Best Theme Camps for Newbie Burners from the East Coast

Best Theme Camps for Newbie Burners from the East Coast

Postby mayava » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:49 pm

Hey Burners!

Some friends and I, all newbie Burners, are roadtripping from the East Coast to hit up Burning Man this year. Since we're coming from so far and riding in a regular sedan, we won't be able to haul large objects or substantial infrastructure like shade structures, portable showers, generators, bicycles, etc. Are there experienced, newbie-friendly theme camps, pref near the center of things, that we can join that do have all these things? We're totally happy to hustle and exchange serious volunteer support in any capacity.

Thanks for any advice!
~Maria
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:09 pm

Maria
The first bit of hustle to show is to read through this forum (or this section of the forum) see which camps are still looking for members and private messaging the camp member that put that post up.
If you don't find any, you can go to the main website and there's a list of many camps that you can work through. That's going to take a bit thicker skin, because many are established camps that have the same group, etc. So that's a numbers game, I dont' know how many nos to a yes.

I assume that you were not in on the conversation about "bedroom" camps after last year's event. The llc has a perception that there are theme camps that exist merely to provide a place for people to camp at, and is not happy with the lack of interactivity that they offer, especially when they get good camping space.

I don't want to accuse you of looking for a camp that accepts only money and doesn't "promote burningman values." It's not clear to me that that's who you are. It's just that there are two of these threads started today in the past 4 hours or so, and that makes me uneasy; it seems to me that that hasn't been true in the past. I could be totally delusional about that, of course. And while this is in your thread, you are not the target. It's just that I think it's better said, and this is a convenient place for it.
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Postby mayava » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:25 pm

Crypto, I can see how that you're concerned about preserving the Burning Man principles, but I think you're being a little paranoid here. All I'm doing is soliciting recommendations for theme camps to join. I have already combed the forums and the massive theme camp list and reached out to a few that I found interesting, but as you say, it's a law of large numbers as many of them are closed groups and as a newbie, I don't really know the history / reputation of some of these camps and don't know how beginner-friendly they are. Getting advice here would be really helpful.
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Postby Token » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:37 pm

Can we start the snark now? Fishy covered the good stuff with great eloquence.

RADICAL SELF RELIANCE.

Burning man is not a resort community.

Though there is much generosity, sharing and communal effort, it's paid into with great amounts of sweat equity year round.

There are a few camps that help out international burners due to truly impossible logistics. Not easy to get into.

For newbs to claim they will jump in and bust ass all week ... Sorry, that seldom happens and frankly you shouldn't even try. Have fun taking it all in and work next year.

So, get a roof rack for your sedan and bring everything you need to survive. Its not that hard to do. There is a manual called the Survival Guide.
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Re: Best Theme Camps for Newbie Burners from the East Coast

Postby Eric » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:00 pm

mayava wrote:we won't be able to haul large objects or substantial infrastructure like shade structures, portable showers, generators, bicycles, etc.


Maria- other than the shade structure & the bikes, none of those things are necessities. They may be nice to have, but you can live without them. Really.
Figure out how to pack your people and your stuff in the vehicle, do a practice run. Burners come from across the country (and Canada and Mexico...) hauling everything they need wedged into every available space in their vehicle, it can be done.

If anything, you should do as much as possible without theme camp infrastructure your first year- the struggle to make things happen is part of what make this more than just a party in the desert.

As has been said by Token & Fishy: there is a long history of first-timers making promises so they can join camps & not keeping them. Probably every group camp (not just the major theme camps) has been burned, so to speak.

