Photo credit: Burning Man from the air, with a jumper about to poach?

Who doesn’t? It may not be “the Burning Man way”, but people do it every year, have done it ever since they started charging for entry, and with ticket sales sold out for the first time ever this year, you better believe someone is trying to sneak in right this second.

The question is, how do you do it? Not to mention, what’s the likelihood of getting caught? Well, the long story short is it’s very possible, but not as easy as it seems. And you definitely don’t want to end up like this guy.

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First off, yes, people have done it, people do do it, but you have you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it? AND What am I willing to go through to make it happen? Those are big questions, and if you’re still down, here we go.

The Fence-The whole perimeter of Burning Man is marked off by an orange fence. It goes far and wide, but still, you’d think it’d be easy to just walk across the desert, hop the fence, and walk right in, right? The problem is there’s mucho law enforcement out there and they are pretty much there to make sure you don’t sneak in. There’s not that many roads that lead into the event either, so figuring out how to negotiate where to drive (Route 34?), leave a car, then walk in undetected is a lot harder than it might seem. If you’ve been to Burning Man you might have a better idea, but if you haven’t, this is one of your major hurdles to jump.

Night Rangers-If you choose to poach during the day you’d have to have some Burners out there near the edge of the fence to blend in. If you go at night, duh, of course you’re going to try to go at night, it’s waaaay too hot during the day for this kinda shit, law enforcement use infrared lights and night vision to find you. No joke, or so the rumor goes.  Even volunteers have radar equipment that searches for anyone way out at the perimeter.

Poach the Entry Gate-You can try sneaking in at the gate, there’s some classic stories out there, but the gate checkers do a ruthless job of going through your vehicle (see above picture of messed up kid trying to get in). They make you open the back of your truck or SUV. They make you open your roof box. They might even just make you get of your RV and go through every little nook and cranny to make sure no one is sneaking in. Big coolers in there? They’ll open them. Burning Man as an event goes big to make sure the only people that get in pay their way. Even still, people do sneak in…or so the stories go.

You Can Do It!-There’s stories upon stories, and most of them state that nowadays it’s 100x harder than it was in the past to poach. Still, the stories are hilarious and might get some creative juices flowing. Some guy apparently drove in a water truck one year. He basically made it in, but then was spotted spraying water out in front of his ride like a dumbass and got caught by a ranger. He probably would’ve been fine if he wasn’t such a dumbass, but where are you gonna get a water truck?

Stealth Army Style-A popular place to try and sneak in is from the east side of the desert. While the prefered method would be to casually take your time and hope you don’t get spotted by the night rangers, this guy decided to crawl on his belly, for miles, to try and poach in. He had all his stuff with him to, which is another thing to remember because when you show up to Burning Man, you have to have all your own supplies as ice and coffee are the only things sold there. Back to the story, the rangers were watching him the whole time. As the story goes, he got to the fence, where again, he had been watched the whole time, and  was popped. But because the rangers were so impressed with his patience to stay on his belly that long, they let him in!

The stories run deep, and no matter which way you look at it the poach in is tough, and there’s a lot of people looking for you if you try. But it also seems that if you do it right, you might get some respect and maybe get let in, or maybe if you’re ninja enough, you’ll just get in anyway. You’ll never know unless you try, and then it goes back to if it’s worth it for you to try?

The truth is it’s really a pretty good deal for a weeks worth of camping and what goes on out there for the face value of a ticket. The problem this year is the lack of tickets, even though people try and sneak in every year. There will be crashers this year, like every year, but probably even more this year. We wish you poachers all good luck on your desert pursuits, and if you have a good story to share, we’re all ears.

One last thing to consider, even though we’ve also heard the rangers patrol the skies in some way (yeah, like, how?), dropping in from the air might just be the way to go. It’s been done, and again, we’ve heard they look, but right time, right place, a big huck out of some form of aircraft, and fly safely into a camp full of goodness? Now that sounds like party time!

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11 replies on “So, You Want To Poach Burning Man? | Can You Really Sneak In?”