TTATC First Timer’s Guide

Introduction to That Thing At The Cabin (TTATC)

TTATC (tee-tak) is a community-driven experience that follows the 10 Principles of Burning Man, including ideas of radical inclusion, self-expression, and self-reliance. We practice leave no trace, decommodification, and civic responsibility throughout the weekend. Communal effort, immediacy, and participation create the magic of our community. Finally, we will be creating a commerce less, gifting-only society (re: no vending, nothing for sale). A gift is a gift, with no return expectations.

Gifts come in many forms:

  • time
  • hard work
  • stories
  • acts of service
  • fun
  • useful and artsy items

What do YOU have to offer?

Brief History of TTATC

The first TTATC took place in 2012 for one evening with 80 people at a cabin in Stillwater—it was a potluck where a few friends came together and burned a wooden man.

In 2013, two burns took place: The Spring burn had 120 attendees for one Saturday night, and then the Fall burn increased to 200 people—TTATC 3 Sold Out!

In 2014, TTATC was moved to the current location at the Caribou Gun Club (CGC) in Le Sueur, MN and 200 tickets out of 250 were sold. Every TTATC at the CGC since then has sold out!

Burner Lingo… Seriously? What?

Rangers: Rangers are volunteers devoted to non-confrontational community mediation and the peaceful facilitation of public safety. Their first rule of operation is “Do nothing”.

LNT: Leave No Trace (This means that after the burn, there is no trace that we were there at all—no garbage, no impact on the environment. If Big Foot can camp without leaving a trace, so can you!)

MOOP: Matter Out Of Place (this is anything that does not naturally belong in the environment. This is why carrying a MOOP bag (see ‘Packing list and tips’ below) is helpful, so you are easily able to pick up any item that you see does not belong there in the natural world).

Darkwad: Anyone who walks or rides their bike at night without adequate lighting on the front and back of their person or vehicle. Something simple at least but extra points for creativity!

Burner: One who pursues a way of life reflecting values of the Ten Principles of Burning Man.

Default World: The rest of the world outside of the Burn event.

BRC: Black Rock City (the location of the official Burning Man event)

TTATC: That Thing At The Cabin (Just in case you have forgotten)

Burn Perimeter: A safety perimeter for burns. Don’t cross this line. There will be guardians in place—please give them the respect they deserve. They don’t get to look at the burn as they are devoted to observing the audience and keeping everybody safe.  

Theme Camps: A campsite which artistically or distinctively presents an idea or concept and is designed to create an interactive experience for participants. They are usually on the map—PLEASE visit them, that’s why they are there!

Burner vs Fire Dancer: A burner is someone that attends burn events and upholds the 10 principles of the Burning Man culture. A fire dancer is someone who performs fire performances. A person can be one, the other, or both. But these terms are not one in the same and performers are prearranged.

Playa Chicken: An attendee wearing a feathered costume, especially those that are not securely adhered and pose MOOP risk—no feather boas welcome!

Sparklepony: A derogatory term for a non-participatory attendee who doesn’t practice the 10 Principles—they often bring nothing to gift, don’t help setup or takedown, don’t bring enough resources for their burn (i.e. food, water), etc…. but still manage to pack two suitcases full of fabulous outfits. They expect the community to take up the slack.

Burns… What is the Significance of the Cabin? The Temple?

Cabin? Temple? Smaller burns?

The benefit to a burn is that they can mean almost anything to the people who are experiencing it. There is no universal experience or definition. Here is how the burns might differ:

  • Cabin—there are usually 3 times to cheer loudly, including when it is lit, when it is completely engulfed in flames, and when it collapses.
  • Temple—this burn is traditionally silent. This allows room for the burning of the temple to mean whatever it is suited to mean for the individuals viewing. Many burners take the opportunity to visit the temple before the burn to leave mementos, notes, etc. regarding loved ones lost, personal hardships, meaningful life experiences, and beyond.
  • Smaller burn—this is usually a unique piece of artwork that is burned earlier during the earlier days of the event. Like all burns, try to read the crowd.

