Burning Man

Photo Modified: Flickr / Hawaii SavvyCC BY 2.0

Guide to Eating and Drinking at Burning Man

Meal ideas and recipes for temporary desert dwellers
Burning Man

Photo Modified: Flickr / Hawaii SavvyCC BY 2.0

Heading down to Reno to start your Burning Man experience? Despite all the reading, planning, shopping, and waiting, there will inevitably be things that you forget. Thankfully, there are plenty of places in Reno where you can stock up on some extra groceries, enjoy a warm meal, and plug into a coffee shop for some last minute WiFi.

The most important thing to keep in mind when food shopping is the heat. Perishables won’t last long in the sun, and with all the madness happening around you, there won’t be much incentive to cook. No-cook recipes, like this artichoke, cured olive, and sun-dried tomato salad or these morning maple bars are easy to make ahead of time and pack with you. Just be sure to have tightly-sealed storage containers and a cooler to keep your food fresh for as long as possible.

Another easy snack to make in the RV on the way out there is to toss together some chickpeas and chopped avocado with olive oil, salt, and pepper —it’s light, refreshing, and won’t make you feel like you’ve subsisted on store-bought energy bars for a week. (Plus, it’s super easy.) Burritos are easy, too, with canned vegetables and pre-cooked rice or meat. If nothing else, bringing frozen ice pops in a cooler will seem like the greatest idea you’ve ever had while you’re hanging out in the desert all day.

Burning Man veterans will tell you it’s all about packing the essentials: Coconut water for hydration (no refrigeration necessary), trail mix for protein and flavor, anything canned, and above all salty foods. When you’re dancing the night (and day) away, you’re going to need to replace your natural sodium levels. A bag of salted pretzels dipped into a jar of peanut butter is a quick and easy snack on the go.

Most people do not put food and Burning Man in the same line of thought, but they should! Nothing ruins a wild desert festival experience like dehydration, undeniable hunger pangs, and the secret yearning for a real meal. By planning ahead with some great no-cook recipes, staying informed on what it’s really like to live in a desert, and indulging a bit beforehand, your Burning Man adventure will be both unforgettable for all the right reasons.


Carolyn Menyes and Leora Novick contributed to this report.