Car Camping, and why my friends suck

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Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby glowinglassrose » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:59 am

Hi Everyone,

I'm coming to BM with a group of 9 friends. For most of us it's our first burn. I'm a very organized person and I've kinda become in charge of planning things. This is currently biting me in the ass.

Initially, everyone was very insistant that we needed to have an RV. At the beginning of the summer we realized this might be impossible because there were no reservations left. I did a lot of research and calling around and finally found one due to a cancellation. So I made a reservation and put down a deposit.

YESTERDAY, two people in the group came forward and said that they might not want to pay as much as it'll cost to rent the RV. Two people dropping out of the pool really makes it too expensive now for everyone else, so it looks like I'm going to have to cancel it. Luckily they told me now, in 4 more days I would have had to pay 50% of the rental costs and be completely screwed.

Long story short, it looks like I'm going to have to re-do a lot of my planning here. New plan is for my boyfriend and I to rent an SUV or van and camp in that, and the rest of the group is just going to have to fend for themselves. Can anyone give me advice about car camping? Would it be better to have a bigger van or an SUV? I'm sure it'll be incredibly hot in the car, so I was thinking we should get a shade canopy to set up over the car, and put an air mattress in the back of it. Is this even a good idea or should we just try to camp in a tent instead?

I'm sure I'm not the first person to have disagreements and problems with friends as they plan the trip, so I'd love some advice on that too. Most of them still haven't even done the required reading and have no real idea of what they're getting themselves into. I know I'm not their mother and it's not my responsibly to make sure they're well-informed and prepared, but dealing with their whining in the middle of the week when they have trash everywhere and no food is not really something I want to deal with either.

Thank you for any advice you can give me. <3
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:13 am

Check out the Box Truck camping thread, which is in this forum. Sleeping in an SUV is going to be miserable for two, even if you do rig shade. A tent is not bad, you can go cheap your first year (and brag later how tough you are). Look into the easy shade options, such as a monkey hut. Makes life nicer if you're in camp and need a place to hang. Like a front porch!

If you want to be friends with your friends later, ditch them at the event. Golly, sorry I never found where you guys were camping. You will all be happier in the long run. They will be going through your things looking for what they forgot, borrow your bike and not lock it so it gets stolen, and ignore any sort of cooler system you have. You'll be doing the ice runs and the MOOP walks.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby glowinglassrose » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:21 am

"If you want to be friends with your friends later, ditch them at the event."

Thanks for replying AntiM, this is really what I am afraid of. It's becoming more and more clear that they are not going to get themselves prepared, and I need to not focus on them but instead focus on getting things ready for myself. I will definitely check out the box truck camping thread! I'm fine with roughing it, I just want someplace that I will be occasionally able to get some sleep.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:56 am

Hey..

Yes, seriously.. check out this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=35289

Renting a 16' Budget box truck and camping in it is not only very feasible, but to me pretty much the best option besides an RV if you are any type of out of towner or don't feel like building a full yurt or otherwise. Better get on the reservation though.. which.. you only need a cc# to reserve and are not bound into it. You don't pay a dime until you actually rent it.

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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby jkisha » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:01 pm

Yup, I'd listen to what AntiM says. BTW will your friends help you recoup the money for the deposit you will lose on the RV rental? If the answer to that question is no, I'd go one step further than the advice AntiM gave you and tell them that you and your partner have decided to go alone. If you call those people friends, I can't even imagine how low you set the bar for enemies.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby glowinglassrose » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:05 pm

My main problem is that I'm coming from Los Angeles. I'm not sure everything we need will fit in our car if we rent a truck from a closer location. The budget trucks are $0.85/mile, which would end up at about $850 round trip if we drove it all the way there from Los Angeles. Unfortunately I have a very tiny car. I suppose we could maybe try to do a last big shopping trip in Reno after we pick up the truck? I'm concerned that other people would be doing the same thing and we might end up lacking essentials.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby glowinglassrose » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:18 pm

Two of my friends (and my boyfriend) have offered to help me pay for the lost deposit. We're all having a meeting this evening to sit down and talk this all out and make sure we're all on the same page. I'm not going to force anyone to pay me back for the deposit, but instead just take that as a sign that they don't really want to be part of our camp and that they are going to do their own thing, and I'm going to plan to do the same.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby jkisha » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:20 pm

glowinglassrose wrote:My main problem is that I'm coming from Los Angeles. I'm not sure everything we need will fit in our car if we rent a truck from a closer location. The budget trucks are $0.85/mile, which would end up at about $850 round trip if we drove it all the way there from Los Angeles. Unfortunately I have a very tiny car. I suppose we could maybe try to do a last big shopping trip in Reno after we pick up the truck? I'm concerned that other people would be doing the same thing and we might end up lacking essentials.

