Surviving in the Desert

The desert

The desert

 

 

 

The first rule of surviving in the desert is to learn to live with the desert and to not fight against it.

The rule is to be prepared for any foreseeable event. Keep your vehicle in good running order. Carry extra fluids and essential parts such as spare belts. Wear appropriate clothing for the desert. You should wear loose fitting light colored long sleeve shirts and long pants. You need a wide brimmed hat and ultraviolet blocking sunglasses. Carry a first aid kit and a snake bite kit in your vehicle. Carry extra water at least a gallon a day for each person for drinking.

 

Hydration

 

As temperature rises fluid loss becomes a problem. If you are just drinking water in temperatures over 100 degrees F ( 38 degrees C ) you will soon not be able to hydrate your body fast enough. You need essential electrolytes so liquids especially formulated for the desert like Gatorade and H3O should be available. Your brain is one of the first parts of the body to be effected by high heat. Keep perspiration and heavy exertion to minimum especially during the hottest part of the day from 10 AM to 3 PM. Keep your head covered and stay in the shade as much as possible during the high heat hours. Learn to do your outside tasks in the early morning hours or late afternoon hours.

 

Survival Kit

 

Whenever I travel in the desert I have a survival kit in a small backpack. In it I have:

 

1.      A compass

2.      A Swiss Army Knife with magnifying glass scissors and tweezers.

3.      A whistle

4.      3 – 5 Alcohol wipes

5.      A small lighter

6.      A signal mirror

7.      A snakebite kit

8.      A survival Blanket

9.      Several packets of black tea

10.  A small sewing kit

11.  A spool of fishing line

12.  A couple of fish hooks and sinkers

13.  A small bottle of water purification tablets

14.  A small maglite with extra batteries

15.  A small bottle of bouillion cubes

16.  A small post it pad and pencil

17.  5 energy bars

18.  Several 1 liter bottles with straws

19.  A first aid kit

20.  A 5 inch sauce pan

21.  Several packets of H3O hydrating powder

22.  A canteen belt with 2 canteens full of water

 

 

Mechanical Problems in the Desert

 

When traveling in the desert it is best to stay on established roads. That way if you should break down and be unable to fix the problem , someone will usually be along to help you.

 

If you feel you need to leave your vehicle, leave a note on the dash telling which way you have gone. Stay on the main road. Don not try and walk across the desert.

Whatever you do take your survival pack with you. Fill up you water bottles before you leave and wait till late afternoon to leave. That way you will have a whole night to get to your destination before the heat of the day starts. Stay out of creek beds and washes, a storm in the mountains could send a flash flood down on you without much warning.

 

Water in the Desert

 

When traveling in the desert always carry a supply of water. Learn to look for signs of water by looking at the greenness of plants. If you must use streams or springs for water, always use water purification tablets and boil the water first. Always look out for snakes and scorpions in the desert. They like shade too when the sun is cooking the desert. Never reach into crevices or cracks or you might get a nasty surprise. If you are crossing sand dunes and see a twisting pattern that suddenly stops, do not go near the spot where it suddenly stops. It usually conceals a buried sidewinder  waiting to strike at  anything in range.

 

Signaling in the Desert

 

If you are in the desert and waiting for rescue, use every occasion to your advantage. Use your whistle in blasts of 3 if you think rescuers are close. One long blast can sound like a hawk or an eagle from a distance. At night a flare or campfire can be used but be careful, you do not want to set the desert on fire.

 

Final Comments

 

The desert is not a frightening place like most people believe, but you do need to be prepared for surviving in the desert. Use everything that is offered you by the desert and waste nothing. The desert is a place of solitude and the place to go if you want to be by yourself to think and contemplate. The desert has many breathtaking views that few people have seen. It is a great place to commune with nature as long as you are prepared.

 

 

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