Backpacking in the Desert: Don’t miss this unusual experience!

So, what descriptions come to mind when you think about deserts? Dry, sweltering hot, harsh, difficult, barren… right? But, in reality, choosing to go for a hike in desert terrain is a very pleasant and welcome change! Don’t believe it? See for yourself, then…

When you go hiking in the desert, here’s what you should look forward to:

Credit Source:Flickr Images

  • Temperature and weather just right, not too hot, nor too cold!
  • No winged-insects or bugs to bother you!
  • You don’t have to go looking for a trail, because you cannot get lost here…
  • If you like solitude, then you should definitely give deserts a shot.
  • You have a diverse range of terrain to choose from…
  • And you needn’t miss out on anything, because there are countless opportunities to climb up to points from where you can see the view all around!
  • And don’t forget that the desert is home to a variety of plants and animals that you wouldn’t find anywhere else!

So are you warming up to the idea? If yes then here’s what you need to know before you book yourself for the next desert hike:

1. Pack your Bags

Here’s a list of essentials to pack so that you can cope with the desert terrain with minimum hassle:

  • A cooling bandana that helps you manage the heat.
  • A Mist Maker to keep you cool in that dry heat.
  • Hiking poles, especially collapsible ones.
  • A Waist Pack, instead of the customary backpack, for Day hikes.

  • Prevents straining your back.
  • Leaves your back cool.
  • Has as much space as you need.
  • Your hips are sturdier and better built to carry the weight of the water you must carry.
  • Wind jacket and pants made of nylon.
  • A knife
  • A comb for cactus barbs.
  • Needle and thread.
  • Sunscreen
  • Colored Chalk, to mark your path.
  • Compass
  • Topo Maps
  • Alcohol Wipes and Band-Aids.
  • A digital camera – for capturing the memories, but more importantly as a visual aid to go with the maps!

2. Do’s and Don’ts

Desert hikes are for winter.
  • Avoid very hectic hiking activity. Try and save your energy, especially when the day is at its hottest.
  • Check the weather forecast before you start.
  • High grounds are safe if it is the flash flood season. Flash floods happen in deserts when there is rain, and you need to be careful to avoid them.
  • Carry adequate water. When you hike, dehydration is a possibility and you need to carry your water in the desert unlike on trail hikes.

Credit Source:Flickr Images

3. Staying Safe

Staying safe is a concern even in the desert! For all the perks you get, there are a few precautions to take:

  • Make sure you do not run out of water.
  • Winters are usually the best time as you are likely to face fewer problems then.
  • When the sun is up and at its brightest, cover up and stop if you need to.
  • Look out for cacti and stay away especially if they have barbs.
  • Deserts are home to snakes, but they don’t usually show up in winter. But even then, watch out and listen for the poisonous rattlesnakes at all times.
So are you converted to desert hiking yet? After all options are galore – Texas, Utah, in the Mohave, among others…

So don’t take a backward glance… Instead move on ahead with planning and booking your trip!

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