Do you have what it takes to survive in the desert in the event of an accident or emergency? If you're thinking of traveling anywhere among the vast arid stretches of our world, you may want to consider studying up on some desert survival skills before you go. But you don't have to be a full-blown survival expert to stay alive in the desert, as long as you can keep some important tips in mind.
While much of the survival mindset is the same no matter where you find yourself, survival in the desert is a delicate balance between staying out of the heat of the day and staying warm during the cold nights, between conserving the water you have and drinking enough of it to stay alive, and between stifling your feelings of hunger and seeking out any source of food which will you keep you alive.
Here are 8 simple tips for surviving in the desert:
1. Keep a lid on it
It's been said that the biggest dangers in desert survival are exposure (to the sun during the day, and to the cold during the night) and dehydration, and neither of these is to be taken lightly. One of the best defenses against the sun is getting out of it, and barring that, to always having a big hat or other covering for your head with you. If the top of your head is exposed to the direct sun, or even indirect sun for long periods, your body needs to work hard to keep itself cool, so the first rule in desert travel is covering up. If you're caught without a hat, use another article of clothing to wrap your head in, or if your skills are up to it, fashion a 'hat' out of appropriate materials at hand.
2. Get under cover
This goes hand in hand with the first tactic, covering your head, except this applies to the rest of your body as well. Finding shade or constructing a shade shelter is one of the first priorities for desert survival, as keeping out of the direct sun and not exerting yourself in the heat of the day will help to conserve water. The immediate need will be for some temporary shade, and then when the sun starts to go down, you can construct a better shelter. Depending on your location, there may be shade cast from small shrubs or cactus, or you may need to seek a place which will shelter you from the sun for even a small part of the day - such as in a ravine or on the north side of a rock outcropping. The general idea is to stay out of the dehydrating rays of the sun during the day, and to travel or forage during the cooler hours of the morning or evening.