1. Gather friends and create a tribe identity.
What is the history of your tribe? What are the backstories of individual tribe members? What version of apocalypse did you survive? What events forced you together as a tribe? Even if you are the only ones who know it, your tribal identity will be molded by it.
2. Design a tribe insignia.
Come up with a logo or insignia that identifies you as a tribe. Something people will recognize on sight. Sew it to costumes, paint it on cars, and adorn your campsite. Better still, make a physical sign or banner you can display at your camp, and take with you (like a battle standard) as your tribe explores Wasteland.
3. Get to know your tribemates before Wasteland.
Getting together to work on camp structures, costumes, vehicles, and gear is a great way to bond with your tribe before Wasteland. Not only will you become a more cohesive group, but you’ll be far more prepared to spend 4+ days out in the desert together. It’s also an early way to discover who can handle responsibility, and who can’t. The tribe that works together, stays together.
There are lots of ways for tribes to function even if you all don’t live in the same town or country. Use Skype or Zoom to have video meetings, split up the tasks of making things for your camp so that everyone has something to work on. Share progress shots of your projects, continue the planning, and chat on a private MeWe or Facebook tribe page.
4. Decide what unique activity or experience your tribe brings to Wasteland.
Brainstorm with your tribemates and figure out what your tribe will bring to contribute to add to the fabric of Wasteland. What activity or experience are you offering your fellow Wastelanders? Are you a camp of mercenaries with guns for hire? Are you a bunch of carnies bringing games of skill and chance? Are you merchants specializing in barter?
Wasteland is a playground of our own making, so bring your A game!
5. Build your camp to survive the apocalypse.
Physically lay out and battle test your camp ahead of time. Find a yard or free space and set up everything you plan on bringing to Wasteland, ideally months in advance. Best to learn what breaks and what doesn’t in your own backyard. Every year tribes bring brand new structures they’ve never set up before, and the California desert destroys them. Don’t watch your camp blow away. Be prepared for heat, cold and brutal winds.
6. Establish a common area.
Much of your experience at Wasteland comes from the people you meet. A well designed camp will have a visitor friendly common area, with shade during the day, and a campfire at night. Extra seating never hurts. Hang out with new friends, and trade stories day or night.
7. Theme EVERYTHING.
It’s not just costumes, but everyday objects that can find a post-apocalyptic twist. Think of your daily routine, the items and furniture you use, and imagine all of it gone. How would you make these things if you couldn’t just buy a replacement? What alternative solutions are there for making coffee, storing trash, keeping your beer cold, or simply just sleeping? The last thing you want is to create an amazing campsite, and then destroy the illusion with bright blue tarps, red dixie cups, brand new camp chairs, and out-of-the-box tents.
8. Theme your ride (optional).
Nothing destroys the illusion more than a shiny new modern vehicle. Totally theming out a post-apocalyptic ride is not only a fantastic project for your tribe, but gives you the option of exploring Wasteland and the surrounding desert in style. Just throwing some washable poster paint on it, or painting it flat black definitely helps, but you can always do better. As a general rule for vehicles, theme it, or hide it. Visit Wasteland Your Car for tips.
9. Leave early. Arrive early.
Nobody likes setting up camp at night. Chances are it’s a long drive, and there will be those inevitable delays, especially if you’re carpooling to the event. Pack ahead of time, and plan for things to take longer than you expected. You’ll also need to account for the time you’ll spend in line waiting to get in which can be a couple of hours, or several – so if you can spare the time, leave as soon as you can so that you arrive early in the morning on opening day. Get there first, claim your spot, and spend the night partying instead of pounding tent stakes.
10. Pack it in, pack it out.
Have a plan, and packing space for trash. Remember, that tent you never opened until Wasteland is probably not going back in the bag it came in. Be prepared, and assign one person to be your “Trash Panda” who leads your tribe in cleaning up your campsite before you leave. Our motto is “Don’t let it hit the ground. Clean as you go”, as there are no trash cans at Wasteland, so everything you bring goes back home with you.
11. Explore Wasteland as a Tribe.
Now that you’ve created an amazing camp, get the hell out of it! If the only camp you hang out at is your own, then your missing most of Wasteland. Whether you’re just out wandering, or going to watch the shows at one of the many stages, make your presence known. Go make friends, introduce yourself to your neighbors, and let the post-apocalyptic world know who you are!