There are a host of options when it comes to choosing your accommodations for the burn. As comfortable as an RV sounds, it has always seemed a bit cost prohibitive, and so over the years I have opted for tents since they can be used year after year.
One of the tents that recently hit the market and has been extremely popular at The Burn and festival alike is the SHIFTPOD tent. Now, full disclosure, I have not camped in a Shift Pod before. But I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I asked some experienced burners what they thought of their SHIFTPOD. Here's what they had to say:
1. Shade: If your Shift Pod isn't under shade, it's just like most any other tent on the playa. While Shift Pod does claim that their silver fabric reflects heat, and trust me, it does a good job, it doesn't do it efficiently enough to skip setting up some shade.
2. Dust Resistance: It's great at keeping out the dust. With the exception of the Kodiac Tent, your average tent has vents and these obviously let in dust. Which might not sound like a big deal until your entire tent is covered in a thick layer of dust and there's no way to get rid of it. Shift pods are sealed and have no vents, so you don't have to worry (much) about dust intrusion.
3. Comfort: The real thing that sets the SHIFTPOD apart is its ability to efficiently utilize air conditioning. According to my panel of reviewers, if you don't have A/C or at least a homemade swamp cooler, you're missing the point of the Shift Pod. Now, you need a dual vent in/out AC system, and my fellow burners recommended the Whynter 11,000 unit along with a generator to keep it running during the hot days.
4. Size: The tent can easily accommodate two people, so you don't have to worry about buying two of these if you are a couple. The newest version has an extra 2" of headspace so you can easily stand inside.
5. Ease of Use: Here's where things vary. Some pointed out that the floor zips off so you can quickly clean it post-burn. others pointed out that while it sets up very easily, it's large, so it doesn't pack well into a small car. Luckily ShiftPod recently released a new SHIFTPOD MINI that packs down and is much easier to transport - read my SHIFTPOD MINI review. Overall, the sentiment was positive for ease of use.
Bottom line: If you can bring an A/C unit and get under some proper shade, you will create an environment that is both cool and comfortable for the entire burn. Nearly every reviewer commented that their burn was greatly enhanced by their ability to sleep in the middle of the day.
If you are doing the math, you may start to realize that between the tent, A/C unit, and generator, you could spend close to $2,000. The Shift Pod tent is a good solution if you intend to come back year after year, or you also attend other festivals. Otherwise, the overall investment might not be the right choice for you.
One way to save money is to get a used generator and A/C unit on your local Craigslist. Another idea is to borrow them from a fellow burner that might not be going one year. Also, if you are with a larger camp, find out if they will to let you plug your A/C into the camp grid for free or an additional fee.
Dusty Depot is a participant in the SHIFTPOD Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to shiftpod.com. Translation: If you buy a SHIFTPOD after navigate there from my site, I might make a little money.