Coming from L.A. you are in luck. This company is burner friendly and 150 miles a day are included in the rental rate. http://www.avonrents.com/ We've used them for several years now. If it's your first time renting from them their BM rate may be a bit higher than the standard rate, it's kind of arbitrary based on whether they think you'll take care of their truck and bring it back clean. Most of their regular business is studio rentals, so the trucks are all in great shape. They have a special BM rental agreement you will have to sign. I posted it somewhere here on the site.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Savannah » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:24 pm

Hi Glowinglassrose,

Glad you didn't get screwed by 50% on the deposit.

If for any reason you can't get a box truck (but the cost is surprisingly reasonable) get a cargo van and bring a tent, and set up the tent, but use the van as a fallback--because yes, it will be a bit stuffy and hot. If you try to use either the van OR the tent for both needs (i.e. sleeping AND storage), you may be crowded. This is why a box truck can be such a blessing if you can get one. And you can stand up in it, unlike a van. If I were confident about handling a large vehicle, a box truck is what I would take to the playa every time, hands down.

Your friends, bless their hearts, sound like Burn-killers. To be overwhelmed by mounting costs is one thing, but if they are not doing the required reading . . . that's bad, bad news. Your instinct that you will end up playing mommy, medic and governess is spot-on, and it will hurt the friendship (not to mention ruin your vacation). If they were acquaintances of mine I would not camp anywhere near 'em. I'd be kind about it towards them, and cite a change in focus towards a couple's vacation. It's not untrue. :)

Finally: there will be plenty of supplies in Reno. Plenty! Several WalMarts and Home Depots--google them and you'll see what I mean. The town stands to make a lot of money off of Burners, and they rise to the occasion.

Things you should buy ahead: goggles, footwear, playa coat, costumes. For fit. Or anything like prescriptions or other must haves, or things on which you are devastatingly particular. But otherwise, the rest is there.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:26 pm

The stores in Reno know the burners will be coming through and stock accordingly. No worries there.

I love my friends. I do not love camping with 99% of them.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:26 pm

Actually, if you book as a "business", it's only $0.19/mile. You don't have to show any proof of business activity, either. The only caveat is that you must accept the additional liability insurance which isn't bad. I'm getting $34.28/day + $0.19/mile.
Last edited by junglesmacks on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:34 pm

glowinglassrose wrote:Most of them still haven't even done the required reading and have no real idea of what they're getting themselves into. I know I'm not their mother and it's not my responsibly to make sure they're well-informed and prepared, but dealing with their whining in the middle of the week when they have trash everywhere and no food is not really something I want to deal with either.



Although 2011 will be my first burn, this is the main reason why I have steadfastly refused everyone who has attempted to join our camp - I have no intention of spending my entire burn baby sitting "friends" who are incapable of being self reliant.

Everyone who has asked about going with us (mostly friends of my son) has been politely told to go to burningman.com, read the guides, and search on ride share (we don't have room for another anyway). Guess what - to date not a single one of them has gotten off their ass to do this most basic of things, and If they need someone to hold their hand through it all they are probably best off sitting home anyway.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:51 pm

Also.. I have to add that I wouldn't be scared of the gas bill if you choose to drive a 16' truck from LA. I was amazed at how fuel efficient those things are.. I can't remember what I spent but it was dirt cheap.. under triple digits for 300+ miles. Cheaper than flying into Reno especially if you're bringing tons of stuff.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby glowinglassrose » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:01 pm

"Actually, if you book as a "business", it's only $0.19/mile. You don't have to show any proof of business activity, either. The only caveat is that you must accept the additional liability insurance which isn't bad. I'm getting $34.28/day + $0.19/mile."

Wow, I'm SO glad you told me about this - that is a major difference in cost. I'm not worried about the gas, I know that'll be high, but that's a lot of milage to cover.

Also thanks for the link jkisha, I will check out the rental situation there.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Asherbeez » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:19 pm

AntiM wrote:I love my friends. I do not love camping with 99% of them.