I'm not implying that your group is like that, but I can honestly let you know that other than the camps posting that they're still actively looking, there probably isn't a single camp that's going to take some newbies who just started looking for a camp a month before the gates open. Not trying to be harsh or rude, it's just the reality of the situation.
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Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:44 pm

A tarp, a tent or two, maybe a cooler and a couple camp chairs to be fancy, water, food, and you're golden. There, what was so hard about that?
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Postby mayava » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:05 pm

Guys, I'm looking for functional advice as a new burner, which all of you were at one point. Maybe you had bad experiences with leechers/slackers, but that doesn't mean every newbie who asks for advice is going to be one. While we obviously plan on bringing along our own tents, cooking supplies, water/food, etc, we think it would be helpful to join a camp that's versed in the perks/pitfalls of the playa and is building cool stuff we can pitch in on. Maybe we don't need a theme camp at all and general camping would be totally fine. Maybe there are particular theme camps to avoid b/c they aren't interactive or are just scamming us with unreasonable dues. Maybe none of these questions are relevant b/c BM is so unpredictable. It's totally possible to give these sort of pointers without piling on a load of negativity.
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Postby geekster » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:16 pm

we think it would be helpful to join a camp that's versed in the perks/pitfalls of the playa and is building cool stuff we can pitch in on.


Why? Why would the "camp that's versed" find it helpful to have a gaggle of newbies in their camp having to explain to them exactly WHY they got yelled at for using the camp shower using up someone else's shower water and not having brought their own, etc.

How are YOU going to be helpful to the camp aside from your "pitching in"?

It is probably better to camp together and make your own little impromptu camp. One newbie is plenty for most camps. Most can handle two. Any more than that and it can be a pain in the ass but that depends on the newbie. Some seem to take to it like a fish to water, others just seem to be totally clueless.

Some tip-like things:

Just because a camp has a shower doesn't mean they provide the water.

Just because there is a gray water tank in the camp doesn't mean you can use it without asking/chipping in for it. It might not belong to "the camp" and it might belong to a subset of the campers.

Just because the camp has a kitchen doesn't mean it serves meals.

Just because the camp has a kitchen doesn't mean you can use it. The kitchen might belong to a subset of the campers who pooled kitchen resources together.

Just because a camp is at burning man doesn't mean it is a hippie commune.

How many is "some friends and I"?
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Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:23 pm

Functional advice has been given: do the search of the theme camps available, then ask about particulars. You're getting the typical reaction as it seems you've done no homework yourself, and if you wouldn't do something as simple as read a few descriptions so you can ask about them, well, see what we're getting at? Really, the thread's been pretty civil, the real jokers haven't shown up yet.

I'm in Hushville, a village which requires preregistration and is still first come first served, offers no amenities other than an address and a wonderful group of neighbors. No dues, no generators, no amplified music. So that's the only one I can tell you about first hand. Actually good for newbs as no one in Hushville will let you die. No cool interactive project for the village, although we do have several individual camps placed on the street who offer interaction and a number of social activities.
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Postby Token » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:09 pm

But it's an Alaya!!!

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Postby curiousgnate » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:22 pm

all snark aside. get a hitch for whatever vehicle you are coming in rent a small uhaul trailer, get your own shade.... you can probably do this cheaper then the dues would be at a theme camp, and camp on your own. as a vet i can say that you really will love the no responsibility except for those that you came with. you will make a ton of friends, and have a blast.
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Postby Eric » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:27 pm

mayava wrote:It's totally possible to give these sort of pointers without piling on a load of negativity.


Trust me, this thread hasn't been negative. There's been really good solid advice given, you just don't seem to want to hear it.

Which is a red flag for how you'd work in a theme camp.

You should really think about just camping as your own group- that's what the majority of people do.
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Postby talito » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:53 am

mayava, check out mal-mart and black rock city university for unlearning. should be some others as well.
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Re: Best Theme Camps for Newbie Burners from the East Coast

Postby alt12 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:41 am

mayava wrote:Hey Burners!

Some friends and I, all newbie Burners, are roadtripping from the East Coast to hit up Burning Man this year. Since we're coming from so far and riding in a regular sedan, we won't be able to haul large objects or substantial infrastructure like shade structures, portable showers, generators, bicycles, etc. Are there experienced, newbie-friendly theme camps, pref near the center of things, that we can join that do have all these things?


yeah, its called Lollapolooza...

I don't understand the obsession with joining a camp..... When you get out here, buy a cheap $100 canopy for shade, a $40 bike on your drive in, a solar shower that you can get at any sports supply store and a camp stove and voila.... problem solved.... add in some solar Christmas lights and you have a whole camp setup for you and your friends for the same price as camp dues..... problem solved....
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Re: Best Theme Camps for Newbie Burners from the East Coast

Postby bm_cricket » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:02 am

mayava wrote:Hey Burners!

