If the next thing on your bucket list is trekking in the dessert, then you need to equip yourself with a different mindset. Desert hiking is different from forest adventures. As a hiker, your aim is to have fun and an overwhelming experience. Would you want to miss some amazing experiences because you lack the right approach to desert hiking? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to.
The challenges that come with desert hiking require some unique practices and tools to help you achieve your goal; that of trailing on rivers, through arroyos, in canyons and climbing the mountain. Without much ado, here are important tips to help you in your desert hiking exercise.
Wear hiking boots
Boots will prevent your legs from the large sagebrush or cacti thorny plants in the desert. They will save your legs from scratches, heated surfaces, and small, harmful animals. Wear comfortable and fitting boots that will not get loose as you walk along. Make sure the sole is slip-free to avoid slipping as well as landing on sharp rocks.
Don’t forget a trekking pole.
A trekking pole is useful in maintaining stability and walking along rough surfaces in the desert. The pole will help you in moving forward and up a mountain. You can also use it in pushing away thorny plants and spider webs for comfort. It is a useful tool in maintaining balance while crossing rivers, walking on slippery surfaces and while on tree roots. You’d find it useful to defend yourself against attacks from wild animals, as well as help you in walking on muddy surfaces. Forgetting this important trekking tool exposes you to more danger and discomfort while hiking.
Carry a map.
A map will help you in tracking your moves. Constantly check the map for the landmarks and amazing sites ahead. It will help you to trace your current location in case you get lost in the desert. Before you start hiking, make sure you study the map and identify specific areas you’d pass through. It would be nice to mark them and let another person know to ease rescue exercises.
Carry a good water filter.
If you’re a backpacker, you would agree with me that hiking enhances dehydration. Desert hiking requires you to drink plenty of water to hydrate your body. A water filter will help you in filtering spring water or water from another source to drink. The eight glasses required for your day to day intake are not enough, you need to drink more; a liter of water per hour would work best. This means that carrying water with you may not work. You can only carry a small amount of water which will not be sufficient for the entire hiking exercise. Carry a good filter to drink – probably a fine cloth or a coffee filter can work.
Take rests and cool your body.
Hiking requires more energy than you’d need under normal circumstances. Whenever you feel fatigue, a headache or nausea, find a cool place to rest. Then take some energy drink or a snack and drink water as well. Remove your shoes to cool your legs. Due to the hot temperatures that increase as you walk along, wearing light clothes will help in cooling your body faster.
Protect yourself from direct sunlight.
When trekking during the day, you cannot avoid the sun. Wear protective sunglasses, hats, and long-sleeved clothes. Apply sun screened oils to protect your skin. You could also carry an umbrella. It will keep you protected from the sun whenever you lack a tree to hide from the sun.
Control your pace.
Slowing down will control sweating and keep the heartbeat at a normal rate. Desert hiking includes climbing the mountains, walking on rocky surfaces and jumping over water sources. These require more energy than the normal 2000 kilojoules needed for a normal body functioning. A slow pace will require less amount of water intake and low burning of calories. You need to spare the energy for more fun and adventure.
Desert hiking is fun and enjoyable. You only need to prepare yourself in advance and get the necessary tools for your hike. Then make sure you choose the hike that fits your interest and fitness. Make your desert hiking an adventurer’s exercise with the right protective gears without worrying about your safety.