Should I take my personal RV?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.

Should I take my personal RV?

Postby MrTravelRN » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:53 am

This will be my first Burning Man experience. I own a rather nice 42ft motor coach. Some friends want me to bring, others say dust will ruin it. I have traveled off the beaten path before, but this is a whole new level. Thought of large tarp covering entire coach and decorate our camp. Thoughts?
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Postby Sham » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:59 am

You'll do much better bringing your own. There will be no cleaning costs as on a rental and you'll be very comfortable for the week. You will have to clean a haze of dust out of it, but it will be worth it.
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Postby TomServo » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:22 am

Forgot who it was that did the greywater.....Johnny on the spot? But you can have it arranged to be pumped out on the playa. The dust is going to get everywhere, but, as long as your a nazi about keeping the door shut, you should be fine. Change filters post playa....
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Re: Should I take my personal RV?

Postby LeChatNoir » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 am

MrTravelRN wrote:This will be my first Burning Man experience. I own a rather nice 42ft motor coach. Some friends want me to bring, others say dust will ruin it. I have traveled off the beaten path before, but this is a whole new level. Thought of large tarp covering entire coach and decorate our camp. Thoughts?


Clean up is manageable. Wash it good outside and clean inside. A tarp draped over it could easily be whipped around by the wind and ruin the paint.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:03 am

I've always brought personal RVs but only older cheaper ones. The big problem with bringing nice stuff to the playa isn't the simple matter of getting it dirty and having to clean it - it's the corrosion. Playa dust is extremely corrosive stuff. I should take some photos... I have a few trucks with rusty engines and undercarriages that were nice prior to being taken to Burning Man.

So... if I had a really big and really nice rig, hell no I wouldn't take it to Burning Man! I'd either rent one or buy something cheaper that you aren't gonna cry over when every fastener and fitting and metal surface starts rusting.
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Postby Token » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:47 am

In 2005 I bought a brand new trailer and have brought it every year. No rust.

I've driven out my 1999 Chevy truck every year since 2001, no rust.

I've run my Honda generators 24/7 for weeks at at a time (art projects, early entry etc), no rust.

I bring a big chunk of my tools out there every year. Mostly no rust; Vise Grips and Channel Lock pliers did rust some. Oddly enough, all my power tools run fine and dandy. Just blew them out with compressed air.

The only other things that do rust out there for me: Rebar stakes, bicycle chains and gears.

Road salt is way worse than playa dust.

I think the Captain is driving some old beaters out there from an era before Detroit figured out quality steel.

Then there is my general philosophy on vehicles of any kind: The shiny stuff on the outside of the vehicle is a "remove with use" item. I bought the RV so that I can use it where tents are not practical. I'm gonna use it Goddammit! (pun intended)
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Postby teardropper » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:03 am

Yes, I bought an RV just to take to the playa. I have a very cherry teardrop trailer that I thought would make a great rig for that. Took it to Rendezvous and, though I did tow it at highway speeds on the playa for miles to get to the camp, it got so dusty, inside, outside underneath, that I decided not to take it out again. My old RV works OK, but I live only 200 miles from the playa. If you just looked at the inside after eight days, it wasn't that bad. Cleaned up real nice. But, as mentioned, that dust is on everything, even the hard to get to underneath. If I get three years out of it, the fourth a bonus, I'll have amortized it and it will have paid for itself.

How much do you like your RV? Do you plan to keep it? I think you have to think seriously about taking anything nice out there. That is the advice that is given, over and over.
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Thank you all for input

Postby MrTravelRN » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:15 am

I do treasure my RV. I still owe $225k of the $300k I paid for it. I also live in it full time. I don't mind roughing it, but would like to bring lots of food and drink to party with camp. I do plan on decorating RV as well.
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Postby rodiponer » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:36 am

Just keep it sealed up tight, and I don't think all that much dust will get in. Tape the air conditioning vents shut on the dash-- our pop top camper van was parked facing into the wind, and there was a cloud streaming out through the vents. It was kind of cool, but dirty.

If you want to make clean up easier, there is that carpet sticky saran wrap stuff that painters use. You could lay that down on the floor.

The biggest mistake I made, aside from letting my little girls play in the van with their friends and go in and out constantly during dust storms (and, somehow, put cute dusty little footprints on the ceiling), is that I didn't clean it out as soon as I got home. I let it wait about a month, and by then the dust seemed to get wet in the humidity and turn into a thin layer of clay.

