Have you been dreaming of visiting a breathtaking desert with odd rock formations, majestic dunes, historic relics, and seemingly endless life stretches? The eerie silence permeating deserts worldwide has drawn people there for thousands of years. However, the trips involve inherent risks, such as intense heat, biting cold, and water scarcity. It is, therefore, essential to arm yourself with some tips to survive in these dry environments. This article will explore ten crucial tips for desert traveling to ensure your safety and well-being.
1. Drink Clean Water
It may seem apparent to carry enough water, but cleanliness and quantity matter most when traveling. You must be ready for anything to go wrong, even if it’s just a short journey. Cold, clean water is a great addition to have with you since it will still be fresh when you drink it. Aim to drink one liter of water every hour when traveling through the desert. Depending on how long you plan to stay, you can figure out how much water you must bring.
According to Medical News, even a gentle lack of hydration, as negligible as a 1-2% loss of body weight from liquid, can significantly affect mental performance and physical perseverance. These results highlight the importance of paying attention to hydration in a challenging desert climate because it can result in serious problems. Understanding this, some desert explorers admirably settle on a local water conditioning service to guarantee the cleanliness of their water, particularly in areas where water sources might be scant and contaminated.
You’ll appreciate every second of your time in the desert if you’re well-hydrated. Hydration maintains healthy organ function and controls body temperature. Staying hydrated is essential while desert traveling.
2. Be Aware of Wild Animals
Deserts are not lifeless, desolate areas. According to Study.com, 500 plant species and nearly 300 animal species call the Sahara Desert their home. Most of these animals – deadly or not – want to be left alone. They will usually flee before you can get close enough to capture a picture, since they perceive you as a possible predator or, at the very least, as a nuisance. But occasionally, an unsuspecting camper comes upon a species that is either hostile, protecting its domain, or simply shocked to see a careless person stomping on its tail. These creatures can also be hazardous at times.
Some have strong fangs, some carry disease, and many are venomous. Each wilderness location has distinct species of venomous animals, such as bark scorpions and dangerous mountain lions. Deserts are also home to many snakes, including the rattlesnake. Though they try to avoid humans, it’s not uncommon to come into contact with these poisonous snakes when desert traveling.
Try to maintain some space if you spot one. Avoid intruding to take a closer look. Remember that the snake’s strike zone is approximately half its length.
Rather, back up gradually. If you are bitten, remove jewelry and tight clothing before you swell, call 911 to get to an emergency room as soon as possible, and remain motionless and cool to help slow the spread of venom. Getting help from an animal attack injury attorney becomes crucial when navigating the legal ramifications of these kinds of incidents.
3. Be Aware of Strangers
Even though the immensity of the desert could make it seem lonely, you will inevitably run into strangers, so exercise caution. Desert traveling safety is a major priority, yet many people are concerned about the wrong kind of safety. This is due to the rarity of serious crime; nonetheless, even seasoned travelers may encounter minor crimes sometimes.
Pickpockets and bag snatchers may seem normal in tourist-heavy towns, but not in desert areas. However, because they are opportunistic, these burglars usually look for the easiest targets in the desert. There are a few easy steps you may take to lessen your chances of being a victim when desert traveling.
Even if small-time theft and related crime incidents aren’t as common in isolated desert areas, travelers are rather concerned about them. The unexpectedly high frequency of these occurrences highlights how crucial it is to maintain awareness and develop a proactive attitude. Given the possible legal repercussions of these encounters, travelers would be wise to speak with a petty theft charge attorney. In addition to offering advice on handling particular situations, this legal assistance also aids in comprehending the local legal system, making desert traveling safer.
4. Tune Up Your Vehicle
In the vast expanse of the desert, your vehicle isn’t simply a mode of transportation; it is your lifeline. The significance of guaranteeing it’s in top condition couldn’t be overstated. The inhospitable conditions of the desert overburden vehicles, making ordinary maintenance and tuning significant. The fact is that outrageous temperatures in the desert, going from high intensity during the day to crisp evenings, can speed up mileage on vital parts, elevating the risk of mechanical problems.
Verify the recommended tire pressure for your car by referring to the owner’s handbook or the tire itself, and fill up if necessary. Brakes require the right amount of brake fluid. You should consult a mechanic if you notice squealing when applying the brakes. Is the vehicle battery in good condition? Take your car to mechanics offering free battery diagnostic testing to be sure it is in good working order.
Maintenance isn’t simply a careful step; it’s a proactive move toward moderating the dangers related to unanticipated events in the desert. A well-maintained vehicle is better prepared to deal with the demanding conditions, decreasing the probability of breakdowns that can leave you stranded in remote areas. Having the contact details of a reliable car accident lawyer on hand is also extremely helpful in the event of unanticipated events such as a breakdown or collision. This legal assistance guarantees that you will be ready to handle any emerging legal challenges.
5. Stick to Trails
Whatever your desert pursuit, stay on designated trails and tread on sturdy terrain. This is for your safety and to reduce the effect on the surrounding region. Everything has a defense mechanism in the desert, so even a small brush with a cactus can cause serious harm. If you find yourself off-trail and there is not much of a trail, stay on solid surfaces like rocks.
