My first playa name was ‘john henry’ and that was given to me because I’m good at pounding in rebar. ting! ting! ting! I never missed, which is an asset when you’re setting up camp. Let’s face it, it takes a significant amount of time and repeated landed blows to get 18″ of rebar 12″ inches into the ground. It is some serious labor. This year, by sheer luck I came across another fantastic figjam ingenuity of using hex bolts and an impact driver to drill into the playa to secure your shade structure.
We didn’t own an impact driver, but I was able to pick one up from a mom-and-pop hardware store (sadly) going out of business and likewise was able to get the 12″ 3/8 hex bolts for a fraction of what I had found previously. They were also kind enough to cut the chain in to 2 link sections that we could slip on the bolts to use as the tie-down. We sank probably 16 bolts and backed them all out with one battery and it was showing no signs of stopping. It is to date easily the best playa specific expenditure I have made.
We rolled into Black Rock City on Saturday night shortly after midnight after a full 5 hours in the early entry line, which is brief compared to the entry of many burners, to be certain. It was dark and very, very quiet. Eerily quiet for the playa, truth be told. We needed some extra space for our pals who were scheduled to arrive the next day, so we were able to use some marker tape and sink a 3 bolts to create a perimeter just large enough for our shade structures and their RV. Some people will debate about ‘marking territory’ this way, but in my experience EVERYONE marks the perimeters of their camp for their friends. We were at 7:08 and I (Eyeball Camp aren’t our signs cool?) so we were well in the burbs. The fact that it was quiet, and I mean QUIET is important, because it would have sucked and possibly woken up our neighbors (who had already staked their areas) if we had been pounding in rebar for 15 minutes instead of quickly zipping in those bolts in 18 SECONDS a piece.
The great thing about these bolts is that because they are drilled flush with the playa, you don’t have to worry about rebar injuries from people tripping over the rebar. Likewise, you don’t have to pack a dozen plus pool noodles / tennis balls / stuffed animals for the ends of your rebar. You just mark your tie downs and extra ropes accordingly.
Everyone that we showed this to on the playa was in awe. Figjam, you’re the best! GAME CHANGER!