Merino and comfy, warm clothes are your friends on the playa


You can always take clothes off if you’re hot, but you can’t put on what you didn’t bring. I implore you to bring many layers of warm clothes. Personally, I advocate for merino wool and many pieces in many weights. I bring wool socks, wool leggings, wool skirts, wool sweaters, wool scarves, wool mittens, wool wrist warmers, wool jackets and, yes, wool shoes (Uggs).

You may not love wool the way I do, yet don’t skimp on the warm layers.

Cashmere, merino and fleece sweaters are a must

I have learned the hard way, and you can too. Or you can heed my recommendations and pack tons of soft wool (mostly merino and cashmere). I do. Along with some fleece, in many weights, layers and lengths. I use these warm layers for 1) being out at night, 2) for cool mornings and 3) definitely for sleeping in!

Wool breathes

I’m a most particular a fan of wool. Wool breathes. Wool travels with you as you travel through the elements. It keeps you warm when it’s cold, and warm when it’s damp (it can rain on the playa), and warm when it’s windy (if you’ve wearing several layers). It’s easy to find items in different weights of wool, and I recommend you bring them. If nothing else, bring several lighter layers of wool for layering.

Bring wool

Bring wool fingerless gloves versus acrylic ones. Or bring both, but don’t leave your wool set at home. Bring a wool scarf. A wool hat. If you can find a merino wool neck gaiter, bring that. It can get very, very cold on the playa at night. There was even a rather cold year recently where it was in the 60s F during the day, and windy. That was a year I missed, but I watched people’s faces as they told stories of how cold it was during the day, and how much colder it was at night.

Also, wool doesn’t get as dirty as other fabrics do. It gets dusty, for sure, and it’ll need a serious cleaning when you get home, but you can wear wool items over and over again in a way that you can’t with other fabrics.

Bring layers. Bring different weights of wool

I bring leggings and wool tights, and that works for me. Compile your own version of warm layers… just make sure you have a ridiculous amount of soft, warm clothes that layer well. You can always take clothes off if you’re hot, but you can’t put on warm clothes you didn’t pack. Same with tops:  what you’re looking to bring is different items of different weights of warmth. This variety gives you more flexibility, more layers and more choices.

Alpaca and soft wool mittens can help at bed time

You’re getting the trend here, right? Pack soft warm clothes for sleeping in. And remember your hands and feet! Just as a visual to hold in your head, when my clothes are all packed, my cold-temp clothes take up about three to four times as much space as my hot-temp clothes do. For others this scenario may not be true at all, and they may think I’m overdoing it. Personally, I’m all about comfort, and to me body temperature is a big factor in my comfort. I like to be in a Goldilocks zone with my body temperature: not too hot and not too cold.

If, by chance, you pack excess, you’ll have warm layers to share and will most certainly make someone else’s burn more comfortable and enjoyable.

Pack a variety of wool socks

I wear wool socks at night and vary which thickness I wear depending on the temperatures. Bring various types from super light to super thick. I wear merino wool socks in the daytime too; I simply wear lighter weight socks.

Here’s an eplaya thread on keeping warm at Burning Man.

Layers and, especially wool, will help you stay warm at BM.

Wool Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

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