Understanding the Gifting Economy of The Burn

There are only two things you can buy at the burn: ice and coffee. If you didn't bring it, you can't buy it. A common misunderstanding about the burn is that the city is built on a barter system. The truth is, the city is built on a gifting model, and this works because everyone tends to bring enough, and then share with those around them. 

For example, I might bring extra coconut water and gift it to my neighbors, and they in turn gift an extra bicycle tube when someone gets a flat tire. The concept is that everyone gifts what they can, and the term "playa magic" often refers to that moment when the exact thing you need produces itself. 

Now, you might have heard that the burn is also about not getting caught up in "stuff," which is true, so your gift could be the smile on your face, two willing hands, or a shoulder to cry on. 

But some people bring special little trinkets, and extra luxuries to share with the people who come across their path. I have been gifted: jewelry, lip balm, an aromatherapy nasal inhaler, not to mention more critical items like shade and water.

If you feel the desire to bring offerings to the playa, and you aren't crafty enough to make something by hand, I've assembled a collection of inexpensive gifts that are always useful and can easily be shared with your fellow burners. 

You can never have too many lip balms since they are easy to misplace.

Giving the gift of moist skin won't be quickly forgotten.

Light up your new burner buddies life with flashing rings. 

These nasal inhalants are surprisingly refreshing in the heat and dust.

Nothing says you care like helping your fellow burners avoid burnt skin.

Nothings says "burner besties" like a new pair of pasties.

Even if you don't smoke, people are constantly looking to replace the lighter they lost earlier that day.

Sunglasses are easily lost, so replace them for your new friends. 

Keeping your nails nice at the burn is a challenge, so make it easier with these files. 

Tins are great for cigarette butts, or moop collection. 

Give the gift of sleep with a pair of ear plugs. 

Show that you care with LED hair clips to keep your burner buddies lit at night.