RV-ness: Who Stays in the RVs at Black Rock City?

There’s a lot of talk at the event and in Burning Man internet communities about RVs. They are much-discussed and occasionally maligned. For some Burners, it’s a matter of necessity, for others it’s simply comfort, with probably a big fuzzy line between the two. I was curious what we could learn from our data about those who stay in RVs at the event.

Who stays in RVs? If you’re like me, you might have guessed that there was a stronger correlation between “RV-ness” (the tendency to come to the event in an RV) and certain political affiliations, income, or perhaps having children (and the ensuing need to have a more stable home base) than between other types of lodging at the event and those variables. Well, if you were like me, you’d be partially right. Let’s examine some data:


This chart shows us that the strongest predictor of RV-ness is playa age, specifically having fewer burns under your belt and especially being a virgin!  This surprised me: I would think that virgins might be more likely to try to tough it out for a few years before deciding that Burning Man is a big enough part of their life that they want to invest in a nicer home for the playa.  However, the data suggest that virgins have heard of the dust and wind and prefer to weather the ups and downs of the playa in an RV.  Not shown here is also a greater tendency to listen to BMIR and a greater tendency to be married (at least sometimes) if you camp in an RV.

The Y-axis on this chart is a “weight” variable summed up for all the survey responses. If you divide the weight by total number of survey responses gives you the weighted percentage.

RV-ness is NOT correlated with political affiliation, and though the chart might appear to suggest it, it’s not related strongly to income.  There are more people with RVs who have incomes over $35,000 simply because there are more people across the board (regardless of camping status) with incomes over $35,000. RV campers are also no more likely than others to have 1 or more children in their vehicle at the gate, or to have a larger number of family members at the burn. 

Written by: Steven Crane aka Indiana

Edited by: Tabicat


5 responses

  1. Pingback: The Grand Burners.Me Ho-tell | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Nine years in a row on Playa, first eight in an RV, (converted Greyhound bus) RV was somewhat required to tow Art Car and trailer with camp infrastructure and provide power etc. Camped with a new camp this year and tented it. I loved it but a larger tent would be nice. .

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