Regional burns expose us to all types of weather. Burning Man faces the unique challenge of camping in the desert — Mosaic Experiment challenges us to be prepared for October camping in Ohio. What can you expect? Anything. That means sunny days and chilly nights, light rain, heavy rain, wind, hail, cold. One day you might be happy running free in a tank top. That night, you might be wrapped up in a sleeping bag with three layers of pajamas cuddling for warmth.

One thing most burners have in common: we’re proud of our ability to survive unpredictable weather, outdoors, without trips to the local store for last minute items — and we do so with style while having a great time. Showing up prepared (and the process of getting prepared) teaches us how to take care of ourselves responsibly, so that we can make the most of our time burning together.

How can you up your Radical Self-Reliance quotient? Plan ahead for everything. Anticipate dramatic changes. A good question to ask yourself: what kinds of things do you pack beyond the obvious “umbrellas, sweatshirts and raincoats”? How are you planning to prepare for wind? Do you have good stakes for your tent and shade structures? Do you have an extra tarp? How will you survive a cold night if temps drop into the 30s?

R A I N

In 2014, we thought it would be helpful to start a thread on our Mosaic Facebook Group asking our community to share the ways in which they prepare their art, theme camps, tents, and selves for the inevitable October rain in Ohio.

Here are some of the best recommendations our community members responded with:

  • Good solid rain boots
  • Have a SPARE pair of rain boots
  • How to waterproof your boots with wax
  • LOTS of warm socks!
  • Pack your clothing in a Rubbermaid container.
  • Pack an extra outfit inside a Ziplock bag in case your tent floods. Pack bedding in trash bags if it’s raining on arrival day, so it doesn’t get wet between car and tent.
  • Waterproof your tent and clothing (the spray can stuff from Shoe Carnival is said to be good enough.)
  • PREVENT TENT LEAKS: When you leave your tent, make sure nothing is touching the sides. Anything touching the tent sides creates a place for rain to gather and enter the tent rather than roll off. Pull all crap toward the center!
  • Put a ground sheet or tarp under your tent and ensure it doesn’t extend past the sides of the tent. If the tarp is sticking out around the sides, it will gather rainwater and pool under your tent.
  • Better yet, put the ground tarp inside the tent under your bedding.
  • Have lots of tarps and rope!
  • Don’t build art projects out of cardboard for events when it might rain. 
  • Warm cocoa, hot cider, miso soup. YUMMY during cool rainy camping adventures.
  • For cold rain and damp nights, use a light weight sheet or blanket to cover air vent under rain fly and then tarp away!
  • Vitamin C! Airbornes!
  • Extra tie downs and stakes for your tarps!!!
  • Wool, fleece, warming clothing
  • Rain suit! Something like this
  • Check out this article with tips from engineers: Storm Proofing Your Tent

W I N D

Rain isn’t the only likelihood. You should also prepare your structures for wind. When high winds pick up, EZ Up shade tents that aren’t staked down can go flying and become dangerous. Are you bringing a dome or other large shade structure? Make sure you’ve researched and planned how it will stand up to wind. Some tips:

  • Make sure you secure your tent to the ground in a way that it will not come loose. Buy higher quality stakes than the simple metal ones that come with your tent.
  • Wind over time will cause your tent to move up and down and side to side, therefore your ground stakes need to be checked frequently to see if they are working.
  • Properly angle your stakes and guylines. If wind is up-rooting the pegs, use longer ones, and remember to hammer them in so that the point is closer to the tent than the head.
  • Keep in mind that anything lying around your camp that is not secured down, like garbage, plastic bottles, paper, art or anything else, will get blown during high wind. It is your responsibility to take back everything that you bring in, from the largest structure to the smallest bottle cap or cigarette butt. Keeping everything secured means you won’t have to spend time searching for it later.

C O L D

It’s likely each year that we might experience cold weather at Mosaic. If it’s cold and damp, body chill is even more likely. How to not just survive, but thrive?

  • Cold Weather Clothing: Make sure you pack the basics: long sleeve shirts, long pants, a hooded sweatshirt, parka jacket, warm socks, gloves or mittens, a beanie. Layer your clothing so you can add/subtract insulation as needed.
  • Avoid cotton materials as they trap and hold moisture close to the body, reducing any insulating value. Undergarments of polypropylene are ideal for wicking away dampness, while over garments should be made of wool. If you layer, it’s easier to adjust your comfort level as temperatures change.
  • Air mattresses trap cold air underneath you. Layer a fleece or wool blanket on top of your air mattress to insulate your own body heat.
  • If you are hanging near a camp­fire, make sure that your outer layer of cloth­ing is less likely to end up ruined if struck by an errant ember.  Wool is one of the best, most fire-resistant nat­ural mate­ri­als and is great for this.
  • Hydrate, then hydrate some more: You may not feel thirsty in cold weather, but staying hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is in summer. Drink water (warm or cold), hot tea, or hot chocolate—the latter also provides high-calorie fuel for your burn adventure.
  • Be ready for condensation: As you breathe in a warm tent on a cold night, condensation will form on your tent, even if it’s a four-season model. There’s not a lot you can do about condensation, but the next morning be sure to dry out your sleeping bag before using it again. To minimize condensation, you can vent your tent at night—it won’t hold in heat as well, but it will stay dryer.
  • The old wisdom of stripping down before you get into a sleeping bag doesn’t make sense. Put on everything you brought before you turn in for the night. And if the campfire is still going, heat some water, pour it into a heat-proof water bottle, and snuggle into your bag with it.
  • Hot Hands and Mylar Blankets are a quick lifesaver on a cold night. Open a pair of Hot Hands, shake them, and throw them in the bottom of your sleeping bag. Cover your bag with a mylar blanket. You’ll sleep like a baby all night long.

The key to enjoying Mosaic Experiment is to #BurnResponsibly. This means taking action before you arrive to be prepared. The time is now to get ready!

Have a comment on this list or another suggestion we should add? Let us know at info@mosaicexperiment.com.