Calling home from Berlin // Birgin says Hi // advice needed

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

Calling home from Berlin // Birgin says Hi // advice needed

Postby berlinchameleon » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:03 pm

A warm hello to you,

stopping by to say Hi. The dream of going home finally comes true and every day I get a little more excited about it...

I prepare this trip for the last months now (did all the homework as far as recommended reading and veteran Q&A and FAQ / thread search is concerned) but the fact that I sit in the beautiful city of Berlin right now still brings up some preparation challenges…

Perhaps some of you have time and energy to help me out with recommendations…

Shelter: I bring a springbar tent but am still looking for a shade structure that is easy to set up and has space for our two tents and camp chairs… I am looking for a way to buy / rent / borrow a north pole party shade. Nothing on ebay so far, nothing on craigslist… any ideas? or alternatives? We go with the tortoise for our first burn, but still want to be self suffcient and take care of our shade… Still that limits our option to construct one. We look for an easy set up and easy transportation recommendation that is playa-tested and not a piece of junk after the burn. I do not believe in buying stuff to throw away after a one time sevice. It should be usable for a while…

USED Bikes in San Francisco:
Any recommendations where we can used bikes in San Francisco on short notice before we drive up to BRC? We'll have some days in San Francisco.
Does that make sense or won''t there be any bikes by the time, becaue all used ones are on their way to the playa?

Any special last minute shopping advice for blinkies, 2nd hand fashion and costumes in San Francisco?

Thanks for your time & happy to meet you @ home

Berlin says Hi

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Postby dragonpilot » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:25 pm

As you know Green Tortoise provides a nice shade structure...if all else fails, you may have to give up a small amount of self sufficiency, but practically speaking I'd go with what you are already paying for...you won't even notice the difference. If I recall, I saw lots of Tortoise client tents under their shade...

And, may I point out that you're already giving up a great deal of self reliance by buying a ticket on Green Tortoise anyway. Don't get me wrong, I greatly admire those traveling to BRC from great distances and the enormous challenges that creates.

If you have time in San Francisco you should be able to buy a playa worthy bike. Most of the cheapo junk bikes will already be snapped up, but drop by a Walmart store or a pawn shop..you're looking at $50 to $100 for a bike.

Fashions/costumes: many of us make our own outfits out of bits and pieces we've collected over the years. Salvation Army, Value Village, Deseret, and Goodwill thrift stores are where many of us shop...but again, by the time you arrive most of the "good" stuff will be gone. You've got lots of time to put together outfit(s) at home that are easily packed...something that you'll have fun with.

Also, try making connections with local German Burners (http://regionals.burningman.com/eu_de.html)
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Postby berlinchameleon » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:10 pm

Hi dragonpilot,

thanks for your reply.
Actually I did not know about the shade structure. And this is one thing I did not ask them about. So that helps a lot. thanks. If I do not HAVE to bring it to have my own shade I won't.

Well, I get you in terms of self-suffieciency and GT. For the three of us it is a virgin compromise, since we are flying in from Europe separately and meet up in SF and have no reasonable time or capacities to fully organize us for ourselves. So GT seemed to be a good first timers option to participate in BRC - especially coming from abroad.

We are kind of limited in terms of weight and measurents of what we bring to the Stetes. that was the root of my question.

Thanks anyway

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Postby AntiM » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:30 pm

When you purchase a bike, be sure to get a bike lock and a headlight. If you are buying Big Box Store bikes, you can get basic needs right there in the bike section.

If you cannot find costumes you like, there are often a number of boutiques and other costume give away camps on the playa. A good option if you are pressed for time, and you can offer to give them a hand in return should they need anything. One year I had extra costumes and never made it to the boutique ot donate them, we dressed our neighbors.
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Postby gyre » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:37 pm

If you want shade and can bring it, get aluminet solid, which should be available in europe.
if you don't want to keep it, it should be worth more here than what you paid for it, since they stopped importing it.

I wear a headlamp (on the head) for bikes.
You still need something to light you up for visibility.
A good idea on the streets anyway.
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Postby berlinchameleon » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:33 am

Thanks for the advice on light and costume. Will do that.
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Postby gyre » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:39 am

Costumes aren't really needed.

