How To Survive A Desert
Our planet is an amazing place with so much to see and explore. Every country has something different to offer with beautiful landscapes such as oceans, forest, mountains and so much more. One of the harshest of these landscapes are deserts. These desolate places are not without their own beauty, but they can be incredibly treacherous. While exploring some of the largest deserts in the world it can be an unforgettable experience, being stuck in one can be dangerous.
Before you start planning your desert safari, it’s crucial to know what to do if you find yourself stranded. Your vehicle may break down in the middle of the desert and it could be days before help arrives, so let’s look at everything you need to know to survive a desert.
Beware Of The Signs Of Dehydration
Deserts can be extraordinarily hot during the day and lead to heat exhaustion. The cloudless skies above may look like an amazing backdrop to the sand dunes, but without any water, you could find yourself in danger. Be aware of the early signs of dehydration. It goes without saying that you will be thirsty but you may also feel nauseous. Dizziness is also an indication of dehydration but your best indicator is the color of your urine. Pale and yellow is fine, but the darker it gets, the more dehydrated you are. If it gets to a brown color, then you run the risk of your kidneys shutting down.
Anytime you venture into the wilderness, you should take enough water with you. When you plan a desert adventure, you need to have a very large amount of water with you. If you head out in a four-wheel drive, taking water with you is easy. Otherwise, a hydration pack is a handy way to take a larger amount of water. Ration the water and you should be able to get through a couple of days.
If you’ve run out of the water, try and find a source of water in the wild. Follow animals towards a water source or look for flying birds. They are usually flying towards a source of water. Even if you come across some vegetation, head towards that. There may not be an obvious pool of water, but if you dig a little near the trees, you may be able to find some.
Shorts and t-shirts are not suitable for the desert at any time. The sun is usually a lot stronger in the desert and you will burn faster. Cover up as much as you can, preferably with clothing that minimizes sweat evaporation. Keeping the sweat close to your body will keep you a little cooler meaning you will sweat less. Make sure you also never venture into the desert without a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck.
Keep The Food Light
Snack foods may be convenient when you are out with your friends, but most of these are overly processed and contain way too much salt and sugar. If you have fruit or vegetables, these are the best as they are light, but packed with nutrients and water. Otherwise, things like protein bars and dried meat like beef jerky are good for an energy boost. Easy on the jerky though. You don’t want to overdo the salt.
Emergency Kit Is A Must
It’s absolutely crucial to put together an emergency kit before you head out for the desert. Even if you only plan on spending a few hours out there, an emergency kit is something you can’t be without. This kit must have a well-stocked first aid kit, a canvas or tarpaulin you can make a shelter out of and an emergency beacon so you can be found. Any type of navigation equipment with GPS will also help you find your way back to civilization.
Find Or Make Shelter
If you find yourself stranded in the desert, the best thing to do is to stay put. Obviously, you don’t want to sit in the sun all day because sunburn will make an already uncomfortable situation unbearable. Look around for a place where you can seek shelter from the burning sun. if there is a large rock formation, a cave or even some trees, sit in the shade. If you can’t find anything like this, use clothes or the tarpaulin and make your own shelter. Just get out of the sun and conserve your energy.
Become A Creature Of The Night
As hot as the day time temperatures can get in the desert, the night time temperatures are cool and sometimes even cold. Surviving the desert is about avoiding dehydration and saving your energy. If you do find yourself stranded in the desert, save your strength and rest in a shady shelter during the day. If you must find your way out on your own, save the walking for the night when the sun is gone and taken the stifling, baking heat with it.
The Important Decision
If for whatever reason you do find yourself stranded in the desert, you need to make an important decision. Do you try to walk back to civilization or do you stay where you have shelter from the blistering sun? If you have any type of navigation equipment and see you aren’t too far away from help, you may decide to wait for the sun to set before trying to reach safety. If it seems to be a considerable distance, consider staying where you are, especially if you have enough water. Why risk putting yourself in peril?
Before you head out on a desert safari, make sure you let someone know where you plan on going and how long you expect to be out. In many places, local authorities insist all visitors sign in and advise of their plans. That way, when you and your party don’t report back at a designated time, they will send someone to look for you. Even if you haven’t reported into the locals, at least let a family member or friend know of your plans. It could be the difference between life or death.