Preparing Your RV for the Playa

This entry is for those of you planning to bring an RV or trailer to Burning Man.  Whether it’s your own vehicle or a rental, you’ll want to protect it as best you can from the punishment of a week on the playa.  There may be little you can do to guard the outside of the RV (although there are RV covers, which aren’t particularly useful unless you don’t plan to go in and out of the unit), but you can do quite a bit to keep the playa dust out of the interior and protect the most vulnerable gear.

We cover all of the upholstered furniture with Press ‘n’ Seal plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with old blankets and sheets.  We roll up all the pleated shades, cover them with Press ‘n’ Seal, and tuck the shades away using duct tape.  Then we replace the real curtains with paper shades that we buy from Home Depot or similar stores.

We seal all the windows with painter’s tape (the blue stuff) and seal off vents that won’t be used (not the air conditioning – you’ll need that to be operable in the heat of the day when you’re trying to rest.  You probably won’t have any need for the heater vents, however, so cover those.).  We cover the floor with a layer of heavy plastic that we cut to fit the various areas of the interior (it’s like making a large jigsaw puzzle).  When we put the plastic in place, we hold it down with heavy-duty staples.  We then cover the plastic with carpet samples, which we get for free from local carpet dealers.

Once at the burn, we always take our shoes off before entering the RV.  You’ll never keep the interior pristine at the burn, but every little improvement helps you during cleanup.

We cover the front of our RV with a portion of our RV cover.  This protects the engine from all the dust and helps avoid problems re-starting your engine.  If you have a separate truck and trailer, you’ll want to cover the truck’s hood in a similar fashion.

In case you want to leave your windows operable, remember to close them when you head out to the playa.  Dust storms can come up suddenly and you might just find your entire interior coated with playa dust – not a pretty sight.

And here’s one final warning:  even with all the effort you put into protecting your camper/RV, playa dust will make its way into crevices and corners.  There’s simply no way to block it all.  Besides, a little playa dust is a badge of honor for burners.