Camp Soft Landing

Providing a comfortable setting for visionary discussion and tea service amongst the mayhem of Black Rock City

Hello, Camp Soft Landing Campers!

Camp Soft Landing is a collaborative community-based art project in its eighth year. We function with a fantastical interlocking interconnected interwoven leadership team that you can grow to be a part of, step back from, return to, and innovate upon. Collaboration is fertile, and we want each and every Camp Soft Landing member to be invested in the well-being of your campmates, the smooth functioning of the camp, and the various opportunities to step up and step back from meaningful ways to contribute to this enriching community.

Many people come together like a busy beehive to bring Soft Landing to Black Rock City. We provide very modest amenities to our campers on a radically small budget. We work to minimize our environmental footprint in thoughtful, balanced ways. Our camp dues and other contributions go toward our service-focused gifts to the playa. We are a group who gather each year to provide a thoughtful and innovative speaker series and a truly unique 24-hour teahouse in Black Rock City. We strive for cooperation and transparency, creativity and self-reliance.

Thank you all for being a part of this project. We are honored and inspired to share Camp Soft Landing with you in 2018.


When you arrive in camp

Before you set up your camp, please find a member of our interior placement crew (Tryp, Alleykat, other members tba). They'll get you situated in just the right spot. There are more than 100 people camping in Soft Landing this year, and the only way to ensure that everyone has enough space is a little good old-fashioned top-down organization. If you arrive at night, feel free to park at the edge of camp and sleep in the teahouse until the morning.

Camp meeting Monday, August 27 @ 1 PM in Palenque Norte

If you’re on the playa by then, please come to the Palenque Norte tent at 1 pm on Monday, August 27, for a camp meeting. We’ll say hello to each other, talk about camp logistics a little bit, and provide an opportunity to share questions. It will take an hour or less. We’ll also hand out postcards with the Palenque Norte schedule for all of you to share with folks you meet in your first days on playa!

We ask that pod leaders arrive at 12:30 pm so we can talk together a bit about that role.

CSL Pods for 2018

These are some of the pods in Camp Soft Landing in 2018:

  • Camp Now
  • Palenque Norte
  • Full Circle Teahouse
  • Dust Hazard
  • Community Kitchen Love Pod
  • Android Oasis
  • System 3
  • Ring Theory

If you’d like to lead a pod, please contact us at We’ll get you set up with just the right amount of space and the resources you need for a smooth, enjoyable burn. Pod leaders are responsible for placement of their pod members within the space allotted to them by camp, and for mediation of conflicts within their pod.

 Participation Opportunities


The Full Circle Teahouse
Palenque Norte
Community Kitchen
Strike and Unload
Android Oasis
Mayor for the Day

Mayor for the Day: NB: One day as camp mayor counts as three shifts toward your dues cost! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday count as four. In this role, you stick around camp most of the day. You'll be the primary person in charge of the electrical and propane systems (we'll teach you everything you need to know.) Along with the teahouse kitchen crew, you'll ensure that the community kitchen and shower stay clean and organized. You'll answer questions campers might have, receive any fuel or water deliveries scheduled for that day, and other tasks needed for the smooth operation of the camp. You'll also be, as suits your level of experience and comfort, available for helping pod leaders with mediation and dispute resolution. Detailed task descriptions can be found here. Camp mayors work with the camp coordinators.

Android Oasis: The Chill Dome will be designed as a relaxing and refreshing haven from the inhospitable desert on which it is built. We will offer a collection of experiences to rejuvenate weary travelers: there will be a bar with iced tea, refreshing essential oils, mints, and other consumables; a ‘chilling area’ with soft things to relax in like hammocks and inflatable couches; a ‘rejuvenation station’ with full-body buffer massages and “the human icicle experience”; plus enjoyable sound provided by our very own DJ talents, and more! The Chill Dome will also host a party or two some evenings throughout the week.

Palenque Norte: The Palenque Norte Speaker series will run Tuesday-Friday, featuring a variety of illustrious, weird, and insightful speakers from psychedelia, technology, social justice, community building, politics, and other fields. This year we’ll also be featuring music in the evening. Volunteers for Palenque Norte will help with recording and audio/visual tech, and with fluffing and emceeing for the speakers, DJs, and musicians. This is a wonderful opportunity to catch all the speakers on a day you're interested in! Brad and Frank lead this project.