The Haight in San Francisco has a wide range of shops with sizes that fit men.
I don't know how much time you will have.

You might do better finding things to wear in Berlin, with an emphasis on weight and compressibility.

The springbar is an excellent tent, but if you are flying with it, you might want something in dacron.
Refugee tents appear to be the most applicable and after that, mountaineering and expeditionary.

Even shade mounted close to a tent can help with heat, in direct sun.

Comfortable dust goggles is the most important thing.
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Postby Elorrum » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:29 am

Shade, I used a kelty tripod shelter for two years before I got a northpole. Alps and Abo gear make one as well. Tie it out from every possible point put a chair in the windward corner. Adjust as needed. Costumes: there are camps that will dress you up and that can be lots of fun.
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Postby berlinchameleon » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:13 am

Elorrum wrote:Shade, I used a kelty tripod shelter for two years before I got a northpole. Alps and Abo gear make one as well. Tie it out from every possible point put a chair in the windward corner. Adjust as needed. Costumes: there are camps that will dress you up and that can be lots of fun.


Thanks for the alternatives - will check them out.
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Postby berlinchameleon » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:15 am

gyre wrote:Costumes aren't really needed.

The Haight in San Francisco has a wide range of shops with sizes that fit men.
I don't know how much time you will have.

You might do better finding things to wear in Berlin, with an emphasis on weight and compressibility.

The springbar is an excellent tent, but if you are flying with it, you might want something in dacron.
Refugee tents appear to be the most applicable and after that, mountaineering and expeditionary.

Even shade mounted close to a tent can help with heat, in direct sun.

Comfortable dust goggles is the most important thing.


thank you!
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Postby Minxy » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:24 am

I don't have any input on shade as that's sorta already been covered by others...but a word about costumes.

Costumes out there are wildly ranging...there are elaborately created outfits that are neat but there are also cute looks that are just pajamas, lingerie, various sarongs/scarves/pieces of cloth.

If this is your first year, I wouldn't worry too much about the costumes, IMO. If you can, maybe score some fun make-up (that can dress up any clothes you're wearing) and make-up is light weight for travel. You can definitely hit up the costume give away theme camps on playa. Shoot, a few funky necklaces, a great shade hat, comfy shoes and a flowy lightweight skirt is a great outfit for a girl or guy. :D

I personally go for comfort more than extreme style. I find that if I bring a bunch of brightly colored sarongs, shemagh (middle eastern head square head scarves) and a pile of long swathes of cloth plus some great jewelery and make up I feel dressed up just right. YMMV!

Make sure to bring something warm for nights/mornings. I generally wear furry or fleecy jammies or a long fur coat. :D
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Postby phil » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:36 pm

Black Rock Boutique gives away clothes at Burning Man. I assume they'll be there this year as they have for several years now. You can get free clothes there. They have enough clothes to continue for the entire week. Other places give away clothes, too. Ask when you get to the playa.

This guy had just picked up this dress at Black Rock Boutique, by the way:
Image

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Postby Savannah » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:45 pm

I love costumes & am a little picky, so if I had only a little room on a flight I would . . .

* have good goggles in my carry-on, because fit & suitability are essential
* at least a few slipdresses, shemaghs or scarves, socks & underwear in checked baggage (could be supplemented off the plane)
* would wear playa boots while traveling, &
* wear my playa coat onto the plane & sit on top of it like a blanket.

I didn't have a festive coat my first year; I layered (as I'd planned) but it was a bummer to look plain & sensible 'cause I'm weird like that. The coat is an item you might wear daily, so if you're a clotheshorse it makes sense to choose it at home.

I'm oddly low maintenance about the rest and could pick out a tent, sleeping bag, canteen, food & flashlights much more quickly if I had to--but I get bogged down and slow and picky when shopping for clothes.

The packing process has gone much more smoothly since I've become accepting of my eccentricities. :)
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Postby dragonpilot » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:55 pm

Besides the Black Rock Boutique (which is a great place for picking up an outfit or two) there's also Sex Filth Avenue Boutique...great selection of playa outfits...they are usually located with Terminal City Village near the 3 o'clock keyhole (don't worry, you'll figure it out).

