New shade structure seems to work

Previously, Playasophy’s shade has been provided by a disposable wooden structure. It consisted of grid of 2x4 planks strung together with rope and tensioned by ratchet straps. The main downside to it (other than having to buy new wood every year) is that each upright must be sunk 18” into the playa for stability. This is actually so effort intensive that it became a non-trivial portion of the physical labor involved in setting up the camp. The first year we tried it, we had a TERRIBLE post hole digger which made this even worse; last year we switched to an augur-style digger which considerably improved the situation.

Even with a better tool, digging and repacking the post holes is a lot of work and makes it hard to get shade up quickly. After the last Burn we tentatively settled on a design involving EMT conduit and welded steel fittings. This design is much sturdier, simpler, and quick to set up.

However, conduit isn’t cheap, and due to budget constraints we had decided to only replace part of the shade structure. Fortunately, a generous fellow burner provided us with 25 free tubes! This got us a bit past replacing half the shade structure. We had some offers to chip in more specifically for the shade structure, and eventually we decided to just go ahead and replace the whole thing. This will make setup much easier on our early arrivals and save costs year-over-year on the wood.

Today, Geeber and I cut most of the 8’ uprights and tested out the design for the first time. I’m happy to report that the structure is very solid and a snap to get up even with only two people!

The Man burns in 17 days!