lost car in desert

Desert Survival Tips

Desert Tips Series
How To Survive In The Desert
by L. Bremner of DesertRoadTRIPPIN

After years of desert travel I’ve picked up some great tips along the way.   My Dad always had big 5 gallon tanks of water and extra gas when we went on long trips.  He had spare batteries, fan belts, tools to fix a car break down and flares.  A basic first aid kit was always handy.  I can say that after 30 years plus of desert road trips we’ve never had a break down or major emergency.

In the earlier years we used to travel with a gold prospecting club and there would be a few cars that would get stuck.  One of us always had a winch on our jeep or 4×4 truck, so we were able to pull out the car that got stuck in the sand.  It is not a bad idea to travel in groups of several vehicles when traveling to more remote areas of the desert.

Another time my family was traveling on a 4WD trail out in Anza-Borrego.  We can across some mountain bikers who had run out of water.  They were too dehydrated to ride the way back.  We stopped, gave them water and some food.  They then hitched a ride with us by holding onto the Jeep as we towed them back to safety.

I remember one trip when we were exploring and rockhounding on the Bradshaw Trail.  In the distance my dad remembered seeing some black smoke.  He didn’t think much of it at the time.  Maybe some campers burning something.  The next day we learned that a couples car had broken down out in the desert.  They stayed by their car and burned the tires to try and to signal for help.  We don’t know for sure if it was their smoke that we saw, but my dad still wonders to this day if we could have saved them.  The couple did not survive.  It is a sad story and one we can all learn from.  When you see smoke, it could be a signal, so take the time to check it out.  You may find a lost hiker, broken down car with passengers who are stranded.

In an effort to spread the word about safety and desert survival I wanted to share a few of our classic survival articles and tips.  I’ve highlighted them for you with links.  The survival kits in a couple of the articles have a list of things to pack in your own kit.  Make sure you make a survival kit and always take it with you.

Stay safe out there!

Desert Survival Primer
By David Alloway

It is unfortunate that many people equate deserts with a hostile environment that conspires against human life. In the popular media, desert areas seem to be considered to be at the top of the wilderness list for danger. The historical fact is, however, that the human race was cradled in arid lands and people are well adapted to survive in deserts. Learning to be part of the desert’s ecosystem, and not view it as an antagonist is the first step of desert survival.Click here to continue reading Desert Survival Primer by David Alloway.

lost car in desert

How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
By Jim Bremner

Stuck in the desert or backcountry? What you do next can turn a potential problem into one of those sad news stories we’ve all read, another somber, cautionary tale of people that perished in the wilderness. The actions you take in the next hour may make the difference between getting home alive and not getting home at all. How you got into this situation is not that important, but how you get out is.

You may be surprised to find out that your most important survival tool is your smartphone, your iPhone or your Android, providing you have taken a few preliminary steps. Learn more…


Collect Water in a Solar Still
By Gregory T. Jones

Being a transplant from the Midwest to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, I grew up with Hollywood’s distorted images of the Desert Southwest. However, the reality of not having water in the true desert can be equally or dangerously more life-threatening. The chance of falling upon a desert oasis or spring is extremely unlikely, and the possibility of finding a contaminated water source, such as mineral springs poisoned with arsenic, only decreases the chance for survival. Click here to read more about solar stills.

Desert Safety Tips

Carry plenty of water.  There are no dependable sources of water in the desert regions. One gallon of water per person, per day is the absolute minimum that should be carried. When planning a hike, remember that water weighs approximately 8 pounds per gallon. When the water is half gone, it is time to turn back. Don’t forget extra water for your vehicle. DO NOT RATION YOUR WATER. It will only do you good if you drink it.  Click here to read all of the desert safety tips.

Preparing An Emergency Survival Kit
By Felice Prager

Survival in nature does not always turn on life and death situations, but it certainly can.  If planning your equipment and clothing improves your personal comfort and convenience and adds to the enjoyment of your trip, then they become essential benefits that may improve your experience and perhaps your chances for survival in the wild. Click here to continue reading about emergency survival kits.

Desert Survival Handbook Package
(You can purchase on DesertUSA’s Online Store for $18.95)

Desert Survival Handbook – Survival situations can and do happen to average people, as well as adventurous explorers. You’ll have the capacity to handle these situations if you know and follow the fundamental principles of survival.

This book contains the basics to get you started:

  • Prepare yourself for actual emergencies by solving real life scenarios
  • Increase your survival odds by knowing how to protect your body
  • Improve your chances of rescue
  • Make survival situations easier with a survival kit

Wilderness Survival – How to stay alive in the wilderness. – A Pocket Guide
This guide contains the survival essentials in a laminated 11 panel fold out.

Outdoor Gizmos

Did you know that a few rocks, some sticks, a shoelace or two, a wrist watch, a dollar bill, and a drinking straw are all you need to make surprisingly accurate sun-powered and star-powered gizmos? It’s a fact: In minutes you can construct a stick and rock sundial or compass, assemble a Sky-high Scope (included) that can measure the height of a tree or determine where you are on the planet, or figure out how long until the sun sets using nothing more than your hands.

This handy guide is intended for just about anybody who plans on spending some time out in nature. Seasoned hikers and backpackers will want to add these gizmos to their bag of survival tricks. For everyone else, this Getgo Guide will provide great entertainment, and maybe even an entirely new way of connecting with the sun and stars.

CLICK HERE TO Purchase the Desert Survival Handbook, Wilderness Survival Pocket Guide and Outdoor Gizomos Books on DesertUSA’s Online Store.

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