Some friends and I, all newbie Burners, are roadtripping from the East Coast to hit up Burning Man this year. Since we're coming from so far and riding in a regular sedan, we won't be able to haul large objects or substantial infrastructure like shade structures, portable showers, generators, bicycles, etc. Are there experienced, newbie-friendly theme camps, pref near the center of things, that we can join that do have all these things? We're totally happy to hustle and exchange serious volunteer support in any capacity.

Thanks for any advice!
~Maria


Something constructive.. Even small sedans can have a small trailer. You can't put anything heavy into them but some camping gear and your 1 change of clothes will be fine. Put your water in the passenger seat and strap the passenger to the roof for the ride from Reno to BRC. You don't need much to survive out there and if you have a full take of gas, some shade, tons of water and food, you'll be where the rest of us were at some point in our burning experience.

PS, I don't know many camps that are letting new people in this late in the game and not charging them an arm and a leg for the pleasure. If you don't put in the hours building it then you'll be putting in fist fulls of hard earned cash paying for it!
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Postby pinemom » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:17 am

What everyone is trying to say is "Radical Self Reliance"


Its number ONE in the ten rules/principles of BURNINGMAN.


There is survival guides Ie front page and first timer guides, also front page.
And quit getting your panties in a bind...i cant believe how nice everyones being to a newb that come is 30 days before we leave for the playa!!!!!!!!!!

We've been planning and building our camps for 333 days...where YOU been? What you been doing for the last year??? Inquiring minds wanna know?

Also, if your answer is "I just found out about the festival last month! It sounds like a real hoot, yeah, I gonna buy the ticket".

It took me 13 yrs to get to Burningman, from the first day I found out about it!

2 years to do my research about it in order to sign up for a scholarship ticket. I started searching for a camp(yes, cause I was a virgin and didnt know what to expect) In JANUARY!!!!! not July!


So whilst you think everyones being Snarky...you aint seen nuttin.
Why do we snark, cause we had to research and learn all the stuff the hard way by reading the first timers and survival guides. Coming in here and asking stupid questions that already have 5-15 threads answering these questions over and over again and in pretty much any language you need it in.

And P.s.

Yes I joined a camp my first yr. the second...I made my own!!!!


Come by the Booby bar and see what a bunch of misfits can build together 100's of miles away from each other only via the internet, with limited space and $$$.


All things can be accomplished...if you set your mind to it.

4 peeps in a sedan...yup...u-haul rents lil trailers and HITCHS that they will install on your car.And un-install when you return.

I assume you gots a craigers list around your parts...thems where you'll find all your stuff you need gently used, and 75% o
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:13 am

Here. Here's more of the same, so you can bond in adversity.
But I'm not giving you the link to the person who's trying gamely to put together a camp. Because I'm just mean, and snarky, and so contrary to the spirit of burningman.
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:24 pm

GAH! I want to be snarky...but I am going to be nice. Look, it is hard to even imagine what the burn is like until you've been. You have NO idea what you're going to feel, want to do, etc. Do yourself a HUGE favor. Camp on your own with your friends. Look at the theme camp list and find a place to camp near some things you're interested in. Haul your own stuff in. You CAN burn without a bike...so skip that if you can't make it fit.

I wondered into eplaya a year and a half ago and posted some stupid shit about howI wanted to camp with a theme camp and I am a hard worker and a free spirit and blah blah blah. I got some snark and I got some help. In the end I got an offer from a couple groups of people *bear in mind, I started looking in Feb/March* and they helped me a lot. That's why I want to be helpful to you. I want NOTHING more than for you and your friends to have an amazing burn. Camp on your own. Struggle to make it work. It will make your experience that much better.

I hope you find what you're looking for.
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Postby lambert13 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:44 pm

I am still in planning mode for my virgin year of 2011.

