Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

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Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:40 am

Needing some advice..

First burner here.. trying my damndest to get myself to BRC. I live in north Louisiana, and was planning on renting an RV with friends and going on an adventure. Was even planning to make a pit stop at the Grand Canyon!! NOW, I'm getting the feeling a lot of pals are going to flake out because of the new system and the uncertainty of it all. But oh no. Not me.

So.. NEW PLAN.. I'm trying to figure out how all you guys fly in with a weeks worth of supplies?? I assume people stock up on food and water once they land in Reno.. has anyone noticed stores in Reno being low on supplies once they get there??

Also, how do you handle what to take on a plane?? And what are the costs like to have your gear shipped? AND where do you ship them if you don't know anyone west of the Rio Grande??

Okay, once we have all that figured out.. how do most of you handle transportation from Reno to BRC?? Is it easier to hitch a ride vs. renting a car??

Any and all advice would be stupendous.
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby Savannah » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:00 pm

Virtually no one flies in with a week's worth of supplies (although Lemur does an amazing pack job). :) Indeed, they fly in and shop for everything. Reno is accustomed to the shopping onslaught by now, and almost anything you could need, they will have. They have 4 WalMart stores and 3 Home Depots, bike rentals and 2nd-hand bike places all over. The things you will definitely want to bring with you are playa clothes, comfortable broken-in footwear, prescriptions, camera, sunglasses, and in my opinion, goggles--because they require a good fit, and you don't want to leave that up to chance unless you have to. Then you fill up the rest of your luggage with whatever you are most particular about and don't wish to leave to chance. You can save room if you wear your playa coat and shoes on the plane (though it's good to also pack a 2nd pair of shoes in case one doesn't work out for whatever reason).

Some folks ship supplies to a hotel. They fly in, shop and then stay the night at that hotel before heading to the playa in the morning. Trying to do it all in one day without sleeping is technically possible, but shopping takes a while and the playa is 2 hours from Reno and the line to get in can be 3+ hours on average, depending on when you arrive. Then there's setting up your camp.

There is typically an online rideshare board as well as a volunteer-staffed Burner rideshare desk in the Reno airport, which apparently works quite well. A person without a rental might easily connect with a person who does have one, and they might shop together (because virtually all fliers need to shop). No guarantees, but Reno to Playa is apparently the easiest hitchhike in the world. However, not everyone wants to be both your ride in and your ride out.

I don't like to leave too much to chance, and would have a rental if I used the fly-in route. I could then shop as long as I wanted, and where I wanted, and move at my own pace, and then leave the playa when I wanted to.
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby A Jester » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:12 pm

When I try to go cheap, I end up spending around $1,000 to $1,300. When I'm not worried about "cheap" but stay "simple" I spend $1,000 to $1,300. Somehow, I spend the same regardless of whether or not I buy premium booze or the expensive beef jerky.

I think the biggest money saver for me was joining a theme camp. We have family dinner and breakfast (and lots of snacks), you could bring nothing but water and be fine. I spend waaaaay less on camp fees than I would trying to actually cook out there.

Pre-theme camp I had those foil packets from Trader joes that I'd leave on the dash of my truck for a few hours in the afternoon. That was pretty cheap, but not much fun to share. I did it with cans of soup and stuff, too. That was kinda nerve wracking though, because even though I know it's hardly possible to gather that much heat in the cab of a truck, I had this unreasonable fear that the can would assplode and I'd come back to some scene of carnage (truckage?) and then own a truck that perpetually smelled faintly of rancid cream of broccoli soup.

I think it's really easy to get to somewhere around $1,200 if you want to, I think it's also really easy to get to somewhere around $6,000 if you want to.

