Preparing For Burning Man And Zombie Apocalypse

December 3, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Burning Man camp set up

According to the Mayans, it’s the end of an era on December 21, 2012. All hell might break loose and the world is going to end!

Preparing for a week of camping and survival in the harsh environment of the Black Rock dessert at Burning Man 2012 was a good practice run through to get ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.

While it’s unlikely that zombies will be attacking anytime soon, natural disasters or disease outbreaks are realities.

The east coast is recovering from hurricane Sandy. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster last year was a mess. Tsunamis and earthquakes disrupt lives and creates a shortage of food, water, sanitation and shelter to these affected areas.

In the time I spent getting ready for my pilgrimage to the playa, it got me thinking about what to do in case of emergency. My intention this year at Burning Man was to survive.

I challenged myself to see if I could withstand the physical and emotional stress on the playa. I actually brought less food with me to test myself, but I still had enough.

The temperatures in the Black Rock dessert varies from hot during the day and to fridgid cold at night. Dust storms pop up at a moments notice.

In 2002, there was a condition alpha where an unexpected dust storm blew 100 mph winds. It created a massive white out and trapped Burners at the festival for three days after the burn.

It’s tough to predict what you can experience, but you can only be prepared.

The camping set up you see pictured above was my home at Black Rock City for almost a week. I had the essentials for survival.

As simple and small as it looks, I was able to sleep, cook, bath, and hang out around my little home in the middle of nowhere.

The tent I brought was four season. It was perfect because it was sealed well and kept most of the dust out. My sleeping bag was warm enough to withstand 30 degree temperatures. I also brought a solar powered swamp cooler. I used it during the day when it got hot outside. While it was nice to have, but I didn’t use it as much.

When I took a bath, I used a garden sprayer. It used very little water. In order to make sure I didn’t get grey water on the playa, I used a tarp to cover the ground. I also had a cement mixer tub to evaporate my grey water.

Here’s a list of things I brought for survival.

Protective wear

Rothco Shemagh Tactical Desert Scarf
Goggles Von Zipper Sizzle MX
MSA Safety Works 817664 Toxic Dust Respirator
3M Tekk Protection Sanding and Fiberglass Valved Respirator # 8511HB2-C (5-pack)

Shelter equipment

Trango 2 four season tent
12 pieces of bent rebar
Tarp for shade
Sleeping bag
MSR Reactor
2 fuel cartridges
4 mylar safety blankets
2 head lamps
glow in the dark rope
ratchet tie-downs (4-Pack)
solar powered rope light
10w solar power
12v battery
home made swamp cooler
medium size cement mixing tub for evap pond
camping chair
garden sprayer
sleeping bag
sleeping pad
camping plate


9 gallons of water (1.5 gallons per day for 6 days)
4 Mountain House Pro-Pak Freeze-Dried Food Pouches
1 head of celery
1 bag of carrots
6 V8 juice
peanut butter
3 hard boiled eggs
3 cans of vegetables
3 cans of fruit
1 package of berries
1 can of beans
1 package of tortillas
2 package ready to eat instant tuna salad
instant coffee
1 case of beer
1 bottle of vodka
5 lbs of gummy bears
5 lbs of Jolly Ranchers
4 gu energy gel
10 Clif bars
Gatorade mix

Bug out bag

1 liter of emergency water
non perishable emergency food ration for one day
2 Cliff bars
whistle with compass and magnifying glass
clean change of clothes and shoes
first aid kit
1 mini flash light
pen with a small roll of duct tape around it
extra credit card

Overall I was happy with this minimal set up. I was still able to get by fine without an RV.

Preparing for Burning Man got me ready for the Zombie Apocalypse if it happens. I’m more knowledgeable of the things needed for survival if a natural disaster stikes.

What are some of the survival essentials you brought to Burning Man?

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Category: Travel tips

Comments (2)

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  1. Wow – this is quite the packing list!! I’ve participated in Zombie Marches to learn their behaviour, but never went beyond this in terms of planning!! haha

    In other news, however, I have been trying to plan getting out to Burning Man festival for several years now.. though being in Thailand this year, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m eager to burn one year soon, though!
    Ian Ord – Where Sidewalks End recently posted…Chinese Proverb – The hardest part is to start what you dream!My Profile

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