DIY AND HOW TO'S

Desert Survival Kit: Staying Prepared in the Middle of Nowhere

Green Tree Surrounded by Weathered Bush on Brown Soil Under White and Blue Sky during Daytime
Kane Dane
Written by Kane Dane

You can never be too safe when it comes to surviving anywhere, especially in the desert. Having a desert survival kit is a great way to ensure survival, as it includes many items that you would need in case you need them. Whether you are backpacking, hiking, or even camping in the desert, having a survival kit with you can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

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Desert Gear can also be used to protect yourself while out in the middle of the desert with no sun protection, or when the weather gets unfavorable. When you are trying to enjoy nature, you need to protect your body and be as prepared as possible.

Too much sun exposure can cause cancer and other health issues later in life that are not worth taking the risk for. As outdoor enthusiasts, we know that being safe and protected is the most important factor of enjoying nature while exercising and making memories. To keep you safe from too much sun exposure, why not read our piece on the top sun hats?

Small Desert Survival Kit

In this article, we are going to discuss desert survival kits and desert gear as it pertains to emergency situations and helping you in a crisis. No matter what activity you are enjoying in the desert, you need to have some items on you in case you do find yourself in an emergency situation. There is a lot to learn, so let us dive right in!

Features to Consider

When you are looking into a desert survival kit, you should know that this needs extra preparation because of the climate in which you are in. Below are some of the features to consider when you are getting your own survival kit together for your desert exploring.

The Planning Stage

When you are planning a desert journey, you need to know where you are starting and where you are going to end up. Learn the pathway and study the areas that you will go through so you can be prepared. Not only will you plan what you take, but you need to plan how long you will be gone.

Be sure to tell family or friends where you are going and exactly what you plans are so they know if and when to worry and send help. Have your cell phone charged and with you in case you need to make a call and do have cellular service.

Man Sitting on Rock Near Body of Water and Holding a Map

Shelter

Your kit should have some type of shelter in it. This can be a tarp, or even a blanket that will keep the elements away and keep you safe. You can also bring along a small tent if you are backpacking or hiking through the desert. There are other materials you need, such as duct tape or a small sewing kit to keep your shelter together if need be. Each situation will vary when it comes to shelter, so you should be prepared for anything.

A photo at Desert Tower Tent Camping

Fire Building

When it comes to building a fire, you should bring along matches, flint, or a lighter to start a fire if you find yourself in need to get warm or cook food, or even signal for help.

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You may need to find nearby items to start a fire, or bring along items of your own. Having lighter fluid is helpful as well. Bring along a blade knife so that you can cut up pieces for your fire.

clouse-up photo of a flint

Navigation

Your kit should include some type of navigation, such as a compass, in case your cell phone has no service. Bringing along a compass and a map will help you find where you are and get back on track. Be sure you know how to read the maps and use them properly, or you may risk going the wrong way. Read our piece on the best GPS handheld devices that will help you find your way anywhere.

a close-up photo of a compass

Medical Treatment

Of course your kit is going to need items in case there is a medical issue that arises. You need to have bandages, medical tape, ointments, and pain medication. Bring along some alcohol wipes and other small items so that you have a good emergency medical kit together. Our article on homemade first aid kits will help you a lot, so check it out.

clouse-up picture of bandages

Signals

Various signaling devices exist, so it is up to you to choose what you prefer. These can include items like pen flares, whistles, and signal mirrors. These items get people’s attention so that help can be sent your way. These items are small and can fit right in your pocket or pack with no issue.

picture of a whistle on the table

Food and Water

Bring along some snack items that can serve as an energy boost when you find yourself in need of sustenance. You may find yourself in a situation where you need water, and you can get yourself water by using purifier tablets or drops, as well as several other ways to clean your water. If you do not clean it, you can end up seriously ill. We’ve written a piece on the top purification tablets to make your water safe, it’s a must-read.

picture of a person holding a bottle of water

Desert Gear

Having some gear to protect you in the desert can be crucial. These areas get cold at night and there is little to block any elements except to use gear like space blankets and ponchos to stay safe. You can also bring along rain gear if that works for you. You also should bring along a flashlight so you can see better at night, and possibly signal for help with it.

group of people in the nature with a flashlight during the night time

A Desert Survival Kit Review

When you are planning a trip into the desert, you need to make sure you are as prepared as possible. If you ever find that you have gotten yourself lost, hurt, or need help in any way, just follow some of the rules below and you will be fine.

