Camping at a desert rave is very different than camping at a regular music festival. For the most part, to camp at a desert festival, you’ll need to bring everything you’d normally bring to a regular camping festival. However, there are a few more things you’ll want to keep in mind. Whether you’re headed to Burning Man Project or Desert Hearts Festival, being prepared will help ensure you have a great desert camping experience.
Table of Contents:
- How To Camp At A Desert Rave
- Desert Festival Items You Must Pack
How To Camp At A Desert Rave
A desert is a very large, extremely dry area of land. Very little precipitation occurs and living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. Deserts can get really hot during the day, and quite cold at night. They can be super windy and very dusty too. So yeah, desert camping is a pretty hardcore thing. But these things are part of the whole experience and are what make them so unique. Desert festivals wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the extreme temperatures and dusty sand you leave covered in.
Protect & Secure Your Tent
First and foremost, the desert gets windy and some areas are notorious for dust storms. It’s important to know that desert winds can easily damage lightweight tents. The small grains of sand combined with high wind speed can do a number on thinner tent fabrics. In addition, you may want to consider using rebar to stake your tent. Use a rope to tie down and secure your stuff as well. Flying tents can be very dangerous.
Look For Shade
It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach 90 degrees or higher during the summer. If possible, try to set up your camp in a shady area. The sun heats up tents with darker tarps quickly. Consider covering your tent with a lightweight tarp so it won’t attract as much heat. You can also bring an awning or canopy to add some shade to your campsite. Stringing sheets or tarps along the edge of your canopy is a great way to add more shade or create some privacy!
Sand storms are a very serious thing to be aware of. Visibility, horizon lines, shadows, and reference points disappear during sand storms. If you are to get caught in a sand storm, seek immediate shelter and stay there. Sit down, cover your face with your shirt and wait if you are far from shelter. If you’re driving, stop your vehicle and wait for it to clear up. Goggles and dust masks can help protect you from breathing in the sand and getting it in your eyes during a storm.
Leave No Trace
When packing up your belongings and getting ready to head home, leave the space in the same condition, or better, than you found it. Bring plenty of trash bags and pocket ashtrays, and pick up any trash you see throughout the festival. Don’t overwhelm the rural communities with your waste. Bring your trash back to where you can dispose of it properly.
Desert Rave Items You Must Pack
Pack Extra Water & Stay Hydrated
Although pretty self-explanatory, make sure to bring lots and lots of water. Air with extremely low humidity levels sucks the moisture out of your body. This explains why you drink more fluids in dry environments. It is recommended to bring at least 1.5 gallons of water per person each day. This water can be used for drinking, cooking, and washing.
Pack For Comfort
Your body will thank you for packing comfortable items to use. Think about when you’ll want to relax. Having a folding chair or a blowup couch to sit on is much better than sitting on the ground. Packing a folding table makes cooking way easier and more convenient too. Being in the hot sun all day means your body will want and need some good rest. Bringing an air mattress, sleeping bag, and lots of pillows and blankets will keep you warm and comfortable at night.
Goggles & Bandana/Dusk Mask
Deserts are very very dusty. Dust will irritate your lungs, sinuses, eyes, and nose. Always pack a pair of goggles to cover your eyes and a bandana or face mask to cover your nose and mouth.
Desert festivals may not be for everyone, and that’s okay! But if you think you’re fit for it, we highly recommend experiencing what it is like to camp at a desert festival! The desert brings people closer together and emphasizes the beauty of culture, community, and human connection. Head to our blog for more helpful tips and advice such as Desert Rave Camping Checklist For Weekend Essentials to help make sure you’ve got everything you need.
Juliet Norelli has been a part of the rave community for 10 years. She shares her knowledge through writing to give helpful tips and advice to all ravers.