BITF – Burn In The Forest 2022

BITF - Burn In The Forest 2022

BITF 2022 A Newbies Perspective

Burn In The Forest 2022, or BITF for short, was not on my radar as I had little to no knowledge about the event or the burner culture as a whole. Within this article I hope you are able to get a sense of what it was like from planning to homecoming from the perspective of a first time attendee who for the most part was naive as to what to expect, who would be there, what I was getting myself into and everything in between!

We took loads of photos and videos while there but do not want to post them for the world to see as we do not have permission from those in them to do so… so sorry for the limited photos in this article!

Want To Go To A Burner Event?

A what??? That was the question I was asked while sitting in our friend’s hot tub in July 2022. My reply, “what’s a burner event?!” I of course knew of Burning Man as it has a long history of being an epic festival adventure (and in recent years an even more so survival adventure I hear) and I was intrigued to learn that there are many regional burner events, like BITF, which carry on the traditions and values of the main event, Burning Man.

Planning For Our First Burn

The Location

After a quick yes to wanting to attend, we were in full planning mode with only a little over a month until BITF 2022. I (we) consumed every youtube video we could find on past BITF events and watched what seemed to be very few considering how big the event was advertised as being. 

We saw that over the years it has moved to a few locations with one being a windy plateau and another which was by the Fraser River in Chilliwack as a couple examples we found youtube footage of. 

This year a new venue that we were familiar with was to be used to host the event in Merritt BC which is only a 2.5 hour drive from our doorstep. The festival venue is used for other events such as Rockin’ River Fest and Bass Coast so we knew it would be a great venue due to its location and past festivals it has held.

This BITF was held in mid September which we are told is not normal and that the usual event date is typically in the summer months. This proved to be both a benefit and a little bit of a challenge considering the weather but we lucked out. Mid 20’s during the day (that’s mid 70’s for our USA readers) and above zero (32f) at night so you were not overheating while trying to sleep.

What To Bring – Gear

This was fairly easy as we are seasoned overlanders and a multi day camping trip is a normal thing for us… But in this case we were not bringing the outdoor toys! We modified our typical camping gear list to include more creature comfort items than survival items. Some things we found to be extremely useful and that added a lot to our experience were:

  • Twinkle Lights – both battery and solar
  • Comfy Chairs – these were a must have for us
  • Extra Bedding – extra fluffy blankets, flannel sheets etc
  • Healthy Snacks Galore – we planned a full meal menu for the 5 days but ended up snacking more than eating full meals.
  • Sharables – this was a must bring as the nature of the festival is a very giving one so being able to freely share really felt right
  • Storage – we purchased a portable wardrobe and multiple Plano waterproof crates to ensure everything was organized and easy to find. Super handy!
  • Power – you need to charge your stuff! A solar system would be best but rechargeable power supplies work too.

What To Bring – Clothing

This is where things really got fun! Literally, if you can imagine it you will likely see someone wearing it! The theme for BITF 2022 was Neon which was a simple and fun theme to be inspired by. We opted to go with bright colors as much as possible but the evenings required faux furs and onesies with the chilly nights. Some recommendations and things that we will do next year that you might want to consider:

  • Bring Extra Outfits – also bring items you might not need so you can lend them out! We are not talking about jeans and tshirts, we mean theme appropriate or BITF inspired gear
  • Check The Forecast – this year was clear with warmth during the day and chilly at night. Be sure to have the layers you will need.
  • Know The Theme – we only found out what the theme was a week before going and found many, but not all, used it for inspiration.
  • Your Feet Matter – most days were 20,000 plus steps (16 kms or 8.5 miles)according to my watch so have your walking shoes! Don’t forget there are multiple sound camps, you will be dancing.

Getting There

As mentioned above the location for BITF 2022 was a short 2.5 hour drive from our house so it was a very nice drive through gorgeous BC. The highway we took, which was the Coquihalla Highway (#5 HWY) sustained major damage in November last year due to flooding so there was minor delays due to construction.

Once in Merritt BC it was just a few quick turns to get to the event grounds. We suggest hitting town before you enter BITF for any last minute things you might need or to top up your gas tank. The route from the highway to the festival grounds does not have any stores to shop at.

Arriving At BITF

Signs greeted us before we even saw the gate and seemed to prepare us for what was about to be released upon us. Once we arrived at the main entrance we were greeted by a well organized crew who explained rules, checked us in and applied our wristbands. We could tell in the first few moments that we were not in Kansas anymore, their costumes spoke volumes about what we were about to enter and everything said spoke to the experience we were about to be given.

Once cleared of the gate and the formalities were complete we started to slowly drive down a well maintained gravel road into a valley. We reached the crest of a slight rise on the path in and there we saw it, a sprawling vista with a huge amount of empty space that we could only imagine would be full as the hours and days progressed. We were awed by the size of the venue and what was already being created. This was going to be massive (insert butterflies in tummy emoji here lol).

