Constructing the right shade structure at Burningman can be the difference between having a relaxing fun time and being very miserable. You need a structure that can protect you from the sun, the rain, the wind and function in those elements.
ARF employs a number of structures that have advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few.
I have found that 1" EMT conduit makes a lovely shade structure. EMT is lighter and thinner than black pipe, so it is easier to transport. The connectors are all welded steel that hold the conduit together using eye bolts for tension.
The advantage of this structure is that it is very easy to assemble. Four adults can have this structure up in 20 minutes.
I use 10' x 10' silver & blue tarps. They are a real pain to find, which is why I recommend making your conduit fit the tarps you can find. For some odd reason they come in sizes like 9' x 10' or 11' x 16'.
The real advantage to this structure is that it can be as long as you want. This structure is 20' x 20'. We actually have enough connectors to make a structure that is 20' x 50' and really, there is no limit to how long you can go. The only limit is space.
There is no denying it. Geodesic domes make great shade structures. They can take lots of wind, they have lots of room and no annoying support poles. The only problem is that they are incredibly labor intensive. It will take you several days to make all of the parts and assemble them beforehand. After that, it will take 4 people over an hour to assemble the structure. Finding a shade cloth to fit is very hard if you are not willing to sew your own. You can use parachutes, but they are very expensive in large sizes.
There is no denying that once it is set up you will have a great place to lounge that is out of the dust and the heat.
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