Desert Camping: Preparing for extreme climate change

March 12, 2018

If you are going to find yourself camping in desert extremes this season, here are a few tips and tricks to make the endeavor more enjoyable and less risky. First of all, you’ll want shelter, both from the searing sun of the day and the frigid chill that is inherent to the desert at night. Of course there is no better choice in camping gear than military surplus equipment, because this gear was designed with the climate in mind. Military surplus tents can be found to accommodate extreme cold weather, desert heat, and anything in-between. Several things you’ll want to keep in mind if you are camping in the desert this summer:

• Water! You’ll need at least a gallon a day if inactive; double this if spelunking, rock climbing etc…

• Critters! The desert is full of creeping, crawling, slithering beasts who want to share your body heat in the chill of the night. An Army cot or military surplus bed is worth its weight in gold. Though a cot could be bought at the local sporting goods store, bear in mind that the military surplus equipment is built to win wars, while the aftermarket ones are built to make the highest profit at the lowest cost.

• Plan activities in the early morning or late afternoon. The desert is hot from around eleven A.M. until about four P.M. (unbearably so), and it is chilled from dusk until dark.

• Carry a map and compass as well as a GPS device. Learn how to use both in case of technology failure.

• Sun protection, sun protection, sun protection! Make sure there is something to put between your skin and the sun. Lip gloss, sunscreen, a wide floppy hat etc…

• Have your vehicle checked before departure. This means your car, ATV, dirt bike, horse, whatever. Make sure that filters are changed and plugs are fresh so that you don’t get stranded in the desert.

Hopefully you take advantage of this great vacation area this summer. The desert is high in adventure and low in crowds. Whether you are panning for gold or other minerals, exploring caves and arroyos, or walking through desert ghost towns, you’ll find something remarkable and awe inspiring in this arid but intricate waste.

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