What To Do In An Emergency How This Helps You Survive
 

 

 

Be Prepared For The Situation

Be prepared before you leave for your trip to the desert. Carry along your kit in your gear and learn some survival skills before you go out to the desert.

Having bandages, flares, a tarp, and a space blanket makes a huge difference if you must spend unexpected time in the desert and you find yourself in a bad situation.

 

Do NOT Panic

Panicking does nothing but make things worse. When you find yourself lost or hurt, you need to remain calm and think of how you can improve the situation you are in.
 

Find Shelter or Shade

Next, you need to find shade or shelter and look at the situation you are in. Do not be hasty, as you may need to build your shelter or use a blanket or tarp for protection.
 

 

Trace Your Steps

Think about where you have come from, and figure out where you are trying to go. Using a map and compass at this point is helpful.

Knowing which direction you are heading in can make a huge difference if you have navigation items with you in the kit.

 

 

Conserve What You Have

At this point, you need to conserve not only water and food, but your energy. Only do what you know is necessary for your survival until help can arrive, and keep tabs on your water and food.
 

 

Take Inventory

Look at everything you have, including water, food and your gear.

Obviously food and water will keep your body going, but you need to have gear that can help your survival if you are lost or hurt. Having the proper equipment can mean a huge difference.

 

 

Stay Where You Are

If you are lost or hurt, you need to stay exactly where you are.

You can use your compass and map to help you, but if you keep randomly walking, you are only going to continue being lost. This is when you can start signaling for help with your flairs or mirrors.

 

 

Devise A Plan

You need to consider a plan and make it work. This can involve using your navigation skills and choosing one direction to go in.

Or you can sit around and wait for help. It is your choice. As long as you are prepared, you can survive.

 

 

 

Think Rationally And Prepare

You need to use common sense, survival skills, and any other skills you have to survive if necessary.

Try not to waste your energy, sit directly in the sun, or go without shelter at night. Prepare to execute your plan if you find yourself lost or hurt and will be waiting a while for help.

Now, we can discuss exact items you should bring along in your survival kit, so that you can be as prepared as possible on your journey through the desert. Keep in mind that it might sound like a lot of items, but when you are stuck in a bad situation, you will be very glad that you have these items to stay alive until you can be helped.

Main Groups Of Survival Needs Items To Pack In Your Kit
 

Shelter

Here, you can use a tarp or space blanket and build a shelter if you cannot sleep in a car or a tent. Using duct tape and some poles or sticks can help you create your own shelter space.
 

 

Fire Building

Bring along a lighter, matches, or even magnesium blocks to start fires. You can find tinder or bring your own.

Fire can help you with cooking, cleaning your water, and sending for help. It will also keep you warm at night time.

 

Navigation

You need a map and compass, especially if your cell phone has no signal. Know your directions, where you are going and where you came from in order to navigate properly.
 

Medical Treatment

A first aid kit needs to have pain reliever, ointments, bandages, alcohol swabs and more so that you can be helped until you can get to the hospital if needed.
 

Signals

For this, you should bring flares, Chem lights, glow sticks, or signaling mirrors to send for help. Bringing along a whistle can help you make noise for others to hear and assist you.
 

Food

Bring along snacks that are good for your body and give you protein and vitamins so you can survive until help arrives
 

Water

Clean your water before you drink it by boiling it or using purification tablets or other purification ways to get it to a drinkable state.
 