Plan is that my father and I are going solo that year. From Upstate NY all the way out there on our own. We will be hauling out most of our stuff and then buying the rest in NV somewhere. Things like water, food, etc that do not make sense to haul all the way across the country.

We decided against trying to get in with a camp from the get-go. For a few reasons.

1. We wanted to fulfill the challenge of doing everything ourselves. That is one of the reasons it is taking 2 years of planning, prep and getting the finances to do this.

2. We like doing things our way and on our own schedule.

3. We want to create an environment rather than try to fit into someone else's vision.


I am sure that I will meet a lot of people. Maybe make some good friends. Those would be the people I might reach out to in following years to collaborate with. If there were people that I thought would make a great team in the future it might be interesting to see what we could come up with.

I would absolutely feel the need to have met, had a connection with and planned with a group in order to want to camp with them. I would feel like an outsider otherwise.

I guess my long winded point is that it is very possible to do this solo from NY. We even have contingency plans for if we decide to fly out instead of driving.
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Postby robrob » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:52 pm

we won't be able to haul large objects or substantial infrastructure like shade structures, portable showers, generators, bicycles, etc.


i just got my camp shower delivered from a big box chain. it was under $6 and is in a box about the size of a pack of polaroid film. I managed to find a 40" inflatable baby pool at a local store, it too is in a box the size of a pack of polaroid film, and will be used to catch the grey water from said shower.


i am flying in, and meeting folks, but ultimately planning on being alone if thats what has to happen.

I did find a truck in chicago that will take a bike to the playa for me, or i may just grab one on the way in from reno. we'll see.

what i'm getting at,is that if I had a fucking car i'd be stoked. but i don't so i am figuring it out and looking forward to having a fucking blast.
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Postby talito » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:55 pm

robrob, in my experience, the most difficult part of the shower is evaporation of grey water (or some other disposal method). i'm pretty sure you want the catchment base to be black and as much surface area as possible. otherwise you might find yourself with a big pile of grey water and nothing to do with it when you're ready to leave.
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Postby robrob » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:00 pm

talito: i am working on the "i got it there in something, i can get it out in something" assumption.

I may experiment trying to use very little shower water/soak in towel/air dry method, or if i get bored and really care, the "purify it as much as possible, then pump it through a mister to abate dust on the road" technique, but worst case/most likely scenario, i'll just dump the pool water back into a empty jug.
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Postby shroom » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:18 pm

I'm a newbie driving from Georgia this year. I'm bringing a tent, shade, bike, etc. It can be done!
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Postby geekster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:59 pm

"That is one of the reasons it is taking 2 years of planning"

You might be over-thinking the whole thing. Look at it this way ... do you plan for two years to go camping at home? This is just a camp out. It shouldn't be all that hard. It is a campout where it is windy and hot, sure, but you will be ok, honestly. Of the nearly 50,000 people out there, something like half of them are going to be newbies. They manage to survive and quite a few end up with "wow, why did I haul all this shit out here" on their minds.

Other than that, I think you have it nailed.
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Postby slvrnmph » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:59 pm

You really are asking to join a camp pretty late in the game, as everyone else has been saying. Many of these camps you want to join have been having build parties to get ready for the playa. If you want to join a camp, find a camp that is local to your area so that you can show your "serious volunteer support in any capacity" before you arrive on the playa. I would be much more inclined to have newbie burners in my camp if they actually came and helped with all the things that need to be done before heading to the playa.

If you do find a camp they are likely to charge you a lot since you haven't helped out before hand and they have no way of really knowing that you'll help on the playa. And honestly newbies usually don't really help on the playa. There is too much going on and you likely won't want to be in camp being a productive helper when there is so much going on that you want to go do.

