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#58529 - 01/18/06 06:52 AM Desert Survival Tricks

Desert survival tips:

Work or move only at night or dawn.

Wear all clothing fully buttoned up during day to create cooling microclimate and conserve or optimally utilize skin expiration.

If you are with a vehicle STAY with the vehicle (it was prepared for the Desert right?). Rescuers will be looking for the vehicle not you.

A burning spare tire will make a lot of black smoke for daytime signal use. Put oil, rags, seat cushions, etc. on it to make it black and highly visible during a typical desert windless day. Please put it on carefully before you ignite it. Never put combustables on a live fire cowboy, your asking for trouble then.

Find a shady spot and move/create more to stay in it during the day.

If you are near a good source of water, stay there. People will be by soon. There will also be lots of game to sustain you.

In the real-deal (think great sand dune monument) desert you are largely screwed without a supply of water.

You could bury yourself at dawn (body/legs about 18 deep) and get largely out of the daytime heat. That would increase your chances some.

(On foot or in vehicle (*) while traveling)
Lightweight nylon SPF 30 pants, hat, shirt.
Pack with (2) 3l bladders and (3) 1l nalgene
Lightweight shade tarp
Water Purifier
Signal Panel
insulating mat for ground. (use car window reflector if no insulating pad availible) That ground is HOT man...
Car Kit*
5 Gal water*
Heavy Duty tarp*
Cell Phone charger*
Medical Kit*

Edited by sangre_nm (01/18/06 07:22 AM)

#58530 - 01/18/06 03:26 PM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
norad45 Offline

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1506
A few other items that come to mind:

Full-size shovel
Tire repair kit
Spare fan belt(s)
Spare lower and upper radiator hoses
Hi-lift jack or winch
Cable or heavy-duty rope
Sawyer extractor
Sleeping bag or blankets (gets cold in the desert around here!)

Regards, Vince

#58531 - 01/18/06 05:16 PM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
Craig_phx Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 715
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I've been out in the desert when the temperature was 115+. You feel weak and sick to your stomach. The most important thing is to get out of the sun and drink water. Water alone will not save you. You need something like Gatorade to feel OK. Whatever you do don't get out in the sun and work. The coyotes will eat your dead carcass (no joke!).
Thermo-regulate, hydrate and communicate.

#58532 - 01/18/06 10:22 PM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
gizmojumpjet Offline
Opposed to Bears

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Houston, TX, USA
Never put combustables on a live fire cowboy, your asking for trouble then.

I really must disagree with you on this point. Adding combustibles to a live fire is a fundamental part of keeping the fire live. Tires burn so well, though, it's doubtful you'll need anything except a little accelerant to get them and keep them burning and smoking.

#58533 - 01/18/06 10:50 PM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
turbo Offline

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 133
Loc: Oregon
If you are going to burn a tire, let the air out first or better, remove the valve stem. Explosions at best scatters the signal fire and at worst can cause injury.

#58534 - 01/18/06 10:59 PM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
massacre Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 781
Loc: Central Illinois
I'm guessing accelerant was intended instead of combustable. Without the latter, the fire would die. With the former, it might go up in your face if not handled properly (and even then it might!)
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

#58535 - 01/19/06 01:01 AM Re: Desert Survival Tricks

Somehow I thought people might add stuff to this thread and share anything they might know or have experience with concerning Desert Survival....
I am glad we have established that my use of vocabulary is incorrect. I think most people understood what I meant... But then common sense isn't a class in school so many people may not...
My Bad
I thank the poster who pointed out that letting the air out of the tire before ignition is a good idea.... I never have air in my spare <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> so I completely overlooked it...
The poster who mentioned cold at night is right too.. So I guess some are adding...

#58536 - 01/19/06 01:38 AM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
massacre Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 781
Loc: Central Illinois
I haven't spent much time in the desert so what I have isn't really survival so much as it's comfort: - Bring something or improvise something to move air. Yes, you should have water, and it will evaporate quickly in the dry air, but in a car or under some shade, the lack of air movement can make one miserable. Personal misters go a long way to keeping your spirits up too. I was trapped in a compact car with 3 others in backed up traffic in Nevada once, and even with the windows down (we dared not overheat by running AC) it was intolerable. I broke out some notebooks and other items and we used them to fan ourselves. It made that sweat shop a little more comfortable.

One other problem I've read (never experienced) is that a lot of desert shelter is already in use by other criters staying out of the sun... so exercise extreme caution in moving into any natural cover. Some snakes are virtually invisible, but at least a rattler will let you know it's there if you walk slowly enough to not startle it into striking (again - what I've read, not done). Most NA snakes don't want to bite you. Now, go to Africa or Oz and that may not be the case... they got some aggressive buggers.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

#58537 - 01/19/06 01:49 AM Re: Desert Survival Tricks

Thanks for the good post

I live in the middle of the sonoran desert on the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Approx 40 miles north of the mexican border. Based on my experiences I would say your advice is sage..
I am trying to scrape up enough desert specific tips and tricks to compile and re-post a desert specific survival mini-guide... All Posters will be given refernce to thier respective tip(s)
<img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#58538 - 01/19/06 02:11 AM Re: Desert Survival Tricks
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
A stick that is 5 or 6 feet long can be a real asset to probe ahead of you, in rocks, crevices and even sand. It is amazing how well camoflaged things like rattlesnakes can be... and they're in plain sight. Until they move, it looks like nothing is there.


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