Amen to that! I have also had a fair number of friends telling me they wanted to go for their first burn this year. I told them I'd be happy to tell them how to look me up when they get there (gives me the option of "forgetting" to register with playa info :wink: ) but they would need to work everything else out on their own (like I, and most others have done). I also made it clear that I have a tendency to disappear while on the playa and have no intentions of babysitting.

FWIW I think you're better off taking care of yourself and letting them work their shit out. No sense in stressing your burn out because they are too lazy/needy to get their poop in a group.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:27 pm

glowinglassrose wrote:"Actually, if you book as a "business", it's only $0.19/mile. You don't have to show any proof of business activity, either. The only caveat is that you must accept the additional liability insurance which isn't bad. I'm getting $34.28/day + $0.19/mile."

Wow, I'm SO glad you told me about this - that is a major difference in cost. I'm not worried about the gas, I know that'll be high, but that's a lot of milage to cover.


No worries! This is how I booked last year, but I actually do have a business and intended on using the company card if I had to. When I got there, there told me no.. don't worry.. you don't need proof. This was verified on the phone again this year both by myself and other people. You're good to go..
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Savannah » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:42 pm

If you have a friend with a small business, you could ask to be employee No. 2 or 3 for a week. :) Then at least you have an answer and a phone number if there's an overly diligent clerk.

But this means you would also want to bring said friend a souvenir from the burn--perhaps a film canister of drifted dust with a small black rock in it. (The box truck was necessary to go pick it up.)
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby glowinglassrose » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:53 pm

"I love my friends. I do not love camping with 99% of them."

I think that is going to end up being true for me too. Even though some of my friends told me they had done some of the reading, this morning one of them asked me if there would be potra potties - which is a very clear indicator that he hasn't researched shit. (Uh, no pun intended). I think I'm just going to let them roll around in the dirt and focus on having a good time myself.

The box truck is looking like the best option for sure, thank you so much everyone for the suggestions. I'm surprised at all the comments in the other thread saying that they stay cooler and ventilated, but I'm very glad to hear that. I think this is looking like the best option for my boyfriend and I. I think we'll bring a tent as well but mostly for storage.

As a side note, I make adult sized hula hoops as a hobby and I'm trying to bring at least a dozen with me. If you see a girl in pink goggles with hearts on them and a hula hoop, it might be me so come say hi. =)
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:57 pm

Box truck or van is definitely a great way to go. If for whatever that's not an option, I sleep in my SUV when I go camping (playa included) and it's very comfortable. It'll be a squeeze with two people but not bad. You're not going to want to hang out in it during the day, but it's a nice dust free, quiet place to sleep.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:01 pm

glowinglassrose wrote: I think we'll bring a tent as well but mostly for storage.


You'll be amazed at how much room you really have..! I think it's like 8 feet wide.. so at 16 x 8 feet that's more square footage that a normal sized bedroom. I know that I had a full sofa, loveseat, drum, food, clothes, water, etc.. and still had enough room to throw a dance party in there.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby BBadger » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:05 pm

My friends (a couple) slept in their wagon-car the whole trip and said it was very comfortable. They just covered the windows as needed.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Irreverent Moniker » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:08 pm

I've slept in the back of my wagon a few times when I've gone camping and was too lazy to set up a tent. It was nice in that my full sized air bed fit perfectly and I found everything nice and cozy like a little nest...and felt more a little more protected from being eaten by a bear and/or killed by a serial killer. The complete lack of insulation is an issue though. When it's cold outside it's cold inside, when it's hot outside it's BOILING inside.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby The Bee » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:38 pm

My wife and I take our 1974 Chevy short-wheelbase van with a bed in back, and we take a tent for storage on the playa. Plenty of room for two. If you can't find a box-truck, you could rent a cargo van and still have lots of room. Either way, it's nice to also have a tent for storage so you minimize trips in and out of the van and minimize the dust inside.

We didn't have a shade structure over our van, and sleeping in the van was fine at night. During the early part of the day, it was fine if we opened the windows to get a breeze. During dust storms we wanted the windows closed, and then it got really hot! This year, I want to expand our shade structure so it covers the van. I'm also considering building a swamp-cooler, inspired by FigJam's posts here. 8)

Without a shade structure, the tent will be just as hot as the van or truck. I think a box truck would hold the most heat due to lack of windows for cross-breeze. Building a shade structure over a box truck might be more challenging than building one over a tent or a van because of its size.

