When it comes to weather, most people who have never been to the Black Rock Desert think about how to deal with the heat. And what they don't realize is that there is a good chance they will also have to deal with the cold. Before you fill up your suitcase with bikinis and tank tops, you need to consider how you are going to stay warm when the temperatures drop into the 40s and your shivering in deep playa. Here's what you'll need, and when:
9am-8pm: Things warm up by 9am and stay that way until an hour after sundown. You can count on some wind as the sun sets, but generally speaking the weather is warm and now's your chance bare it all, or wear light outfits to stay cool.
8pm-10pm: Most people have finished dinner and may be getting ready to go out again. Things are a bit chillier and you'll see people in light jackets, hoodies, and donning leggings, and other warm bits such as leg warmers as they start to transition to their evening outfits. There are several ways to approach evening attire. Many of the women prefer to keep the sexy going and may just add thigh high leg warmers to their bikinis along with boleros so they can dance with ease late into the night. Others will opt for long sleeves, onesies, and leggings.
10pm-2am: Things start to get legitimately cold, and if you are on a bicycle you will feel the nip in the air. But thanks to lots of walking/dancing/cycling you can typically get away with a light weight jacket, or a shorty jacket as I call them. If you know it's going to be an early evening just grab your light coat, your spirit animal hood, and head out. You won't have to worry about warmth beyond the basics during a typical burn.
2am-7am: They say it's darkest before the dawn, and it's also the chilliest. It changes from night to night, but somewhere between 2am and 4am things get downright cold. If you find yourself out during this time, and you are freezing you might get lucky and stumble into a cuddle puddle, or have a friend who will warm you inside their playa coat. Otherwise, if you were smart, you tossed your playa coat into your bike basket hours before and are finally ready to don it along with your fuzzy hat, and maybe even some gloves.
7am-9am: The sun rises, and if you've been up all night you might find your playa coat is now too warm as the morning progresses. Once again your light jacket can give you all the warmth you need as you ease back into camp, or head to Bubbles and Bass for their famous mimosas and beats.
Want to know more? I've broken down a few of the items I mentioned above in case you want more details:
There are three things that define the playa coat. Traditionally they are made from faux fur, are knee length or longer, and have full sleeves. You won't find yourself wearing your playa coat often, but as you watch sunrise from the trash fence, snuggled warm in your layers of fabric, you'll be grateful you indulged in this critical wardrobe item.
Jackets can range into the thousands of dollars with built in LED lights to costing you only a few dollars from your local thrift shop. You can find them on sites like Etsy, or even just Google "playa coat" and see what's for sale. Remember, The Burn is all about self-expression, so if you pick up a coat online or at your local thrift shop take the time to see if you can take it somewhere unique. Try attaching ribbons to the cuffs, or safety pinning LED lights to the hood.
There are no rules for these jackets, they can be furry, leather, cotton, or sequined. I tend to wear a vintage leather jacket I scored a few years ago for evenings where I know I'll be returning before 3am.
Right before my first burn a friend and veteran burner pulled me aside and suggested that I get some thigh-high leg warmers like dancers wear. She explained that even the skimpiest outfit could be converted into a warm nighttime outfit if I just slid them over my legs, and they had the added advantage of looking sexy.
I also learned after my first burn that gloves and warm hats are a necessity. Of course there are more fun options than knit gloves and hats. Animal spirit hoods have become popular over the years and are especially convenient since they include gloves that are built into the hat.
Click here to see all of the best playa coats and outwear we could found online.