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Creating tent organization at Burning Man

Drawers and containers

Most people pack their bags and suitcases rather tightly when they are preparing for Burning Man. So what happens when you get there? You open your suitcase or bin and go digging through all that tightly packed gear for an item or two. You take a few things out of your bins to look for that item you know is down at the bottom of your bin. Well, you’re pretty sure it’s there. Before you know it, your stuff seems to have exploded and is all over the place.

Unless you drove in and miraculously packed all your gear in exact containers from which you’ll be accessing your stuff, you’re going to need to re-sort your gear once you set up your tent. You need places to put the things you’re re-sorting and organizing. I know you already have shelves and bins because you followed the Pro Tip above, but what else can you do?

Some people bring drawers, like the plastic two- or three-drawer units. Some people use a lot of large, XL, XXL and Ziploc brand bags. Whatever your vision is, you need a plan. You need to have places to put the things you crammed into your bins and suitcases. You need containers: bags, bins, shelves, drawers… whatever makes sense to you.

like with like

I usually sort like things with like. All my socks together, all my warm sleeping garments in a bag, all my light linen tops together, all my lights together, all my dried or canned food in one container, et cetera, but I can only do that if I have containers to put things into. Lots of containers. 

ziplocs are good; mesh is better (imo)

I used to rely more on large ziploc bags, and I’m not against them (and I still use them); however, I’m moving more toward cloth bags and, actually, mesh bags. I can see through and into the mesh bags better than I can see through the ziplock bags. And then, once sorted, I put those bags inside my shipping bins and suitcases to keep the dust off of them. 

dust is dusty

If you’ve yet to go to The Thing in the Desert, you cannot comprehend how same-same the dust makes everything appear… even items inside your tent! Say you’re an experienced camper. You’ve done all sorts of festivals or outdoor adventures. You know how to provision and set up your tent, but have you done this setup in an environment where everything starts to look the same? Where distinguishing items and finding your supplies becomes oddly more challenging because all your stuff has the same tinge of playa dust color on it? The dust coats everything, and even the contents of a ziplock bag are harder to see because of the dust on the outside of the bag. Be prepared for the dust, and your time on playa will go more smoothly.

Drawers can be helpful. Or bins. Or XL Ziplocs. Whatever you use, is your call, of course. Just make sure to bring a bunch of containers of different sizes so that you can reorganize your stuff once you’ve arrived.