Input on Shelter ideas please!

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

Input on Shelter ideas please!

Postby lightblue22 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:47 am

Hi all!

Total noob here... just got word that I will be able to attend BM this year, so excited!

The wealth of information on this site is certainly daunting. I have still yet to organize my thoughts and processes but I'm actually excited for all of the planning ahead.

First challenge to tackle is shelter. I've read a lot on this site already but was still wondering if you all could so kindly give me your opinion : )

Background: I will be attending with my boyfriend. We will be driving from Los Angeles, getting in on Thursday afternoonish and probably leaving during the day on Sunday so we have time to recover before work on Tuesday. Trying to keep my budget around $1200 per person (more or less). We are both first-timers and sadly to say, have limited outdoor experience (aside from the occasional hike, so this will be a challenge to say the least). Also means we have very little in the way of supplies for the trip.

Option 1: Rent a cargo van from Enterprise from LA (~$350 plus gas). Sleep in cargo van with air mattress in the back. Shade windows with reflectix and cover van with aluminet in an A frame shape to provide a little shade on both sides of the van. Alternatively I was looking into the Costco carports to park the van under but after reading about rebars and guy wires (I am NOT engineering-saavy at the least) I thought the aluminet would be an easier (and easier to transport) option. Comparing costs, a large sheet of 14'x30' aluminet is comparable to the cost of the carport (~$200). Please note that I did a search of these terms on the board but could not find a definitive guide of some sort that would spell out exactly how to stake down the costco carport so it might be easier than that - If anyone knows of an old post or wiki or some sort and could shoot me the link it would be much appreciated!

Pros: guaranteed protection from storms; more insulated and therefore heats up and cools down more slowly ; more sound protection? at night; no need to set up tent; cargo van is easy to clean and risks no damage to personal car

Cons: no place to "chill" except in the van (I'm not sure how much space created by A frame shape of the aluminet); I'm not sure how many times I will be back to BM (could be a once in a lifetime thing or an annual thing, who knows?) but to prepare for the worst, not sure what I could do with a 10x20 carport or gigantic sheet of aluminet later

Option 2: Borrow parent's SUV to drive to BRC (free plus gas, my compact car wouldn't be large enough to transport supplies) ; purchase a quality canvas tent (springbar) plus a small piece of aluminet to cover ($600-650)

Pros: get to keep a quality tent I can re-use again; tall tent means we have room to chill inside (as opposed to sitting on the ground in a cargo van)

Cons: possible damage to the SUV that isn't mine (very worried about the dust - read conflicting things about the damage to the car). I don't think staking down the tent will be as bad as a carport. More dust. Less protection from the elements in case of a storm. More noise?

Please let me know your thoughts or if you have any better suggestions for two ppl...!!

Thanks!!!!!
Ann
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Postby Bounce530 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:11 am

Use the parents suv, buy a smallish tent ($30), research "monkey hut" ($60). Set up the hut, put the tent inside the hut, use the suv to block one of the open ends of the hut. You now have a shade/wind break for your tent and a chill space. Monkey huts are super easy to set up and playa tested. Any shade that you build, other then the rental van, will have to be guy wired/rebared.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:23 am

I like bounce's idea. Spend extra money on yer propane stove, camel backs, and other essential supplies. Spend the rest of yer 600$ per person on booze
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Postby justfred » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:27 am

You're going from Thursday through Sunday? Seriously consider coming earlier. Monday through Wednesday are some of the best days there.

I'd use parent's SUV and a cheap tent and not bother with a lot of shade rigamarole; there are plenty of places to chill, and as newbies you'll want to spend a lot of time out and about anyway. If you really need a shelter, an Easy-ups are fairly cheap and work really well, just be sure to stake it down well; you don't have to raise it all the way and it'll provide better shade for the tent if you don't; you can also use fabric to make sides for them for more shade and privacy. It's good to park the SUV on the morning side of the tent, though, should keep it a bit cooler in the early hours.
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Postby Homiesinheaven » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:45 am

hey ann!

