It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to dress or go naked, you’ll need to pack appropriately for Burning Man. Even nudists get cold in the desert night and need something draping their bodies. But for everyone, I recommend you always wear shoes.
The playa surface is highly alkaline and can do some real damage to unprotected skin. My wife and I make a practice of always wearing socks, even with sandals. And we bring several pair of socks because they become infused with playa dust and stiffen up during the week.
We try to keep all shoes and socks outside of the RV to minimize dust within our living space.
And we always keep handy lotions for our feet to keep them from cracking and other damage from the alkali surface. Vinegar is one of the inexpensive secret treatments to counter the effects of the playa on your feet.
What about clothing for the rest of your body? Remember that days are hot and you’re better off in shorts and very light tops (tank tops, tee shirts, etc.). Since most costumes tend to be warm, save them for the evenings or for special events (including our famous Lamplighter Bloody Mary Brunch on Wednesday and the Sangria Soiree on Monday).
Evenings tend to be cool and sometimes outright cold. Long sleeves, pants, leg warmers and fur, fur, fur are right for night. But be sure to light yourself up for safe traveling during the night. Because while some roads and art installations are well lit, most of the playa is inky black. If you can’t be seen, you can become the victim of a bike or art car rundown.
Look for a future article just on lighting.
These are just a few hints of what to pack for Burning Man. But remember, the worse it looks in the default world, the better it’s likely to be on the playa. Fashion takes on a whole new meaning at Burning Man. The unexpected is expected. If you wear your regular day clothes, you might be thought of as “performance art.”