And good for you finding Green Tortoise...takes a lot of stress out of your trip knowing you have reliable transportation to the playa. I believe they also make a stop or two to buy groceries along the route to BRC.

Another thing about bikes...if you are not able to find a bike to call your own, there are BRC Yellow Bikes available for anyone to use on the playa. They are not intended to be used as personal bikes, but rather to run an errand or two, or even to go on a playa art tour...but when you're done with it, you park it allowing someone else to use it. Don't put a lock on it!
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Postby berlinchameleon » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:37 am

Minxy wrote:If this is your first year, I wouldn't worry too much about the costumes, IMO. If you can, maybe score some fun make-up (that can dress up any clothes you're wearing) and make-up is light weight for travel. You can definitely hit up the costume give away theme camps on playa. Shoot, a few funky necklaces, a great shade hat, comfy shoes and a flowy lightweight skirt is a great outfit for a girl or guy. :D

I personally go for comfort more than extreme style. I find that if I bring a bunch of brightly colored sarongs, shemagh (middle eastern head square head scarves) and a pile of long swathes of cloth plus some great jewelery and make up I feel dressed up just right. YMMV!

Make sure to bring something warm for nights/mornings. I generally wear furry or fleecy jammies or a long fur coat. :D


Thx Minxy. That sounds like a relaxed plan.
Thx @ all for the playa boutique hint
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Postby berlinchameleon » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:40 am

Savannah wrote:The packing process has gone much more smoothly since I've become accepting of my eccentricities. :)
:lol:
I know exactly what you are talking about
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Postby berlinchameleon » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:47 am

dragonpilot wrote:Another thing about bikes...if you are not able to find a bike to call your own, there are BRC Yellow Bikes available for anyone to use on the playa. They are not intended to be used as personal bikes, but rather to run an errand or two, or even to go on a playa art tour...but when you're done with it, you park it allowing someone else to use it. Don't put a lock on it!

Nice! Thx
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Aluminet

Postby berlinchameleon » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:49 am

thanks gyre for the aluminet hint. I think I will skip the whole shade structure topic and drape some 70% aluminet directly over my springbar canvas tent

I basically read EVERYTHING on ePlaya about Aluminet and the combination with canvas tents and all the pros and cons and dunnos.

Still, ss anyone here who has made good or bad experience with aluminet over the tent? does ist help to keep the temperature down?

thanks again for your help
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Postby gyre » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:04 am

I recommend solid shade over a tent.

They do make variants of solid aluminet. 100%
Silvicool may be the same thing.
It is rare in the usa now.

Note on their sites that 70% aluminet, is not a 70% block, but much less.
It does work well for what it is.
It is also a dust catcher.
I think the mesh has most value when rain may be an issue.
There are some wind advantages, of course.

If I used it, and I may in the default world in a flat shade, I would get 80% and layer it.

I hope this helps.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:36 am

I don't think what you're doing will help. What a shade structure does is block the sun from hitting your tent wall, and then, crucially, creating an air space between the tent and the shade so that the heat is not transfered to the tent. Just draping shade cloth over the tent isn't going ot work, because it will transfer the heat. You need a foot or more between the shade and the tent.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:58 am

I've done this twice, and it does help.

More space is better, but even a small air gap helps ventilate with the wind out there.
Having a tall tent like the springbar keeps the radiant heat further away too for much better effect.
The difference in full blocking and almost, is very dramatic out there.

The first time I did it was on a low tent, draped directly over it.
Still helped.
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Postby berlinchameleon » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:52 am

gyre wrote:I recommend solid shade over a tent.

They do make variants of solid aluminet. 100%
Silvicool may be the same thing.
It is rare in the usa now.

Note on their sites that 70% aluminet, is not a 70% block, but much less.
It does work well for what it is.
It is also a dust catcher.
I think the mesh has most value when rain may be an issue.
There are some wind advantages, of course.

If I used it, and I may in the default world in a flat shade, I would get 80% and layer it.

