Day clothes to pack for Burning Man
I’m not much of a costumer, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I’ve also come back from numerous burns with so many never-worn day clothes that fit into one overarching category: fabric that’s uncomfortable to wear on a hot day. I’m done with pretending I’m going to wear the cute outfit made of spandex. I’m just not packing that kind of clothing anymore. That, and I am really into comfort and natural fabrics. While there are many better sources for fabulous outfits and blinging it, here are some functional tips for your daytime outfits at Burning Man.
Pack clothes for the weather conditions and special events
Bring items related to your camp’s theme
I camped with More Carrot for years, and we all packed lots of orange and green pieces of clothing, both for everyday camp identity and for our Countless Carrots March against the Billion Bunnies. We ran a morning farmers market (and gifted fresh fruits and vegetables), so many people packed “farmer” outfits such as overalls, bandanas and clothing with fruits printed on them. I later camped with Pink Heart, and yes, people in that camp wear a lot of pink, so I packed my pink too!
What is your camp doing? What’s your theme? What kind of parties or events are you hosting? Be sure to pack for your camp’s theme and any special events.
Cargo pants/cropped or shorts … with pockets
Bring a few pairs as part of your day clothes items.
Men, adjust per your needs … or get a utili-kilt. (Great options abound on Etsy.) Women, I’m such a fan of skirts, but that’s me. You do you, as they say. Dress to be most comfortable. For me, that means skirts and dresses. With any skirt or dress, do pay attention to possible inner-thigh chafing from riding a bike for a week. I recommend wearing skirts that cover your inner thighs to keep the chafing down.
Ladies (and men wearing dresses), again, make sure you can get on and off a bike with ease and that your inner thighs will be protected when riding your bike. You have to be able to hike your leg up to get on a bike. That condition applies to all outfits at Burning Man.
Linen shirts, short and long sleeves
I bring several long-sleeve, 100% linen shirts and usually wear them over a tank or tee. I think they work great for keeping the sun and dust off of my skin. To me, this is one of the best day-time outfits to wear.
Lots of light tops
Cotton, linen, silk work great. It’s hot there during the day. There is no reprieve. Dress for the conditions.
Tutu for Tuesday
I’ve never brought a tutu. Never will. But tons of people wear them and they’re adorable. If tutus appeal to you, go for it and bring one to wear on Tutu Tuesday. (There are many theme-based parties, days, etc. You can participate or not. Some people do. Some people don’t.)
Something easy and warm for mornings in camp
It can be cold in the morning, though it warms up quickly. A soft robe or an easy, comfy layer of warmth for the mornings is nice to have around.
Coming early on a work pass?
It’s all about function. And pockets. Boots and work gloves, too.
Does your outfit pass the porta-potty test?
When it comes to self-management in the porta-potties, your clothes need some consideration before you outfit up. Ask yourself: Can I get in and out of this outfit with ease? What if I’m a a bit intoxicated or feeling all sparkly? Test getting in and out of your outfits at home. Do you need to hold onto something to get in and out of an outfit? If so, consider what that would be like in a porto. Does your outfit drop to the ground when you squat? Consider that. In general, though many people wear onesies, especially at night, you have to think about the totality of your outfit and if you can get in and out of a porto with ease. And by in, I mean, seated and doing your do.
Things to leave at home–
No. No. No. Just no. A tiny logo on your hiking boots or sunglasses, yeah, okay. Otherwise, no.
Glitter, sequins, beads, body paint and cheap feathers
You aren’t at home with your washing basin and shower. Glitter is MOOPy and messy. Same with any cheap feathers. If you’re not sure about something, walk around in the outfit for several hours in your house. Move, jump, run up and down the stairs. If, afterward, you find even one feather in your home, leave that outfit at home. Same with sequins and beads. The rules on feathers are more lax when bringing quality, well-made outfits or earrings. Still. Burning Man fashion rules have even garnered an entire article in the New York Times! Burning Man’s Fashion Is Wild, but There Are Rules
If the MOOP aspect of glitter isn’t enough of a deterrent, consider this little episode: A virgin in my camp did acid for the first time in her life. An hour or so before, a friend had put some glitter around her eyes. In the ultra-sparkliness of the experience, she had rubbed her eyes excessively and inadvertently cut her cornea. She had to go to the medic camp and they actually threatened to send her home if her situation didn’t start improving right away with the medicines and ointments they gave her. She did heal, she did get better and she lived to tell the story of how she was at Burning Man for a week.
Heels and uncomfortable shoes
If you can’t walk two miles in your shoes … and then still want to walk another mile, then don’t bring those shoes. They’ll either be painful or dangerous. Take care of your feet.
Constricting, tight, spandex-y things
I see it every year: people who look absolutely fabulous in their faux lamé stretchy pants and booty shorts. And, amen for them; they look great! Me? I’m about comfort, especially in the heat of the day. Especially as a virgin, if you do bring these clothes, at least also pack some cotton, silk and linen just in case you decide the sticky stuff isn’t working for you.