Asking veteran burners about their experiences is a great way to learn about burns, Burning Man culture, and TTATC, but remember that every burn is unique and personal—there is no ‘right way’.

It is okay to not go to certain activities or to quietly excuse yourself if you find yourself in a place or situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you are concerned about someone’s safety, connect with the community around you and/or reach out to a ranger as needed.

YOU make your experience. YOU control your burn.


Consider spreading kindness and bringing some gifts for others—a few quality, handmade, or thoughtful gifts are better than an entire crate of cheap Chinese trinkets. Gifting does not mean bartering. This is a community that gifts freely—the Principle of gifting is not about what you get in return. Also, consider gifting art, food, or your time—helping with projects, camp setup and/or takedown, or signing up as a volunteer are powerful ways to gift to the community.

Remember: there are many ways to gift without it costing any more than your energy and time.

Ice will be the only item available for purchase at TTATC. It is available at The Spot for $3 per bag.

Alcohol / Drugs

You don’t need to get fucked-up at TTATC to have a good time! There’s plenty of fun, cool, trippy, amazing things around already. You wouldn’t want to overdo things and have to sit in your tent for two days—how unfortunate would that be? In reality, drugs are illegal at TTATC, just like anywhere else, so be smart.

Please don’t require a babysitter due to overindulgence or “pushing your limits”. Seriously, don’t be one of those people who needs to be “put to bed” or “talked to”. You don’t need or want to take it that far. You are going to want to remember this experience and be able to PARTICIPATE, not just observe. Don’t be dumb, don’t fuck it up, and don’t be a jerk. Thanks!

In the past, we’ve had people come offer to hold AA meetings—they’ve been attended a bit, and that’s amazing! TTATC fully supports this and welcomes anybody to participate in these events.

Packing Lists & Tips

Personal Gear: Tent, bedding (it might get cold at night so have something to stay warm), camp chair, cooler for food and drinks, kitchen items (mess kit, reusable silverware—1 set for each person), essential personal lighting for at night so that you aren’t a dark wad (see ‘Burner lingo’ above!), and WATER.  Plan for a camping trip where you will not have electricity, running water, or a campfire at your site and you should be good.

As a general rule of thumb, determine what you want to bring, then figure out what you can do without, and then finally pair down your gear—see if someone else in the group will have it and if you can save room by avoiding bringing duplicates of items.

Recommended Gear:

  • Reusable water bottle (super crazy important)
  • Single-ply TP (one roll helps)
  • Swimsuit (though you don’t have to wear one)—there is a swimming/watering hole!
  • Cloth Towels—a variety is helpful (swimming, clean up, washing dishes, etc.)
  • Garbage Bags—but, do your best to minimize garbage in advance. Take all items out of boxes and packing material, place any items into Ziplock baggies to bring, etc. It’s amazing how helpful zip locks can be.
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock
  •  1-2 battery-powered lights for your tent
  • Reusable Cup—most folks carry a spare cup, separate from their water bottle. You may find yourself wanting to partake in a social at the bar or share a drink with a new friend. You will not find many spare disposable cups to be had. Bring your own! Lids are helpful and no glass please!
  • Burner Bag—something to carry with you for your stuff (it’s not a purse, it’s a satchel—Indiana Jones has one!). A shoulder bag, CamelBak, or backpack works well. It is GREAT not having to walk all the way back to your camp to constantly re-gear.
  • Altoid Tin— a great sealable ashtray (if you are a smoker)
  • MOOP Bag (a bag that is smaller than a full-size garbage bag—if everyone has a small moop bag, there should not be a need for a large garbage bag)
  • Bring something for downtime! Ideas: coloring books, a book to read, a podcast to listen to listen to or share… Really any hobby that is safe for public is a safe bet. Use judgement otherwise!
  • Utensils. Bring silverware to wash and reuse, not single-use paper and plastic. It will create a lot more MOOP than necessary. Biodegradable soap for washing dishes please.
  • Water shoes are helpful in case you want to go swimming and don’t want to have the minnows nibbling at your toes. The roads can also get muddy if it rains.
  • Any meds you need for the weekend. Take care of yourself.
  • Grill or way to heat up/ cook your food (Propane is best). No open fires on the ground. LNT includes leaving no burn scars.