Noobs, my advice is start cheap. You'll probably not buy the right expensive stuff until your third year anyhow.
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:03 pm

Good suggestions by Savannah for fly-in participants. Suggest your packing list as your organizing tool. Then you can organize items as bring, get (where) and donate after (to), in coordination with any theme camp in which you participate.
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby maryanimal » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:43 pm

I'll be putting a couple of tent packages for folks who just want to borrow them for the burn. More details later!
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:49 pm

This certainly is not workable for everyone, but Barbie Death Village will have our Sands Regency Burner Package (this is where membership has its privileges) with discounted room rates. You can ship stuff to the Sands, have it arrive 24-72 hours prior to your arrival (likely either a Friday or Saturday), and you're all set. Now that does not get rid of the problem of getting it both off the playa and then home. But we picked up ePlayan Melaniejane and my good friend Jewellee at the Sands and it seemed to work out great. Not a fix for everybody but if you happen to be a Barbiebarian (or a friend of BDV) it's a place to start. Thinking "outside the box" is a useful tool when confronting the astounding number of problems that can arise when getting all your toys to the playa.
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:04 pm

You rock Savannah.

Can you get a tent through baggage at an airport? I was aiming for $1500 if planned everything right.. how big is Reno anyways??
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby Savannah » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:31 pm

Because of stakes and poles, tents should be in checked baggage if you want to bring instead of buy.

Reno loves your money and there's lots of shopping.

If you're not sure if you can find a specific item in Reno, google [keyword] Reno or other combinations for an immediate idea, or be more specific. :) For now, Google tells me Reno has a population of 218,000. GOOGLE GOOGLE GOOGLE.

There are even shops there that are costume-y in distinctly Burn-y ways, although I would patronize these shops for special things, not basics. You could get basics at Walmart, of course, but I'm persnickity and like to wash the dyes out of socks and underwear before I wear them. :D
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby Rice » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:31 pm

I have flown down from Canada twice. Both times I managed to jam my basic gear into two hockey bags. There are a lot of restrictions on what can be taken on airplanes, so make sure you are following the rules or you might have departure issues. (El wire is ok, Zippo lighters are NOT ok, etc...)

Once I land in the states, I pick up my rental, load in my stuff and head to the nearest store(s) in Reno for supplies and essentials I was not able to take on the plane. Since I tend to cook eat foods that do not require cooking, I did not have to worry about getting a stove and its assorted supplies. I think I spent about $50 on food, $80 on smokes, $100 on booze. And maybe $50 on miscellaneous cool stuff like blinkey lights, pillows, air mattress, etc... I have some pretty small & light playa-tested camping gear and therefore was able to pack a lot of stuff into my hockey bags.

your mileage may vary...
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby trilobyte » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:03 pm

I'm going to split this topic and give this a nudge to the preparation forum, since I think the new discussion (about logistics and costs of flying into Burning Man) is different than the initial discussion.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:08 pm

I fly from Florida to Reno with a couple bags worth of supplies and rent a 16' Budget box truck to camp and party in. It works perfect for me as someone on a budget (no pun intended).

Check out this thread: viewtopic.php?t=35289
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby trilobyte » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:12 pm

Another option that's worked well for some is to plan some of their purchases through a Reno area hardware store that lets you shop online and have your items held for in-store pickup. Then upon departure from BRC, they stop by a Reno area UPS store and ground ship home the stuff they can't fit/don't wanna take on the plane home.
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Re: Burn Preparation Costs

Postby 5280MeV » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:24 pm

Savannah wrote: Trying to do it all in one day without sleeping is technically possible, but shopping takes a while and the playa is 2 hours from Reno and the line to get in can be 3+ hours on average, depending on when you arrive. Then there's setting up your camp.


We did it in one day - but it was rough and my friend traveling with me was on his third burn.

We got up at 4:00 am to get to the airport for a 6:20 flight, then got into Reno at around 1pm. My friend flew in business casual to interact with the rental car company, while I sat with the bags outside. We spent another 1.5 hours at the grocery store getting water and food. We got to the line at maybe 4 pm, and then spent about 2.5 hours before getting to the gate.

When we got to camp it was dark and a mild dust storm. In the time my friend got the tent set up, I managed to complete my given task of getting six beers transported across camp to the cooler - outside of that I was pretty much useless until the dust cleared.

