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How to Survive Freezer Burn Texas


On octopus art car


What is Freezer Burn?

Freezer Burn Texas is an annual Central Texas regional arts event and community experiment inspired by Burning Man. It takes place at Valkyrie Ranch, a beautiful 500 acre event venue located in Paige, Texas. The ranch is mostly wooded with native trees, a lake, and a wildlife preserve for endangered and functionally extinct animals. These tips for Freezer Burn Texas will help you stay warm and have fun.


Know Where You're Parking

Having attended Burning Man first, I was surprised by how small Freezer Burn was - I could walk around the whole loop in 15 minutes, and camps were lined up along a single-lane dirt road barely wide enough for one car. Larger RVs had to park in a designated area, and there were a few scattered areas for open camping.





Despite the simple layout, I didn't read the map beforehand and overshot my camp, having to go around the circle again. If it is your first time at Freezer Burn or with the camp you will joining, it will be helpful to take a look at the map before you get to Valkyrie Ranch. The layout can be confusing depending on where you are camping, and at the beginning of the event, there may not be many distinguishing signs or art pieces.


Dress for the Weather... If You Feel Like It

Many went all out to combat the cold, wearing winter gear and onesies, while others bundled up by creating custom warm and creative outfits. Still, more people simply walked around naked despite the cold, as burners do. Due to the sheer diversity of bodies attending and the understanding of no judgment, however you decide to clothe yourself will be accepted and celebrated.


Don't Underestimate Texas

Frost-covered camping equipment
Camping equipment left out overnight

Freezer Burn provides a unique challenge: have fun but stay warm. During Freezer Burn 2024, Temperatures fell to 10 degrees with soggy skies and bracing winds. The mornings were frosty, and the event ended a day early to avoid unsafe road conditions.


Several camps provided heated tents with movie theaters, dance floors, artwork, and bars while others invited burners to brave the cold and dance outside. I camped with Snail Tinder Mail, which made a warm space for people to relax and interact. When planning for the event, consider how you as an individual are going to stay warm. This includes not just your sleeping quarters, but your camp, your outfits, and your gift. Make sure you pack warm clothes and a low-rated sleeping bag, or bring a generator for your electric heating setup.


Try to Unplug

During my stay I was given another unique challenge: we still had phone service. On Playa there is no phone service except in dedicated locations where you can possibly snag some internet. It was amazing to truly feel disconnected from the world and immerse myself in the Black Rock City experience.


However, at Freezer Burn I still had full phone service and cellular internet. Many people combatted this by turning off or putting away their phone. I kept mine on my person in order to take the occasional photo, but kept it on airplane mode to avoid the constant itch to check it. Though I broke and resorted to using my phone in the mornings when I felt too cold to get out of my cozy nest, I still feel that I was able to focus on immediacy and be immersed in the experience of the moment.



Some people couldn’t resist the pull, and could be seen texting or on calls and FaceTime. One person came into our tent while I was on shift only to be on a call with her boyfriend for over an hour - the kind where you aren’t really talking about anything, just existing on the phone together. Finally, two of my campmates played a light prank her by asking to talk to the boyfriend and joking around with him until she got off the phone and went back to enjoying the burn. For such a short burn (4 days at the most, 2- 3 for many), it’s important to stay grounded and interact with the people and surroundings going on around you.


Volunteer

A chilly sunrise over Valkyrie Ranch
A chilly sunrise over Valkyrie Ranch

A true labor of love, the event is organized by a non-profit organization led by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, volunteer leaders, and hundreds of other volunteers. No one makes money off of it. By volunteering, you are helping make Freezer Burn run more smoothly, and giving yourself the experience of understanding the inner workings a little bit better.


I volunteered for the Guardians by helping to man the gate early on my second day. During my shift I huddled around a propane heater with my fellow volunteers and got to know them, then we watched the sun rise and traded reasons why we were grateful to be alive at that moment. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I had ever seen, partially because it was one of the most touching conversations I had been granted in a long time.


Even if I don't see those friends again, I am grateful for the time we spent together as well as to myself for deciding to volunteer. Making new connections can be awkward for some people, and volunteering during a burn gives us more structured time to interact with people in a setting where we are likely to be sober as well as have a common interest. I believe it will always be a rewarding experience.


Small But Full of Heart

At Burning Man I spent a disproportionate amount of time biking around Deep Playa, silently pondering the meaning of the many different art pieces and occasionally nodding in acknowledgment to other explorers. When back in Black Rock City, I spent my day attending a flurry of yoga classes, dating events, crafting workshops, food tastings, and mindfulness talks.


As a smaller event, Freezer Burn forced me to come out of my shell. There was art, but not enough to use it as escapism from people. There were workshops, but not many that I was interested in. Instead, I was pushed to expand my comfort zone. I found myself enjoying it, making connections with amazing people, and learning new things about myself.


Freezer Burn is small but full of heart. It has the same spirit of love, acceptance, and creativity that lives in all burners. If you're in Texas during January, it will be worth it to check out!



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Hi, I'm Koi!

I'm an environmental project manager who decided to make a change from office life to to outdoor projects and small business ownership.

My goal is to help promote forward movement in outdoor spaces and live events towards full accessibility and diversity by giving everyone the inspiration and tools to create their own adventure.

I love self expression, hiking, music festivals, and Burning Man, and want to show that celebrating diversity in the outdoors makes it better for everyone.

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