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How to Not Die at Burning Man…as Told by Burners

Burning Man is an annual festival that takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert that attracts around 70,000 people a year.

With dust storms, mutant vehicles, giant art installations, fire art, and tens of thousands of people partying in the desert…

Burning Man can be considered to be a hazardous party environment.

On the back of your Burning Man ticket, you will see a liability waiver that says

“I acknowledge and fully understand that as a participant, I will be engaging in activities that involve risk of serious injury, including permanent disability and death…”

Though fatalities are extremely rare, serious injury and death can happen. Here’s how to not die at Burning Man, as told by Burners….

Tip #1: Water water water water water & a lot more coconut water.

Never leave your camp without water. Drink way more water than you think you need. Salt & gatorade too. When you’re out of water, party’s over & it’s time to go back to camp.

Tip #2: Light your monkey ass up at night – that includes your bike on the open playa – or get smashed by cool, fire-breathing art car.

Have at least one trusted bright light source available, as glowsticks and cheap toys fade through the night.

Tip #3: Art cars are still cars. Don’t jump in front of art cars. Don’t jump off of art cars.

Don’t disembark between a mutant vehicle’s truck & trailer. Don’t blind art car drivers w/ weird lights.

Only step on or off an art car (or between sections of a multi-part car) when it is at a complete stop.

CHECK OUT: Can Burning Man Change the World, with Andrew Johnstone

Tip #4: Don’t pass on the tiny desert road there, don’t speed, stay chill.

You’ll all wait in the same long-ass line to get in, so getting there faster won’t make a difference, but it will mean you actually get there.

Carpool to Burning Man. It makes the drive more fun & cuts down on fossil fuel consumption.

Tip #5: Buddy system, because sometimes you need a friend to say “what the hell are you thinking climbing up there after 9 shots?”

Make an agreement with your buddy to watch out for each other, including checking on your water supply, that you have all your stuff, & where to meet up again if you lose each other.

And did you know that text message works on the Playa?

CHECK OUT: Psychedelic Love & Surviving Burning Man, with Julie Megler & Larry Norris

Tip #6:Don’t run into the fire of the man on burn night.

And if you must run into Man or Temple fires…wear a flame retardant suit.

Tip #7: If you can’t see where you’re going (i.e. a whiteout).

Stop & get somewhere protected. If you can’t see, neither can folks on bikes or driving art cars.

Download & use the iBurn Burning Man app to navigate to the nearest refuge via GPS. Do not “head for the music” as the music might be coming from a mutant vehicle on the move.

Tip #8: Talk to people you trust if you feel suicidal, or are feeling anxious / paranoid / overwhelmed.

Remember there’s a loving community around you when you’re in a bad mental state, many of us have been there, it can be a taxing environment.

There are mental health services on the Playa. The Zendo Project provides psychedelic harm reduction services & a supportive environment to transform difficult psychedelic experiences into valuable learning opportunities.

Tip #9: Avoid lying down with your playa dune costume & don’t pitch your tent near the road.

Know that anything that is not obviously visible or lit up may not be seen & therefore easily crushed by an oblivious moving vehicle. Use your car as your tent buffer. Be aware that tires can get caught in tie down ropes & tents.

Tip #10: Cover rebar, tent stakes & other sharp objects, & light up your tie down ropes.

Doll heads, tennis balls, & coconut water cans make great rebar tops.

Tip #11: Dress for 24 hours of weather & pack your camelback for overnight survival.

You never know where you will end up after leaving camp. Make sure your backpack is packed for overnight survival – water, goggles, dust mask, first aid kit, electrolyte tabs, headlamp, food, hand balm, lighter, contact lens solution, ear plugs, 5-hour energy…whatever you need to be comfortable & happy.

Tip #12: Only boof your drugs. Here’s where your asshole is your moist desert friend.

Fine Playa dust will wreck havoc on your sinuses & can make them bleed. If you intend to take powder drugs, consider an “alternative” method of delivery. Only consume drugs procured from trusted sources. Know your body & your drugs.

Legal disclaimer: EntheoNation does not recommend that you consume illicit drugs or do anything illegal.

And finally…

Tip #13: Accept the fact that part of you is going to die at Burning Man.

Remember…the most common Burning Man hazards are:


Be mindful of your surroundings, leave uncomfortable situations, practice radical self-reliance, avoid taking unnecessary risks & you’ll have a great time.

Have an amazing burn!

About the author, Lorna

Lorna Liana is a new media strategist and lifestyle business coach to visionary entrepreneurs. She travels the world while running her business as a digital nomad. Lorna's boutique agency provides “done for you” web design, development and online marketing services for social ventures, sustainable brands, transformational coaches and new paradigm thought leaders. She is also a personal development junkie, and 20 year practitioner of shamanism, with extensive training in Tibetan Bon Shamanism and the ayahuasca traditions of the Amazon Basin.