radical self-reliance begins with all your prep work. $1200 is way too much for a first timer and for being there only three days. you dont have to spend that much money at all! borrow camping equipment from friends or buy used stuff on craigslist. Reflectix/Aluminet is a bit much for two noobs, that stuff is more suited for theme camps and people with big budgets. spend less money and more energy on being creative. here's a link to the monkeyhuts:

http://www.chromatest.net/Lovemonkey/

you wont be able to chill in a tent during the day, way too hot. the van will probably not be that great either. if you're worried about the dust, dont borrow your parent's SUV. chances are it wont be damaged but it will surely have dust on it for a good long while which might piss them off. renting is a good worry-free option. check this site for coupons:

http://www.retailmenot.com/

Midway also had good deals on cargo vans in LA last i checked. dont forget to figure in the insurance for it. there's lots on this board on how to secure structures, read up on it. what's worked best for me is guy lines from the top outer bars of carports down to the playa.

if you dont have a lot of outdoors experience my best advice is go camping for as long as you can before doing BM. you can learn how to set up all your stuff and do trial runs on all the shit you'll have to deal with in the unforgiving desert. good luck!
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Postby Token » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:52 am

I <3 Lightblue22.

Ann is a RockStar!

Why you ask? Cuz she obviously did her research thoroughly then asked specific questions pertinent to her situation.

Bravo!

I truly wish you guys can call in sick or work some other magic to make it out there on Monday. I'd seriously caravan out there with you and lend a hand with your shade situation.

Heck, I probably have room in my truck to rideshare with you guys.

Post me a PM if you can swing a Saturday 28th departure or if you need hands on help with the shade.
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Postby lightblue22 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:07 am

wow thanks for all the responses! you guys are so nice. i really wish i could come earlier but due to a trip to japan in the beginning of aug that we planned a year ago i really can't swing the days with work ..blagh. hopefully this will be a great first taste of BM and there will be longer, repeat trips in the future.

the cheap tent / monkey hut sounds like a great option and would save some serious bucks!
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Postby lightblue22 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:16 am

and i do agree that i should focus more energy on being creative for this 1st burn. i didn't really think about that before...

unfortunately, a short (and scary) stint in my past in large-scale event planning has me conditioned to prepare, prepare, prepare.
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Postby StevenGoodman » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:29 am

I am more into the "just have fun" part of the first time. Take the free SUV, it might get dusty, but just don't get in and out of it often.

A "good" canvas tent is a great investment, they last FOREVER. But a cheap tent (with good stakes) will be fine for one (or two) Burning Mans. Shade over the tent is NOT required, as long as you are willing to be up by 10am.

Some kind of "home chill area" is nice, but you will quickly meet other people, and they will have chill space!

Keep it cheap and come have fun!

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Postby AntiM » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:56 am

lightblue22 wrote:wow thanks for all the responses! you guys are so nice. i really wish i could come earlier but due to a trip to japan in the beginning of aug that we planned a year ago i really can't swing the days with work ..blagh. hopefully this will be a great first taste of BM and there will be longer, repeat trips in the future.


Oooh, where in Japan? I lived in Yokosuka for 12 years. No, I only speak "bar: Japanese. The humidity will at a peak then, the contrast with the dry playa will be interesting.
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Postby Brooks_DallasTX » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:25 am

I, too, love the fact that this person has done her homework. You will do fine at BM. As far as shade goes, there will be plenty of camps (thousands?) with shade that will welcome you in during the day.

I agree that you should go cheap, borrow the SUV, buy a cheap tent, forget shade structure. Don't forget water, though.
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Postby Homiesinheaven » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:56 am

saying she doesnt need a shade space (chill area) is not very responsible guys, even the first timer's guide says you need to bring some type of shade. it doesnt have to be too involved but please figure in something to take guard you from the blazing sun at your camp. it's true what people have been saying though, you should spend more time exploring your first year then hanging out at your camp.
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Postby phil » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:52 am

Louise and I have used white cargo vans from the beginning. If you tape aluminum foil inside every window so that no sun gets in, the interior of the van probably will be comfy 24 hours a day. Probably. That's been our experience, but of course on the playa no one knows.

If you like your parents, I would not borrow their SUV. They will have playa powder blowing out the vents for years to come when they turn on the heater or air conditioner.

