Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

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

Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Madman412 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:27 pm

I've been reading the posts on this forum and am wondering if anyone has any practical shade and shelter advice advice for someone who is going for the solo for their first burn, flying in and renting a car. I will most likely need to cary my tent or tents with me and even a possible shade structure in my checked bags. I also don't feel i have the time or space to go to a hardware store, attempt to fit a bunch of pvc piping in a rental car (along with all the food/water/luggage/rental bike/etc) and attempt to properly construct a monkey hut for the first time on the playa floor. I realize this may make some question my adherence to the principle of self reliance and this post could just be flamed to death, but the monkey hut solution seems impractical for my situation. Does anyone have any experience flying in solo?

So far as a solution I have thought of either bringing 2 small Coleman Sundome tents using one for shelter and one for supplies or just getting a Coleman 10x17 Red Canyon Tent. If I got the Red Canyon I would even keep my bike inside at night. As a solution for partial shade I was thinking of brining a Coleman 2 pole Sun shade and have it configured on the east side of the tent to block the morning sun and have the car parked south of the tent(s) to shield against the wind. I realize this won't keep me fully shaded and am willing to live with the fact that it'll be near useless in the midday sun. This is what i've come up with so far by reading the posts on here and considering the limits of my situation, but I am looking for any advice the community can offer to improve my shelter situation.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby BBadger » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:12 am

People build and bring monkey huts for their own comfort. Nothing requires you to do the same. Be aware, however, that unless you plan on being away from your solo camp all the time during the day, it's going to suck because it'll be extremely hot and uncomfortable. The shade is not only for sleeping, but also for lounging during the day. You may end up ruing the day that you put "practicality" before comfort especially at a place you should be enjoying.

Those tents are probably okay as just tents so long as you have something to weigh them down, but not so much for shade. The morning sun comes up very quickly, and you will want something over you, not beside you. I wouldn't trust that 2-pole shade structure unless you really have it staked down tight, and even then would expect it to be blown to bits. Consider buying some shade cloth that'll allow airflow. Finally, I'd really consider hooking up with some camp so that at least you can hang out in the communal area.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:42 am

Most of the people answering questions here are very experienced heavy travelers desiring camping comfort in clothing, sleeping, eating, washing and drinking.

They will rightly tell you that there are very few proven shade solutions. Until you have seen conditions you can't understand.

1. Make friends in person through your regional. Better info in person. No regional? Skype!
2. Get a camp with infrastructure your virgin year. Figure out how to make them want you. Don't be solo.
3. Familiarize yourself with the various reuse and donation possibilities for things you are not taking home.
4. Packing lists are your friend. Tons of lists of where to find what in Reno.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Savannah » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:10 am

You could rent a cargo van, sleep in the back, and build a shade off the van. Bobushka King's photo in the following thread has expired, alas. Maybe if you ask a question in the thread someone else will post a picture. But people talk about anchoring a tarp from the top of a van and staking it into the ground. Do that on the North side, wind comes hardest from the SW.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=42334

(Note that I am incorrect in that thread about being able to keep ice in a cooler inside a van. I wouldn't, but Bobby managed!)

. . . Or you could join a camp with lots of shade. Make sure you actually like the sound of the camp, and have something to offer (local time pre-playa, skills on-playa, camp dues, some combo, etc) and write them an introductory email.

2013 Theme Camps (not a complete list; check the main site previous year's camps too):
viewforum.php?f=323

How to Join a Theme Camp
viewtopic.php?f=323&t=36767
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Turtleburp » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:20 am

I tried keeping my bike in the foyer adjoining bit of a large tent first burn (no lock).

Got up 'confused' in the dark for a widdle and was promptly attacked by the bike which clearly could not tell I was a friend!

Bikes fight dirty: handle bar to the chops, pointy part to bollocks and fingers in spokes.

Suggest leaving bike outside well secured or not getting as confused
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby VultureChow » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:43 am

I was in your place last year.

