You've got your ticket for Burning Man, but you have no idea how to prepare. Here's a starter kit.
Step 1: Shelter and bedding Bring one or two sturdy tents for storage and sleeping, and a tarp to create shade during the day. While sleeping bags are good, an inflatable mattress will be more comfortable.
TIP: Bring sturdy stakes or rebar to secure your tent in the strong winds.
Step 2: Pack water Bring 1½ gallons of water per person per day. The desert is very hot and very dry. Dehydrated people not only become irritable, but they can get very, very sick. Drink a gallon of water every day, and use the other half-gallon for bathing and cooking.
TIP: Keep the water out of direct sunlight.
Step 3: Toss in a bike A bike is a good way to get around the Burning Man camp, so bring one. Put your name on it and make sure to decorate it so it's easy to find, and lock it up when you're not using it.
Step 4: Duct tape, duct tape, duct tape Whether you're helping to build a giant work of art, taping up your tent, taping up a food container, or taping up yourself (or someone else), duct tape is a main building block of the Burning Man life.
Step 5: Food for a week Bring enough food for a week. While some people will share food, Burning Man is also about self-reliance. Think nonrefrigerated food like granola and dried fruits. Also pack some salty treats to replenish electrolytes. For cooked meals, bring a portable stove.
Step 6: The right clothes What you wear -- or don't wear -- at Burning Man is up to you. Temperatures can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and dip below freezing at night. Bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and shoes you're willing to throw out after the event.
Step 7: Sun protection Use heaps of sunscreen during the day. Also bring lip balm and moisturizing lotion to deal with the dryness.
Step 8: Storage To protect your stuff from dust, bring lots of plastic sandwich bags. These can also be used for preparing food and for keeping your underwear clean.
Step 9: Bring a battery-powered radio There are no cell phone signals or electricity at Burning Man. Bringing a battery-powered radio -- and extra batteries -- is very useful in case of an emergency, or just for getting updates on the event. Turn to 94.5 FM for Burning Man information radio.
Step 10: Prepare for dust storms Dust storms don't last long, but they can be intense. Be prepared. Bring a dust mask and goggles, as well as plastic garbage bags to use as impromptu porta-toilets during "white-outs."
Step 11: Pack a light It can be very dark out in the desert when everyone has extinguished their campfire. A flashlight can save you from tripping over god-knows-what.
Step 12: Don't forget an open mind Burning Man is not like anything you've ever experienced in your life. Keep your mind open. This is not an experience that can be seen from the sidelines. Dive in, do something you'd never dream of doing, and don't forget the duct tape.
FACT: Burning Man started on a beach in 1986 with the burning of an 8-foot wooden man.