what's your current opinion on RVs?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

what's your current opinion on RVs?

Postby neon tetra » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:05 pm

I've heard/read various opinions on this topic, but I'm curious what people currently think about it.

My personal view on them... I don't think they should be in the 1st few streets (maybe A-D). This not only keeps them further from the Esplanade, but also keeps them on the bigger blocks, where they're less likely to obstruct foot traffic. I also think more people need to cover their logos and decorate them a bit more. It seems like the majority of people with them make no effort at all in this area.

But beyond that, I don't think bringing an RV to burning man automatically makes you a 'tourist'. I also think they take up less space than a lot of other housing options.

Think of the footprint that a medium-size Cruise America RV takes up, that can easily hold 4 people. Those same 4 people would otherwise need at least a large van with possibly a trailer to get all their stuff there (or they would need to ship stuff to the playa, and shipping containers take up space as well). Then figure on 2 tents/hexayurts, kitchen/food prep area, evaporation pond, etc. Maybe even a portable generator.
And all these things are not necessarily more pleasing to the eye than an RV.

Off the playa, though, I have no idea why anyone would ever want to use one. They're horrible on gas, not very fun to drive, and I would much rather be in a tent in the woods than in a truck. For Burning Man.. they do seem like a logical choice, albeit an often frowned-upon one.
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Re: what's your current opinion on RVs?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:20 pm

neon tetra wrote:Off the playa, though, I have no idea why anyone would ever want to use one. They're horrible on gas, not very fun to drive, and I would much rather be in a tent in the woods than in a truck.


Let me enlighten you... there are other places than the woods that people go! I, for example, use mine at boat races where you stay all weekend at some little lake somewhere. "Camping" isn't the idea, boat racing is. The RV simply provides life support systems.
People use RVs for a LOT of activities where they need a place to stay and there are no hotels, and they are involved in some activity - not going out just for the hell of camping.

Horrible on gas all depends on WHAT "RV". RVs come in all sizes, configurations, and powertrains. Most are no worse, and often better on fuel than the truck I'd be hauling my stuff with. And hell, most RVs have automatic transmissions and power everything, if you're talking about Class A or Class C motorhomes - what's so hard about driving one? (unless you never drive anything big and the size intimidates you.)

Sometimes I take mine into the mountains, in the snow. A freakin' tent would be miserable! Sometimes I drive it to an event or party so I can drink and not drive home drunk.

RVs aren't going to be relegated to the back streets in Black Rock City. Up front is where all the biggest camps are! Including Larry Harvey's First Camp... and he stays in an RV out there.

Hell, I "frown upon" tents! They're much uglier, and less self-contained. Sometimes they blow apart in the wind and smash into other people's stuff. They require guy lines, which require stakes, which trip people and cut up their feet at night.

The RV vs. tent debate has been done over and over... the bottom line is RVs are officially welcome on the playa, and a large percentage of burners like staying in one while in the middle of nowhere.
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Postby neon tetra » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:41 pm

I guess I should have worded that better.
Other than Burning Man, there has never been a time when I wanted to use an RV. I live for tent camping. I love backcountry camping, festival camping, campground camping, etc. My gf & I do huge road trips all the time & basically live out of a Prius & a small tent. In fact, the only times I've ever rented RVs were for the playa

But I still feel a bit "guilty" about it. Probably because I've heard so many people rant against them and have internalized some of it.
Maybe I will have to let that go with next year's temple burn. =P
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Postby Trishntek » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:29 pm

neon tetra wrote:I guess I should have worded that better.
Other than Burning Man, there has never been a time when I wanted to use an RV. I live for tent camping. I love backcountry camping, festival camping, campground camping, etc. My gf & I do huge road trips all the time & basically live out of a Prius & a small tent. In fact, the only times I've ever rented RVs were for the playa

But I still feel a bit "guilty" about it. Probably because I've heard so many people rant against them and have internalized some of it.
Maybe I will have to let that go with next year's temple burn. =P


As we were the "mother ship" of our theme camp, our RV plus a trailer were necessary,,,, especially with Trish recovering from surgery! Next year, we plan to rent a cargo truck and either sleep in it or a tent. The RV was a PITA to clean.