I think that the hotel is worth it, and will likely not be flying in same day in 2012.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:29 pm

oh boy this is good. First hand advice > google
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby Savannah » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:32 pm

FenixFaye wrote:oh boy this is good. First hand advice > google


True, though I will consider teasing you a little about asking me how big Reno is even after I told you how many WalMarts and Home Depots it has . . . because you could google it. I did. :D
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby lemur » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:15 pm

i go to the burn alone with whatever i can carry and get a ride from reno up to the playa..


after a few years of packing for the burn and shopping for smaller stuff i dont really have any problem packing for the burn in two bags...

most of the stuff that i can get is backpacking stuff used for camping.. light but more importantly usually small.

the only thing that i couldnt bring on the plane was a propane canister for my stove, which i sent ahead in the mail (sent to black rock city.. to the post office at the event.).. i got it. .. make sure to read the FAA website about what you can check and carry on.. if you worry about this, theres lotsa stuff there.


Ive always planned, even before i started flying in to reno, to have everything i needed but food and water with me when i left chicago. Always getting water/food/some toiletries in reno. ive been able to fit the stuff needed for the event in two bags every time but i have a minimal camp and a small tent... that might not work for you

i usually ride up with someone i know from the camp im with.. but, rides are easy to organize on eplaya, tribe, facebook, the burning man rideshare place.. and in reno itself.



Savannah wrote:Virtually no one flies in with a week's worth of supplies (although Lemur does an amazing pack job). :)


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aside from clothes.. cameras, food and water.. this one bag has my entire camp/personal items for 13 days that i stayed in 2011.

http://www.depressing.org/2011/08/you-a ... -that.html

grocery store in reno i picked up 4 bags of groceries.. a case of coke.. some water, and i was ready!


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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:19 pm

that's legit. 8)
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:23 pm

tease away!! I did consider it. But math is hard.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby trilobyte » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:25 pm

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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:27 pm

even on eplaya I'm learning life lessons :mind blown:

=P seriously tho, respect.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby gyre » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:27 pm

The FAA is going way out on a limb and asking commercial pilots to get enough sleep.

But they have two years to get around to doing so.

Doesn't apply to cargo pilots at all.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby feistypenguin » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:51 pm

My first burn was last year... I had a friend in Phoenix who was going with me, but I live on the East Coast. I owned a badass canvas tent that we were going to use for shelter.

Note that if you try to rent a car in Reno, don't be surprised if they make you sign a waiver saying "I will not take this car to Burning Man." This is because the playa dust is hell on a vehicle; you will basically ruin every air filter in the car after the trip. I have heard that some unscrupulous people will just say they are going to the Grand Canyon and then run their car through the car wash 3 times after they get back from the festival :D

Our game plan was:

  1. I Fedex my 70lb canvas tent to Phoenix- $80
  2. I fly over to Phoenix with rucksack and one carry-on bag, $150. Spend a day in Phoenix acquiring rental car and gallons o' water. Don't remember the price of the rental car.
  3. Amigo and I drive to Fallon, NV and stay in a hotel overnight- $80. That night, we do our supply shopping spree ($120 each? Liquor included)
  4. Early in the morning, we beeline for Burning Man!
  5. After festival, we go to Reno and stay there overnight - $120?
  6. I fly back home from Reno - $238

The tough thing with the "fly & buy" approach is deciding how much you mind spending on items you will ditch in a week. The three things I missed the most at Burning Man, were the exact three things I decided not to buy because I didn't want to spend that much on something I would throw away afterwards:
  • Chairs of some sort. Those bastards can be expensive, but you need to bring something to sit on during the day! Hanging out in a stuffy tent during the daytime will kill you.
  • Extra shade structure. Buy an extra tarp or something and tether it between the car and the ground, or between the tent and your car. Otherwise, make friends with a neighbor who has one and crash at their place during the day.
  • Bicycles! We couldn't fit bikes on our rental car and didn't want to spend money on disposable bikes, so we did without. You can have a fun experience hiking everywhere, but you really have to pace yourself and you won't want to explore as much during the day.

Having good neighbors or being in a theme camp may reduce these issues. I am considering trying to join a theme camp this year, for the above reasons.
Last edited by feistypenguin on Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:59 pm

If I may respectfully suggest, you are way overpaying for hotels in Reno. Last year Barbie Death Village had a deal with one of the local Reno hotels (included free use of steam room, jacuzzi, sauna, ice machines on every floor, even a pool) for about half of what you budgeted for. We will be offering it, first to our Villagemates (membership has its privileges after all) then to the denizens at large in Black Rock City. Look for this to come out probably in the Spring.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:24 pm

feistypenguin wrote:Bicycles! We couldn't fit bikes on our rental car and didn't want to spend money on disposable bikes, so we did without. You can have a fun experience hiking everywhere, but you really have to pace yourself and you won't want to explore as much during the day.

