Playa Guide: Tips and Tricks for Comfortable Tenting

If you're anything like me, you prefer to maintain some level of comfort in your surroundings regardless of where you are. When it comes to tent comfort at the burn, I don't expect the Four Seasons, but I do want to get a decent night's sleep, and not be covered in dust every morning. Assuming you are using a tent at the burn, here are the things I bring to create comfortable living accommodations:

Floor Covers: Nothing feels better than walking barefoot around your tent, but you can skip expensive and heavy rugs or carpets. Instead, I have discovered that furniture moving blankets make the best floor covers. They are lightweight, pack down easily, hold dust well, and are extremely cost effective. Mine have lasted for six burns, and are just starting to show wear and tear. The best part is, when the burn is done, you wash them when you get home and your tent floor is pristine. 

BedI have used a variety of sleeping pads and air mattresses at the burn, and I have discovered that nothing compares to sleeping on a mattress. Here's why, air mattresses don't stay pumped for long and the air beneath them gets cold, so even with a mattress topper or blanket, you can feel the cool air seep in. They also shift easily if you have someone in bed with you, and let's face it, they aren't that great to have sex on. I recommend getting a floor mattress, or just some thick memory foam before bothering with an air mattress. Top the bed with warm blankets, and then a sheet or tapestry to keep the dust off when you aren't in bed.

Furniture: In addition to a bed you will need a table and a chair. The table is useful for laying out makeup, accessories, jewelry, putting in contacts, and other daily tasks. You'll quickly discover how many bits and pieces need to be laid down and picked up again like headlamps and hats and having a table to put them can help you stay sane. 

Lighting: If you have power in your tent I recommend having some fun with your lighting. A few years ago I got a puzzle light fixture and put an LED bulb in that changed lights. It was so easy to hang from the ceiling and the bulb was remote controlled so I could turn it off from my bed. If you don't have power I recommend this battery operated light that has worked in the past. Also, consider hanging some solar powered lights both in and outside your tent. 

Utilities: Sleeping in the middle day is nearly impossible without A/C but I have managed to get by with a fan, conveniently set on my table most years. In the past when I had power I just brought my fan from home, but last year I used a battery operated one that worked remarkably well. Now, if you have power I can't recommend an air filter enough. Even though the moving blankets will tamp down most of the dust, an air filter can quickly remove any excess dust for a cleaner environment.

Organization: The most difficult thing to keep organized at the burn is your clothing. Wading through piles of dusty clothing can be annoying to say the least so I recommend setting up a wardrobe or clothing rack. I've owned a few of these, but the one made by EWIES is more sturdy with thicker plastic and metal. I hang my playa coat on here, and that saves me a ton of space. Another way to stay organized is to bring a drawer storage cart. Not everything you have belongs on a table or hung on your clothing rack. Plus the cart doubles nicely as a bedside table. Finally, get a camping trashcan for your tent. Little bits of paper and odds and ends will pile up without a proper place to put them

Want more ideas? Visit my section on tent decor and organization. Also, read about how to choose your tent and my review of Shift Pod tents.