Desert festivals are a lot of fun, but if you’re going to an event like Burning Man, there are a bunch of accessories that are essential.

Having the right outfit & gear can make a good time even better.

Here are some basic burner clothing needs that should not be ignored.


The playa is dust. Fine, powdery dust, and wind. If you want to enjoy all of the eye candy & art installations, you will have to protect your eyeballs.

Make sure you have a good, serviceable pair of goggles, or other protective eye wear.

Sun Hat

The desert sun can be brutal. Higher elevations, along with dry, hot weather can do you in. One of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun (besides that sticky goo we call sunscreen) is to put on a nice, wide-brimmed hat.

Head Scarf

In addition to a hat, there is another piece of very versatile sun protection that has been used for millenia in the middle-east. It’s the shemagh, or head scarf.

A large square of usually cotton material, the head scarf or shemagh is always folded diagonally in a triangle & then applied in different forms.

There are a myriad of ways to wear the shemagh on your head, but there’s also a great way to wear it to protect bare shoulders & back when riding around on the playa.

Dust Mask


In addition to protecting your eyes & skin, you also need to protect your lungs (and your lips & voice box). Carrying a dust mask with you can be a huge help for your well-being since it keeps foreign materials out of your body (not to even mention germs).

All it takes is a a gusty afternoon or a dirt devil to give you a congested, sick feeling for days afterward. Heck, I even got bronchitis once after dancing for an hour to a DJ – without a mask.

There are lots of masks you can use – from a bandana to a contractor’s dust mask – but a cotton mask with a nose wire can be moistened & won’t fog up your goggles.

Faux Fur Coat

When temperatures drop & the sun goes down, you not only want to be warm, but you also want to be noticeable (think avoiding getting hit by art cars & bicycles).

A faux fur coat is the classic outer garment of the playa: cozy, fun & ostentatious.

Hydration Bag

Let’s get into storage & bags! The first thing you want to make sure you’re carrying is water. And there’s no better way to carry water than in a convenience water bladder in a backpack, such as a Camelbak.

You can buy a complete hydration-equipped backpack unit, or if you’re crafty, buy a water bladder & retrofit your backpack to carry it.

Fanny/hip bag

One of the most practical ways of carrying small items with you (lip balm, sunscreen, gifts, etc) is in a hip bag, or a fanny pack.

Fanny packs seem to be experiencing a resurgence, but a safer fashion choice will always be a hip bag that looks a bit more adventurous.

Utility belt

Another practical way of carrying small items is a utility belt, also known as a pod belt. Instead of a bag with lots of internal compartments, this is a belt with pocket or pouches on it.

You could even use a bandolier for this function, like this mint tin bandolier, which carries mint tins that you can label & fill up with stuff.


The vest is one of those clothing items that can make you look sharp, whether you’re wearing a shirt on underneath or not (& in this case, probably not).

You can find lot of vests out there – from the bad ass to the festive. It’s a great garment that you can throw on & spice up even the most basic outfit, while not overpowering everything else.

You might even find a unique, colorful vest at your local thrift shop.

Leggings Shorts Yoga Harem

If you choose to wear pants, you probably want to stay away from hackneyed options like jeans & cargo shorts.

Nothing says you’re spiritual, active & love the downward dog position like a pair of yoga pants, or even harem pants.

Your bottom half should be clothed in something comfortable, so something light & stretchy or something light & flowy.

Visor cap

A popular accessory that is more of a fashion necessity is the peak cap, also known as a visor cap or officers cap.

It’s a super formal & unusual hat that can be bedazzled into something divine & fabulous. It also has an air of status.


If covering up is not your thing, the parasol is a nice, delicate & dainty option.

The parasol, which is basically a paper umbrella, but for the sun (hence the name para “for” & sol “sun) will allow you to sport your sexy outfit while you strut the playa.


There are lots of other accessories & garments I could mention, and lots of other supplies & gear, but this should get you started with a great base that you can add onto in years & festivals to come.

Leave a Reply