Desert Gear

A space blanket, rain gear, and even sun block can help you guard off the elements when you are out in the desert.
 

Other Items

Bringing small items like a sewing kit, ropes, sunglasses and other items that will help you while you are on your journey.

There are many dangers out there, and that is why being prepared and safe is so important. You can get hurt while out in the desert. Below, we are going to show you a few things that can and do occur so you can be as aware as possible while in the desert, especially if you are in an emergency situation.

Dangers In The Desert Dangers Explained
 

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when you are lacking water in the body. You simply cannot live without it, and you must drink clean water in order to avoid getting sick.
 

Hypothermia

You can get hypothermia in the desert, as it does get cold at night, and even frosts. You need proper clothing and a way to start a fire so that you do not freeze.
 

 

Hyperthermia

This is also known as heat stroke and can occur because the body lacks water and is going through intense heat.

You can feel sick to your stomach, get dizzy and have a headache. You need to find shade and rest for a while.

 

 

Wildlife

Many poisonous animals exist in the desert and you should be aware of them.

There are bees, snakes, spiders, scorpions and more that can harm or kill you. You need to be aware of bears, mountain lions and other big animals, too.

 

 

Other Injuries

Random injuries can occur while you are in the desert, such as falling, coming in contact with a cactus, or any other random events.

Stay away from anything that looks suspicious and make sure your kit is stocked with items to help you.

What Do Other Users Say About Desert Survival Kits?

Hikers, backpackers, and campers agree that having a survival kit is incredibly important no matter where you are, even in the desert. Having the items within the kit can help you until emergency services or other help can arrive. In the kit you find items that can help you with navigation, staying safe against the elements, and more.

Some hikers and backpackers say that it is hard to choose what items should go within the it. You just have to know what areas to cover, and then add the needed items without putting in too much or too little. The aforementioned featured items are a great way to start when packing your own kit for survival.

Many users prefer to put together their own kit versus buying one that has many items in it. Some people prefer to use different items, or add other items, and so making their own desert survival kit is better as they can customize their options versus buying one with items they do not want or need.

Man Walking Wearing Black Backpack during Daytime

The Pros and Cons

Bringing along a survival kit while you are in the desert is important, and there are good and bad things about it. Below, we will discuss some pros and cons about survival kits and gear.

Pros

  • Helps you in case of an emergency, as it has medical items within it
  • Contains many items that are good for various reasons
  • Can be taken with you in your backpack anywhere
  • Has signals that allow you to send for help

Cons

  • It can be daunting trying to figure out what to put in it
  • Can seem bulky in your pack, especially if you take along too many items
  • Some items may not need to be used, or will expire, such as pain medication
  • Some items may be bulky within the kit

Concluding Thoughts on This Topic

Having a desert survival kit while you are on a hiking trip can be a life saver, literally. The items that you pack within it can help you if you get lost, hurt, need water, and many other functions. Bringing along the proper gear will assist you on the cold nights or in the rain.

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Obviously, being prepared and safe are the two things that matter most when you are planning a hiking trip alone or with friends. Now that you know what to pack, and what to do, if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, you know, to remain calm, and make a plan and get treatment or help as soon as you can. Having your kit with you, will definitely help!

Desert Hiker Self Overview

What items do you have in your desert survival kit and where do you hike with it? Have you ever needed to use the emergency items within it? Tell us your store in the comments section below and let your voice be heard! Thanks for reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kane Dane

Kane Dane

4 Comments

  • I don’t live near the desert, so that shouldn’t be a problem, but this is an interesting inspiration for my forest survival kit. Do you have an article on that?

  • We have many articles that include survival kits for the forest! It should include many of the same things, as well!

  • I have never been in a dessert for my whole life. I would like to try it sooner. Seems like we have to care more about the water other than anything. Do you know any product which we can use to clean urine and use again?

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