Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is there services for dumping of gray and black water tanks? Can you get water on the playa?
Answer: Yes, there is a "honey pot" service that takes care of BRC residents. Once during the week we (some Burnstream Courters) have the Sanitation Service (honey pot truck) come and empty our gray and black water tanks. Usually, we schedule it for Thursday before it gets too crowded and the prices start rising. Sometimes we can negotiate a discounted rate when there are several of us getting it done at the same time. The price is most often $55+.
We just flag them down as they patrol the streets and have them come in or schedule it. If you don't do it with the BSC group of people then you can flag them down on your own. They also have information in center camp.
You are in charge of handling this process for your trailer and need to be present. The price is usually $55+ but it's up to you to know what you are paying for and what services you are getting. If you're on the list and you're in camp when they arrive then we'll have them go trailer to trailer and do their thing. If you're not on the list or in camp when this happens then you're in deep dudu and on your own.
*A note to the wise in using this service - when the sanitation guys are at your RV - be there to supervise, it reduces losses and damage. One year they walked off with our black water hose and we never did get it back!
**Also, another suggestion. One year we consolidated gray water from various camps and evap ponds into one tank to be pumped. It's a good use of resources and helps resolve gray water issues and clean up.
Water - You may be able to get non-potable water from the sanitation trucks during the week. But once the city fills up that service generally runs out. Bottom line is bring all your own drinking water with you.
Port-a-potties are near by and serviced daily. Some of us set up gray H20 evaporation ponds for personal use.
Back to Top
FAQ 2 - Camp Kitchen
Question: Do you have a camp kitchen?
Answer: No, we do not set up a camp kitchen. We usually have a pot luck dinner on Thursday to welcome newcomers and reacquaint old friends. There is a lot of food sharing and pot lucks that happen all week in BSC. If you want to cook and share then have at it. Paul and Kurt bring this incredible work of art that is also a grill. This is a public tool so use it whenever you want. You may want to bring some extra propane just in case we run out and/or thank Paul and Kurt in your own special way for their contribution.
Back to Top
FAQ 3 - Generators
Question: Can we bring our generator to run our AC?
Answer: Yes, but we ask everyone to be sensitive to generator noise and do to all you can to alleviate it. Here are some link resources we ask you to read for RV and generator etiquette and also here.
Back to Top
FAQ 4 - Wind Safety
Question: What are safe guidelines for securing structures?
Answer: There is a really good resource on the Burning Man web site, click here. Come prepared to build a shade structure to protect you from the wind and the relentless sun. There is no way to avoid these elements, so do your research ahead of time; you will be much more comfortable.
Each year the majority of the injuries at Burning Man can be traced to collisions with rebar. These steel rods have become the tent stake of choice because they are relatively cheap and hold up against the playa winds better than standard-issue tent stakes.
Most rebar injuries result from stubbing a toe, piercing a foot or otherwise impaling a body part on the exposed metal. Injuries generally happen at times of low visibility, such as in the dark and massive dust storms.
The solution? Covering the exposed end of the rebar with a tennis ball, doll head, plastic bottle or other padding will help prevent injuries is a step in the right direction, but the best way to prevent injury is to HAMMER THAT SUCKER ALL THE WAY IN! However, before doing so, you have to make sure you are equipped to pull it out again. Here are a few suggestions.
a.. Use a length of pipe to fit over the end of the rebar to bend it into a "J" before you hammer it in. Not only will this remove sharp ends that could hurt people, it will give you good attachment for guy lines and something you can grab when you're trying to pull it out.
b.. Bring a crowbar, pipe or something to pull it out with. The keyword here is LEVERAGE. Think Archimedes, a fulcrum and moving the world.
c.. Use vise grips or crow bar to twist the metal a rotation or two, tap it a few times on the side with a hammer, and it should pull straight out.
If you're still having trouble, remember: your car is stronger than you.
Don't forget work gloves.
d.. Stubborn rebar can be coaxed out of the ground by pouring some water into the hole. Wiggle the rebar around a bit to get the water all the way down the length of the metal. Sometimes, this is all it takes to do the trick.
e.. Whatever you do, DON'T leave the rebar behind, stuck in the ground.
