Tips for Desert Survival

With approximately 1/5 of the world’s land area being classified as a desert, it’s worth considering when learning about survival even if you don’t live in the desert.  As with all survival scenarios, you will first need to take care of shelter, then water, and last of all food.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you find yourself stranded in the desert fighting for survival.



Shelter in the desert, like everywhere else is mainly to regulate body temperature.  In the desert, this will usually be to keep from over-heating.  Find any possible shade during the day.


Don’t conserve the water that you have with you.  When you are thirsty you need to drink.  Try to conserve that water that is in your body by reducing sweat.  Do as little as possible during the heat of the day.  If you do find water, after drinking and filling your containers, wet all of your clothing to simulate sweat.


Do not eat if you do not have water, it will quicken dehydration.  You can last weeks without food.

Ground Heat

The sun is the most obvious source of threatening heat, but the ground can also cause your body to over heat.  Desert ground temperatures can be higher than air temperatures, as high as 150 degrees.  Avoid any direct contact with the ground during the heat of the day.


Always leave signs for search and rescue as you move.  Indicate the direction you are traveling in, and if possible the date and your condition.


If possible, without causing overheating due to exertion, get to a high point, you can see for great distances in the desert.  Look for roads, towns, and green areas that you might be able to find water.

If you are planning on visiting the desert, plan ahead to avoid a dangerous survival situation.  Dress appropriately, bring plenty of water, and let someone know where you are going and when you plan on coming back.


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