Pro Tip—Baby wipes are a great way to clean up and help Leave No Trace. Not in the portos!

What NOT to bring!

  • ABSOLUTELY NO fireworks or firearms
  • NO illegal substances
  • AVOID glass containers—cans are better.
  • NO DOGS or other pets—you will be turned away at the gate and will need to take them elsewhere before you are admitted to the event.
  • AVOID glitter and feathers, PLEASE!
  • Regular soaps and cleaners (shampoo, conditioner, chemicals) that cannot be poured out.


Think Minnesota in July—prepare for both DAY and NIGHT.

Think cool, comfy, layers, cotton…. COLORFUL and FUN. You can honestly wear anything you want. Wear stuff that you might NEVER wear in the default world. Remember that now is a time to practice Radical Self Expression. Bring something warm for the cooler nights and the early mornings.

You can be nude just not lewd.


Bring comfortable walking shoes—this is very important. TTATC often involves extensive walking, sometimes in rain and mud. You DO NOT want to be in pain from poor footwear all weekend.


Unless you have a vehicle/RV pass, you will not be allowed to drive your vehicle to where you will be camping. We provide a transport service to get your belongings from the vehicle parking area to your campsite.

Place as much as possible in storage totes or bags. Eliminate any loose items. PACK LIGHT AND TIGHT. If you do not have totes, make sure that your container closes (zippers, Velcro, tie, etc.).

When you get to TTATC, keeping everything together makes it a LOT easier to load and unload. Loose items or countless bags make it difficult to unload the car, to load the transport van, and to unload the van at your campsite.

If you forget something, do not panic—everyone is willing to help each other, so chances are, someone there has it (isn’t gifting culture beautiful?).


BYOW: Bring your own water! Plan for 1 gallon a day per person, so approximately 3 to 4 gallons per person for the event. This should cover your washing water as well.

– You can find refillable water containers online or at Target, Walmart, REI, or other similar all-purpose or camping stores. These make transporting water easier and means less plastic from individual bottles. Regular gallons of water work as well, but just remember you must pack everything out. Refillable water bottles are your best friend at TTATC.

– There is a creek to wash up in, but it is NOT drinkable water.

Personal Lighting/Costumes/Clothing:


Radical Self-Expression is all about being wholly authentic and YOU!

  • Wacky clothing is the norm here, for what it’s worth.
  • Walking around in your birthday suit? Awesome! Remember: You can be nude just not lewd.
  • Elaborate body painting? Lovely!
  • A hat you spent weeks designing? Incredible!
  • Neon spandex body suits? Wonderful!
  • Theme-relevant costumes? Sweet!
  • A T-shirt and cargo shorts? You do you!
  • A T-shirt and nothing else? Cool beans, friend. (You might learn a new burner slang term though)
  • A gorilla suit? Rad (be careful to avoid overheating)!

Let your imagination soar and use this event to deck yourself out in whatever helps you best express yourself.

LIGHTS! Make sure you have lighting to light yourself up at night. Work them into your outfits or have battery powered string lights to wrap around yourself. There are no lights on the grounds other than what other burners prepared, so it is important to make yourself visible.

Even just one or two items that you can put lights on will help: make lit-up butterfly wings, deck out an old suit coat, wrap them around your body like a sash, etc. Try not to use glow sticks as they are wasteful and often become MOOP and just get thrown away. However, even something simple is appreciated when it comes to lighting.

