risk of missing out or having to change their plans".
The right RV for you
Burning Man is about simplicity, so a small and compact sleepervan is a great option for a lot of festival goers. These sleep two and are made from converted vans, with minimal facilities- basic cooking equipment and sometimes a portaloo. Comfort is not forbidden however, and you may opt for something a little more luxurious. Larger RV-style motorhomes hold more people and can come with fridges, living areas, bathrooms and full kitchens.
Burning Man is no holiday park - there are no electrical hookups, bathrooms or waste facilities provided at Black Rock. A generator is necessary to run appliances and air conditioning. For a fee, a roaming RV servicing truck will remove black and grey water.
Staying at Black Rock City, as the Burning Man site is called, calls for plenty of preparation.
Handy tips for RV renters:
You cannot dump anything, anywhere. There is no dumping station on-site.
Be careful your battery doesn’t run out - use your generator on a daily basis for one hour, at least.
Double-check your grey and black water holding tanks are big enough – you do not want to fall short of water supply.
Demand for motorhomes is incredibly high – the further in advance you can book, the better chance you have of landing one.
The desert wind can whip up very quickly – keep your stuff secure.
In terms of what you will see at Burning Man after you have parked up your motorhome, think sculpture, performance, art, costumes, colour, expression, song, exhibitions – the list is endless.
The event itself is set up as two thirds of a circle. It’s quite complicated, but you will receive a map on arrival. And don’t bring your pets – Burning Man is not animal friendly!
It’s a temporary metropolis, with street grid, a recycling centre, newspaper and radio station. Emergency services departments are on call should anything untoward happen, but the community is so tight-knit, there’s always someone around to help if required.
The ultimate experiment in temporary community – 400m sq of isolation and expanse. Quite simply, the Burning Man event is not for the faint of heart, but will undoubtedly change your life forever.