You Might Be Ready To Take On Burning Man…But Is Your RV?
If you’ve never had the opportunity to trek into Black Rock City to experience Burning Man, words are difficult to truly describe it. This is a gifting society (you can’t purchase anything at Burning Man, except for ice) adorned with an extreme sense of community.
The community brings mind-boggling art, including music from famous DJs, live music, bars, and restaurants. You’ll also find games of all sorts, performances, yoga, massage, and numerous other unique things. Creativity seems to burst at the playa’s dust-coated seams, despite there being no walls and miles of open space.
About that dust at Burning Man
Yes, there is dust (and lots of it) at Burning Man. But this is not your normal run-of-the-mill house dust; this is special dust, bright white and sparkly. On some days, the dust is just on the ground, on your shoes, and on your bike tires. On other days, it fills the air in intense white dust storms.
So, how does one take an RV into this unpredictable environment? There is a way. Whether you are bringing your RV for the first time or renting yours to a Burner, there are ways to protect it. Before you decide to drive onto the cracked Burning Man landscape or lend your RV to someone else, you must accept one truth: there will be dust. Once you embrace this idea, everything will be fine.
How do you protect your RV from the dust?
We’ve put together eight ways to help keep that Burning Man dust manageable and OUT of your RV.
1. Cover your RV’s floor during Burning Man
Line the entire RV floor (every inch!) with either carpenter’s plastic (the super thick, heavy-duty kind) or very thick carpenter painter’s paper. Carefully and thoroughly paper tape this lining to the sides of the RV so dust cannot get underneath it.
2. Cover those cushions
Cover every cushion and piece of furniture with a bed sheet or another piece of material to protect it from any dust.
3. Use air conditioning filters creatively
Purchase several air filters in order to tape them to the outside of the RV over all open filtration systems. Anywhere there is an opening that will let air into the RV or its mechanical systems must be protected by an air filter. Use painter’s tape, white is best frankly because it just looks better or Frog Tape (do NOT use duct tape or masking tape because in the heat it leaves a sticky mess) And don’t skimp on the tape, buy several rolls, you don’t want to run out!
You may want to re-tape these filters during the week of Burning Man, so be prepared with an extra roll of tape and extra filters. These filters should be placed once you have arrived in the town of Gerlach or while waiting in line to enter Burning Man, which can take several hours. Just watch the weather; you want to make sure you tape the filters before a dust storm hits.
The one thing to watch here, however, is your heater vents. You won’t want to cover those with flammable air filters if you intend to use your furnace or water heater while at Burning Man.
4. Tape up those window frames
Tape up all window frames from the outside with white painter’s tape or Frog Tape and also on the inside of the RV. In order to keep dust out of the RV, you’ll want to try to keep dust out of those window tracks too. If you don’t, trying to open your windows the next time will be a challenge.
5. Cover other external openings
Tape up any cracks or crevices on the outside of the RV that the filter cannot cover. If you are taping over vent fans in any way, be sure and put a note or tape on the controls on the inside too so you don’t accidentally put strain on that motor while trying to open a taped-down vent fan.
6. Stock up on white vinegar before you head to Burning Man
Bring several bottles of white vinegar for cleaning feet before entering the RV. A mixture of water and vinegar in a bowl does the job quite well. Playa dust is extremely alkaline, so the acidity of the vinegar removes the dust easily from skin. You can also use a vinegar and water mix to wipe down countertops inside the RV.
7. Stock up on supplies before Burning Man
Be sure to load up on these general supplies for your RV: probiotic black tank solution, tools, extra tape, extra filters, a shade structure with holes in the material so the wind won’t take it down, and a solar panel to charge up your RV battery while off-grid. There are trucks driving around to clean the black & gray tanks; you just have to flag them down and pay between $50 and $60 cash.
8. Cover your table
Lastly, line your indoor RV table with a heavy-duty wipeable tablecloth like the LITOCLOTH (just fold it in half since they are designed for eight-foot outdoor tables). The LITOCLOTH, available at litocloth.com, will protect the seams of your table and the finish. And it’s also best to have one for your outdoor table as well. It comes with straps so it won’t blow away during wind storms, and it can handle a mixture of water and vinegar to make it dust-free before eating.
Most of all, enjoy the experience—enjoy the Burn and flow. That’s the best part of Burning Man: the magic that happens during the flow.
9. Cover your RV
Although it’s a big ask, if you have any way to cover all or part of your RV to put an extra layer between the sun and the RVs surface, it might make the difference between staying cool, and barely tolerable.
Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.