My suggestion is to buy a small 3 or 4 person tent as a back up. If you seal your windows with foil, it will be pitch black in the van and you should be able to sleep any time of the day or night - but have the tent as a back up. Our queen size air mattress is a squeeze in the van across the width, but it fits with room to spare on the length. You need to have room on the floor for the mattress and for getting in and out of the van.

You need a shade, again in my humble opinion. You don't want to leave the van doors open - it lets in dust and heat. We've used home made shades and once a ParaWing from some company. You can make a shade from a tarp, bungee cords, and EMT tubing which will fit easily in your van (make sure the longest tube length is shorter than the van floor, though).

See here for some parts to make your EMT shade:
http://www.angelfire.com/biz/shadecanop ... tings.html
there are a ton of sources that will sell you everything but the EMT tubing - go to a local big box hardware and buy it cut to fit your design. Buying the tubes yourself saves on shipping. I recommend side flaps for at least two sides of your shade - if you enclose your shade, you end up in an oven.

Louise and I set up our shade, drive a rebar into the ground beside each leg, and duct tape the leg to the rebar. No guy wires.

Parawings are light and reasonably easy to set up if you've done it for practice a couple of times. Search for them and see who sells them and what price. They don't provide enough shade for my tastes, but that's a personal thing. Because you'll be there for a shorter time, it may be the best thing for you to try as beginners.

See our list of things to bring:
http://www.cieux.com/bm/things.html
which includes links to lists from other people.

Louise has links to places to buy supplies in Reno:
http://civilizedexplorer.pbworks.com/CivExReno
She has a table of contents for the shopping page set up by stores, types of supplies, freeway exits, and casinos.

I recommend that you use everything you're bringing during the next weeks so that you are reasonably comfortable using things before you get to Burning Man. It can get harsh on the playa, and you don't want to try to learn how to set stuff up when it's a hundred degrees or the wind is blowing at 30 or 40 MPH with a dust storm.

I understand you can't be there the full time, but I promise you'll be blown away by the event. Be sure to bring bikes (they'll fit in the van) so you can travel at reasonable speeds. Stop by our camp on Friday at 2:00 pm, and we'll give you clothes so you look like Burners for the weekend. (We give away clothes every year.) PM me the middle of August when we'll know where we'll be camped.
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Postby lightblue22 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:53 am

[quote="AntiM"][quote="lightblue22"]wow thanks for all the responses! you guys are so nice. i really wish i could come earlier but due to a trip to japan in the beginning of aug that we planned a year ago i really can't swing the days with work ..blagh. hopefully this will be a great first taste of BM and there will be longer, repeat trips in the future.
[/quote]

Oooh, where in Japan? I lived in Yokosuka for 12 years. No, I only speak "bar: Japanese. The humidity will at a peak then, the contrast with the dry playa will be interesting.[/quote]

AntiM - Very excited for this trip as well. We will be there for 10 days...first time for me, 4th time for my boyfriend. We're staying a few days in Tokyo, then going to Kyoto, Hakone for a traditional ryokan / hot spring experience, doing the sunrise hike to the top of Mt. fuji (one thing crossed off my list, head lamps!) and in general just trying to find the best food everywhere (we have every B L & D meal planned out for the 10 days haha). Hopefully I can find some interesting costumes for BM as well! In the land of anime & cosplay I'm sure to find something good :)

Thanks all again for your input! This is exactly what I needed. I haven't quite made a decision on what we're going to go with for shelter but I feel much more informed already :)
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Postby Elorrum » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:51 pm

I would suggest keep it simple.. I had a couple of neighbors 2008 who were driving around the country in a rented minivan and camping all along the way. They had two sand chairs, a little dome tent, and a tarp strung from the tent to the car roof, rope and stakes to make it secure, with a shady space for their chairs. done.
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:57 pm

shoot. if the suv is tall enough ( and most are ) & has racks on top, you can just make a simple "lean to" type shade.
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Postby phil » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:19 pm

> if the suv is tall enough ( and most are ) & has racks on top, you can
> just make a simple "lean to" type shade.

Image
Not the best shade we've had, but it was our first year.
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