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Desert Festival in a RV

The Burning Man Festival is unique- it is not a typical music or arts festival, but a pop-up centre of community, art and creativity, of self-reliance. The mission of Burning Man is to be a way of life not just for the week it takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert but for the rest of the year as participants take what they have experienced back to their communities and homes to practice the ten principles of Burning Man: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation and Immediacy. The festival is not about a one-way performance to an audience, but is created and experienced by participants. The ‘Burning Man’ refers to a wooden effigy burnt on the saturday night, and recalls the roots of the festival as a summer solstice bonfire ritual when Larry Harvey and friends burnt a 9-foot wooden man in a bout of the aforementioned Radical Self-Expression.

The Deets
  • Burning Man always begins on the last Monday in August and lasts a week- so in 2014, it is August 25th - September 1st.
  • The festival takes place in the Nevada Desert, at Black Rock City. This is a camp city which appears for the week of the festival each year, complete with roads and advanced infrastructure- it’s not just a campsite!
  • 2014 Ticket details and pricing will be released on the 4th of January. More information can be found at http://tickets.burningman.com/

RV Logistics

RVs are sometimes looked upon as less community-friendly than tents, but they certainly make a much more comfortable home base for the festival- especially if they have air conditioning. There are designated RV spots so you won’t have an issue finding a place to park.

If you want to make use of your own toilet, shower and sink, you will need a self-contained RV. There are no dump sites, but there are servicing trucks which will empty black and grey water for a fee- $50 for RVs up to 24 feet in length, and $60 for those 25-35 feet. To make use of this service, bring cash and flag down the truck when needed.

We recommend Renting a Burning Man RV with a generator, as it gets mighty hot in the desert and you are likely to want to use the airconditioning!

Burning Man often includes decorating of tents and RVs, but be aware that you must return your RV in the condition it came in, and you do not want to explain to the rental company why the windows are painted pink and blue! Express yourself, but don’t do anything irreversible to the vehicle. Full insurance and excess reduction is the way to go in case of things out of your control

What to Bring

If possible, bring bikes to get around Black Rock City as it covers a large area. Make sure you have plenty of water and food to last the week, as well as whatever alcoholic beverages you like and will not consume before driving the RV! Bring an open mind and be prepared to participate so you can get the most out of your burning man experience. Sunscreen will be your best friend in Black Rock City, along with lip balm, a hat and a waterbottle. Warm clothing is also essential as it gets cold when the sun sets.

RV Rental Locations

Reno RV Rental for Burning Man
Reno, the “Biggest Little City in the World,”  is understandably a very popular pick-up point, as it is only 3.5 hours drive from Black Rock, and the closest major city. However, should your decision to attend Burning Man be anything other than very much in advance, you will be hard pressed to find an RV or campervan available in Reno, and it is also more expensive due to the small range of rental suppliers. Earlybirds, you will be blessed with a short drive to and from the festival if you book before January at the very latest! The drive is mostly through desert but you will pass close to Pyramid Lake, a beautiful spot in a tribal reservation. You can buy permits for fishing, boating and general use at outlets around the area.

San Francisco RV Rental for Burning Man
San Francisco is also a popular pick-up point, and it makes the drive to the festival a decent day trip at 6 hours. Again, you will need to be in quick to get a rental from San Fran, as they sell out fast, especially the cheaper and smaller vehicles. Try to be in before October of the previous year. However, being a bigger city, it has a wide range of options and there are many rental suppliers, so if you are quick you will have a lot to choose from in San Fran. The drive will take you through Sacramento, the Tahoe National Forest and into the desert to Black Rock.

Los Angeles RV Rental for Burning Man
Los Angeles is the City of Angels, and also of celebrities, beaches, disneyland and nightclubs, so if you want to mix a bit of old-fashioned excitement with your Burning Man experience then L.A is the place to pick up! A longer drive from Black Rock at 10 hours away, it doesn’t sell out as fast as Reno or San Fran but it is still a good idea to get in as soon as possible so you can get the vehicle you want. Given the size of the city, there are a huge range of vehicles, suppliers and price points to choose from! It also makes a great base to explore the California area after or before the festival, being central to San Francisco, wine country and the Napa Valley, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and the mexican border.


Las Vegas RV Rental for Burning Man
Sin City is another great pick-up spot. Like L.A there is a huge range of vehicles available, and it does not book out as fast as Reno ort San Francisco- we do still recommend booking as early as you can for the best deals and more options! The drive from Las Vegas to Black Rock takes around 10 hours, through some typical dry Nevada landscape and past several lakes. Las Vegas is also a great base for an extended trip, close to the stunning Grand Canyon, L.A, Phoenix and the Mexican border. It is also a destination in itself, so be sure to experience the glitz, lights and nightlife if you pick up your rental from there!

Salt Lake City RV Rental for Burning Man
This one is somewhat of a hidden gem as a pick-up location- don’t spread the word, or else everyone will rent from here! It is also around a 10-hour drive, so no further than coming from L.A or Las Vegas. The benefit of renting from here is that as it is not a typical Burning Man location, prices will be lower and more vehicles available closer to the festival. This won’t last long if word gets out, so shhhh! The scenic drive will take you past the Great Salt Lake, Bonneville Salt Flats State Park, and through some mountainous areas before entering the desert.
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