The Full Circle Teahouse: NB: The midnight to 6 am tea shift counts as two shifts toward your dues cost! The Full Circle Teahouse offers 24-hour gongfu-inspired tea service Sunday, August 26, through Monday, September 3. Servers share tea and empathy during six-hour shifts. Runners wash cups and teapots, refill jars of herbs and tea, carry water, and tidy. Annie, Felix, Nikkia, and Starfox lead this project. Detailed info about the teahouse here.

Community Kitchen: Collectively, camp is focused on making Camp Soft Landing's modest amenities as awesome as they can be for all our camp members. The greywater and camp shower attendants will help to ensure that all campers know how to wisely engage with these resources. The kitchen queen will remind people to be tidy and facilitate community interaction in the kitchen and dining areas. Detailed info about the kitchen here.

Strike and Unload: Strike will begin on Sunday, September 2, and will finish with a thorough MOOP sweep in the early afternoon on Tuesday, September 4. Unload will begin in Reno on Tuesday, September 4 and wrap up in Oakland on Thursday, September 6. Helping with the entire strike or unload will get you a refund on your camp dues of up to $100, to be issued after the event. Each single day of strike and unload count as one shift toward your dues.

We need lots of help with gear preparation, infrastructure creation, and administrative management of Camp Soft Landing. We're creating a less centralized, more sustainable admin and leadership structure for Camp Soft Landing, The Full Circle Teahouse, and Palenque Norte. If you'd like to be involved regularly in any or all of these projects, please let us know in what capacity -- large, small, in between, or parts unknown -- and we'll find the right way to fit all the pieces together. Final preparations will commence in Oakland on Saturday, August 19, and continue through loading in Reno until we reach the playa on Monday, August 21. Build will take place in Black Rock City Monday, August 21 through Saturday, August 26.

This year a decentralized team is bringing Camp Soft Landing back to the playa. Your contributions to pre-playa preparations matter more than ever, and we're excited to engage as many camp members as possible in making Camp Soft Landing a sustainable community-based gift to Black Rock City.

If you're interested to help with load or build, please email

Camp Preparation Timeline

  • June 17 - July 15: Early bird dues and camp contribution shift signup available
  • July 6-8: Camp gear sort in Reno
  • August 4-5, 11-12, 18: Camp preparation in SF bay area
  • Sunday, August 19: Box truck leaves SF bay area, stops in Grass Valley en route to Reno (unless we pick up the truck in Reno, of course...)
  • Monday, August 20: Box truck loads in Reno in early AM, arrival on playa for build
  • August 21-25: Build week
  • August 26 - September 2: Burning Man
  • September 2-4: Camp strike
  • September 4-5: Return to Reno, unload in Reno
  • September 5-6: Return to SF bay area, finish unload, return truck

Dues for 2018

The moment you’ve all been waiting for! Including the return of early bird dues discount, to encourage you to commit to paying your dues early :)

  • 1 camp participation shift and $380

  • 3 camp participation shifts and $180

  • 4 camp participation shifts and $80

+ $50 early bird discount (through July 15!!!)

+ Refund up to $100 for staying through strike

Pay your dues here!

Full refunds will be available upon request until August 10. No refunds will be issued after that date, except for extenuating circumstances.

So what do these dues pay for?

Camp Soft Landing has ongoing costs such as:

  • Storage and transportation of camp gear
  • Food for build and strike crew
  • Comp tickets for up to four outstanding contributors to camp each year (part of the ongoing effort to make CSL a sustainable project for years to come)
  • Decor, lighting, and equipment for the teahouse and Palenque Norte
  • Water and tea for the teahouse
  • Electricity and water for the teahouse, power for Palenque Norte, propane and electricity for the community kitchen
  • A charging station for camp electronics

Improvements to infrastructure. This year we’ll be improving:

  • Shade for campers in the teahouse pods
  • Seating options

Things your dues DON’T pay for (at least this year!):

