Practical tips that will help you survive in a desert

Stef Zisovska
Desert environment

Desert survival is not an easy task at all. If you have ever traveled through a hostile environment full of sand and wind, you probably know that those trips require a lot of survival skills that can save your life in an emergency situation. Now, not too many people venture alone in an unknown desert, but unplanned things can always happen and one can stay out there panicking with no clue how to survive. Sometimes, even experienced hikers can get themselves into an unforgiving environment without food and water. Fortunately, these practical tips will help you understand what are you really facing when going for a hike in a desert and help you deal with severe weather conditions.

Always wear a hat

Wear a protection for your head

According to many survivors, the biggest dangers in the desert is the exposure to the sun, walking around without your head uncovered, and dehydration. One of the best ways to fight against these dangers is to wear a big hat that provides shade for your head and your shoulders. In case you don’t wear a hat, make sure that your head is always covered with some shirt, cloth, or whatever light material you have at the moment. Covering up is the first rule you need to follow when it comes to desert travel. When you are exposed to a direct sun, your body struggles to protect itself from dehydration. Therefore you need to help your body from losing water through extreme sweat.

Try to find a cover for the entire body

Cover your body to protect it from the sun

Covering only your head is not enough, so you need to find a way to cover your entire body if you want to reach maximum protection. If possible, try to find a shade where you can hide and preserve the water in your body. Depending on your location, there may be a shade under small shrubs or cactus, or even you can look for a shelter on the north side of a big boulder. The important thing is to stay away from the dehydrating sunbeams and try to do all your activities during the cooler hours.

Don’t drink the last reserve of water (if you have it)

If you still have some water left at the moment you get lost, don’t panic and drink the whole thing at once. Make a plan and treat yourself with sips of water of whatever drinkable liquid you have. You can check the level of your dehydration from the color of your urine. If it’s bright and clear it means you’re still fine, but if it’s dark yellow you better take some sips of water. If you find some water in the desert, don’t drink it because you never know what kind of microbes it contains that can make you sick and lower your chances of survival.

Don’t eat too much

Walking through a desert

Food makes us thirsty, so avoid eating too much. It’s better to stay hungry than drink all the water at once after munching your leftover salty crackers. If you have no water with you at all, it will be better for now not to eat at all. Increasing your thirst is the last thing you want to do when surviving in a desert, so it’s better not to eat at all because your body can live longer without food than without water.

Keep your mouth closed

When you walk in a desert, move slowly, try not to sweat, and breath with your mouth closed. If you can find a piece of bandana to cover your mouth, even better. This will stop the extra water loss from your body.

Stay calm and don’t panic

Stay calm and stay positive

If you ever get into a survival situation in a hostile desert environment, try to stay calm as much as possible and don’t think it’s the end of the world. Your first natural reaction will be fear, which is completely normal, but try to control it and keep your mind sane. The best thing to do if you don’t know where you’re at exactly and you don’t know the region is to stay close to the location and wait for the rescue team. If you start walking around and get too far from your initial spot, it will be very hard for the rescue team to find you. In case you know how to find a way back to safety, make sure you have a lot of sun protection, a hat, and body cover.

Find a shelter to spend the night if necessary

The desert climate during the day is extremely hot, while the temperatures drop at night and then you will need a shelter to warm yourself. Deserts are the most unforgiving environments when it comes to survival, so before planning your desert trip, make sure that you’re ready for it and have enough essential to survive in case you get lost. Good luck!

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