Camping in the desert – it may seem crazy for some, but there’s something about the vast sand dunes and warm summer nights that make it such an adventure! Deserts aren’t just barren landscapes, and they’re filled with life and beautiful sights. If you’re thinking about a camping trip in the desert, read on as I tell you my 5 top tips!
1. Preparing for inclement weather
People think the weather in the desert is hot 24/7. However, it can get pretty cold at night so you’ll have to prepare for both warm and cool weather!
Make sure you bring sweat-wicking clothes and layers for the day, and wool-based layers at night to keep warm. Furthermore, stay protected from the sun with SPF-sunscreen and sunglasses with UV filters.
Also, prepare for your trip by picking your date carefully. Avoid camping on dates when rain is forecast, as flash floods can occur. Also, try to plan it around slightly cooler weather to make the trip more comfortable (unless you’ve got space for the best tent air conditioner!).
2. What gear should you bring?
As well as the usual things to pack for a camping trip (e.g. tent, extra (warm and cool) clothes (pants and shorts etc), food and water, first-aid/survival kit) here are some items particularly relevant for desert camping:
- a tarp for shade during the day
- a waterproof and resilient tent
- a sleeping bag liner
- insect repellent and lots of sunscreen
3. Research the wildlife
Acquaint yourself with the critters and animals that you’re likely to encounter in the desert, especially those that might be dangerous. Scorpions, snakes, lizards, and spiders are just some of the wildlife you might come across so it’s best to be prepared.
There might also be small critters like rats, coyotes, and squirrels. Because of this, you’ll want to ensure that all your food is locked in a container and not left exposed around your tent.
4. Eat plenty and stay hydrated
This is one of the crucial things to take note of. Because of the extreme heat during the day, it’s easy for your body to lose water. That’s why you should always carry water with you and aim to pack at least three times more water than what you think you should bring.
Also, since you’re losing fluids from perspiring, pack in salty snacks and food, as well as sports drinks to replenish the salt and minerals lost. Food such as nuts can increase your energy levels to allow you to continue hiking and camping.
5. Safety precautions
It’s important to bear in mind that desert camping isn’t your typical adventure and in fact, you’re entering a harsh environment with extreme weather conditions.
If traveling to your campsite by car, equip it for desert travel to try and mitigate against the risk of breaking down. Always remember to plan your gas stops as gas stations will be harder to come by.
Lastly, remember to check the weather reports often whilst keeping friends or relatives up to date with your anticipated whereabouts. If using a GPS device, remember to pack a hard copy map just in case you lose power or signal unexpectedly.
The desert can be harsh, but it’s actually a very beautiful place and it’s the extreme contradictions that make it an amazing place to visit and camp in at least once in your lifetime. For those wanting to get a taste of camping in unique settings like these, I hope these tips helped you out!
If you have more questions or want to share your own experiences camping in the desert, do share them below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories. For more information about camping and hiking, explore Outdoors HQ blog.