Backfire Camp (2016)

Backfire came to the playa for the first time in 2016. We were given the location of Cosimo and 7:15 by the fine folks at placement!

Rendered Our site as it looked when we rolled in for Early Arrival.

Statistics

  • 48 burners from the USA, and a few hailing from the great country of AUS!
  • 26’ UHaul truck packed to the rafters
  • 20x36 shade structure (from Black Rock Hardware)
  • Two carports
  • Kitchen space
  • 50x50 shaded camp area
  • Rear frontage dressed up as a used-car lot

Events

Vietnamese Coffee and ASL

On Tuesday and Thursday morning during the week of the burn, the camp came together to provide delicious freshly-brewed vietnamese coffee to anyone who passed by. In addition, due to our camp being largely ASL-signers, we offered improtu lessons to anyone who stopped in and wanted to learn a few signs while enjoying their coffee.

Friday Night Bash

Early evening Friday, the camp threw a bash with live music, lights and lots of burner love for anyone who happened to pedal along on Cosmio.

Art

We brought several interactive light and sound pieces. LED Wall, Hexagasm, Backfire Sign.

Photos

Backfire camp at night

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Backfire Sign

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Vietnamese Coffee and ASL

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Dry Technical Boring Details on Camp Infrastructure

If you’ve read down this far and really are interested in details on the camp infrastructure and what we learned, we’re sharing those details below.

Lag Screws

This was our first year experimenting with lag-screws.

The camp purchased 14-inch 3/8” zinc-plated lag screws. Galvanized screws were far more expensive and deemed unnecessary. They were more than enough for securing tents and the shade structures.

In addition, 8” lag-screw was tested in the playa surface but one of the EA members was able to physically pull the screw out of the ground with considerable effort. So this shows that 8” does not go deep enough for secure placement.

The 14” screws were very well received in terms of how much easier it was to drive in the playa surface and to remove as opposed to pounding and pulling rebar.

Lag Screw Requirements

The camp purchased a low-cost Harbor Freight Impact Wrench which required the generator and a long enough cord to reach all the job sites. The HF driver had no trouble driving screws continuously.

The EA team also discovered that the DeWalt cordless impact driver (1/4”) has sufficient power to drive the 14” screw all the way to the surface but should be used sparingly because overheating the driver by driving multiple screws in succession is likely. The cordless should be reserved for driving single lag screws in locations where its not convenient to transport the generator. The cordless is more than adequate for removing the lag screws and was much faster than having to manage the Harbor Freight and its accompanying cords.

The camp plans to invest in more lag-screws and make more widespread use of it in 2017.

Shade Structures

Chill Space

We purchased a 36’x 20’ shade structure from Black Rock Hardware. It was very well packaged and no trouble setting up on playa.

We modified the setup slightly that instead of pounding down rebar to slip the vertical poles over, we purchased 1” conduit footing that had holes on the feet. We then used lag screws to fasten the feet to the playa surface. One screw per foot was more than adequate. A 36x20 shade would require 12 foot pieces.

To help secure the shade structure in case of strong winds, we used Home Depot ratcheting straps (orange for best visibility) on all four corners. One end of the strap was wrapped around the top corner joint and the other end was attached to a lag-screw+chain link that was driven into the ground. Then the strap was ratcheted down tight. It is suggested to twist around the strap quite a few times so that it doesn’t vibrate and make a lot of noise in the wind. 2016 wasn’t as windy as 2015, but it might be prudent to add two more tie downs in the middle part of the structure for a total of six.

Kitchen

The kitchen was built from two carports joined together.

Tent City Shade

For our campers who didn’t have luxurious accomodations such as an RV or Shiftpod, we made their homes a bit less onerous under the desert sun by erecting a giant 50’ x 50’ shade using Alumninet.

Playa Flooring

The camp salvaged vinyl flooring from a local climbing gym for the 36’ x 20’ shade space. It worked very well, but it was quite heavy and bulky to transport. The camp also purchased vinyl material that was previously used on billboard advertisements for use in the kitchen. The billboard vinyl was thinner than the climbing gym flooring and much easier to fold-up/handle/transport. Both vinyl surfaces stood up to the foot-traffic throughout the week without tearing or wearing out. It is the opinion of this author that the billboard advertisement vinyl is more than suitable and easier to transport than the climbing gym flooring vinyl.

Kitchen

The camp brought 5 20# propane canisters. We ended up only using two. Cooking stove was the large three-burner camping stove type which offered excellent cooking speeds.

Composting

Garbage

Cleaning dishes was the biggest pain point.

Power

Given that the camp power needs was mostly concentrated around the chill space and kitchen, a single Honda EU7000is was rented for the duration of the burn. The camp also had a backup generator of a older/louder kind but it was never used. The EU7000is worked without any trouble the entire week. Fuel consumption was okay the first few days until we discovered that Eco-Throttle was turned off. Enabling that greatly improved fuel consumption, especially when loads were low. The generator consumed about 2-3 gallons of fuel every day.