Surviving in the Land of Little Water

by Survival tips on


The desert can be an unforgiving place for a stranded hiker. Here are a few tips to help beat the heat and handle an unexpected emergency in the wilds. This article originally appeared in Backpacker Magazine.

Desert Garb – Tips for beating the heat
Think like a cowboy here- ever seen one on horseback wearing a tank-top, shorts, and sandals? A brimmed Tilley hat, sunglasses , and a bandanna around the neck soaked in water will take care of your head region. For the upper body, a Patagonia poly/cotton long-sleeved shirt will suffice with Columbia lightweight pants for the lower body. For footwear, try Smartwool socks and Danner Desert boots or Merrells. A stranded desert hiker can increase their survival time in the heat by 25% by remaining clothed which cuts down on evaporative sweat-loss.

Hyponatremia or Water Poisoning
Water and electrolyte replacement powders are both critical to your body’s ability to stay cool. Hyponatremia, which happens when too much water is consumed and electrolytes are diluted in the bloodstream, can be life-threatening. GU20 and Vitalyte are just a few of the electrolyte replacement items available. These replace lost sodium and potassium and are essential during the hotter months of the year when your water consumption rates increase dramatically.

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