October 14th, 2015
Tips For Camping in International Deserts
Have you ever camped in deserts around the world? It may seem daunting, but these tips can help you enjoy this extreme environment.
As you probably know, there are some incredible desert destinations all over the globe. The beauty of the desert is hard to beat, but the truth is: It is a hostile and rather unwelcoming environment that is not to be taken lightly. If you're not cautious, you could end up sick, injured, or worse. That being said, the desert can be a great place to explore, as long as care is taken to prepare for life in this inhospitable place. The following tips should steer you in the right direction—toward an unforgettable adventure.
Bring Lots of Water.
This piece of advice may sound obvious, but I cannot stress enough that bringing plenty of water is vital to your well-being in the desert. Put a bunch of water bottles in your backpack. Since the daytime temperatures are likely to be extremely high and there are not many opportunities to collect water, traveling or camping without bringing an abundance of water in the desert will leave you dangerously dehydrated.
Water Tip: Drink your water regularly, but don’t down it as soon as you feel thirsty. Ration what you have to ensure a continued supply.
Travel By Camel.
Camels are referred to as “the ships of the desert." So saddle up and head to your camp in style. Travel by camel is available in many international desert locations, including the deserts of Jordan and the Sahara.
Camel Tip: Pack an apple or carrot for your humpbacked friend, and the animal will love you for it.
Be Prepared For the Cold.
This may surprise you, but just because the desert may be hot during the day doesn’t mean that it will stay that way through the night. Packing extra layers of long-sleeve clothing to sleep in and a warm sleeping bag will go a long way in keeping you comfortable at night.
Cold Tip: Heat some water, put it in your water bottle, and then insulate the bottle with a sock. This makes a great heater for the bottom of your sleeping bag!
Camp Like a Bedouin.
The Bedouin group of people can be found all over the Middle East. Many of them have assimilated into modern, urban life, but there are still Bedouin people who practice their seminomadic lifestyle. If you find yourself in the deserts of Jordan and want to immerse yourself in this fascinating culture, why not spend some time camping with the Bedouin people in Wadi Rum? Bedouinlifestyle.com offers various trips that allow you to travel and camp like a Bedouin for several days.
Bedouin Tip: Get ready for laughter, hospitality, and eating everything/anything that's put in front of you.
Strategically Place Your Tent.
Since the intensity of the sun is a concern, if at all possible, place your tent in a shaded area. Something else to consider is the construction of your tent. Having an opaque fly with a lighter color floor will help avoid generating excess heat inside the tent.
Tent Tip: If your tent doesn’t have an opaque top, using a dark tarp can help mitigate some heat.
Avoid The Mid-Day Sun.
Do your most physically intense activities during the early morning hours or in the evening. At these times, the sun will be lower in the sky, so you'll experience less heat exhaustion. And don't forget to pile on the sunscreen from sunrise to sunset so you don't end up with uncomfortable burns that can damage your skin. Also: Bring a lightweight, quick-dry towel, like the TravelLite Towel, to wipe off sweat throughout the day.
Avoid The Mid-day Sun Tip: Spend the middle of the day in a shaded area and use that time to take it easy, catch up on your favorite book, or plan your evening adventure.
Be Wary of Wildlife.
Wild animals are always be a concern, but more often than not, wildlife has no interest in harming you. Avoid startling or provoking animals while spending time in the desert, and be especially wary of scorpions, spiders, or poisonous snakes—both of which can hurt you. If you're ever bitten, call 911 immediately. If calling 911 is not an option, use a piece of clothing or a compression bandage to slow the spread of venom by firmly wrapping the affected area. Also, don't forget insect repellant to keep away any buzzing insects that may sting you and/or transmit disease. For easy access, store insect repellant in a toiletry case, like the Pack-It Wallaby.
Wildlife Tip: Treat all wildlife as deadly. If you are photographing them, keep a safe distance.
Pack a Map and Compass.
Maybe you typically use your smartphone's GPS for navigation, but remember: You may not get cell service in the middle of the desert. So always bring a backup plan, like a physical map and compass that can help you navigate your destination.
Have you ever camped in the desert? What tips would you like to share? Weigh in, below, in the comments section!
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.
Patrick Gensel is a world-roaming visual storyteller with a special place in his heart for action sports and the natural world. No matter where Patrick is, you can always find him sharing his stories on Adventuretravelbuzz.com, Instagram, and Twitter.
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