We certainly do not care what anybody dwells in at BM. It would be nice if we could all ride mopeds and live on granola all week. But then, there would only be people,,,, no art, no theme camps, no art cars, etc. RV's definitely contribute to the dwellers' abilities to contribute entire environments of interactivity!
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Postby teardropper » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:32 pm

I'm a former tent camper, now mostly teardrop trailer camper. I camp a lot and a lot of that is boondocking. Love the outdoor experience.

But I bought a motorhome, a very old, no a/c motorhome, to bring to the playa. Everything works on it. And I keep fixing things so it drives good, too. I like having all the facilities--no portapotties, no grey water worries with my shower and kitchen. And a place to eat, sleep and be indoors when the weather turns white. But when the weather is good, and not too hot, I might spend too much time inside it. It's nice and the music is good. If I had a gennie and a/c I would spend evens more time inside. I'll work on that next year; put up a North Pole right next to the rig. And it fits in our camp, a mixture of old travel trailers and tents.

It's OK for me because I, too, am not there for a camping experience. I'm there for the rest of it. And having it all taken care of is good for me. But I've gotten old. And a little soft.

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Postby The CO » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:48 pm

I don't object to to RVs in & of themselves, but A street from about 530-300 was nothing but a wall of them. Nothing else, it seemed. As far as I can tell, that whole stretch was "wall of rvs" camp. I'd say if you are going to register a theme camp, you should do something with it, rather than walling up a compound.
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Postby gyre » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:27 pm

Captain, you need to try a real tent, not that they are easy to find these days.

A true tent has an interior sheath that has sealed windows, but likely breathable fabric.
The fly over this reaches to the ground creating an insulating wall on the outside.
The arctic north face has triple walls.

In a dome with 50" height about 8' diameter, I had to use a sheet to keep warm in cold, wet conditions.
A small candle or another person in the tent would keep it warm down to much lower temperatures.

Below freezing, more cold weather gear is needed, but snow can be done easily enough.

I think most people these days have never camped in a tent.
Only the film flat version of one.
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Postby Dr Jet Sinister » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:34 pm

How many rules does BM need to fit everyone's expectation of what the event should be? Some people have an RV because they need it. Some just think they need it. Some can afford it so why not? Worrying about how to fix some one else's experience to fit yours is so far removed from what this event is about. :wink:
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Postby Thecatman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:36 pm

Back in the day, a bunch of us always went to the south fork of the Kern river, east of Lake Isabella CA, for the trout season opener in late April. Temps were still below freezing at nightand and most of us slept in tents. My dad I would bury hot rocks from the campfire ring and we put our tent over them. Nice and toasty.
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Postby Thecatman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:38 pm

Dr Jet Sinster wrote:How many rules does BM need to fit everyone's expectation of what the event should be? Some people have an RV because they need it. Some just think they need it. Some can afford it so why not? Worrying about how to fix some one else's experience to fit yours is so far removed from what this event is about.

8) 8)
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Postby Snow » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:43 pm

My opinion: sleep in whatever the fuck you want.

They keep down foot traffic? through peoples private camping areas, OMFG!
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Postby Token » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:55 pm

A few points on why I won't go to TTITD without my travel trailer:

1. I get to use my own bathroom.
2. Refrigerator, freezer and microwave.
3. AC when I want/need it.
4. Vast noise reduction compared with any tent/carport/dome thingy.
5. Camp is set up in ~ ten minutes.

I did the tent stuff for four years and the trailer for six. Not going back to tent.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:12 pm

I did the tent thing for 8 years before getting an RV 4 years ago.

I don't know why in the hell I waited so long.

I never have to hear everyone else's(and my own) tents flapping in the wind, and the relief from the whiteouts is kick-ass, not to mention all the other stuff that everyone else said that makes them nice to have.
Also it is damn nice being able to tow my artcar mostly built instead of having to throw it together on playa.

and...just like Snow asked, how does an RV cut down on foot traffic?
We have an obligation to make space for everyone, we have no obligation to make that space pleasant.
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Wall along A street

Postby bradtem » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:42 am

It's not an RV problem that you saw a wall of RVs along "A" street or other such areas. It has become a regular element of city misdesign that esplanade camps focus everything on the esplanade and turn their back frontage on A, or their side frontage when they get a corner, into a wall of cars or RVs. (RVs have people living in them who are less likely to want to be part of a wall but sometimes they are for other logistical reasons.)

