Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

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Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Piginatutu » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:59 am

Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Hi Folks,

We’re a couple flying in from Australia for BM this year and are looking at either hiring an RV or Box Truck.

Option 1. Rent an RV from Cruise America Las Vegas. We’ve looked at all the RV links on the BM website and it seems that the cheapest is C.A. which would cost us around $3300 for 10 days with mileage, gas, cleaning fee, kitchen and personal kits, tax (the only BM-specified ones available now are from Las Vegas).

We’ve read the stories of breakdowns with huge waits, fridges not working and getting ripped off on cleaning charges which makes paying that much with a 650mi drive seem less attractive. We originally thought it would cost $2000 for 10 day hire. To save on the $500 cleaning fee/damage deposit it seems like we’d need to spend most of a day cleaning it (and pay for another day hire to do so) or buy fabric and plastic to cover the floor and chairs (and still spend half a day cleaning the rest of it).

My question is: Does anyone know of a cheaper place to rent an RV?
We’re not sure about the Craiglist idea – eg how to get a potential breakdown fixed and not understanding insurance needed in the US for that situation.

Option 2. Rent a 16” Budget Box Truck from Gentry Way Reno and kit it out ourselves with:
• foam mattress, sheets, sleeping bag,,pillows, towels
• card table and chairs
• small camp stove
• kitchen gear – pot, cups spoons knives etc
• Tarp, poles, rope, long pegs, hammer
• basic shower setup (eg small kiddies pool as evaporator – we can do the rest with a bottle/sprayer or live it up with a solar shower)
• 30-40 gallon water container/s

My questions are:
• How feasible is it to buy all this stuff in a day or two in Reno?
• Where can we buy it from– would Wallmart, Harbor Freight or similar stock all this kind of gear?
• Is Wallmart etc Reno likely to sell out of this kind of gear by the weekend before BM?
• Rough idea of total price for the cheapest versions of the above, (very rough eg $300, $500, $1000 , sorry, know this sounds like we’re wanting to be spoonfed but we’ve been on the Wallmart website and there’s so much stuff there it’s a bit of a minefield).
We’d just be giving it all away at the end.

Thanks for any help!
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby International Incident » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:11 am

Hi there!

I'm another Australian and will be box trucking it this year - the last 2 I have tented. Friends have used RVs and have loved them.

Suggestion 1: See whether you can get an RV from Portland or San Fran etc - weigh up the costs re fuel etc. It mught (?) be cheaper. my friends have used Cruise America and had no problems.

Suggestion 2: have a look at the box truck thread on eplaya - the costs are laid out pretty well.

Suggestion 3: costs of gear at Walmart are very similar to that in Australia at Kmart or Aussie Disposals. Take a stroll there and run the prices through your head. Remember that you can usually take 2 x 23 kg bags on international flights from aust to America - some stuff you can bring. You can get all the gear in one or two stops in Reno - take you a couple of hours max. One stop at a big chain store and one at hardware store.

Suggestion 4: do you really need all that gear? Really. Think it through.

Cheers
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby lucky420 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:58 am

There are at least 3 big walmarts in Reno/Sparks. They stock up for burners...they know your coming
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:40 am

So you can spend your time enjoying/exploring, consider a swamp cooler for a box truck. For a DIY swamp cooler for a box truck, look at
viewtopic.php?f=277&t=35289&start=270#p914007
in the Box Truck camping tips...,
viewtopic.php?f=277&t=35289
which you want to take the time to read through anyway.

As to all the chairs, tables, tarps, etc.. How much time to expect to spend at camp, or will you be out exploring?
Folding canvas chairs are typically $10.

Cruise America in Salt Lake City rents to lots of Burners. I returned mine there with no cleaning fee (I cleaned it).
I believe that any of the Cruise America locations will rent to Burners. Some advertise it. When you reserve, you're usually reserving by phone through a central booking agent; they let you know what size of RV and location is still available.
Las Vegas to Reno can be a hot rough drive. If you make a wrong turn, it can be outback dangerous.
Salt Lake City is slightly longer, no where near as hot, but you can have huge winds in the mountains and on the salt flats - not good.
San Fran, Sacramento, San Jose, etc., are much better choices.
Have heard of much better rates for RVs out of Los Vegas, but from local RV places, not the chains like Cruise America. Apparently half the rental cost, and tons more free miles. I don't have any names for you.

RVs here are built for typical U.S. heat, but not for the temps & sun we can get on playa, and they assume that most RV users pull into RV camps, and plug into electricity and run the A/C. An RV will require lots and lots of A/C, or some A/C with heat reflective covers (taped in place inside or outside) on windows & skylights, or else you'll be retreating outside well before noon as the RV is too hot inside. RV window frames become too hot to touch after just a few hours in the sun. I've burnt my finger on one.