Don’t be a Dark Wad

Culture of Consent

Heralded as the unofficial 11th Principle of burn events, Radical Consent is an expectation for attendees at TTATC. All direct interactions between attendees should be consensual, be they sexual or otherwise. Can you walk up to a total stranger, say “hello”, and start a conversation or invite them to go to an event with you? ABSOLUTELY! Please DO! This can be one of the most rewarding aspects of burn events and is a wonderful demonstration of the Principles of Participation and Radical Inclusion. However, if a person expresses that they don’t feel like talking or don’t wish to partake in an event you invite them to, respect that.

The TTATC stance is that consent is not just sexy, it is mandatory. TTATC Rangers are available to support you if you have a non-consensual experience of any kind.

Radical Consent includes photography!

·        Do you love someone’s costume and want to snap a picture? Ask them if it’s okay first.

·        Is there a person in the background of the picture you haven’t already got consent to take? Change your position so that they are no longer in the frame or ask that person in the background if they consent to being in the photo—be even more cautionary about this if someone in your frame is partially or completely nude.

·        Do you want to post your photos to social media? Ensure that everyone in your photos is comfortable with this BEFORE posting—not everyone is public about their participation in burn events and their preferences are to be respected.

It IS okay to take pictures of art installations, burns, and theme camps!

Minimize electronics

Unless you are in a group or camper with generator access, assume that you won’t have places to plug-in and charge devices.

Pro Tip: Put your phone on Airplane Mode—this will save your battery, still allow for pictures, and can be used as a clock/alarm, but it won’t ring from calls or texts. Turn it all the way on 3 times a day—morning, lunch time, and evening—in case someone does need to get ahold of you.

You don’t realize what you are missing while looking at your phone. Use this opportunity to meet people, talk to someone new, take in the amazing sights, and be present in the moment (Immediacy is one of the 10 Principles, after all!).

You’re at TTATC, NOW WHAT?

Arriving at the Burn

Caribou Gun Club & Hunting Preserve

30649 380th St, Le Sueur, Minnesota 56058

Please be cautious and courteous on the dirt road leading to the Caribou Gun club. Show the locals how respectful we are and give their neighborhood some care. You will drive past the Clubhouse and follow the signs for TTATC (see map).


There is limited space for parking, and carpooling will help. And, it will save the planet and all that too, so you should carpool.


No re-entry to the event. If you leave, you leave for good.



Refer to the website,, and to the end of this guide for some FAQs.

Once you arrive and park, go to the tent and get checked in. All tickets and camper passes MUST BE in your own names, regardless of who purchased the tickets online. Practice some Radical Self Reliance, and make sure your tickets and RV pass (if applicable) are in your name—this way groups do not all have to check in at the same time.

Ticket takers will administer waivers, the TTATC census, and your wristband. This year, they will be separate from Greeters, who give out the map and welcome hugs (if you want one).

Unloading & Ground Transport

There are NO personal vehicles inside the grounds for the general population. All participants are transported from the parking area to their campsite by a transport van.

After check-in, go back to your vehicle and unload everything you want to bring into the grounds. A transport van will come and pick up you and your gear to bring to your camping area.

PLEASE remember that there is no leaving and returning. Once you leave, you cannot re-enter TTATC.

Why Van Transport?

The TTATC grounds only have ONE road, and it is reserved for pedestrians. Prohibiting personal vehicles makes it safer for pedestrians to wander and explore the grounds. TTATC uses a transport van to take participants to and from the grounds to promote safety. We are as efficient as the folks we transport. Do your best to pack things tight!

Additionally, weather… in Minnesota…in July… it could be hot and humid, rainy and chilly, or anywhere in between. Using a transport van keeps multiple personal vehicles from getting stuck in the rustic camping grounds.

Our van drivers are not only awesome, but also offer a wealth of information.

Don’t know where to camp? Ask your driver.


Porta-potties: if it does not come out of your body, it DOES NOT belong in the potty! Seriously, do not use the porta-potty as a garbage container, or a place to leave your cans, cigarette butts, or other discarded items. It is on all of us to help keep the porta-potties clean.