I find it a waste that whenever I turn in from the Esplanade on so many of the radial streets the first and otherwise most precious block to the rest of the world is just a line of cars or RVs or other barriers.

To prevent this, I would have placers only give Esplanade corners to camps that say they will really make use of their corner, and treat the other frontage as frontage. Otherwise, allocate the sides of the radials to other camps. Give the radial camp about 10' of Esplanade, then go in for some distance like 30 feet, then go away from the radial for the depth of this camp, and turn outward for the rest of their space. Then require the camp on the radial to work out an access lane into the main esplanade camp if they need it, as that is all may of them really wanted from the corner, a way to get things in and out that was not the esplanade.

The notches have less of this of course, and are allocated to camps, but I saw some notch areas used as parking lot.
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Postby Bob » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:54 am

So it's not a matter of too many RVs, just too few parking valets.
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Postby Parasitoid » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:53 am

hillarious
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Postby teardropper » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:42 am

RV's have this other wonderful thing--- gas refrigerators. No ice lines, except, of course, for your cocktails. Keeps food just like home. Have freezers, for things like frozen grilled chicken, frozen precooked bacon, frozen ice cream and bomb pops. Mmmm. Just a wonderful thing. Almost as important as the bathroom.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:47 am

The CO wrote:I don't object to to RVs in & of themselves, but A street from about 530-300 was nothing but a wall of them. Nothing else, it seemed. As far as I can tell, that whole stretch was "wall of rvs" camp. I'd say if you are going to register a theme camp, you should do something with it, rather than walling up a compound.


Just want to respond to the CO and original poster:

There is a reason for this. Most of the camps that are located where you are speaking of are large or infrastructure type camps. Ranger HQ, First Camp, ESD, Death Guild, etc.

Guess what? People that work those work long, long hours...most of it volunteer and are often there for weeks at a time. Fact is staying in a tent simply wears you down. When working so much, you need to be able to sleep on demand, feed your self quickly, and use toilet facilities in relatively good shape. The means even if there's a 4 hour whiteout, you are ready and raring to go to work.

I've done it both ways: travel trailer and tent under Costco canopy. I'm adept at both. But I tell you this: coming back from two weeks tenting out there I, and all my shit, are beat to hell.

Coming back with the travel trailer is a comparitive breeze.

There's a reason that most workers and long time attendees eventually switch to some sort of permanent structure. The guilty ones choose hexayurts, etc. The smart ones go RV or travel trailer and just be done with it.

So ya might want to consider cutting some slack for the folks that enable your party.

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Postby Isotopia » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:18 pm

...
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Postby gyre » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:27 pm

[quote="Isotopia"][/quote]
Well put.
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Postby Snow » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:30 pm

I traveled on A street a few times on the stretch between 3 and 4:30. I didn't notice a wall of RV's. I really doubt there was a wall of RVs stretching all the way from 530 to 3.

Yes spend a few weeks out there and you may change your mind on RV's. That being said I use a carport with chill space and tent inside. I'm a frequent camper (including snow for mountaineering and BC skiing) so its not that big of deal for me to live in a tent. But this year my carport was flattened in a wind gust pre-event. I'm considering looking into a small trailer for 2011. Spend some resources on my own camp sitch instead of art and theme camp.
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Postby Eric » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:51 pm

I'm biting my tongue and just going to stick with the polite response:

If you don't like RV's, don't stay in one.

If you don't want to look at them, stay home.

They're part of the event and nothing you say is going to change that.

Period.
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Postby neon tetra » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:03 pm

Eric wrote:I'm biting my tongue


why?
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Postby Da Mule » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:15 pm

I was never a big fan of the RVs.