This is a Leave No Trace event, and part of the fun is the improvisation and community that comes from solving problems like getting that bastard out. If you can't get it out, ask someone to help you. Adapt. Be dogged and tenacious. Don't let it win.
f.. Remember that guy lines are almost as dangerous as rebar. You don't want to "clothesline" an unwary cyclist. Make guy lines more visible by sliding a short length (3- or 4-foot) of PVC over the line before driving peg into the ground. It CLEARLY marks both the line and the location of the peg, EVEN ON THE DARKEST NIGHT. When used with candy-caned rebar, it makes securing your structure fairly safe. (Thanks to Ray Leslie for this
g.. You can also attach bright tape, ribbon or glow sticks. Unfortunately, the brightest ribbon is invisible in the dark, and the light from the moon won't help during BM 2002. In a perfect world, guy lines would be marked with EL wire or Christmas lights to prevent people from clothes lining themselves in the dark, but do what you can.
Back to Top
FAQ 5 - Awnings
Question: Do you use your AS awnings at Burning Man?
Answer: Yes, most of us use our awnings during Burning Man but lash them down good. The winds are fierce so a heavy duty awning strap is recommended. If you don't use a strap then it's a good idea to roll it up during a wind storm.
Back to Top
FAQ 6 - Emergency Info
Question: What if friends or family at home need to reach me for an emergency?
Answer: Unfortunately, given the nature of the event, finding a participant on the playa is usually quite challenging. Cell phones don't work, and people don't generally have satellite phones. There is but limited internet access. Now add the fact that addresses on the playa are inexact even if you do know where you're camping ahead of time, and finding a person's camp can become very difficult. Preparation will help you stay in touch in an emergency.
We also have an Emergency Plan posted, so be familiar with it.
Question: How can friends or family send me a message?
Answer: Emergency messages should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The message will be passed to the Black Rock Rangers, who will do their best to deliver it. We will also make the message available at Playa Info in Center Camp, so if you're awaiting news or expecting emergency transmissions, you might want to plan to check in each day.
Question: What details should be included in an emergency message?
Answer: The message should include first and last name, as well as any known nickname that you might go by around camp. It should also include the name of your theme camp or other affiliation (volunteer team, etc.), and its location if known, along with your vehicle make/license plate and any other unique features that will help with the search (such as, "camp has a 20 foot inflatable duck," etc.)
Back to Top
FAQ 7 - Dry Ice
Question: How to Handle Dry Ice ?
Answer: TRANSPORT DRY ICE IN YOUR VEHICLE TRUNK OR TRUCK BED. Leave windows open for fresh air circulation. Never leave dry ice in a parked passenger vehicle. Sublimation of dry ice in a closed passenger vehicle can result in the accumulation of dangerous concentrations of asphyxiating carbon dioxide vapor. Dry ice can be safely transported without special ventilation in the closed cargo area of a truck if all occupants are restricted to the cab. When opening a closed cargo area containing dry ice, allow the closed space to ventilate for 5 minutes before entering.
Carbon Dioxide is not toxic, like carbon monoxide, but if you step into a space filled with carbon dioxide it's just like stepping outside at 50,000 feet--no oxygen. You will pass out quickly and die soon thereafter. Your time of useful consciousness is about 7-10 seconds. But since it's such an unexpected problem, it won't occur to you soon enough to GET OUT NOW.
Just don't enclose it and it's no problem.
Back to Top
FAQ 8 - Loading Your Airstream
Question: How to load your Airstream Safely?
Answer: Load your weight over the axles to slightly forward of the axles. You want good tongue weight. Also, load your truck with weight over rear axles to slightly forward. If your trailer experiences "Wag the Dog” or “fish tailing,” stop immediately and redistribute weight. If you have an electric brake controller and your trailer starts to "wag the dog," use the controller to engage the trailer brakes without using your vehicle brakes. This should dampen the oscillation. Then you can bring the vehicle to a stop and redistribute weight.
Back to Top
FAQ 9 - Refrigerator
Question: Is it safe to run a refrigerator on propane while driving to and from your destination?
Answer: There are strong arguments on both side of this question. Click here for an article summarizing this question and make your own judgement call.
Back to Top
FAQ 10 - Coolers
Question: How to ease the load on your refrigerator and extend the life of cooler contents?
Answer: Click here (this is a .pdf file) to view Monte's instructions on how to help your refrigerator work better on the playa and how to extend the chill time of your cooler while on the playa.
Back to Top