9 Burning Man night-time outfit tips

led lights at night, woman

Night outfits and day outfits for the playa require different planning.

As someone who has lived on the east coast of the U.S. most of my life, I understand weather as four seasons. When it’s hot it’s hot; when it’s cold it’s cold. The playa is completely different. You have to plan, pack and dress in layers. It’s different dressing than what happens in a temperate climate. Particularly for your night time outfits at Burning Man, there are some tips that can help you prepare.

If you’re going to be at Burning Man for nine days, don’t pack nine nighttime outfits. Rather, pack many layers of items that work together and layer on and off. Go with color themes if that helps (it helps me). And know that you’ll probably wear some items again and again.

At Burning Man I mostly wear clothes I also wear in the default world, along with a few choice accessories. I’m not the most adorned costumer, by a long shot, and I’m certainly not the person you want to turn to for advice on elaborate costuming. Here are some tips for night-time outfits at Burning Man, though.

The best advice I can give you is this: Think in terms of layers, warmth and re-used pieces versus one-time outfits.

9 Burning Man night-time outfit tips

    1. Think in terms of layers, warmth and pieces you’ll wear with multiple outfits rather than thinking of your clothes as items you wear once and then put in your laundry basket.
    2. Pick a color theme and bring clothes that mix and match.
    3. Practice assembling your night outfits ahead of time. Pack your ready-to-go outfits in a ziplock bag, along with all accessories needed for that outfit. It’s not going overboard to take a Polaroid of an outfit and include it in the ziplock bag. When you’re getting dressed for the night ahead, there is little likelihood you’ll have a full-length mirror (they break and shatter so easily) at hand. Practice. Document. Pack fancy outfit items together.
    4. If an accessory or item works with multiple pieces, write that down and put that piece of paper in the ziplock bag. (We’re definitely treading into a “do as I say, not as I do” realm here.)
    5. All skirts should pass the bike mounting and dismounting test. I bring only comfy, bike-friendly skirts that cover my inner thighs(to prevent chafing) when riding.
    6. If you bring half the clothes and accessories you think you’ll need, you will probably still bring too much.
    7. Bring one item per major warmth level. Watch what you pack to make sure you’re not bringing too many clothes for the same temperature/conditions. Temperatures at Burning Man can fluctuate from the high 90s to the low 40s. And sometimes even more extreme. It’s layers and options you want here.
    8. Light up hats at night when possible, or wear some sort of distinct light on your head. (Lit hats also help your friends spot and find you.)
    9. Once you set up your tent, put your night outfits with night outfits and day outfits with day outfits. If this doesn’t make sense to you now, it will when you’re on playa. This piece of advice I learned from one of the first Burning Man tips videos I watched; it was from Halcyon and I have learned that it is, indeed, good advice.

Pack sexy and/or dressy clothes, especially for night time

It can also be warm and balmy at night. (Sometimes.) It can also be really, really cold.

Bring a range of clothes, especially for night. Bring variety. And make sure you have options in the weight of clothing. As the long-time organizer of the D.C. Santarchy event (a Burner-inspired Santa event) is known for saying, “Smart Santas wear layers. Dress to maximize merriment whether singing Christmas carols in the snow or swinging from a stripper pole.”

The wisdom offered here is that your outfits should work whether you’re layered and bundled or stripped down to but a few items and dancing your heart out.


Burning Man outfit ideas, day and night


What this gal wore at Burning Man and packing tips


Burning Man clothes tips from Halcyon


What to wear at Burning Man

This guy sets up a videocam and captures lots of  “everyday people” going by.

  • Great tips from Shits n Giggles (her playa name)

    Another playa hack I like is get a bunch of those giant ziplock travel plastic bags from Home Depot and a couple of weeks before the burn, put together outfits for each day of the week and each night of the week, and label each bag with a sharpie. As in TUESDAY DAYTIME, or WEDNESDAY NIGHT TIME (WHITE PARTY), or FRIDAY DAYTIME, or MONDAY EXODUS DAY, etc. I also make another bag for just coats and warmies, and another bag of regular work clothes. The LAST thing I want to have to think about while waking up after being cracked out on the playa is what outfit will look good on me that day/night. Plus repacking the rest of my clothes once I find the perfect outfit in a hot dusty tent ain’t much fun either. So when I’m sober, at home, with plenty of room to move around is when I put together one outfit per each day and night I’m on the playa…plus whatever special outfit I might want to wear for a particular event and whatnot. I do this for my partner too, cause he’s not a quick thinker when it comes to clothing. That way we don’t have to over pack and everything can be stacked neatly in our camp, or hung up on hangers in our rig, etc. We are soooo happy to not to have to deal with choosing costumes when we’d rather already be out playing on the playa…and those bags can be sold online also and can be re-used every year. Yay!

  • Someone else said: “I do the same thing. last year i went so far as to include a polaroid of the outfit in the bag.”

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