Walking means that you see things differently than you do on a bike. You may not cover as much ground, but you cover your ground rather thoroughly.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby FenixFaye » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:44 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
feistypenguin wrote:Bicycles! We couldn't fit bikes on our rental car and didn't want to spend money on disposable bikes, so we did without. You can have a fun experience hiking everywhere, but you really have to pace yourself and you won't want to explore as much during the day.

Walking means that you see things differently than you do on a bike. You may not cover as much ground, but you cover your ground rather thoroughly.


Ah, yes. A bike. That's something I couldn't make my mind up about. It seems like a great idea.. but necessary?? :shrugs:

afa shade goes.. it's hard to imagine going without an EZ-up, but they are hefty :/ something to think about..
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby AntiM » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:28 am

EZups go to the playa to die. They aren't that hefty, we have a rather solid one which died at our regional while being set up. One grab of the wind and it flipped, tearing apart the joints.

Larry fixed it, but had it been our main shade source, we would have been screwed.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby danibel » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:47 am

If you are looking for places to spend your cash and stock up here is a great list. I have this page bookmarked on my iPhone and it's been quite useful when I am in Reno. The second link has it all listed by store or need. If you happen to be able to hit Reno before or after the event - I recommend at least one stop at the Melting Pot. Great stuff! Also - Every store I shopped at last year (and previous) was well supplied and super helpful. The Keystone center even had recycling bins set up for the folks that wanted to recycle cardboard and plastic from packaging before hitting the playa.

http://www.cieux.com/bm/bmtoc.html#renoResources
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby jcliff » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:58 am

I fly in every year and have never had a problem. Someone earlier reccomended getting hooked up with an established theme camp or village, and I couldn't agree more. I contribute a substantial donation to one dinner in my village and then I eat dinner every night. You'll probably find that your appetite is much less on playa than it is at home. A couple suggestions:

Safeway on Keystone will pick and box your shopping list for you if you call ahead. I've done that for 3 years now. They love Burners and will go over and beyond to make it work for you.

Black Rock Bicycles is a Burner-owned business. The rent playa-ready bikes for $75. They accept shipped boxes from Burners they are doing business with. Last year I shipped out 2 large boxes and they emailed me when they received them, and they were ready for me when I picked up my bike. The also shipped out the two boxes to me after the Burn.

Last year I got a car rental for $12/day by doing the "name your own price" thing on Priceline. It took me about 2 &1/2 hours to clean the vehicle, but I wasn't charged the $200 cleaning fee. If you rent a vehicle, make sure you go through a car wash that will open the hood and clean the engine.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby Savannah » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:46 pm

Great stuff, jcliff! Especially re: being able to pick up a bike rental and some shipments in the same place.
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Re: Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno

Postby skibear » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:02 pm

I gotta downsize. Getting hard to haul too much crap by airplane from the east coast.

Last time on Southwest Airlines where bags are free I had:

a 3 suiter weighing 49.5 lbs (weighed on my scales)
a large 2 suiter weighing 49 lbs
a large carry-on stuffed with heavy junk at 40 lbs. (all bags stuffed -had to remove junk)

And wearing enough clothes to look like the Pillsbury doughboy.
stuff was mostly costumes, clothes and camping items (inc small tent,air mattress)

Thats before buying all food/water/alcohol in Sacramento & Reno.
Along with a bike, tarps PVC, rebar & blankets at thrift stores, Walmart, Winco,TJ etc. etc.
went by myself for 2 times but this year with a theme camp. Dues for electricity & Frozen Margaritas
but no camp food . When departing I donated stuff to Goodwill & the recycle place at Save-Mart on Keystone
even took wood, PVC, & used rebar. $30 Bike(good shape & cleaned/oiled) to the Reno Bike Project.

Bought way too much beer & ended up giving most of it away. :cry:

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