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How to Survive in the Desert For Beginners

If you ever have to drive through the desert, the road seems to go on forever. There is little but cacti, brush, sand and lots of heat. If you ever had a break down with your car, would you know what to do? There are some basic things that you can do in the desert to boost your chances of survival.


1. Stay Hydrated


Before you leave on your desert journey, make sure you have had lots of water the day before. Also, it is a great idea to have a few gallons of water in your trunk. It’s important that it be water and no other beverage. Sure, water isn’t sexy, but remember: If the crap hits the fan and you’re stuck in the middle of the desert, you do not want there to be any carbs or salt in your drinks. Every gram of salt and carbs has to be dealt with in your body with more water.

2. Take Along the Right Foods


You are going to want to have some emergency food in your trunk too. You want items that have as much nutrition as humanly possible in the smallest package. You might pick up some granola bars, or beef jerky. Some survivalists swear by trail mix. If you do have a break down and need to head out into the desert, you want to be able carry supplies that weigh as little as possible and have a lot of nutritional punch.

3. Put On Wicking Fabrics


You want to have on clothes that wick away moisture, that breathe and dry quickly. It is recommended that your base layer of clothing have a UPF of a minimum of 30. This means that if 30 units of ultraviolet rays hit the cloth, only 1 is going to go through to your skin.

You also are going to want to have a layer for warming in the evening, such as wool or fleece, and a layer for windbreaking. Of course, you want to have light colored clothing both to be visible to rescuers and to reflect light.

4. Be Aware of Dust Storms


You should have along a pair of goggles and a dust mask. Seriously. If a big dust storm blows up, you are going to be completely immobilized if you do not have goggles and a mask. You also do not want to be sucking dust into your lungs.

5. Walk at Night

Walking during the heat of the day is a death sentence. You want to use as little water as possible, so this means that you want to walk during the coolest hours. You will be able to walk a much longer distance in the cooler air with very little danger of heat exhaustion.

6. Watch Out for Nasty Critters


There are many nocturnal creatures in the desert that can do you harm. Be on the watch for mountain lions and packs of coyotes. A wolf or a bobcat is also bad news. One of the big things you need to avoid is the scorpion. Another is brown recluse spiders. Both of these can be deadly if they sting or bite you. You should walk with your shirts and trouser legs tucked in.

7. More Miscellaneous Tips


  • If you are going to be in the desert, you should prepare yourself for very high temps by becoming used to high heat. This can make a big difference if you ever get stuck out there.
  • Have 1/2 a gallon of water per day at LEAST. You could get dehydrated quickly even with 1/2 gallon per day. Make sure you sleep during the day and walk at night.
  • You can cut into a cactus in an emergency and get some water. The ‘water’ may have some carbs and salt in it, but in a pinch, it will have to do.
  • Another thing to do if you run out of water is to build a solar still.


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