Unless you have a lot of gas to burn for the generator for the A/C, a box truck with a swamp cooler will be a lot cooler.
And the cost of building a swamp cooler and the battery for it is a small fraction compared to the cost of the gas and generator-hourly-fee from Cruise America. And you won't have the A/C or generator noise.
(exact design that works on playa is available, and easy to put together, parts ordered mail-order to UPS stores in reno can be waiting for you, cooler pads can be had in Fernly outside Reno, or mail-ordered too)

If you go for a box truck, to avoid a disaster, pay close attention in the Box Camping thread as to who NOT to rent from, and where to rent from.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:53 pm

30-40 gallon water container/s

Okay, are you thinking of buy 30 or 40 1-gallon containers of water? or is it one container with room for 30 to 40 gallons and fill it with water?
Because the first is too small. (I buy the "suitcases" of 2.5 gallons, you're only buying 12 to 16 that way--other people, stronger people, people who can lift with their legs--use larger containers, 5 gallons? 7 gallons? It's so outside my capabilities that I don't really know what they do. And the second is going to be hard to fill and darn near impossible to move.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Savannah » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:58 pm

Agreed, the 2.5 gallon suitcases rule. Those are always what I get, too.

If you punch a pocketknife through the top, the water flows out more easily, even when it gets low--something I didn't know for several Burns. :)
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:01 pm

And when empty you can cut a hole in them and use for MOOP. The handle comes in handy...

I hate that I said that.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Savannah » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:47 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:And when empty you can cut a hole in them and use for MOOP. The handle comes in handy...

I hate that I said that.

:)
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:55 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:... The handle comes in handy...
I hate that I said that.

But, it is a handy tip... and a useful item to have on hand.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Piginatutu » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:37 am

Hi all thanks so much for your excellent responses- this is really helpful. I think we might be erring towards the Box Truck rental and have taken the tip on the 2.5 gallon containers and swamp cooler.

Re amount of gear on our list, yes we have thought it through. We went to Eclipse Festival last year in Aus. (pretty harsh conditions - hot, windy, desert,FA shade) and realised that for us in that kind of environment we needed a nice chillout zone for some down-time in the day to last the distance. Friends that had a good camp had an easier time of of things whereas we had a minimal camp (small tent, tarp, which we fondly referred to as Camp Bastard) and found the days a bit hard going and didn’t last the whole festival. There also wasn't much in the way of shady chill-out areas in the main festival. Certainly don't plan to be camp hermits but would like to be able to relax comfortably at camp in the heat of the day to recharge for exploring in the evening/ night. ~:>{{=
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:50 am

For the record, you don't need to hassle with a swamp cooler. The truck self regulates the heat/cold just fine. I wouldn't complicate things too much your first year or ever for that matter. The only time that the truck is really unbearably hot is from noon - 5pm and during that time you'll be out exploring instead of sitting in the back of a box truck at Burning Man. There are plenty of community shade structures and places much nicer to be.

Those 2.5 gallon "suitcases" of water are the absolute WORST in my book. I would swear and curse at them daily. They're messy, heavy, get water everywhere, etc etc etc. Fuck that. Stick with the standard 1 gallon milk type jugs. WAY easier to fill containers with and deal with.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby aserendipity » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:09 am

also consider: .renting from Reno or Sacramento
.Buy a big cheap Tarp and rig it up over the back for your pleasure
.good duct tape and bungie cords with carabiners attached are great for the architecting of your world
.being a Sparkleponie I use the bottles that come in Quarts with flip openings and rig them to my utilibelt, this keeps track
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:45 pm

You might consider joining a camp. A truck can haul quite a bit of camp infrastructure from say San Francisco or Portland. Helping a camp transport stuff will make you a great contributor to the camp. It could also haul the infrastructure to support other fly-to-Reno participants. There are quite a few participants who come from Oz and have existing contacts with camps, or you might meet a camp via ePlaya.

A kiddie pool is not capable of evaporating two people a day's worth of shower water. You would need an Evapotron which you can find by searching, or a bigger pond.

There are many BM packing lists online and searchable. A camp with communal shade and food simplifies greatly what you would otherwise buy then discard on return. There may be some groups in Reno that collect, and even reuse in the community or for next year's fly-in burners.

Enjoy the experience, you will have a great one!
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Savannah » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:54 pm

some seeing eye wrote:A kiddie pool is not capable of evaporating two people a day's worth of shower water. You would need an Evapotron which you can find by searching, or a bigger pond.


Quite true. Good catch!