I have friends with a large RV who swear by using compressed air to clean it out when they get back. They open all the doors and windows and work from back to front. That didn't work too well on the clay stuff I now have.
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Postby phil » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:04 pm

> Tape the air conditioning vents shut on the dash

Tape the external inlets, too. If you don't, all the dust that's blown into them will blow out every time you turn the A/C on for months.
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Postby dragonpilot » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:53 pm

I've seen several RV's totally sealed up with blue painter's tape...all the windows, vents...everything. In that case you'd have to run the AC a lot to keep the interior livable during the day. Personally, we don't bother to seal up, enjoying the cross-breezes...learned to deal with the dust, thorough clean up immediately upon return home...
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:14 pm

I like the Captain have noticed corrosion take hold on my playa vehicle. Any spot of exposed metal be it steel or aluminum will corrode if not washed properly right after the event. My ford ranger is barely worse for the wear at 4 events and after 3 events with the box truck it looks like a coast rig.

There are many high $ RV's on the playa. I'd say go for it but be prepared in advance to mitigate the dust and wash the entire underside with a pressure washer at least 5 times. Using vinegar as an additive in the pressure was water helps quite a bit in my experience. Be very careful when pressure washing the engine compartment. It is generally not recommended to clean engines aggressively but in the case of playa dust I would recommend it.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:15 pm

Token wrote:I think the Captain is driving some old beaters out there from an era before Detroit figured out quality steel.



I think the difference between my rust experience and yours is that you live in SoCal. Motsky is reporting corrosion issues after the playa and he's up here in the Pac NW too. But at any rate, how dare you call my old beaters old beaters!
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Postby ygmir » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:06 pm

I have all old stuff, and, don't note any accelerated corrosion.......I don't do a super wash job when I get home......but, fall and winter come and seems, the rain maybe does that for me?
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:00 am

I think a main factor in corrosion due to playa dust is exposure to water and high humidity. I think the high humidity helps bond the dust to the metal and accelerates/exacerbates the problem. Everything naturally rusts out of existence where I am. The playa dust speed up that process allot. If you live in a low humidity area I don't think you will see near the problem but I bet one trip through the Willamette Valley with a playafied rig and the signs will show up.

The lesson here is to only camp/keep that RV in a high desert area after the burn to see reduced corrosion.
Or,
Wash the heck out of it.
And,
Be prepared to accept whatever happens to it as part of the price to pay to attend a really fantastic party.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:52 am

Okay, taking a jump here. I will need to wash the undercarriage on a vehicle with very low clearance. Does anyone have a solid idea of how I might do that?
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Postby teardropper » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:29 am

Yeah, I had to get on the ground on my back to extend the washer wand under far enough. I went through Gerlach's car and RV wash, but that only got the outside-with a fire hose, no less. But that just got the outside, and not much of the top. Don't know how much good that does. Had everything with a fitting regreased and all the fluids and filters appropriately replaced.
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Postby ygmir » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:43 am

theCryptofishist wrote:Okay, taking a jump here. I will need to wash the undercarriage on a vehicle with very low clearance. Does anyone have a solid idea of how I might do that?


park over a lawn sprinkler, and, move it once in a while.
I do that with my stuff when I get back. Works good, IMHO.
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Postby teardropper » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:46 am

Brilliant.
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Thank again for input.

Postby MrTravelRN » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:48 pm

I found a 40' x 60' tarp and will try to attach on one side to shield dust and wind while door side will open to camp area. I will try and seal windows on that side and add-on room stapped down vey well to dust off in before entering RV. And to decorate, spray paint tarp, plenty of colorful lights, and a leaf blower on roof to fill a fabric dancing burning man.
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Re: Thank again for input.

Postby ygmir » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:56 pm

MrTravelRN wrote:I found a 40' x 60' tarp and will try to attach on one side to shield dust and wind while door side will open to camp area. I will try and seal windows on that side and add-on room stapped down vey well to dust off in before entering RV. And to decorate, spray paint tarp, plenty of colorful lights, and a leaf blower on roof to fill a fabric dancing burning man.


just don't depend on anything staying dust free........
and, be careful with tarps, the wind turns them into a random orbital sander pretty fast.
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Postby Sail Man » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:30 pm

ygmir wrote:I have all old stuff, and, don't note any accelerated corrosion.......I don't do a super wash job when I get home......but, fall and winter come and seems, the rain maybe does that for me?