Theme Camps / How do I interact with them?

TTATC is a welcoming community, consider doing the following:

·         MINGLE! As you walk by a camp, wave, and say “hello” or “welcome home”. Stop by and you might just find some awesome new friends

·         Check the schedule and see when theme camps are hosting events that you can watch or participate in!

·         When in doubt, follow the music, laughter, or happy conversations—you will find accepting people and places to hang out.

Remember to respect any burn or safety perimeter. These are in place for your protection and allow us to fire perform while keeping everyone safe.

Map / Schedule

Prior to the event, there will be the Mappy Map and schedule of events that you can view. You will be given one at check in as well. This is a great source of information on where theme camps are, what is going on and when, and where to find important camps and landmarks, like The Spot, CenterCamp, Rangers, The Cabin, and The Temple. This guide will also have information on when burns will happen.

When trying to make it to events, remember the Principle of Immediacy. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, when you are there. Take the opportunity to participate in the community.


Make sure you get some sleep, eat some decent food, and stay hydrated. Nothing can ruin a burn more quickly than being overly tired, hungry, or dehydrated. Sometimes we all need a reminder to take care of ourselves, so here it is; take care of yourself, and your campmates. It’s also Minnesota in July, and the weather could do several things. Be prepared.

No drama allowed—if you feel yourself becoming stressed, it’s okay to take some time for yourself and focus on self-care. Keep your cool and have a good time!

Advice from Veteran Burners

“Self-sufficient does not mean…pack everything ..better to have it and not need it..than to have it and not need it! I always felt self-reliance means plan for EVERYONE..but means..plan for yourself ..share space with others and i don’t need to haul everything myself …..but can cook for myself. With a group or meal plan with friends… meals in. tin foil pouches reheated worked fantastically…coffee in the mornings..i always happily shared!” – AH

“I was thinking about ttatc last year (being a newbie) and I didn’t know very much about the temple burn. I had heard about how emotional it could be and that it was a silent burn and how it’s a chance to let go of things that have been weighing on you and an opportunity to stop being hard on yourself and for a “fresh” start on self outlook, I think it would be really great to have an explanation for the newbies, what the temple burn means to some and how it’s not the same for everyone and it’s ok not to go etc. Not trying to see everything and be everywhere and that in each moment, you are exactly where you are supposed to be is a very powerful message and should definitely be relayed to the newbies.” – JK

“So much of it is overwhelming acceptance with this community and truly feeling like you’re “home”. We were more than prepared, and other than overpacking (who really NEEDS clothes) there wasn’t anything that we were in need of.” -MD

“You are responsible for ONE person’s actions: your own! Take ownership of your experience, work to make it the best experience for you, and cherish that others are doing the same for themselves. Not everyone burns the same way. If there’s a mismatch of values that you’re struggling to resolve, what would it look like to *connect* over that difference rather than trying to *control* it?” – KS

“Relationship tip: Have a conversation with the people you’re camping with about self care. What you need it terms of sleep, downtime, boundaries, help. If you don’t know yet that’s cool just start the conversation so the doors open when you do need support.” – NK

“Since last year was MY first… 1) I brought way too much food! Everybody shares and I didn’t eat a whole lot anyways! 2) I brought way too much beer because, again, everybody shares! I gave a case to the bar! 3) I bought a battery powered air compressor to blow up my air mattress. Borrowed it out a bit. Get one! …I’ll come up with more…” – BB

“While many gift and offer things randomly it is key to keep in mind that radical self-reliance is one of the key principals. Bring food, bring water, bring supplies, bring everything you would need to cook and eat a meal, and to care for yourself.” – RS

“Read the WEBSITE!” – AB

“Get down and dirty with your knowledge of the 10 principles.” – JRK

The 10 Principles of Burning Man

Radical Inclusion Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting- Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification- In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance- Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources. Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series. Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.

Radical Self-expression- Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort- Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility- We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace- Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation- Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediacy- Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Directly from The Burning Man website: