Getting prepped for Burning Man is all part of the experience and it should be fun! Part of the fun should include buffing out the tiniest details that you will thank yourself for later. If this is your first time, then there may be a lot more items on the list than you had anticipated. No worries though, there is no need to break the bank. There are cheap options from businesses all over Reno that will love your business (and we don’t mean Wal-mart).
So, to start, let’s create a little checklist of items and then we will go over where to find them:
- *Durable* tents
- Wooden/metal stakes/rebar (important in the event of a wind storm)
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping mats
- Ice chests
- *Durable* shade structures
- DIY AC unit (optional, but highly recommended)
- Head lamps
- Good boots
- Food/water in bulk (at least a gallon per person, per day. Remember: the desert wants to kill you!)
- Something to carry water in while exploring the playa
- A separate drinking cup for non-water liquids (important if you plan on bar hopping)
- Cooking supplies
- Bike fixing kit
- Extra Bike Parts
- Bike lights
Now, this list does not include everything you will need (yeah, there’s more) but we think it is a good sum up of things you cannot go without. Let’s get down to business: where to buy these must-haves.
Military Surplus Outdoor General Store: This is your best bet for all things camping for cheap because the store is burner friendly. So burner friendly, in fact, that they are offering a 25% discount for all burners by entering the discount code PLAYA if you are shopping online. If you are shopping in store, there are still amazing prices for durable goods that you cannot beat. So get equipment that can withstand extreme environments that we love.
REI Reno: REI might not have as good of prices as Military Surplus, but if you are looking to invest in a long term, quality item, then REI is the place for you. Also, REI often times has sales. They even were kind enough to create a sales calendar for customers so you’ll never miss a chance to save.
Sierra Trading Post: Sierra Trading Post is an online, in store, and catalog retailer of off-price outdoor merchandise. This is a great option when looking for killer brands for a discounted price. They offer everything from outdoor clothing, camping gear, camping food, ice chests, outdoor shoes, and more for less the original selling price. They even have a Sale section on their website. Discounted discounts. Sweet.
Scheels: This super sports store is a great place to explore for not only durable camping goods but good quality clothing that will protect you from the extremes in the desert. Plus they have a ferris wheel inside and their fudge is delicious!
Sportsman’s Warehouse: This warehouse chain offers great prices and tons of options for outdoor goods and more. We aren’t kidding when we say this place is BIG, so you can knock a lot of things off of your list.
Food and water necessities:
It’s no secret that you have to pack in and out everything you need as far as food and water goes for Burning Man, or at least it shouldn’t be a secret if you’re planning on going. So this means buying food in BULK. Here are a couple of places to do so all around reno:
WinCo Foods Reno: Low prices. Every aisle. Every department. Every day. That’s their motto and this is what burners like to hear. This is a great place to stock up on water jugs, proteins, snack foods, first day ice, alcohol, and more for your trip to Black Rock City.
Grocery Outlet Bargain Market Reno: This is the place for coupons! Just check out their website, they offer coupons on the landing page. They’re also a family owned and operated chain, so you’re helping pay for little league and school supplies, which is great! The ones in Reno and Sparks are the best for produce and packaged foods, while Lemon Valley is our favorite for toiletries, meats, and cleaning supplies, and they boast an EXCELLENT organic selection. So, get to printin’ and get to savin’.
Smart & Final Extra!: No, not just Smart & Final, it’s extra! Extra deals, extra savings, extra smart, extra final, whatever you think but just know you will be saving money, honey! As they say, “our store combines the high quality fresh produce of a farmer’s market, the low prices of a discount grocer and the large club size products of a traditional club store.”
This is something that cannot be overlooked. Your bike will be your mode of transportation on the playa, so if something goes wrong, you’ll want to be prepared. Time to go over the cheapest places to get bike parts and such:
Kiwanis Bikes: This is a nonprofit organization that focuses on bike safety and bike donation to children. It also serves as an opportunity to give back to the community while receiving bike parts, bike repairs, or even bikes. Through Kiwanis, you can choose to volunteer your time in helping repair bikes and receive the things mentioned above in return. You can also pay around $60 for a past season burner bike of your very own (also helping the community by giving them your money). This really is the way to go for burner bikes. Side note: They even have a back room FULL of burner clothes that Kiwanis will give away for free because they simply want to get rid of it. Yeah, pretty awesome, right?
Reno Bike Project: The equally as cool Reno Bike Project’s mission is to make cycling more accessible to the public through recycling and the recirculation of used bikes into the community at affordable prices. They want to fight climate change and make Reno a full-on bicycle city. They offer workshops on bike safety and repairs and, as mentioned before, sell recycled bikes for low prices. Nothing says burner like a good old fashioned recycle.
With this list you are on your way to major savings and to being majorly prepared for Burning Man. Expand your horizon away from Wal-mart. You never know what you will find!