Drinks I bring to Burning Man…and why

refreshing drinks in a glass

Piss clear. Slam water. Yada yada. Yes, you need to tend to your hydration like nobody’s business when living in Black Rock City. You may drink as much liquid as you eat food at Burning Man. Plan ahead for a satisfactory experience. I offer some hydration options you may wish to consider.

Water, duh

Well, I don’t bring water, but my camp does. Water provides options. You can cook with it, wash with it, brush your teeth with it. Try brushing your teeth with pineapple juice if you run out of water. Right. Not gonna happen. Personally, I bring some bottled drinks but focus more on flavoring agents I can add to water, hot or cold.

Seltzer water, single-serving cans, 6

If you like seltzer water, I find it makes a great base for flavored drinks, for example seltzer water plus flavored vinegar, or plus juice concentrates.

Flavored simple syrup for hot and cold drinks, 1 or 2 bottles

I find flavored simple syrups a nice ingredient to mix into drinks, day and night. Most people bring way, way, way too many liquids to drink. Anything liquid is going to be heavy and bulky, and for many people coming to our great city, they need to be more conservative in packing their vehicle, especially if carpooling in with others.

Focusing on flavoring agents (packets, powders and concentrated liquids) provides a lot of flavor variety without all the bulk and weight of pre-flavored juices and drinks. Plus juice and flavored drinks have no other use than for what they are made for. Bring too much juice and and you have a lot of weight and bulk to bring both in (and usually out). I recommend that you bring more water (which can be used for many purposes) and then flavor your water to your tastes.

Honey and/or maple syrup

Same points as above with the simple syrup: quality, small-farm honey (and quality maple syrup) makes so many drinks taste better. It’s also just a nice source of sugar and something to put in your mouth when you know you need something in your body, but eating seems way too complex of an activity to undertake. Honey is also a great addition to either hot or cold drinks for those of us who aren’t big fans of drinking just and only water.

Flavored vinegar, 1 or 2 bottles

If you like vinegar, I highly recommend bringing a bottle or two or three of excellent-quality flavored vinegars. They mix awesomely with honey and water for a very refreshing drink! Hot or cold. Vinegar can be tremendously satisfying when you’re feeling hot and dehydrated. Go for quality here.

Herbal teas

I mostly drink hot herbal tea or tea plus flavors (simple syrup, sangria and such) on playa. I do drink some chilled drinks, but I lean toward the warm teas. I really like the Yogi teas for flavor and mixing. Throughout the day and night, I continue adding hot water and different teas to my thermos.

I find that consuming small amounts of hot/warm tea over time is better for me than consuming lots and lots of cold water. For one, I don’t have to pee as much; also, the hot/warm water soothes my throat and I find that pleasant. Plus gifting someone a sip of a hot beverage, even in the heat of the day (or the cold of the night) is a nice thing, imo. Tea is also quite enjoyable cold. Simply add some ice cubes after making sun tea and you’re golden.

Goya juice, 6 cans

I also don’t bring a lot of juice (preferring flavoring agents over straight up juice), but every once in awhile these Goya juices are just the thing to drink! I like this brand: tamarind, peach, strawberry flavors, in particular, and I definitely get the cans over the cartons. They’re really nice kept at the bottom of my cooler in the cold melted ice water there. Frankly, sometimes I want a straight-to-the-system sugar jolt, and these do well for this function.

You know your tastebuds and what you like. Options abound for canned juices.  I like the single-serving cans too. Keeps things simpler.

Boxed Franzia sangria (don’t judge)

Cheap sangria is a miracle drink at festivals. Add it to your thermos (hot or cold) and sip on it. It has a depth of flavor that awakens your taste buds beyond just water or just flavored drinks, and the low levels of red wine over time do a nice job of keeping a super gentle buzz going without ever going over to being tipsy.

Many people testify to the strategy of drinking small amounts of cheap sangria or Carlo Rossi jug wine at festivals. Remember: nobody thinks you’re funny when you’re drunk, except you and your equally intoxicated friends. Seriously. Not a soul.

Alcohol in cans and cartons, as desired (if desired)

If you’re a beer drinker, aim to purchase beer in cans rather than in glass. ’Tis a better choice for general safety (glass can break; cans and cartons crush) and for pack out, as aluminum also weighs less and packs down and out more easily than does glass. Plus Recycle Camp accepts crushed aluminum and donates the collected cans to a Gerlach school that then sells the aluminum as a fundraiser for their school.

Whole Foods and many other liquor stores in Reno go all out with displaying canned beer for burners (and, likewise, wine in carton containers). The Reno area store managers know to prepare for an onslaught of consumers provisioning for the Burn, and they know glass reduction is one of the goals of many a burner.

I don’t drink much alcohol, but I usually bring a bottle or two of good liquor I like. And a six-pack or so of beer. There’s a lot of alcohol floating around on playa. Provision as you see fit, if you see fit.


Refreshing drink photo by Whitney Wright on Unsplash

Loading the car for Burning Man

Watch this video to see what I’m talking about with packing your car and carpooling with others. Everything add up!

A lovely video from a German group at Burning Man


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