What can I mail in a care package to friends that are going to Burning Man?
August 23, 2012 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I want to send a care package to my friends at Burning Man, what should I include?

I found out that you can send mail to a specific camp at Burning Man without much issue. I plan on sending a package out tomorrow via USPS and they should receive it next week.

I would love to get some suggestions. I will include some homemade mead, some canned beets, and pickles. I was thinking a fresh pinapple would last the journey and I think fresh fruit might be nice at that stage in their dusty adventure. They have all the basics, but maybe I'm missing something fun and exciting so I'd love any suggestions!

One more thing, I am trying to avoid things that can't be burned, consumed or kept for future events. They do have a storage locker in Reno, so they can reuse it next year.

These are good friends and I really want to make them smile.
posted by brinkzilla to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Just so you know - you cannot ship alcohol via USPS. (also, your friends will probably not be lacking alcohol...I'd suggest saving the mead for later!) UPS and Fed EX will ship alcohol, but I'm not sure if self bottling may be an issue.

Also, it's a bit of a crapshoot whether the mail arrives or not because not all camps are well labelled, and it's delivered by volunteers! When I send mail, I try to include notes about how the tent looks, or anything else the recipient may be associated with on the outside of the package.

Honestly, receiving mail at Burning Man was the BEST THING. I don't even remember exactly what was in the package, it was just awesome getting mail!

Things I've craved at various times at Burning Man that I did NOT think of bringing -

- Junk food. Like...flamin' hot Cheetos sort of junk food.
- Chocolate. Really good chocolate.
- Fruit. Any fruit at all. Apples and oranges survive the mail well too.
- Juice boxes. I was always all stocked up on water, but mmmm juice.
- Even more fresh, clean, bandannas.
- Spaghetti-O's.
posted by sawdustbear at 10:39 AM on August 23, 2012

fully cooked bacon, clearly.
posted by cabingirl at 10:45 AM on August 23, 2012

Chocolate's gonna melt in no time flat.

Practical gift: Hand lotion. It gets really, really dry out there!
posted by mikeand1 at 10:50 AM on August 23, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the heads up on the alcohol. I didn't know that. Bummer.
posted by brinkzilla at 10:52 AM on August 23, 2012

posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:02 AM on August 23, 2012

You can't ship bottles that might be construed as alcohol. If you label it "varietal vinegar" or something it's usually gotten through. Just pack it really well.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:18 AM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I haven't tried shipping to Burning Man. It would not surprise me if the local post office searched things VERY carefully, given the love/hate relationship the locals have with Burning Man. So the usual things you can get away with shipping might not work, now that I think about it.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:21 AM on August 23, 2012

Best answer: Oh, send them stamps! You might get a postcard in return. The BRC post office will usually hand out postcards, but you've got to bring your own stamps. If you send a whole sheet, they can also gift what they don't need at the post office, which is always appreciated by its recipients.
posted by sawdustbear at 11:38 AM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The ultimate would be fresh fruit or ice cream packed in dry ice, if usps will even allow that. I would be cautious about fruit otherwise -- what if the package sits in the sun for 2 days before getting from post office to camp?

Cake or pie, high quality sausage and cheese, fruit preserves, maybe a tasty mustard or something (small jar), juice or smoothies (mmm). A bottle of really nice skin lotion. More mundane tasty things like candy and chips will be gratefully devoured. Spare sunglasses (especially cute and colourful), spare bandanas. A fresh pack of 3M dust masks -- the good kind that come boxed, packed flat and individually wrapped. A roll of duct tape and some rope. Clean socks and underwear, clean bedsheets or pillowcases, clean towels or washcloths. Extra earplugs. One of those hand-held massager tools.

Your friends will love you forever! This such a great idea.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:44 AM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Chocolate might melt, but brownies ship really, really well. Bake them in disposable bakeware (you can get a cardboard kind instead of the tinfoil kind), put some waxed paper on top, and then pad out the top of the container with paper towels/packaged wet wipes/other soft things before you put the lid on.
posted by anaelith at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2012

If you're going to ship baked goods please make sure to seal them in sturdy zip-lock bags. Maybe 2 layers, otherwise the crumbs get everywhere and the oil stains the box and it's gross. They can use the bags after to keep the bandannas fresh.
posted by carsonb at 12:39 PM on August 23, 2012

Best answer: I would say don't send them something they could just buy at a store. If they have a storage locker in Reno they've been doing this a while. They probably already know what they'll need and want and already bought all that stuff, even consumables. Virtually everyone has junk food left over at the end of the week.

But that's okay: Your goal should not be to send them something useful, but to send them something special will be fun and exciting to get! I think the clear answer here is: DIY!

Make stuff or modify store-bought stuff, and send them that! Buttons or pins or bandannas or masks or pillows are all fun. Maybe decorate some dust masks or trick out some goggles. Make fake-fur ankle-warmers, some kind of hat, or a cape, or knee pads, or whatever. If it looks weird and stupid, well burning man is probably the best place in the world to wear weird and stupid things! (The only real rule is: don't use stuff that will make a mess. Avoid feathers or glitter, and attach googly eyes really well). Homemade food is also great. Cookies or hot sauce are the first two things that spring to mind.
posted by aubilenon at 2:01 PM on August 23, 2012

Hah, I asked this question before myself.

Ironically, I got told this year I don't need to bother with it, as I am out of ideas and I don't think they care that much any more either. :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:22 PM on August 23, 2012

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