Deserts are some of the harshest, hostile, and paradoxically most beautiful landscapes you can find yourself in. The scarcity of water leading to dehydration, exposure to extreme temperatures, winds, and risk of attack from animals is just one of the many difficulties you face in this environment.
If you’re on a planned trip to a desert and have unfortunately been stranded, the following tips will enable you to survive.
1) The first rule for surviving the desert begins at home, ensure to notify a close friend or family of your plans. He/she should be someone you trust, someone who will notice if you ever go missing. Let them know of your plans in their totality; this includes your route and destination.
2) Carry the necessary gadgets. This may include but is not limited to: a first aid kit, flashlight with a set of batteries, mobile phones, fire starters, and matches.
3) Proper clothing
Wear clothing that minimizes water loss through sweating and shields you from the dangerous UV rays. This might include a hat and brightly colored light clothes.
Remember, you should focus more on preserving sweat more than water. Do this by ensuring you maintain your body temperature and avoid leaving your skin exposed no matter how hot it might get since this will accelerate moisture loss through evaporation.
4) Avoid eating
Humans can survive to about three weeks without food. Digestion makes you thirsty, and in the desert, you want to conserve water as much as possible. You should eat just enough to get you going.
Carry loads of water, the more, the better, your biggest risk in a desert is dehydration, and nothing is of more value to you than what normally most of us take for granted. Avoid soft drinks because this is counterproductive in that they tend to dehydrate you even more.
In a situation where you don’t have water, attempt the following.
- Trapping dew using a mesh and using a fabric or cloth to wring the water to a container.
- Scout around rocks and boulders
- Look for dried up riverbeds, especially where the bed seems to bend, dig a foot deep hole and wait for the water to collect at the top.
- Follow animal tracks and watch out for birds circling overhead.
- Learn how to make your solar water still. Solar water still is used to collect moisture from the environment.
The concept behind solar water still is similar to that of a greenhouse. The mechanism is such that heat is trapped inside a barrier making the moisture present to vaporize, which in turn condenses to form water droplets when temperatures drop, eventually streaming down to a container placed below the plastic barrier.
Yu can also check here on places to find for water in the desert.
The following is a procedure on how to make solar water still:
- Dig a hole a few feet in each direction
- Place a container at the base of the hole.
- Cover it by stretching a plastic barrier over it
- Place rocks to hold the plastic barrier in place. This should be done by placing them along the length specifically at the center, leaving the widths open; this will ensure the free flow of air in and out of the hole.
- If constructed properly, you’ll begin to notice droplets forming on the plastic cover, which, after a while, will drip down to the container below.
6) Avoid heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which can turn fatal If left untreated. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include: nausea, feeling light-headed.
If the above symptoms, it is paramount that you seek shade immediately, loosen your clothing and take in some water or sports drink to replace the electrolytes lost.
7) Learn how to make fire without matches
Come nightfall, temperatures in deserts are known to plummet even below freezing, and at this time, you better know how to make a fire because there is no way around it. Make a fire and live or don’t, and you perish.
Fire can also serve as a weapon to deter wild animals from coming close and serve as a signal if they are stranded.
8) Learn how to build a shelter
Conditions on a desert tend to be on the extremes; making building a shelter a life skill. If you don’t have a tent, the following are just some of the tips you can apply to be a shelter.
- Digging a trench. This might be time and energy-consuming, so you should weigh your option to access its viability. Dig up to two feet; this should keep your body cooler.
Build a mold using the already excavated sand to form three solid sand walls around the trench.
Cover up the trench using a tarp; this should protect you from the desert’s elements so unfriendly. Note the tarp should be firmly secured to avoid it from being blown off.
9) Rest more frequently
Factoring your fitness levels and age, ensure you take some rest every twenty minutes or so. While resting, ensure your feet are elevated to prevent them from swelling.
When resting, remember to also stay off the ground. The difference between ground temperatures and air temperatures can be in the tens, ensuring to cushion yourself when resting.
10) Look out for dangerous wild animals
At first glance, deserts may look barren, but danger lurks everywhere, so keep your wits with you and watch your every move. Trying to maneuver through the terrain is hard enough to leave alone confronting a bobcat or a rattlesnake.
11) Surviving dust storms
You can improvise a survival bandana to cover your nose and mouth to avoid dust reaching your lungs. You can also hide behind boulders if you are so lucky as to be near their vicinity.
12) Minimize your activities during the day
Conserving your energy and staying hydrated are your primary priorities when it comes to surviving in the desert, and this calls for some smart, rational choices, and being nocturnal is the soundest of the choices at hand. You are more likely to travel farther during the night than during the day under the scorching sun, thus maximizing the use of the precious energy you’ve got.
From the above, it’s crystal clear that you should venture into deserts well prepared and with a clear mindset, ready for anything the desert throws at you.