Blinging it at Burning Man

jewelry woman

There’s a lot of blinging, accessorizing and doing things up at Burning Man. In the default world, personally, I wear little jewelry, though I manage to receive and wear a lot of jewelry at Burning Man. After going to Burning Man seven times and coming home seven times barely having touched the jewelry and accessories I packed and brought, I simply don’t bring these items anymore. I let “the playa provide” when it comes to my bling.

Other people are really into accessorizing. And it’s all good, wherever you land on the spectrum. Here’s are a few tips.

Jewelry: leave all valuables and sentimental items at home

Many people bring a lot of jewelry to wear at Burning Man. And that’s lovely. However, I do encourage you to leave anything you treasure (for financial or sentimental reasons) at home. If you lose something (and it’s easy for jewelry to break or fall off, or to get accidentally pulled off when you’re layering up or down), it’s most likely gone forever.

My experience is that so much bling, jewelry and adornment is gifted at Burning Man that you’ll probably find yourself draped in necklaces, bracelets and bling in no time. I’ve been in camps that gifted pendants; I’ve been in camps where an artisan made necklaces for everyone, and another one where someone braided friendship bracelets in our camp’s color theme. I’ve been out and about and gifted jewelry, right and left. You probably will be too. It’s a thing at Burning Man. I find it feels a bit tribal when I’m wearing all this jewelry given to me by my people.

Again, don’t bring anything sentimental or of value to you.

Long necklace, chain or belt for attaching items

I often like to carry around my neck some small items I need to access often, e.g. lip balm on a retractable reel, a small LED light, a pen knife. You might be a utility belt or festival belt kind of person and therefore might find this approach redundant.

One way or the other, there are items you’ll want quick access to on a regular basis (without having to dig in your backpack or bag to get them). Plan ahead for a solution so that you have quick access to items you need several or many times a day.

It gets rather windy. Will your hat stay on in a dust storm?

So you’ve heard most everyone say you need to bring a hat to Burning Man, right? Be certain your hat can stay on your head in a dust storm…without you holding on to it! Give this situation some thought when selecting what hat(s) to bring: If you’re riding your bike, or even just walking, and a 30 mph gust of wind comes through, where’s your hat? Is it still on your head? Or is it off and rolling?

A hat is only functional if it stays on your head. I no longer bring a day hat, personally. I’ve given up on them, though I include a hat on this list because I think you should bring one as a first-timer and see how you do with it.

Some tips: Don’t underestimate the gusts of wind. Chin straps, while perhaps not as sexy as hats without chin straps, are certainly sexier than chasing your hat as it rolls away in open playa. A lost hat is also MOOP…plus it’s a lost hat. What good does it do you if it blows off?

Especially if your skin burns easily, you may wish to figure your hat (and wind) situation out.

Scarves that are 100% silk, cotton or light wool can work as dust masks

As mentioned in other places, use scarves as dust masks. Bring a variety. Bring at least four or five scarves in different weights. Silk is the way to go. Wool is great for the nights. Cotton, a distant, distant third.

A shade umbrella (if you’re really sun sensitive)

If you’re super sensitive to the sun, these shade umbrellas are incredible! I’ve yet to bring one myself, but I’m always happy to stand underneath someone else’s when they have one. Shade umbrellas can drop the temperature underneath them by 10 degrees or more. The umbrellas while great, are also a bit cumbersome. Depending on your ability to handle heat and sun, you may or may not want one of these.

Jewelry photo by Ignacio Campo on Unsplash


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