Did the rain fix your interior lighting issue as well? :wink:


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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:43 pm

If you're bringing your rig, and it will be awesome to have it, take some time to carefully seal all possible dust entry points. I'm sure your rig is built better than my truck camper, but watch all access points like freshwater fill, the "umbilical cord", stove vents, any kind of access door or vent. Playa dust blows in behind your cabinets. When it gets to blowing, dust will spray into whatever cracks you miss. Blue painter's tape is nice stuff for the job because it comes off when you want it to. Keep your windows shut and the A/C on if you have the fuel.

It is possible to maintain a virtually dust-free home at Burning Man, I usually do it, you just have to keep things closed up tight. A Rainbow vacuum is a big help! That's the brown "R2D2" shaped things they used to sell door-to-door for 50 EZ payments of $99.95... they use a bowl of water in the bottom instead of a traditional filter and do a remarkable job of removing ultra-fine dust like Playa dirt. You can usually score one on Craigslist.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:04 am

Sail Man wrote:
ygmir wrote:I have all old stuff, and, don't note any accelerated corrosion.......I don't do a super wash job when I get home......but, fall and winter come and seems, the rain maybe does that for me?


Did the rain fix your interior lighting issue as well? :wink:


The rain not only fixed my interior lighting, but layed my carpet.
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Postby Oldguy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:12 pm

Aluminum foil on inside of windows to reflect light and heat. Cover outside vents and engine areas, seal edges with blue gaffers tape not duct tape. Leave shoes in box near door to lessen tracked in dust. Cover seats with sheets. When setting tables set dishes upside down and platter over flatwear, like my dad did during dustbowl years. Use windbreaks, tarps, and raised sills around carpeted entrace area. Use propane appliances instead of noisy generaters. Suppliment with wind/ solar generators. Use RV bathroom in emergency only, use the portopottys. Extra fuels and water are helpfull. Circle the wagons if in a group for a protected atrium. A cople of 40' tarps over the middle for shade.

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Postby gaminwench » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:19 pm

stuff fabric/pillows into spaces on the floor around the slide-outs... playa loves to get in there!
tape down beater towels to cover all of the carpet (painter's saran wrap doesn't cut it!)...
take a cooler for beverages, cuts down on frig in/out...
I second the 'use bathroom only for emergencies'- pumpers are a random, flag down experience, and a stinky camp is no fun!
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Postby LostinReno » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:42 am

gaminwench wrote:stuff fabric/pillows into spaces on the floor around tape down beater towels to cover all of the carpet (painter's saran wrap doesn't cut it!)...

Last year we took our own trailer. It's only two years old. It's a baby 18'er.
We used an old sheet over most of the fabric in our trailer and it worked great.
The only downer was when we got home, hubby hosed down the exterior and some water got in the tracks for the windows. Playa dust turns to concrete once wet then dries. Next year we will hit the window tracks with the vacuum or some compressed air before the exterior is washed. :oops: We haven't had any problems with corrosion or rust at all, but the dry climate is definately a bonus.
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Postby Mojojita » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:23 pm

Always turn off your water pump when not in use. Get a big pitcher and use your dishwater to flush the toilet because you don't want your precious fresh water going down the black hole.

I bring an old "classic" GMC but I don't think I would bring a $300k RV to the playa even if I had hit the lottery. One of the problems is that everything you take outside, chairs, tarps, tools, coolers, dishes, ALL will be covered with fine dust that does not just wipe off easily. Dealing with playa dust is like the booger that sticks to your finger - you can move or wipe it on to something else, but it never really goes away. I could spend hours hosing off carpets and outdoor stuff in my driveway and still have white muck running off them into the gutter. All that stuff will bring playa into your RV.

The only truly successful way to deal with it is to accept the wisdom of Lao Tse, "Be one with the dust of the earth, it is a primal union."
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Postby Oreally? » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:12 pm

We put tin foil on the inside of the windows and secure with blue painters tape. Half way through the event, we take out and rinse or replace the AC filter. Just be forwarned, your RV will look like a crack den.

You can try and tarp it, but unless you can tie a good knot, it will rip, tear, and blow like a cheap hooker.

That being said, it will never quite be as clean as it was especially if you currently call it home sweet home.

You cannot avoid the dust. Embrace, breathe deeply, cough playa.
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Postby robbidobbs » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:12 pm

My PottieMobile is just hosed. No saving her. I'll just keep bringing this 20 year old Toyota out there as long as she holds up. The corrosion is spectacular and the dust that comes out of the vent continues to be invigorating. My personal vehicle is officially fucked.

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