We quickly spotted our theme camp location thanks to a well laid out map given to us at the gate and we made our way to our home location for the next 5 days.

Camp Setup

Work as a team and don’t get distracted! Our personal camp is a pretty simple setup thanks to a couple years of slowly refining what we carry and actually need when we are in the middle of nowhere. For BITF though we needed to kick it up a notch because it wasn’t just bears and mountain lions that we wanted to impress!

We brought ample lighting and furniture that made setting up camp a little longer but our experience was much better for it. BITF is literally around the clock (I can still hear the music from one of the sound camps in my memories while the sun was coming up) so lighting is extremely important, don’t be shy on this one!

You will hit a fatigue wall at some point, or two, so make sure you think ahead of things you will need to help recharge your batteries. For us it was a super comfy fuzzy chair and an annex area that is typical for our setup that we could have some alone time if needed.

Once we were all squared away the fun stuff got going with the setup of our theme camp – Ananda Shala. This was our first real taste of the BITF community and where we really started to feel like baby burners. The vision for the camp was comfort, zen and community which was brought together perfectly via comfy seating, carpets and tapestries.

One thing you MUST be prepared for, before it happens, is inclimate weather. This year it was a day of wind that hit us and even though we staked everything well our camp, and many others sustained damage due to it. Next year I plan on going overboard when it comes to being prepared for all types of weather!

BITF 2022 – The Experience

It sounds cliche but for real it is hard to find the words to adequately describe our 5 day BITF adventure. Emotional, uplifting, inspiring, hangry, exhausting, perfect, scary… All of this and every other feeling or descriptor you can think of.

For me it was a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings (almost all in the best of ways) and it was an amazing experience. I started with judgment and I am not going to lie about that. “What the hell were they thinking when…” They wore that, or chose that, or brought them! But that very swiftly faded away and was replaced with, “that makes sense, that is perfect, I totally get it…”

There is no way you can truly prepare yourself for your first BITF regardless of how many people you talk to or how much you research online. You just have to experience it and do so with the most open minded way you know how.

Our camp was next to Kids Camp – yes, kids of most ages are welcome at BITF and my instant judgment, based on ENM experiences was – This will not be good… But it was. Kids were like butterflies throughout the event and mostly stayed in one area.. And it felt like all of them got what was expected of them. And then they would disappear at some unsaid curfew time.

When we said above if you can dream it, you will see it when it comes to outfits we were not kidding. Furries, leather, next to nothing and EVERYTHING else you can imagine was the gear of choice throughout the weekend – and it worked!

BITF 2022 At Night (1)

Dueling sound camps created experiences for the senses and if one was not to your taste the next one most likely would be. And again (broken record here) – it worked! If your vibe wanted DEEP beats, here you go! Want some EDM / Trance for a bit, not a problem.. Just walk over there. Need to chill and collect your thoughts for a little while – follow me!

The thought and effort that every theme camp put into creating an experience blew my mind as I got more immersed into the festival of experiences. I had high tea with the most loveliest of hostesses pouring Bengal Spice and serving cookies. I watched people climb a wall of dildos to hit the infamous and sometimes hard to find clit button at the top for a light show reward. I spent oodles of time in cuddle puddles in Mom’s Basement, Baby Cheetah Camp and the Love Train and I am grateful that they were there.

BITF 2022 Wall Of Dildos

Midway through day 2 we had no clue how we would make it through the whole 5 day experience but we somehow managed to catch our second wind and it was likely due to the spaces that were created for all of us by other burners. The invitation to chill, recoup and reconnect really made BITF for me. I don’t know how it could have been any better in that regard to be honest.

The art installations – wow. Enchanted Forest repeatedly blew my mind and whoever thought up the floating beehive – Thank You! It almost felt fake or virtual at times it was so well done but then you could reach out and touch things to ground yourself back into the reality of being there.

I could go on and on about all of the amazing things I saw and experienced but the reality of it all is that it is more than you expect and you will have your own unique experiences based on your going and trying it on. Yes you will see amazing things and yes you will meet even more amazing people… if you plan on BITF 2023.

Who Goes To BITF

I am pretty sure your neighbors were there! Literally everyone and everyone can and does attend burner events. We met so many people in ALL age ranges and everyone was exactly where they needed to be. From accountants to doctors and students along with grandparents – BITF is perfect for all.

Final BITF 2022 Thoughts

We felt cared for even before we showed up. Communication was our gateway drug and we are hooked. The thought and care that was put into everyone’s safety made me proud to have become a burner and I am already enrolled in being a part of ranger duty for next year.

If you have ever considered BITF – just do it. If you have not before and something you read here has you interested – just do it. If you aren’t sure if BITF is for you – just do it.

See you at Ananda Shala Camp at BITF 2023!

BITF 2022 Ananda Shala