Lone Wolf Camping at Burning Man: The Walk-in Section

You may not be comfortable with camping in the thick of the crowd at Black Rock City, with everyone around you knowing exactly when you get up to go to the bathroom wearing five layers of stupid looking clothes in the middle of the night. You may not want all the Burners knowing who you have in your tent with you making those strange sounds, and if you are eating the special luxury food you don’t want to share, on your front “cool down porch.” Camp alone at Burning Man. Not only that, camp in the walk-in site.

A lot of people have never even realized the walk-in section at Burning Man exists, and have never tried it, as it is only a small area for people who are willing not to be next to their cars, and who are willing to carry their equipment a little way in this desert in Nevada. This can be tough when they either arrive in the cold dark of night, the extreme heat of the day, or the invisibility of a wind storm, or, at worst, rain, in which every footstep causes more clay to stick to their feet. Most people tend to be more social, going with others they want to pay around with, or with a whole camp they are integral to. They may want to camp close to everyone else to make meeting others easier, or to have handy neighbors with air conditioning in their campers. They may want to cool down and take “showers” by running after the trucks that spray water along the circular “streets” in front of their tents, to keep the dust down on the playa. They may want others they know close by to keep an eye out for their belongings, so they aren’t stolen. Maybe by now you’ve decided that makes most sense. Maybe you decided to go to the Playa with 36,500 Burners because you actually like being around people.

But maybe it just isn’t you to be camping with others knowing your business, running loud generators next to you, walking by on their way here and there along the streets, talking, at all hours of the night, driving up next to you in the wee hours of the morning, or wanting you to come help them with some project. Well, I can recommend the walk-in section from experience, after having gone alone, and camped in the regular camping area. I have also camped in the walk-in section, and the comparison led me to absolutely adore being out of the fray. It’s much quieter, and you can actually sleepâÂ?¦ unless the wind is crashing your tent around you and banging against you, or it’s too hot to stand being in a tent. Though, if it’s too hot or windy, you can sleep outside your tent, if you are in the walk-in area. If you aren’t, forget it. There will be constant traffic of bikes, cars, people, and unidentifiable chickenlike things with rhino snouts and buffalo tails, riding unicycles, and blasting their boomboxes.

If you are a true lone wolf and want to see the hills around you in the morning without anyone blocking the view of the full moon or the sunset, be sure to camp all the way out at the edges. When you get to Burning Man, you may not think that section will ever get very crowded, and camp somewhat far out. Mistake. Camp all the way out. Yes, it’s far from the bathrooms, far from the streets, and takes forever to get to late at night when you just want to go to bed, or do a strip tease act for your honey of the night outside your tent. You can do that there. You probably can’t, in the normal camping area, without a bit more attention than you’d like.

And, when you wake up during the night and want to pee, but don’t want to go all the way to the bathroom, you can pee in your little pee pot and no one will hear you. No one will hear the sounds of your intestines after a meal of beans and Playa treats. No one will hear you screaming in pleasure. No one will hit on you first thing in the morning before you’ve brushed your teeth.

So if you have been wanting to go to Burning Man, but have felt queasy about crowds, try just not being in a crowd for part of your Playa experience, and camping far away within the boundaries of the fences. You’ll thank me for it. I may be your neighbor who only sort of hears you howling in delight.

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