Center Camp: Never mind that man’s bare butt next to the ball of pooh. See those people relaxing in tranquil shade? That’s what you’re after. Photo: Jesse Wagstaff

One purpose of Burning Man is radical self-reliance, being prepared for anything and being able to create your own self sufficient home in the middle of the inhospitable desert of Black Rock City. But many show up with no place to camp or sleep. (Believe me, you do end up sleeping at some point.)

Burners crash everywhere, so don’t worry about being bothered or deliberately woken up. In 2007, I spent quite a bit of time at the Black Rock City Library and there were people sleeping all over the floor. Other Burners just stepped right over them.

You can also sleep on or around random art on the Playa, but I recommend getting your sleep in the City. You will be closer to the camps that serve food and drink, and you will be more protected from the sun, cold and dust. If you do end up sleeping in random places, bring a small pillow, a blanket or warm coat, and earplugs. According to the Burning Man website, you are not really allowed to show up at the gate without all your own supplies, including your bed.

If you find yourself without a camp for any reason (say after a mescaline trip, maybe missing some of your clothes) here are the five best places where you can catch some much needed shuteye:
Center Camp

Pros: Plenty of comfy couches and shade

Cons: A lot of people use Center Camp as their bedroom

As the heart of Black Rock City, Center Camp is the central meeting place for all Burners. Musicians, speakers, acrobats and dancers infiltrate the stages of Center Camp and keep up the lively atmosphere 24 hours a day.

The lines for the coffee and tea are long, the lighting is bright and the vibe is dynamic. You will have to be a deep sleeper to crash here.

Skinny Kitty Teahouse

Pros: Smells like black tea and chai

Cons: Popular place to begin or end a parade

Inside Skinny Kitty Teahouse: j_cavera

The massive, clam-shaped dome of the Skinny Kitty camp is a great place to hide from the dust storms. The Teahouse usually has a plethora of couches (some screened from view) in the back of their beautiful shelter.

You can wake up from your nap with a nice cup of their hot or iced tea. The Teahouse sometimes features singers and low-key musicians who perform on the large stage, so you could be woken up by a melodic guitar or by a woman who sings just like Ella Fitzgerald.

Hammock Hangout

Pros: Easy to string up your own hammock

Cons: Popular and fills up fast

Hammock Hangout complete with drink service
(also used as Feature Photo): SanFranAnnie

It’s amazing how well you can sleep in a hammock when you are dead tired. Catch some shade under Hammock Hangout’s giant parachute tent. Hammocks are available for naps or you can bring your own, but know that the camp is also a karaoke bar at night.

Ashram Galactica

Pros: Opulent atmosphere

Cons: You have to win their “win a room” lottery.

This camp is the epitome of class and elegance in Black Rock City. Each night leading up to the Burn, the organizers of the Ashram Galactica Hotel put on a posh dinner and cocktail party with a British Raj theme.

At the party, guests are entered into a lottery to win a room for their use for 24 hours. The “rooms” are swanky, canvas tents with soft beds, room service and electric fans. This is the place to live it up in Black Rock City.

Heebeegeebee Healers

Pros: Pillows provided

Cons: You may be in the way of a yoga or meditation group.

Inside the HeeBeeGeeBee Healers’ dorm: Zaskoda

Looking to get some sleep and a back massage? Heebeegeebee Healers has one of the biggest tents in Black Rock City. One of the best naps I ever had at Burning Man was under the multi-colored sheets of this camp.

You can sign up for a back massage from their professional healers, join in on a yoga session, or just curl up in a corner of their carpet and pass out.

Community Connection

MatadorNetwork’s Burning Man focus page brings you news from MatadorTV, tips ,and tales from the Playa. Feast your eyes on video to get you geared up or submit your own.

View 16 comments