Sleeping accessories that help bring the Zzzzs
Beyond your tent and bed setup, there are a few things you can bring to help make sleep easier to come by at Black Rock City. Here are a few accessories I find make for easier sleeping at Burning Man.
A comfy eye pillow
You may not always sleep during the night. Or you may sleep but a few hours. An eye pillow can help when you need to sleep during the day. Many people also find it helpful to have some light weight and pressure on their eyes when they’re trying to fall asleep at night. You might be positioned near your camp’s front area and LED signage, or near your camp’s kitchen, where the light is kept on til 3 a.m. each night. In other words, you might have light coming into your tent at night. I find that eye pillows are a nice luxury to have on hand.
Some people wear them. Some enjoy the sounds of the playa while they sleep. Bring them so that you have a choice.
A soft wool scarf
The playa air can be incredibly drying and wearing on your air passages and sinuses, which can dry out your nasal passages and make sleeping more difficult. Bring a light wool scarf to tie around your neck while you sleep. You may not keep it over your nose and mouth all night, but in the event that you wake up utterly parched and need to hydrate your air passages with moisture. A wool scarf over your mouth and noise will allow you to retain and breath in moisture.
Rescue Remedy and essential oils
If you’re a bit on edge or overstimulated, some Rescue Remedy for Sleep or some calming essential oils that support sleep, such as lavender, frankincense or cedar wood, can help. It’s also a nice idea to have some ritual around going to bed, just as you do at home.
I always lubricate my eyes with eye drops before going to bed when I’m at Black Rock City.
Foot and hand warmers
I’ve purchased the Zippo hand warmers and have used them at Frostburn, a Burning Man regional held on a cold West Virginia mountaintop in mid-winter, and other events. Frostburn is an aptly named event, and my (rightly justified) fear about being deadly cold at this event motivated my purchase of these Zippo hand warmers. Now that I have them, I bring them to Burning Man for cold nights.
You can use these Zippo hand warmers when out and about at night, and/or for when you’re sleeping. They do take a while to warm up, and you have to be careful not to let them touch your skin for an extended period of time. They also can require a bit of priming to get them working. I have also found them to be temperamental and inconsistent, but when they work and are pumping out heat, they’re awesome.
Fwiw, I tried the USB-powered hand warmers at first; alas, they were sent straight back to the store where I got them. Useless.
If you buy disposable hand/foot warmer packets, go for quality versus quantity. So many people buy (and often gift) cheap, plentiful handwarmers. In my experience, the one-and-done disposable hand warmers are a product category where cheap is cheap, and quality is quality.
A hot water, or Nalgene, bottle
If it’s a really cold night and you’re having a hard time warming up, fill up a hot water bottle or a Nalgene bottle with near-boiling water. (You’ll most likely have a JetBoil and some easy-access water in your tent, if you’re implementing the majority of my packing tips.) Then put that bottle in the bottom of your sleeping bag by your feet. (Do make sure the lid is screwed on really well! It would be miserable to have a spill and cold water soaking your sleeping bag and PJs.)
I’ve only used a hot water bottle once. Personally, my preference is to pack lots of wool, and I am a bit obsessive about it; but you may decide to pack less wool (if you dare) and to use the hot-water bottle approach instead.
I love this woman’s videos and tips.
It’s at the :45 sec mark!