For the camper who is tired of venturing into the woods, desert camping can be a fantastic alternative. There is a whole range of new activities that can be done in the desert, such as horseback riding, exploring canyons, rock climbing and hiking. While the desert offers a unique camping experience, its harsh weather conditions make it important to plan ahead and prepare for a brutal environment. Here are some key tips to remember before going desert camping.
Bring a lot of water
This might seem obvious, but in extremely arid environments, you're likely to drink much more water than you're used to. Dehydration remains the number one threat in the desert, because water is often difficult to come by. That's why you should always carry more water than you plan on drinking. As an extra precaution, you should also take a portable water purification system in case you manage to find a source of water and want to increase your supply.
Plan for cold nights
Never assume that the desert will be brutally hot both day and night. Since the desert air is exceptionally dry, there is nothing to keep the desert warm once the sun goes down. The nighttime temperatures can even dip below freezing in some deserts at certain times of the year. Extra clothing, blankets and good sleeping bags are typically enough to battle the cold nights. You can also avoid getting blindsided with cold weather by doing preliminary research about average night temperatures in the desert you're planning on going to.
Avoid the hot temperatures of midday
The hottest part of the day is between 3:00 and 6:00 PM. It's best to avoid any activities during this period that require excessive exposure to the sun. Keep in the shade by doing things like staying inside your tent, relaxing beneath a tarp or remaining in your RV. By limiting your physical activities to the morning and evening, you can enjoy all the desert has to offer without exposing yourself to the harsh desert heat.
Wear the right clothing
While it may be tempting to minimize the amount of clothing you wear, wearing more clothing can provide necessary shelter from the sun. By donning a hat, a long sleeve shirt and pants, your body will be protected from harmful UV rays and you may even feel cooler. Remember to only wear light colored clothing, as darker colors will make you hotter.
Monitor your health
The most important thing to remember while in the desert is to closely monitor your health. Do not overwork yourself, especially during those midday temperatures when you are more vulnerable to heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. If you ever start feeling dizzy or get a headache or muscle cramp, make sure to rest and drink water, because these symptoms of dehydration.
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