But next year I'm bringing Da Mama Da Mule and she's not as mobile as I. And if the boss mare says get an RV, we get an RV. So we're probably getting an RV.

my current opinion = useful
my not-so-current opinion = not cool

As to the question of why Eric is the one biting his tongue, it's because I'm not.
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Postby Eric » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:33 pm

neon tetra wrote:
Eric wrote:I'm biting my tongue


why?


Because multiple times every year the RV/Tent "debate" comes up- whiny know-it-alls think that everyone should Burn the way they do and that the event should be structured to make them happy. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

I don't insist you stay in an RV, don't presume to tell me what to stay in or where I can park it.
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Postby The CO » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:39 pm

Lord of Ruin-

Don't ignite the flamethrower just yet. I'm not dissing RVs or those that stay in them. I love 'em. I have a trailer for much the same reason. Plenty of folks in my village use them. If I had one, I'd paint it OD green or camo to match my theme and take it every year.

To reiterate: The first night I walked down A from center camp to 3:00, almost the entire stretch along there, both sides of the street, looked like RV Wall camp. I honestly thought we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and were near the outer ring. I can understand esplanade camps with large populations are going to fill in most of the block. My gripe is with camps that register in order to get the prime real estate, and then create the RV compound with little or no camp, theme, or interaction with their neighbors or other citizens on the street frontage.

By my count, Terminal city had about 15-20 RVs this year. I spent time in at least half of them. But, they were all tucked away in such a fashion that when you looked at any given camp in the village, you saw the camp & whatever interactivity they had.

(this is not a "my camp is better than yours statement, it's just the easiest example I am familiar with)
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Postby crstophr » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:44 pm

Token wrote:A few points on why I won't go to TTITD without my travel trailer:

1. I get to use my own bathroom.
2. Refrigerator, freezer and microwave.
3. AC when I want/need it.
4. Vast noise reduction compared with any tent/carport/dome thingy.
5. Camp is set up in ~ ten minutes.

I did the tent stuff for four years and the trailer for six. Not going back to tent.


QFT

I'd like to add:
Camp teardown and pack up in 10 minutes.
Less load on the JOTS
Grey and fresh water management
Dramatically less moopy as everything stays inside and out of the wind.
Great chill space to share with friends during hot afternoons and/or dust storms.
Roll out and the only thing you leave behind is your tire tracks

I've converted a number of friends to RVers for BM by trying to set a good example. Some highlights:

Medicine storage (needed to be kept cool) and nap time space for a 77 year old man.
Every year I end up making one or two very overheated camp mates go sit in the air conditioning and drink water
Same for overstressed, timeout for camp drama, or back muscle injury (though I tend to feed these folks booze:)
Dust free bathroom space for people with contacts to get them into their eyes cleanly
Full length mirror for costume and makeup efforts
Small dinner party for good friends we only see at BM.

We've been camping on the esplanade the past couple of years. It is a lot of work and pressure. I try to split the trailer between being a refuge for camp mates and a personal refuge. After spending 8 hours serving drinks and playing DJ it's a welcome relief to tumble into a comfortable bed. It this kind of recharge that keeps us going.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:24 pm

The CO wrote:My gripe is with camps that register in order to get the prime real estate, and then create the RV compound with little or no camp, theme, or interaction with their neighbors or other citizens on the street frontage.


You could do that with HexaYurts. You're not complaining about RV's but about un-mutual behavior.
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Postby justfred » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:34 pm

The best thing about motorhomes, is it provides needed separation of the Haves (who can afford a them) from us Have-Nots (who can't). Like gated communities in the rest of the world, it allows them to live in their own perfect protected world, while the rest of us have to do what we can to survive.

I'm probably going to be forced to get a trailer of some sort, in order to get my wife to come back. She's tired of tenting, I still prefer it. Still not sure how to pay for the vehicle, the gas, and find a place to store it. Shrug.
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Postby The CO » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:41 pm

Spot on Dougly! It is a behavior issue.

One could do it with anything: hexayurt, tents, plastic garbage cans, canoes. In my anecdotal experience it happens more with RVs than anything else. YMMV.

Although, I would admire the effort involved in making a wall of hexayurts. The village of them was a sight to behold.
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