Research Project at Burning Man

(Carl Teichrib at last years Burning Man.)

C.O.T.U.G. is a rag-tag team of researchers committed to understanding the world views of other cultures. The team consists, in it's current iteration, of Carl Teichrib, Robert Worley and Jenifer Wright. Each member has noticed, completely autonomous of one another, that there is a growing number of transformational festivals popping up around the globe, with Burning Man being the grandfather of them all. C.O.T.U.G. has been Providentitally brought together to lend each of their unique perspectives to analyzing this growing trend and what it means to society as a whole. They feel that the best way to gain an objective understanding of this cultural phenomenon's world view, without the sensationalism of the media, is to actually attend Burning Man for themselves. Burning Man takes place at the end of August, spanning 8 days in the middle of the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, one of the most inhospitable places in America. And as one would imagine, trying to live for 8 days in a place that literally wants to kill you can incur quite a few expenses. Not to mention getting there and back again.

The following is just a list of the essentials, the bare minimum each member of the group MUST bring with them in order to stay alive for 8 days. 

✠ Your ticket or your photo ID and confirmation number for Will Call
✠ 1.5 gallons of water per person per day
✠ A reusable water bottle
✠ Food & beverages
✠ An extensive first-aid kit
✠ Sunscreen/sunblock & sunglasses
✠ Warm clothing 
✠ Particle/dust mask
✠ Goggles to protect eyes during dust storms
✠ Rope or tie-down straps
✠ Emergency toilet: bring a 5 gallon utility bucket with lid and garbage bag liners
✠ Hand sanitizer
✠ Garbage and recycling bags, and tools to clean up your camp
✠ Duct tape—you’ll find a need for it, guaranteed
✠ Flashlights and spare batteries (headlamps are useful)
✠ Lights for your bike and your person for safe nighttime travel
✠ A good camp tent or other shelter and warm sleeping bags and bedding
✠ Prescriptions, contact lens supplies (disposables work great), and anything else you need to maintain your health in a remote area with no services
✠ Fire extinguishers to protect your camp and property

Other than enough water, a good tent is probably one of the most important things one can bring. And the  most expensive. A regular tent from Walmart won't stand a chance against the 40+ mile an hour winds, the occasional downpour, or the white outs. And the sand has an extremely high alkaline content so it is highly corrosive. Low quality just won't cut it on the playa.

This is the  list of items that are strongly suggested so they won't be miserable while there:

✠ Shade structures, umbrellas, parasols, sheets; something to break the midday sun
✠ A wide brim hat (a chinstrap is useful in the wind)
✠ A cooking stove if you expect to heat food or liquid
✠ A bicycle (mountain bikes or cruisers with balloon tires are best)
✠ A bike lock (tag your bike with name, playa address, email and/ or phone information)
✠ Bicycle tire repair kit, pump, spare parts and extra tubes
✠ Portable shower with a drain system to collect and manage greywater
✠ Lotion, lip balm and earplugs (not everyone will want to sleep when you do!)
✠ Watertight protective bags (e.g., heavy zip-type) for cameras or electronic gear
 ✠ A battery powered AM/ FM radio so you can listen to BMIR radio and stay informed
✠ Camp marker (flag, banner, distinctive marking)
✠ 12” tent stakes (rebar is cheap and effective in high wind)
✠ Plastic bottles or tennis balls to top and protect dangerous rebar stakes
✠ Extra set of car keys (keys are easily lost and there is no locksmith in BRC!)
✠ A reusable travel coffee mug for your trips to the Café
✠ A five gallon bucket (to MOOP, pick up waste or protect your stuff from rain)


The majority of the group has at least a 3 day drive to get to Burning Man, which requires gas and lodging and vehicle maintenance before and after. (Remember that aforementioned, high alkaline, corrosive playa dust? It gets everywhere, including the car's engine.)

There is an immediacy that is attached to this campaign. Most people plan an entire year for Burning Man. C.O.T.U.G. has less than 2 months top plan, purchase supplies, and making sure they are in good condition by testing them out and altering them if necessary. 

Any extra money raised would go to purchasing extra supplies such as water and lip balm to give out to others in need as gifts. 

There aren't enough words to adequately express the gratitude C.O.T.U.G. has for every donation, no matter how small, that will help them achieve what they know they were put here to do. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Any member of the group would be more than happy to answer any queries about this project.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Donations (50)

  • Jonathan Knapp
    • $100 
    • 5 yrs


Jen Doe
Roanoke, TX

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