It may sound crazy to think about surviving in the hot desert heat, but you can make it if you follow a few very important tips. While we all hope that we won’t get lost or stuck in the desert for any amount of time, it is crucial to be prepared if it is at all a possibility.
Check out ten things you will need to survive in the desert.
This may be a very obvious tip, but it is worth mentioning that it is basically the most crucial one. Staying hydrated is imperative if you wish to survive in the desert. Even if you are simply checking out a desert reserve, make sure that you have plenty of water with you. Ideally, you should have at least a gallon of water per day, per person. While it may take up a lot of room and can be heavy, you don’t want to skimp on it.
- A Four-Season Tent
Most people don’t think about bringing a tent if they are driving through the desert. However, if you won’t be in a vehicle, always pack a four-season pack, even if you don’t plan to sleep overnight in the desert. If you happen to find yourself caught in a survival situation, pitching a tent can help you immensely. You’ll want to make sure that your tent can easily and quickly be set up in the sand.
- Proper Clothing
You might think that wearing shorts and a sleeveless top is a good idea when you are in the desert, but you won’t think that after your skin starts to burn under the relentless sun. You’ll start looking for shade that isn’t going to be there. Instead, wear long sleeves and pants that are lightweight and breathable. If you are out in the desert on foot, do everything you can to avoid the midday sun, as it is particularly brutal this time of day. However, you’ll also want to bring a sleeping bag if you plan to stay the night in the desert, as it gets colder than you would think once the sun goes down at night.
- The Right Accessories
You’ll want to keep the sun off of you as much as possible if you are in the desert. To do this, make sure that you wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your face as much as possible. The hat should tie under your neck to keep it from flying off. Always wear large sunglasses that offer UV protection when the sun is up. When it comes to footwear, comfortable tennis shoes or thick boots will be your best choice. Never wear any type of sandal in the desert.
- Survival Car Necessities
If you are driving through the desert and want to make sure you make it in case of a breakdown, stock your car before you head out. Don’t ever assume that you will make it across the desert without survival gear, even if you are only looking at a couple of hours of driving time. Prepare for car emergencies, such as flat tires, overheating, or running out of gas. Have a spare tire and jack ready to go, keep emergency gas in the trunk, and make sure you have water in case of overheating. Keep multiple phone chargers in your vehicle so that you can make emergency phone calls if you can.
- Hiking Poles
If you are planning on hiking through the desert, remember that it won’t be as easy as a stroll down the local park trail. Walking on sand can be difficult, especially once you start to get hot and tired. The desert will be filled with a lot of uneven footing that can make it very easy to fall. Before your trip, purchase solid hiking poles that will give you the type of support you need on an uneven surface. If you are caught in an emergency situation, they will help you walk easier.
- Water Purification Tablets
While you obviously plan to start your trip off with lots of water, you can quickly run out if you are in an emergency situation. You might not be able to find many water sources while you are in the desert, but it isn’t completely impossible. If you do find a pool of standing water, it will likely be very contaminated. Bring along water purification tablets to turn the contaminated water into drinkable water. These tablets will not take up a lot of space in your bag, and they could end up being a lifesaver. Water Filters Fill2Pure is also a great idea, as they can filter out up to 99.99% of chemicals and toxins from contaminated water.
- Road Flares
It won’t hurt to throw a few road flares in your car or in your bag in the event of a desert emergency. If your car breaks down and you need help, road flares can burn for hours, signaling the emergency. Remember to pack matches and lighters, as well.
You may not be able to rely on your GPS in the desert. Plus, your phone could die rather quickly in a survival situation. You’ll want to have a compass along in the event you get lost. This will keep you from going in circles if you become lost.
- First Aid Kit
You never know what could happen during a trip to the desert. You or a loved one could get hurt while you are out in the wild, but a trip to the hospital won’t be a possibility. Make sure you have a fully-stocked first aid kit that contains all the necessary items you could need, such as bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, scissors, and gauze. You could also get a little more creative and add liquid stitches, antibiotics, and pain medication to your bag.
Remember, always let a family member or friend know if you will be in the desert, whether you are headed there for a hike, drive, or something else. Let them know your destination and how long you plan to be. If you end up in an emergency situation, they may be the one who will ultimately save you.