Fursuits are definetly for the evening only, personally in the evening I usually wear faux fur jackets and such, I like going more for the sexy than the fun look. Last year there was a camp (which I may be part of this year) that had a Plushie and Pajama party, and there was a guy in a tigger costume, but he didn't know what furry was. In actuality in all my years of going I have not seen hardly any fursuits or met any other furries, other than Furrylogic. I am sure they were there, it just wasnt advertised, and you cant just assume cuz someone is wearing an animalistc costume that they have heard of furry and then you go and try to ask them and they look at you like you are really fucked up and for a burner to think something is weird, it's weird :)
Ya know, that makes me think, we should have some sort of Furry Burner symbol that can be made into a button or can be used as branding on the side of vehicles and camps and such, so we can identify ourselves to one another. Maybe like a combination of the Buringing Man symbol with a furry element, say instead of the trianglish burningman head that is in the symbol, a generic, styalized animal head, and on the end of the two curved lines that make up the burning man feet and arms, could be styalized paws, dunno...
Thus, which brigs me to my thought that I am really interested and hopefully going to enjoy meeting more furry burners, because quite frankly, I love furry, but I can't stand furry fandom. Being a burner is where my heart is and when I first discovered furry fandom, it was the eclectic, wacky, out there group of people I was looking for, but it was still not totally my niche, and then I found the Burning Man community and am very much where I want to be. I always felt like when I was at furry cons that I could only go so far without being disaproved of, such as it was ok for people to wear bondage gear in a hotel lobby, but if I wanted to be totally out there, wild and crazy (burner style) and even (gasp) do drugs, it was looked down upon. Yet I do love anthropomorphic animals and still want them to be part of my life, but I want to have my cake and eat it too, or to be a furry and a burner, and hang out with other furry burners who have the same open mind set, that I found lacking in furry fandom.
So on to other thoughts, another thing that I over packed my first two years, but now I am becoming a pro at, is I was taking too much and all the wrong food. First thing to remember is that because it is so fucking hot, you wont want to eat anywhere near as much as you do normally. You'll snack during the day and probably make yourself a nice supper and thats it. Granted there are lots of camps that go balls out and make these elaborate gourmet meals, but if your going to be cooking for yourself, take stuff that is easy to prepare. The first thing I realized was that you dont want to cook over a camping stove when it is so hot during the day, and cooking takes time, and you literally want to be out doing things 24/7 for the most part, cooking starts to become a chore and takes you away from your fun (and I love cooking). My staples for the week consist of crackers and a slab of cheese and peanut butter. I bring tortilla skins and a couple cans of refried beans, you can pre-cook rice and bring it in sealed ziplock bags, same thing with pre-hardboiled eggs, keep em in the shell for a quick and easy snack. The best food I have found is pickles, bring yourself a huge jar of pickles, they taste great in the desert, they give you water and the salt your body is craving. Another great desert food is hummas and pita. Bring trail mix. Another great idea is bring canned food, like canned ravioli and such, it's easy to carry in your bag, you let it sit in the sun to heat it up, you have a continer to eat out of, and clean up is simple. There is also the last major town (not Gurlach) where everyone buys their fruits and vegetables and water, which is a lot of fun, because it's a total midwest sorta, rural town and all these completly wacky looking burners blow through every year and buy out their supermarket :)
I always take 2 gallons of water per day, so 14 gallons total. Realistically I never end up drinking them all, but thats ok because your encouraged to donate all your extra water to the DPW, as they will be around for several more months. (The water must be unopened and sealed or will be thrown away).
I also take a solar shower bag, and for that I bring down those collapsable containers, which I fill up with hose water at a gas station hitting black rock, and then I pour the containers of water into my shower bag as I need it. I only use the shower once in the morning, otherwise your best freind is baby wipes, bring a shit load of them, they are so refeshing and nice to have, you can wipe the dust off, clean up after using the loo, keep them in your cooler for a cool, refreshing face towel, and for practicality reasons if your goign to be giving oral sex, you dont really want to be going down on dusty, sweaty, gentitals, so having a baby wipe on hand lets you give em a quck-n-easy clean :)
I find one of the best frivilious things to take down is toys, especially blinky light toys. If your going to be doing E, acid, shrooms, DMT, etc.. even though the playa is full of wonderful and beautiful sites, sounds and fun things to do, it never hurts to bring your own little toys. I love finding high people and giving them something fun to do, even something as simple as a vix inhaler or tiger balm to a person on E, will make their moment, and it's a good way to introduce yourself.
The dust will destroy electronics, pure and simple, if there is a concievable crack or opening, it will be filled with dust. I always bring down my PDA, cell phone, digital camera, laptop, etc... but I pack them into the deepest recesses of one of my bags and forget about them for the entire week, with the exception of my digital camera, which I have a waterproof housing for so I can take pics, even in a dust storm. You will see lots of people with their laptops and camcorders out in the open, they are taking a risk IMO. We do have a wireless network there, and last year a freind of mine was even able to hop onto the connection from a nearby county and using telephony software I was able to make a call back to Vancouver, which was not only amazing that it was possible, but also great, since the call I had to make was to take care of a crisis situation back home.
There are lots of ways you can particpate at Burning Man, one of my favourite ways is I take a paper route for the Black Rock Gazette, there are always lots of paper boy/girl positions, and its litterally the best job. Every night the paper is produced on macs in
an air conditioned trailer and then sent via satellite to reno as a pdf and printed out and then trucked into Black Rock in the morning and it has to be delivered to 20,000 some residents, and thats where the paper boy comes in. YOu take a section of the circle and thats your route, and you do it at your own pace, and it's great because you get to walk around and visit all the camps in your route, everyone is happy to see you because they want to read the morning paper, and they invite you in and give you food and drugs and talk with ya, and you meet people from intersting places, etc... its great.... I suggest signing up....
One piece of advice that I really want to stress that no one else really stressed to me is the importance of a quality dust mask. My first year everyone I knew that had gone previously was really non-chalant about the whole dust mast thing, it was like "oh just get paper dust masks, or use a cloth". Noooooo that is not the case, granted a lot of people at the burn have the paper dust masks or nothing at all, but if you care at all about your lungs, you will go futher. I wear one of the high end particle dust masks with the detachable filters, and the quality molded rubber face piece. I also bring regular, paper dust masks, which I wear during normal days when the dust is just average, but when the major storms kick up (and they always do) you want a hardcore dust mask. I unfortunetly do not have the URL on me, but a freind from a local university did a spectrum analsys of the dust from the playa and its pretty nasty stuff, it has heavy metals in it and even traces of radioactivity (there is nuclear waste storage facilities in Nevada). If you have even slight asthma, take the extra percaution, you'll thank me.
One interesting thing to note about the dust is that it is alkaline, and thus you cant wash it off with water very easily, so for example whem you come back home if you wash your clothes in the washer they will still look grimey when coming out, you wash your car or bike it will dry dusty, etc... the secret is to change the PH, so wash your clothes with a cup of vinegar (added to the detergent) wash your car with vinegar in the water, etc...
Whew, I had no idea I was going to get on such a roll, this became very long and I have so many more topics I can talk about, but I am working our trade show booth at the Tokers Bowl this weekend and am insanely busy, so I must end this for now...... I'll add more later