  • Camper gray water (the gray water evaporation system seems to function best when it primarily serves the teahouse)
  • Food during the week of the burn
  • Money in the pocket of anyone

Gray water in Camp Soft Landing

Camp Soft Landing will not be providing any evaporation of camper gray water during the burn this year. The evapotron setup will be for the teahouse, as it functions best when this is the case. We want to make sure you are all prepared to pack out or process your own gray water. This is pretty substantially different from life at home, where water disappears down the drain instantly. We know from our careful data collection that about half of you are new to Soft Landing this year. Please be prepared! This is a camp that particularly emphasizes radical self-reliance and our gifts to the playa. One of the ways we express this value is by providing minimal amenities and focusing our resources on our community based art projects.

So, there are a few good ways to process or pack out your own gray water. One of the nicest ways to process gray water is to filter it through a piece of cloth like a bandanna, then lay a paper towel on top to absorb all the oil. Put the chunks from the cloth and the paper towel in your doubled up trash bag at your own tent. Now, you have “light gray” water. This can be poured onto a towel or moving blanket on top of your cooler to promote evaporative cooling, or poured into a swamp cooler to keep your tent pleasant during the day. Just make sure not a drop touches the playa! Unfiltered gray water can be poured into an empty container in which you brought in water. Just be sure to sanitize it after you get home!

Personal gray water is any water you have used that is not leaving your body as urine or sweat. This includes water from brushing your teeth, cleaning your dishes in the community kitchen, showering in the camp shower, cooking pasta for 20 people, etc. It must not touch the playa, and you are responsible for all of your own gray water. Please be mindful of this in your packing, and consider bringing resealable water containers to make it easier to pack your water back out — those single-use “suitcase” style water containers don’t reseal well, nor do one-gallon jugs with a pop top instead of a twist cap.

This may seem like a lot of explanation about a simple topic, but last year someone dumped their gray water in the fuel containment system in the camp’s fuel depot! If I ever find out who you are, we’re going to have an extremely pleasant and thoughtful conversation, I assure you :)

What to bring?

Here’s a helpful packing list that I’ve assembled over the years <3

    •    tent
    •    rebar
    •    tennis balls
    •    shade structure
    •    bedding
    •    plate, bowl and utensils
    •    cups
    •    ziplocks
    •    zip ties
    •    soap
    •    trash bags
    •    water bottles
    •    backpack
    •    water - 1 gal/day
    •    resealable water jugs
    •    glowy shit
    •    ear plugs
    •    single-ply TP
    •    hand sanitizer
    •    baby wipes - 5-10 per day
    •    towel
    •    coconut oil for skin
    •    sunscreen
    •    chapstick with sunscreen
    •    sunglasses
    •    goggles (make sure they have foam so no dust gets in)
    •    dust mask (a particulate-grade cotton face mask works best)
    •    time piece
    •    warm clothes
    •    good shoes or boots
    •    sharpies
    •    pen and small notebook
    •    ticket or confirmation number
    •    cash
    •    ID - and photocopies for bars
    •    scissors
    •    toiletries
    •    batteries
    •    first aid
    •    camp chair
    •    sheet or tapestry to put over bed to keep the dust off
    •    duct tape
    •    vinegar
    •    knife
    •    liquid aloe to add to baby wipes
    •    sunhat
    •    bungee cords
    •    nasal saline spray
    •    eye drops
    •    pillows
    •    extra snacky food

    •    cereal and soy/almond milk
    •    protein powder
    •    just-add-hot-water soups
    •    canned soup
    •    dried fruit
    •    trail mix
    •    chips
    •    salsa
    •    canned beans
    •    jerky
    •    electrolyte beverage
    •    salami
    •    crackers
    •    food bars
    •    ready to eat Indian packets

Palenque Norte Lecture Series 2018 Schedule

at Camp Soft Landing 8:15 & C

TBD <3

Blackstar Bowie Sanctuary

TBD <3

Android Oasis

Ring Theory

Burning Man Rideshare

In case you still need to figure out how to get to the playa, you can use the rideshare provided at to get yourself situated.

Useful Information to Know

Each year placement asks us to share this document with you all so you can know a bit more about all the things that are going on to make Black Rock City function.

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