This is why everyone suggests that you setup your own camp and keep it basic. You don't NEED a generator. You don't NEED a shower. Do yourself a favor, setup a low maintenance camp so that you don't have responsibilities beyond caring for yourself and can enjoy exploring the playa.
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Postby Ruleryak » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:07 pm

I'm sure you've heard this sorta thing already, but really - honestly - you and your two friends can bring everything you need in one sedan. Pack the trunk rock solid first. Tetris that shit like it's your job, leaving absolutely zero space. Remember how you did it because you'll need to do it again when you leave. Ditching things just because you can't be bothered to pack as well on the return isn't an option! As has been said - you do not need a shower structure OR a shade structure. Hell, you don't really NEED tents either but they certainly help. I'd suggest one large tent the three of you share and some minimal sleeping gear. You can catch daytime naps on comfy couches all over the city if you aren't able to get the best sleep in your unshaded tent. My camp - Aftermath - offered daytime sleeping space to the public and had quite a few random folks take us up on that offer.

Anyway, long story short my second year we drove a thousand miles in a Kia Spectra of all tiny things and were able to bring everything we needed by packing carefully. Since it's your first year I highly recommend minimalism. Use the year to learn what to do better next year. Don't take too many costumes or extra trinkets this time - you'll be too overwhelmed to worry about it. And showering? Overrated. Run behind the non-potable water trucks and experience something new! Or do as you're doing and try to hook up with a camp. If you do that just be prepared to work on something. Earnestly seek out work when you get there if it isn't obvious or given to you as a task because anyone that accepts first year total strangers is making a huge gesture and deserves to see it wasn't a mistake.
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Postby geekster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:32 pm

If you do that just be prepared to work on something. Earnestly seek out work when you get there if it isn't obvious or given to you as a task because anyone that accepts first year total strangers is making a huge gesture and deserves to see it wasn't a mistake.


Well, to be honest, we never really expect raw newbies to actually do much, at least not do much right. So it is a pleasant surprise when one does. They are actually something of a distraction because they can be rather fun to watch at times.

Newb: How do you work the shower?
Camper: Which barrel is yours?
Newb: Barrel?
Camper: Yeah, which of the water barrels is your shower water?
Newb: Oh, you guys said you had a shower, I thought that meant, you know, with water and everything.
Camper: We have a shower but you haul your own water in.
Newb: Fuck
Camper: Here's a Hudson sprayer, I'll give you some water. Go over there behind the shower shack. Wet down, then lather up, then rinse off.
Newb: THANKS
Newb: uhm
Camper: yeah?
Newb: How do I work this thing?
Camper: Why me ...
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Postby Token » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:37 pm

Howls!

So fucking true.
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Postby sportsmobile » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:37 pm

when we drove from michigan in 07, it was 2 of us in a 1985 vw gti with an engine from an 88 audi and a transmission from a 92 jetta, almost all electrics worked from a toggle switch.

i had bought the car for $500 fixed a few things, found a rideshare, loaded our shit and away we went to brc.

the two of us had all our gear for the entire burn in that little hatch. when we loaded up with water in winnemucca, the little gti that could was completely bottomed out. so we unloaded the water, went to the parts store and bought our 4th set of spring helpers to put on the coil springs. with those now installed the tires no longer rubbed and away we went, alway the way to the playa never being able to reach over 40mph.

you can certainly make it in a sedan.
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Postby lambert13 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:31 am

geekster wrote:"That is one of the reasons it is taking 2 years of planning"

You might be over-thinking the whole thing. Look at it this way ... do you plan for two years to go camping at home? This is just a camp out. It shouldn't be all that hard. It is a campout where it is windy and hot, sure, but you will be ok, honestly. Of the nearly 50,000 people out there, something like half of them are going to be newbies. They manage to survive and quite a few end up with "wow, why did I haul all this shit out here" on their minds.

Other than that, I think you have it nailed.


I hear ya. I guess I could have clarified more. The primary reason for not going this year is that my wife and I just had our first child in April. Since I am head over heels for the little girl, I did not want to be gone for 2 weeks at this early stage. The original plan was to go in 2010, but I put the stop to that so I could be with the little one as much as possible.

I am looking at the extra planning time as a blessing. It has allowed us to buy all that we need relatively slowly and plan things at a slow pace.

I have changed over the years to try to get rid of my planning (controlling) nature. For most trips I try to do as little research as possible and figure things out and enjoy the spontaneity when I get there. Same goes for Burning Man except that we have to plan some stuff so that we don't shrivel up and die in the desert. I am leaving as much to chance as I can.
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