The thought of a desert puts these in your mind: extensive sand suns, scorching heat and sparse vegetation and water bodies.
As a result, a trip across a desert is a test of physical endurance in most cases. Here is a check list of items to assist you in your desert trip.
- Water: Deserts are characterized by dry winds and intense heat. Exposure to these elements over a long period of time will lead to dehydration, thus making you weak. Under normal circumstances, an individual is recommended to consume 2 litres of water regularly. While in a desert this limit doubles. Ensure that you are carrying a minimum of 5 litres of water for each person per day and make sure you are sipping the fluids constantly.
- Clothing: Cotton clothes should be the dress material of choice as it allows superior air circulation and also allows drying of sweat. Wear full sleeved shirts for protecting your skin and preferably white in colour as white reflects light. You should be wearing khaki trousers along with cotton socks. Your desert boots should have been broken into before you start using them. Sport a hat and also ensure that your neck’s nape is shielded from the sun. You should carry a jacket because the desert nights are pretty cold.
- Sunblock and Sunglasses: Sunblock for handling sweat with very high SPF content is recommended in order to control the sunburn. Choose a sun block which has Aloe Vera additives and coconut milk as they are necessary for effectively soothing sun burns. Dark screen sunglasses are a must for protecting your eyes.
- Food: You must carry ample amounts of protein energy bars for replenishing the nutrient loss. Try to avoid foods with high fat sugar content as they will result in loss of fluid. Carry electrolyte sachets for compensating the mineral loss. Muscle cramps indicate dropping levels of electrolyte in your body. So ensure that you consume a couple of packets of electrolytes every day.
- Sleeping Bag and Powerful Torch: If you are planning to camp in the desert, you must carry a sleeping bag that will keep you warm as temperatures are very low during night. You must also carry a high capacity torch in order to check out the surroundings and for signalling in distress.
- Driving Across the Desert
- The route must be wall planned from before. Ensure that people back at home are aware of your itinerary. In addition to that do not forget to be in contact with them regularly and update them about your position. This can act as a distress signal in case you miss calling them.
- Have a good and handy GPS device with you and a satellite or cellular phone.
- The vehicle should be serviced in from before. Ensure that you are capable of basic vehicle repairs and maintenance in case of a break down in the desert.
- Ensure that you are carrying extra tyres, headlights and ample fuel and water to last you through the trip.
As with all other adventures and trips, driving across the desert can be a fun and exciting prospect but ensure that you have gone through this check list before starting one. This will ensure maximum enjoyment and safety while you are on the trip.