In any case, I highly recommend car-camping without an RV. I feel "present" at the event the whole time I'm there. Last year, our neighbors had a huge RV, and they invited us in for a yummy lunch one day. It was cool and clean and quiet, and the food was good, but after a while I started to feel claustrophobic and had to get back out onto the playa. :twisted:
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby lucky420 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:45 pm

box trucks actually stay fairly cool on the inside. We took a 25 footer last year and it was pretty comfortable. We spent the first night in it monday as we were to tired to set up the hexayurt until the next day.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby jkisha » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:52 pm

Savannah wrote:If you have a friend with a small business, you could ask to be employee No. 2 or 3 for a week. :) Then at least you have an answer and a phone number if there's an overly diligent clerk.

But this means you would also want to bring said friend a souvenir from the burn--perhaps a film canister of drifted dust with a small black rock in it. (The box truck was necessary to go pick it up.)

Except then the company would be responsible for the liability.

I had an x-employee that got into an accident and he just told the police he was running errands for the company, Guess who got sued? Of course when I produced employment records, the case was thrown out of court.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:59 pm

Just call the location where you plan on renting from and ask them point blank.. "If I'm renting a truck online for business use, what do I need to bring with me when I pick it up?"

Question answered. Ta dahhhhhhhhhhh


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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Eric » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:21 pm

The Bee wrote:In any case, I highly recommend car-camping without an RV. I feel "present" at the event the whole time I'm there. Last year, our neighbors had a huge RV, and they invited us in for a yummy lunch one day. It was cool and clean and quiet, and the food was good, but after a while I started to feel claustrophobic and had to get back out onto the playa. :twisted:


Just remember that recommendation may vary depending on the person. I've RV'd it every year (occasionally sleeping in friend's tents) and I much prefer the RV. Comfortable bed and, yes, I can grab a little down-time if needed.

Assuming that just because you're in an RV you're cut off from the event comes from people who don't use them- we have people over all the time, we were having little dance parties in it before going out, hell, we used it as a mini-lounge during a dance party at the bar as well as shelter for people during the endless dust-storms Saturday & Sunday last year.

It's not what you sleep in that determines if you're part of the playa or not, it's how you use it.
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Savannah » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:29 pm

jkisha wrote:
Savannah wrote:If you have a friend with a small business, you could ask to be employee No. 2 or 3 for a week. :) Then at least you have an answer and a phone number if there's an overly diligent clerk.

But this means you would also want to bring said friend a souvenir from the burn--perhaps a film canister of drifted dust with a small black rock in it. (The box truck was necessary to go pick it up.)

Except then the company would be responsible for the liability.

I had an x-employee that got into an accident and he just told the police he was running errands for the company, Guess who got sued? Of course when I produced employment records, the case was thrown out of court.


Damn! Good point.

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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby Fufa » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:32 pm

Glowinglassrose, unfortunately this kind of situation does happen. My boyfriend and I have dealt with it this year with planning our second burn. All of our friends that we've known for 5+ years claimed to be super stoked for bm. We even bought a 40 ft bus that was converted to an RV so we could fit everyone and all our stuff. Then january rolls around and 2 drop out (one supposedly due to the fact "there was too much planning to do", when I was the one arranging the whole thing). Then in may another 2 came out and told us that had decided months ago they didn't like our "rules" but they were too lazy to bother telling us earlier. Another just dropped out due to a sports tournament. It happens. I've learned who of these friends not to invite on trips again, since I can't trust their word anymore. Now my group atleast still has a large enough number to offset fuel costs, because we found people online through burner networks to camp with and rideshare. The funny thing is the friends that ended up being serious about going are the ones we hang out with the least.

My new policy is to not arrange to travel/camp together with anyone who's never been to the burn. If they can take the initative to do it all on their own, then I'll consider including them in my camp. You have enough on your plate your first burn anyways hun. I would expect that those that said yes to the RV then backed out should be responsible for helping recoup the cost for cancelling. Did you take deposits from them?

I really hope you work everything out, and end up having a good burn. It's tough when all these issues crop up before you're even at the desert. I also echo the truck rental, or if you're partial to it check if any theme camps are still open to new campers. With some you pay your pitch to the camp for food and water, leaving you with much less to haul. Then you might be able to make due with just your car.

Have a happy burn glowinglassrose
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Re: Car Camping, and why my friends suck

Postby The Bee » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:33 pm

Eric wrote:It's not what you sleep in that determines if you're part of the playa or not, it's how you use it.


Absolutely, Eric. It is a personal thing. Thanks for mentioning that. Our RV neighbors last year were very active, friendly, and definitely part of the playa.
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