surviving the desert

Can You Survive In the Desert Alone? Here’s How To Increase Your Odds

Like the wilderness has its own survival tips, the desert does also.  Although a deserts survival tactics are a bit different from your normal wilderness survival tips, they still require you to have the same resources, food, water, and shelter. 

You might think that a desert trip is a fun and exciting event, and it is, that is of course unless you get lost in the blistering hot and dehydrating desert.  Here are a few tips to go by the next time you decide to go on a desert trip, just in case the worst case scenario plays out and you become lost.

1. Seek Shelter

First and foremost you will need to secure a shelter for yourself.  For a desert atmosphere the most common types of shelters to create are a sandwich shelter or a lean to shelter.  These types of shelters are very easy to build and can protect you from the blistering sun and sand filled wind that can create awful sand burn. 

You want to make sure that you start creating your shelter when the sun starts to go down because of the levels of temperature your body will be placed in.  You want to make sure that your body stays hydrated and cramming yourself into a shelter for long periods of time during the hottest part of the day will only lead to a substantial amount of dehydration.

You can use many things to create your shelter such as blankets, cords, rope, and even ponchos and all of these items should be placed in your survival kit before going on your desert adventure. 

It is very important to create a shelter for yourself before nightfall however, because there are many different animals that lurk in the desert and having an adequately built shelter can prevent animals from bothering you or harming you in anyway.

2. Find A Water Source

It is also very important to have a water source available in a desert atmosphere if you are lost or stranded.  Because it is so hot in the desert, your body is more easily dehydrated than you would be in a wilderness atmosphere. 

It is also harder to find a water source in the midst of the desert, which is why most survivalists will create their very own water filter system to create water without the use of a stream, river, or any other body of water. 

Source: How Stuff Works

The only materials that you need is a plastic sheet, this method is most commonly called the solar still water method.  The first thing you want to do is dig a hole in the soil and then place the plastic over the hole. 


The sun will then hit the plastic and create an evaporation of water from the soil, leaving you with a condensed form of water on the inside of your plastic.   

Another option is by consuming water through the help from cacti.  Many deserts are filled with cacti and can easily be punctured and opened to give you a water supply. 

So if you are finding it hard to find plastic to create the solar still method, then start searching for cacti to provide you with water to rehydrate your body.

3. Set Up A Fire

Even though the desert is smoldering hot, you still need a fire source to cook food and heed off other predator animals.  Make sure that you create a fire somewhere very close to your campsite so that you can still use the fire source as a protection mechanism. 

Making sure that you have a trusty set of waterproof matches or a lighter can help you create a fire in a hurry, although it can be a difficult task finding wood in the desert it is still possible.  Many survivalists opt in to bringing along a portable grill because of the scarcity of finding wood in the desert. 

So many people when packing up their survival gear for the desert will find themselves taking along a handy portable grill also… just in case.

4. Use Landmarks To Avoid Getting Lost

It is also very important to carry a first aid kit for minor injuries as well as a compass and map to help you with your navigation through the desert.  The desert can be endless and you want to make sure that you still keep in contact with your campsite at all times. 

Most commonly when rescuers are trying to find people they will find the campsite and in turn find the missing person.  So make sure that even if you venture off trying to find your way back that you provide yourself with the right landmarks or markings in the sand to distinguish exactly where you are. 

There is nothing worse than being lost and getting even more lost.

5. Bring a Survival Kit

Although survival in the desert is a bit different than wilderness survival in the woods you still have to make sure that you have the common necessities to ensure that you survive such as water, food, and shelter. 

So the next time you decide to go on a desert trip or adventure make sure that you fill your survival kit with tools that you may need as well as water and food sources in case you can find any if you become lost.  Use these tips and more when it comes to surviving in the desert.

What’s Next?

These are just some tips to help you survive a trip to the desert. This is by no means an exhaustive list but will help you get started. Let us know what you’d also bring with you on a desert journey.

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