SSE nailed the major thing. Find a camp or village. It makes things a thousand times easier. You can still do the two tent thing for storage if you like, but having access to shade will be a biggie. Stag Camp might be a good solution. Bare bones, shade, you can remain independent while having access to some infrastructure. If you insist on truly soloing it, bring food and drink to offer neighbors when you wander desperately into their huts for shade. Coffee and breakfast in the morning always seems, to me at least,to be the most appreciated.

Don't worry about keeping your bike inside. You will only manage to tear the tent or your skin. Schlep out a good length of candy caned rebar, pound that sucker in with a length of chain or cable and use that to secure the bike. Rebar can go with your tent poles. I've found that in the packing, weight is not the issue, but size. Bags need to be (usually) 50 pounds. I've rarely gotten close to that. It's the size that gets you.

Military style stakes for your tents. Lightweight but super sturdy and they pack well. Test everything before you fly out. You should be able to put up those tents in your sleep. But if you need help, don't be afraid to ask. People will be happy to help, and you do yourself and your neighbors a disservice if you set things up poorly or make yourself sick (heatstroke etc) trying to do everything by yourself.

However long you think buying everything in Reno will take, double it. If you can, fly out the day before and overnight in Reno. There's a certain romance to arriving on playa sleep deprived and hallucinating, but I won't repeat that mistake this year.

Good luck.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Madman412 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:05 am

Thanks all for the advice, I'll definitely be looking into joining a camp of some sort. I've just gotten used to doing everything solo since anyone I knew who considered joining me at BM eventually bailed and I've kind of been in the solo mindset. I've gotten on my regional mailing lists (Pittsburgh) but so far there has been little discussed about going to BM except that a group rides a van cross country for 4 days which i'm not really down for. I wonder if there is a reddit based camp, anyway...

I don't know specifically what I could offer any one camp, aside from being a nurse i'm pretty vanilla. I play video games and I'm good with tools and building things but I wouldn't say I'm particularly talented at much of anything. I'm also really into kayaking which is useless in the desert. I could definitely load up on coffee as I myself am physically dependent on it (see nurse above) and could contribute that.

As far as getting to BM I'll be coming by way of Yosemite the very early morning before after doing a tour of some places southwest (Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion, etc.), I have a few opportunities on the way to load up with sufficient supplies for a week on the playa, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:18 am

Madman412 wrote:
I don't know specifically what I could offer any one camp, as i'm pretty vanilla. I play video games but I wouldn't say I'm particularly talented at much of anything. I'm also really into kayaking which is useless in the desert. I could definitely load up on coffee as I myself am physically dependent on it.

I want to congratulate you on really selling yourself.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby VultureChow » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:20 am

Madman412 wrote:I don't know specifically what I could offer any one camp, aside from being a nurse i'm pretty vanilla.


Don't sell yourself short. The nurse thing alone would be a big benefit for a camp. Despite what you see in the pictures, camp life is not all 20 somethings in hot pants with perky tits and bacon fueled orgies. It's logistics and personnel management and budgeting etc.

I believe there's a regional in Ohio around memorial day that you might try out. Scorched Nuts.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Celery (Jamey) » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:21 am

Madman412 wrote:I'm also really into kayaking which is useless in the desert.


Do you have ANY idea how many boats there are out on the playa??
I've heard "Paddling" skills can come in handy out there as well :wink:
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Milayna » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:11 pm

You don't need to keep your bike in the tent, just bring a lock and keep it locked outside your tent when you sleep.

You could join a village instead of a camp. A lot of villages still have some type of basic central shade, and there will probably be more densely packed vehicles to pitch your tent near for a wind block. Villages, unlike camps, do not require much of anything from you, in most cases you just answer a few basic questions and sign up. You won't get all the same infrastructure of a camp though (ie no shower, kitchen, etc.)
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:12 pm

Generally we advise virgin first timers to not over commit to responsibilities in advance, because the event can be psychologically and physically overwhelming. It is also possible to have adverse health reactions that require leaving early.