It is easy to get lost in the desert. Vegetation and rock formations look similar, and long-standing features like mountain ranges or hills always appear at a constant distance away. Thus, it’s crucial to stick to established trails. However, the routes might occasionally be hidden, particularly if they pass through rocky areas.
Usually, there will be signs in those locations, but if you go very far (even a few miles) into the desert, you should always have a map. Never depend on a GPS system. If you are traveling across rocky terrain, you may lose the signal. Alternatively, download a map to your phone so it’s always with you. You can also use contemporary technology, such as a drone, to keep yourself on approved routes and inspect your surroundings.
6. Watch for Hunters
Have you ever noticed your steps while walking sound like a game animal? Or when you stray from the trail to avoid hazards like rock falls, blowdowns, or just to explore – especially if you are carrying a backpack – you look like a huge animal? Be mindful of hunting seasons and areas before desert traveling, particularly if you are close to a hunting retreat.
Do not hike at dawn or dusk. Hunters are more likely to be out during dawn and dusk, when wildlife is most active, though they can be out all day. Instead of hiking in the early morning or at twilight, schedule it for mid-day.
To catch that amazing sunrise or sunset photo, always have a flashlight or headlamp to enhance your visibility. Additionally, when you wear reflective clothing during low visibility hours of the day, hunters can locate you more easily. Check for any updates or additions to the hunting regulations. The best way to stay safe during hunting season is to avoid complacency.
7. Bring Plenty of Supplies
Consider other supply options besides sunscreen when packing. Make sure you have enough food, water, and other necessities packed. The importance of amenities to sustain oneself while desert traveling can’t be overstated.
Wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed sun hat, long-sleeved hooded clothing that provides UV protection, or even a reflective hiking umbrella. Another approach to shielding yourself from the sun and the prickly, needle-filled plants that inhabit the desert is to wear protective pants.
The desert can get quite chilly, which many people are unaware of. Fourty-degree swings are rather common, according to the National Geographic Society. Snowfall is expected at higher desert altitudes, so be careful to pack for all kinds of weather. Ensure you have enough warm clothing, a raincoat, a beanie, gloves, and a check-the-weather report before leaving.
8. Know Basic First Aid
Being well-prepared is the most basic competency in providing first aid in a desert setting with no local emergency room. A fully packed travel first aid kit guarantees you will have all you need in case you or a hiking partner need help. A first aid kit for desert traveling typically contains the following supplies: bandages, disinfection, tweezers, bite or sting ointment, and Benadryl.
You must check your first aid pack before heading out on your desert journey to have time to replenish any supplies before the trip. While having all the necessary first aid materials on hand is vital, knowing how to use them is even more critical. In any circumstance, knowing basic first aid and life support is essential, but for people who are lost in the desert, it may mean the difference between life and death.
Everyone walking the desert trail is susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Staying hydrated, calming down, and finding shade are all important. To immediately calm down an agitated friend and prevent the onset of heat stroke, loosen tight garments and pour water over their head.
9. Bring a Physical Map
While being able to navigate using a physical map is an essential skill, there are a few things to keep in mind. Trails in the desert can be quickly swept away by storms or wind down sand washes, in contrast to trails in forests with moist soils. Remember that U.S. Geological Survey maps of the area may not be as accurate or up to date with regard to the terrain you are traveling through because smaller-scale maps are not available. Contact a local website or service that can provide updated maps.
Make mental notes of your position to mark important waypoints, including major geological features on the horizon. You can remember a major junction by photographing the scene from the front and the back. If your goal is to go through a canyon, figure out when the canyon floor will be most shaded using a topographical map and the sun’s route.
A GPS device comes in quite handy in the desert. However, remember that it can be difficult for the device to locate the signal if you are in a tiny slot canyon. Make sure you are as familiar with the specifics of your trip as possible before you depart, and carry a printed map in case your GPS signal disappears.
10. Have a Cool Shelter
Adequate and versatile shelter is crucial in the harsh desert climate since weather patterns vary drastically. It’s essential to choose the ideal site for your desert shelter. Seek natural features like sand dunes or rock formations that provide shade and shelter. These features might provide your shelter with a strong base and some cover.
Using diurnal winds is another desert camping tip to help you stay cool on summertime travels if you’re attempting to catch a breeze. Rising heat and descending coolness among canyons of varying heights create diurnal breezes. Set up camp ‘upstream’ in a canyon with a higher elevation to avoid exhaustion in the morning.
Camp lower in the canyon downstream for protection from nighttime breezes. Ensure the shelter, particularly if it is an RV, has temperature control capabilities. Regular RV service can guarantee that it is ready to provide a comfortable and cool retreat when you visit the desert.
We hope these desert traveling tips will help you stay cool as you explore sand dunes, grasslands, cactus woods, and canyons. And remember the fundamentals! Like singing old western licks on rambling desert stretches, drinking plenty of water, and swimming in it! Happy travels!