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To camp in the desert, you need to be prepared for everything Mother Nature might throw at you. Sweltering heat midday. Frigid evenings. Sandstorms. Pests. There are plenty of things that you want to stay away from, especially after a long day of partying at the Burning Man Festival. That is why we have come up with some Burning Man tent ideas to make sure the next event is the best one yet.
Here is everything you need to know about camping at the Burn, including which desert tents are perfect for the event:
What is the Burning Man Festival?
The Burning Man is an annual festival that takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. As you may already know, the Black Rock Desert is a sprawling, semi-arid stretch of playa (alkali flats), ancient lava beds, and several mountain ranges. The Burning Man does not refer to the heat throughout the day. Instead, it refers to the bonfire that engulfs an enormous wooden construction that looks like a man.
The Burning Man Festival originated in 1986 as a celebration for summer solstice at San Francisco’s Baker Beach. Obviously, the Burn has come a long way since then. Now, it is held on the last Sunday of August and continues on through the first Monday of September—US Labor Day.
The official website for Burning Man calls the event a “temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.” Every attendee must follow the 10 Principles of Burning Man, and one of those calls for community—which means camping together.
The Best Tent for Burning Man Festival
If you are planning on attending the Burn, then you are going to need a dust-proof tent. While there are many desert tents available, some outperform cheaper models.
We have compared the size, weatherproofing, portability, and overall cost of these tents to give you plenty of options to choose from:
The ShiftPod is one of the more recent additions to the desert camping world and has taken the industry by storm. One of the reasons people love ShiftPods for Burning Man is the ability to combine them with a cooling system, since the material maintains the temperature well. The silvery fabric does a decent job of reflecting heat, and it excels at keeping out dust. There are no vents, and the tent seals up completely.
- Regulate temperature extremely well, creating an oasis from the desert heat
- Large – measure around 12’x12’ and stand over 6 feet tall
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Provide a darkened space for daytime naps
- Too large to transport easily
- Expensive – will put a dent in your bank account
- Require shading to maintain internal temperature
Canvas Tent: Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent
There are a number of reasons a canvas tent is the best tent for Burning Man. First, canvas can protect you from sudden sandstorms, dust intrusion, and heat. The Duck Canvas that Kodiak uses for the Flex-Bow Tent delivers outstanding protecting from the elements; the light material and color also reflects the sun’s UV rays, so the interior stays cool without the need of an A/C unit. If you plan on living comfortably at Burning Man, then you will enjoy the space and high quality the Kodiak canvas tent can give.
- One of the best dust-proof tents for desert camping
- Light material reflects heat, so the inside stays cool
- High-quality – built to last
- Breaks down into two separate carrying cases to increase portability
- Spacious – enough room for 6 people
- Complicated setup – it requires some practice before pitching
- The weight makes this tent less than ideal for backpacking
Bell Tent: Danchel 4 Season Family Tent
Looking for a more traditional style? Then you should consider a bell tent, like the Danchel 4 Season Family Tent. Similar to the Kodiak model, this desert tent is made of high quality canvas that protects you and your friends and family for sand, dust, and other harsh conditions. Danchel offers several sizing options for the cotton bell tents, but the largest one is over 16 feet wide and delivers tons of head space. The best feature, though, would have to be the stove jack, where you can attach a wooden stove to keep you warm.
- Large floor is ideal for social gatherings and hanging out with friends and family
- Natural beige canvas keeps the tent cool throughout the day
- Can be used just as a canopy to increase airflow without compromising shade
- • Fire retardant and waterproof
- Massive – in both size and weight
- Guy lines are a hazard
- Does not block out sunlight during the day
Honorable Mention – 2 Person Camping Tent: Bessport 1-2 Person Camping Tent
For those who are new to Burning Man and will not be spending a lot of time in their tent, or if you simply want to save money, the budget-friendly Bessport tent provides comfort, durability, and ventilation to keep you comfortable while you rest. The Bessport sleeps two people, making the smallest recommendation. It is also made of lightweight mesh, so it is more backpacker friendly than some other options.
- Quick to set up
- Ideal for a single person
- Waterproof and windproof
- Cheap price tag but heavy-duty construction
- Not much room inside for hanging out throughout the day
- Not entirely waterproof – will leak in excessive rain
- Ceiling is shallow
Guide to Camping at Burning Man
Anyone who is a lover of either nature or festivals (or both) should have the Burning Man on their bucket list. Over 60,000 people attend the events every year, and the Burn is only getting better. Despite the extreme climate and the distance from civilization, it is an experience unlike any other.
Having the best tent for Burning Man will make it all the better!
What to Know Before Going to Burning Man
So, you have decided to grab a desert tent and head to the Black Rock Desert. There are a couple of things you need to know. First, you have to be prepared. Bring food and water. Nothing is set in stone. Those who arrive are the ones who bring the experiences, so the art installations and other forms of entertainment change yearly.
You are going to have to decide how you wish to spend your time at Burning Man. Will you join a camp? How will you contribute? Be sure to read up more on the Burning Man Festival before you opt in.
Do People Really Camp at Burning Man?
Yes! The Burning Man Festival is less of a festival and more of a temporary community that comes together to form a tent city in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. Because of that, thousands of people bring their desert tents and create “villages.”
How Do You Camp at Burning Man?
There are three main options for camping at Burning Man:
• You can join a registered camp
• Pitch in the open camping area or walk-in camp spots
• Start your own registered campsite
There are theme camps affiliated with contributions, such as yoga, painting, or other skills. Others are based on regional groups. Open camps are not themed—just reserved for you and the best tent for Burning Man you selected.
You can find more information for camps and placement on the official website.
So, what is the best tent for Burning Man? It depends on your budget and who is joining you for the epic experience! If you don’t mind spending a little more or needing a car to bring your equipment along, a heavier model, like the ShiftPod would be great. On the other hand, if you are a first-timer, a more basic model, like a canvas tent from Kodiak or the Bessport works well. Want to socialize? Pitch a Danchel bell tent.
Which do you think is the best tent for Burning Man? Have a camping story about Burning Man? Let us know!