That being said, there is a huge value in camp participants who can commit to dismantling camp and picking up any traces of its existence. Plus you can get out without huge traffic delays by leaving later. You may be beat and cranky, but there is huge camaraderie in the late stayers.

There is also a value of virgins in their wide eyes and amazing tales told sitting in camp. Unfortunately you can't bank that.

There are volunteer opportunities for certified medical professionals (the main clinics are staffed by a paid contractor - so that is covered). Generally it is recommended to volunteer in skilled-reliable positions year 2 and beyond, but worth at least hanging out with them year 1 to establish connections. - See the "afterburn report" and other info on the main burningman.com website. We have all kinds of older, disabled and pregnant participants, and so VC's point that nursing has value at the camp level is a great observation. You might not be able to bank it, commit to that responsibility, or attract any implied liability, so YMMV.

(You heard it here first NURSE CAMP + DOCTOR CAMP as my persona on playa is doctor, though I am not one)
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Madman412 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:18 pm

VultureChow wrote: I believe there's a regional in Ohio around memorial day that you might try out. Scorched Nuts.


I'll definitely check that out! Thanks!
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:35 pm

(the main clinics are staffed by a paid contractor - so that is covered)

All 3, or just center camp?
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Savannah » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:42 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
some seeing eye wrote: (the main clinics are staffed by a paid contractor - so that is covered)

All 3, or just center camp?


Just Center Camp.

The staff of 3:00 & C and 9:00 & C Emergency Services have various licenses (MD, RN, EMT, Paramedic, etc) but they are not paid.

The latest word from ESD is that first year medical volunteers are welcome.
http://www.burningman.com/participate/emergency.html
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:40 pm

Savannah wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:
some seeing eye wrote: (the main clinics are staffed by a paid contractor - so that is covered)

All 3, or just center camp?


Just Center Camp.

That's what I thought, but I'm not in touch with them so very often, anymore.

Savannah wrote:The staff of 3:00 & C and 9:00 & C Emergency Services have various licenses (MD, RN, EMT, Paramedic, etc) but they are not paid.

The latest word from ESD is that first year medical volunteers are welcome.
http://www.burningman.com/participate/emergency.html

My husband was one maniac EMT (redundant, I know) who loved working the burn, and if that's something that you are energized and excited by, go for it. If that's too much like work, don't. The adjustment to the playa can be a day or two, so plan to be there at least 48 hours before your first shift, if possible.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Savannah » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:18 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:My husband was one maniac EMT (redundant, I know) who loved working the burn, and if that's something that you are energized and excited by, go for it. If that's too much like work, don't. The adjustment to the playa can be a day or two, so plan to be there at least 48 hours before your first shift, if possible.


ESD mandates arriving (and taking Orientation) 24 hours before your shift, but I agree--48 hours is better whenever possible, for first-timers.

I was typically hesitant to recommend large amounts of volunteer work for virgins, but my ESD Volunteer Coordinator recently encouraged me NOT to be . . . perhaps because EMTs are maniacs. :wink:
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:22 pm

Oh, yeah. Flap really fast. Really, really fast. And jump off a really high place, getting off the ground can take a lot of energy.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby Savannah » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:34 pm

:lol:
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby dragonpilot » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:45 am

The big thing besides the obvious need for food, water and shelter is some kind of shade structure for daytime lounging...not entirely practical when you're flying in. Once you get to the venue, if you're traveling light (ie no shade apparatus) maybe set up your meager camp next to neighbors who look like they've got their shit together (ie have a nice shade structure), offer them cookies, get to know them, lend a helping hand, dress open sores...before long you'll be welcome to sit under their shade...but there's always the possibility that it could go totally wrong.

In that case, pack up and move next to another camp...with shade...repeat.
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Re: Any practical advice for the solo virgin flyer?

Postby mgb327 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:43 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Oh, yeah. Flap really fast. Really, really fast. And jump off a really high place, getting off the ground can take a lot of energy.

and be sure when you take that first leap off the branch next to the nest that you don't have a belly full of worms. They weigh you down at first.......
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