I hope this helps.


Thanks a lot.
I was thinking about going with the mesh aluminet to benefit from the wind advantages, you are talking about and saving me the need to think about an easy to handle yet solid structure to create the gap Cryptofishist is referring to . The aluminet mesh does not seem to absorb / keep too much heat, but to reflect it. So I thought it might be a good compromise to go with mesh compared to the solid one to have some heat reflection and still a breeze going through... But perhaps we will rethink construction plans to keep a small distance between shade and tent and go for the solid solution.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:01 pm

I used a simple 3 piece frame centered over a cabin tent last time.
It was about 6 inches higher than the tent.
Then I stretched heavy vinyl over this.
It was shaped like the tent, but only touched in places.
Bungee cords help damp flapping.
Not perfect but hugely better.
The areas not shrouded were very hot by comparison.
I never needed ventilation.
Everything is air cooled by the wind mostly.
Not the same in a low wind area.

Wrapped the tent directly the firat year, with only small gaps at the base.

Afternoon nap, very hot.
But hot, compared to 'found dead in tent' was better.
It was a small tent too.
The higher roof makes a big difference.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:06 pm

berlinchameleon wrote:Thanks a lot.
I was thinking about going with the mesh aluminet to benefit from the wind advantages, you are talking about and saving me the need to think about an easy to handle yet solid structure to create the gap Cryptofishist is referring to . The aluminet mesh does not seem to absorb / keep too much heat, but to reflect it. So I thought it might be a good compromise to go with mesh compared to the solid one to have some heat reflection and still a breeze going through... But perhaps we will rethink construction plans to keep a small distance between shade and tent and go for the solid solution.

The mesh is easier to use, no doubt.
Aluminet mesh is stretchy.
Some people use traditional dark mesh.

Mirrored mylar panels covered a whole camp last time.
That really works.
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Postby graidawg » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:07 pm

There are three intolerable things in life - cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women.


all of these things i actually like quite a lot........
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Postby gyre » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:26 pm

Every strange cafe offers iced coffee here on the surface of the sun ~
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Postby berlinchameleon » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:19 am

graidawg wrote:There are three intolerable things in life - cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women.


all of these things i actually like quite a lot........


then good things to all! :wink:
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Postby some seeing eye » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:51 am

You might look into the maximum baggage the Green Tortoise can take.

I am a huge fan of Aluminet, but it is bulky, my ~20x25 feet is about 4 cubic feet packed (it is light though).

Sun hats and warm clothing are hard to find in the on-playa boutiques, they would be good to bring from SF.

The standard stakes for the tent might not be adequate. Consult a burner in SF who has playa experience, and if they think the stakes are too light weight, you can get 12 inch galvanized gutter nails at Home Depot. I have found a full size air mattress with inflater and warm bedding really contributes to my playa quality of life, easy to buy in SF.

There are dozens of packing lists on the Internet, which can be adapted for international visitors who have the support of a camp like the 'Tortoise.
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Postby gyre » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:14 am

Definitely bring a good sun hat.
I use one that campmor carries.


If you have space, you can bring 2 x 4s or 2 x 2s and build a frame, then burn or give away the wood, as a minor shade structure.
Three would create the frame I used, less than ten dollars.

I used metal and taped the poles to the tent uprights.
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Postby Savannah » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:05 am

You might look into the maximum baggage the Green Tortoise can take.


That's a wise reminder. Their site says:

"You may bring one checked bag, one carry-on, a tent, and a sleeping bag. Art projects need to be handled on a per case basis with the office manager before departure. No propane or fuel in luggage. Extra luggage above and beyond this is at a space-availability level and will go for a minimum $30 per bag and up depending on weight and size." and "A spot on our buses for your bicycle can be reserved for an additional $30 fee, paid for upon reservation".

I knew of at least one person who found the text elsewhere on their site about "no tent needed" to be confusing, perhaps also due to the appearance of bunks in the bus layout. "No tent needed" applies to some of their overnight or shorter trips in less harsh environments. (When he checked with them to make sure, they clarified, "you need a tent".)
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