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4 Essential Tips For Surviving A Desert

Man standing in vast, desert landscape

Like the wilderness has its own survival tips, the desert also does. Although a desert’s survival tactics are different from your everyday wilderness survival tips, they still require you to have the same resources, food, water, and shelter. You might think that a desert trip is a fun and exciting event, and that is, of course, unless you get lost in the blistering hot and dehydrating desert. Here are a few tips to go by the next time you decide to go on a desert trip, in case the worst-case scenario plays out and you become lost.

Tip 1: Find Shelter

First and foremost, you will need to secure a shelter for yourself. The most common shelters to create for a desert atmosphere are a sandwich shelter or a lean-to shelter. These shelters are very easy to build and can protect you from the blistering sun and sand-filled wind that can create an awful sand burn. You want to make sure that you start designing your shelter when the sun begins to go down because of the levels of temperature in your body will be placed in. You want to make sure that your body stays hydrated, and cramming yourself into a shelter for long periods during the hottest part of the day will only lead to a substantial amount of dehydration.

You can use many things to create your shelter, such as blankets, cords, rope, and even ponchos, and all of these items should be placed in your survival kit before going on your desert adventure. However, it is imperative to create a shelter for yourself before nightfall because many different animals lurk in the desert. Having an adequately built shelter can prevent animals from bothering you or harming you in any way. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind when hiking or camping in the desert is to make sure that you have a shelter. The desert can be brutally hot, and if you don’t have something to protect you from the sun, it will quickly become unbearable. Many times, people will find themselves pitching their tents in an area where they know there is plenty of shade available. Make sure to take into account all of your surroundings when making your decision as to where to set up camp!

Hike in desert survival
Hike in desert

Tip 2: Find Water

It is also essential to have a water source available in a desert atmosphere if lost or stranded. Because it is so hot in the desert, your body is more easily dehydrated than you would be in a wilderness atmosphere. It is also harder to find a water source amid the desert, so most survivalists will create their water filter system to create water without using a stream, river, or any other body of water.  

Carrying enough water is key in the desert. Not only will it keep you hydrated, but it can also help you stay safe from dehydration. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, headaches, and even seizures. It is important to drink plenty of water every day while camping in the desert, even if you are not feeling thirsty.

The only material you need is a plastic sheet; this method is most commonly called the solar still water method. The first thing you want to do is dig a hole in the soil and then place the plastic over the hole. The sun will then hit the plastic and create water evaporation from the earth, leaving you with a condensed form of water inside your plastic.  
Another option is to consume water with the help of cacti. Many deserts are filled with cacti and can easily be punctured and opened to give you a water supply. So if you are finding it hard to find plastic to create the solar still method, then start searching for cacti to provide you with water to rehydrate your body.

Unclean water cans in the sunburned toxic desert

Tip 3: Stay Warm

Even though the desert is smoldering hot, you still need a fire source to cook food and heed off other predator animals. Make sure that you create a fire somewhere very close to your campsite so that you can still use the fire source as a protection mechanism. Making sure that you have a trusty set of waterproof matches or a lighter can help you create a fire in a hurry; although it can be difficult to find wood in the desert, it is still possible. Many survivalists opt to bring along a portable grill because of the scarcity of finding wood in the desert. So many people, when packing up their survival gear for the desert, will find themselves taking along a handy portable grill also… just in case.

Tip 4: Have First-aid Kit

It is also crucial to carry a first aid kit for minor injuries and a compass and map to help you with your navigation through the desert. The desert can be endless, and you want to make sure that you still keep in contact with your campsite. Most commonly, when rescuers are trying to find people, they will find the campsite and in turn, find the missing person. So make sure that even if you venture off trying to find your way back, you provide yourself with the proper landmarks or markings in the sand to distinguish precisely where you are. There is nothing worse than being lost and getting even more lost. 

Although survival in the desert is a bit different from wilderness survival in the woods, you still have to ensure that you have the everyday necessities to survive, such as water, food, and shelter. So the next time you decide to go on a desert trip or adventure, make sure that you fill your survival kit with tools that you may need and water and food sources in case you can find any if you become lost. Use these tips and more when it comes to surviving in the desert.   

NJ Outdoor
NJ Outdoor

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