A kiddie pool will catch your water, Piginatutu, but it will not evaporate much at all (trust me; I tried once, & it was gross). At minimum, you need to be able to dump it onto an evap pond, which is easy to make. Search "evaporation pond" on the main Burning Man site. Note that it's 10 feet by 10 feet, so the water can really spread out. If you're going low-tech and simple, that amount of space is necessary.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby MyDearFriend » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:45 pm

Savannah wrote:
some seeing eye wrote:A kiddie pool is not capable of evaporating two people a day's worth of shower water. You would need an Evapotron which you can find by searching, or a bigger pond.


Quite true. Good catch!

A kiddie pool will catch your water, Piginatutu, but it will not evaporate much at all (trust me; I tried once, & it was gross). At minimum, you need to be able to dump it onto an evap pond, which is easy to make. Search "evaporation pond" on the main Burning Man site. Note that it's 10 feet by 10 feet, so the water can really spread out. If you're going low-tech and simple, that amount of space is necessary.


Dude you do not need any evap equipment for your bathing water if you use a garden sprayer and stand on a towel. Easy-peasy and lots of fun if you do this with a partner. Yeah the towel gets pretty wet, but, it holds a quart or two and when you are done, just hang it up, that water will be gone in an hour or so. Long hair washing is a bit tricky :? but, can be done.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Savannah » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:00 pm

Good idea. Lots of garden sprayer fans on these boards. DragonPilot is one of the biggest proponents, which is saying something--because he drives an RV, and has the choice of a shower, but prefers the sprayer.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:21 pm

Grey water is a bitch and you want to minimize the amount you make. Consider baby wipe baths before getting too involved in that particular black hole that will suck away your time and energy. Especially, coming from overseas. I know of at least one effective grey water set up, and that's driven in from Reno. There's a possible other, that was coming in car from Oregon...
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:24 pm

Every year it amazes me both how complicated and not complicated going to Burning Man is.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby MyDearFriend » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:13 am

junglesmacks wrote:Every year it amazes me both how complicated and not complicated going to Burning Man is.


*SMOOCH* 8) Exactly.

The hardest part is changing routine behaviors and expectations. But hey if you want Home to be just like home, why go?
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Savannah » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:40 pm

junglesmacks wrote:Every year it amazes me both how complicated and not complicated going to Burning Man is.


I am still amazed by how simple my first Burn was. I totally roughed it. I had a good time, but it was crazy. I sat in shade that was 25 yards from my dome tent. I'm not even sure I had my own camp chair. :lol:

I'm glad I know that I can handle that--if I want to. It makes me very unafraid.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby aserendipity » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:55 pm

17 years of different every time
dont even know why
now my adult kids can assess that part...
I just do it as I am best inclined then
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:58 pm

Savannah wrote:
junglesmacks wrote:Every year it amazes me both how complicated and not complicated going to Burning Man is.


I am still amazed by how simple my first Burn was. I totally roughed it. I had a good time, but it was crazy. I sat in shade that was 25 yards from my dome tent. I'm not even sure I had my own camp chair. :lol:

I'm glad I know that I can handle that--if I want to. It makes me very unafraid.

Yeah, I'm still terrified of not having my own chair.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Canoe » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:43 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Yeah, I'm still terrified of not having my own chair.

I keep forgetting mine.
Buy another one on the way.
Apparently I'm building a set.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Piginatutu » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:53 pm

Thanks everyone for your suggestions - this is all really helpful!
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Copper nicus » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:23 pm

We come from Canada, fly in a day before to Reno and do all our basic supply shopping in Reno - note that things like sheets, blankets, table you can also get from second hand stores - there are a bunch close to Gentry Way budget truck location. You don't really need an RV with all its cleaning hassles and extra costs unless.
Folding chairs are great, but you do have to fold them when not in use as they can fly away when you are not around.
Gentry Way is the best place to rent! And with 100$ cleaning fee you can return the truck uncleaned and with several packed garbage bags - which is great if you are running late for a flight..
Get some extra sleeping sheets or a duvet cover that you can use to hang over the entrance to the truck - it allows for some extra air movement and limits the dust entering.
Instead of a foam mattress you can also use several blankets from a second hand store.

Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby Turtleburp » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:36 pm

We found resellers are able to offer much better rates for RVs - one here in Aus also found us availability that the US one couldn't.
PM me for details if that would help.

We like microwave in the RV fitting in a couple of nice(ish) meals is a great luxury!

It is hot there but there seemed to often be a cool breeze and nights are chilly.
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Re: Coming from Australia. Rent an RV or Box Truck?

Postby dragonpilot » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:34 pm

Altho it would be nice, long luxurious hot showers on the playa are not necessary. A good garden sprayer spritzing followed by vigorous scrubbing and rinsing are all that's needed to freshen you up and give some semblance of cleanliness...

And then there's always The Human Carcass Wash as a supplement...:D
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