Basic Knowledge About Hiking in the Desert

Basic Knowledge About Hiking in the Desert Little Donkey Andy

Probably everyone has such a dream in their head, carrying a bag, walking through an endless golden desert, with sand dunes spreading layer by layer into the unreachable distance. After sunset, when night falls, there are only stars in the distance of the dunes, as if the sky and the earth are naturally combined together. The starry sky here always seems brighter and purer than anywhere else.

But what is the difference between desert hiking and mountain hiking? Before you go, I will tell you some knowledge you must know.

Basic Knowledge of Desert Hiking

Adequate Preparation

Most of the deserts in China are located in the northwest, which is a dry climate zone with a big temperature difference between day and night, hot in summer with temperatures reaching 50-60 degrees Celsius, and cold in winter with temperatures as low as -20-30 degrees Celsius. Strong winds, often forming sand currents. In view of these climatic characteristics, the choice of adventure travel season should try to avoid the hot summer and windy season, usually between September and March of the following year is more appropriate.

Be sure to plan the route and tactics before the trip, first of all, to respect the objective facts, to ensure that the circumstances are within their reach to develop a reasonable program.

If you travel with this group is more secure.

Judging the Direction Correctly

Walking on the vast desert, because the field of view is empty, it is difficult to find the directional reference, coupled with the undulating dunes, tall sand hills and depressions, people generally can not walk in a straight line, so the correct judgment of direction in the desert march is a prerequisite for desert exploration.

Using instruments to the extreme, using maps as well as GPS navigation minimizes the possibility of getting lost in the desert, and almost all desert expeditions currently use GPS navigation.

Using Natural Features to Determine Direction

(1) Use the North Star to determine direction The North Star is a brighter star in the sky directly north. Polaris is the a-star of Ursa Minor, and Ursa Major (mainly the Big Dipper) and Cassiopeia are located on both sides of Polaris. Our country is located in the northern hemisphere, and Polaris can be seen at night all year round.

(2) Using the sun to determine the direction The sun rises in the east and sets in the west is the most reliable "north compass". The sun moves from east to west, while the shadow moves from west to east. For example, in the desert in the west of China, in the morning, the sun rises from the east, and the shadows of all objects are inverted to the west; at noon, the sun is located in the south, and the shadows point to the north; in the afternoon, the sun goes to the west, and the shadows point to the east.

(3) Use dune orientation to determine the direction Wind is an important factor in shaping the desert ground form. The southeastern side is windward, with a large slope and soft sand. In addition, the desert plants, such as red willow, pokeweed and camel thorn, all slope to the southeast. However, it should be noted that the above are the general characteristics of the desert area, the wind direction also varies from region to region, and the direction of the dunes also varies. To make a correct judgment, it is necessary to know the weather and geomorphology of the target area beforehand.

Learn to Walk in the Desert

①Choose a pair of suitable shoes

If you want to walk comfortably in the desert, you have to prepare a pair of suitable shoes, the soles are too soft, it is very uncomfortable to walk in the desert, and your feet will be very uncomfortable after a long time. Anti-sand cover (snow cover) is indispensable, once the sand is in your shoes, your feet will be worn out in no time.

②Learn to walk with two poles

Marching with weight in the desert and going up and down over loose sand dunes puts a lot of pressure on the knees and can easily cause damage. Walking with a double staff can reduce the pressure on your knees and save a lot of energy.

③Don't be afraid to take a detour

The endless sea of sand is not flat. In the desert will encounter many large sand dunes or sand hills, be sure to go around, do not go straight over the steep slope. To avoid the leeward side of the soft sand, try to walk on the windward side and the sand ridge, because the windward side by the wind erosion, was very solid, relatively hard, walking on it is easier, but also save energy; while the leeward side is mainly formed by wind accumulation, relatively loose, walking on it, into a deeper, more physical.

④Day and night to avoid high temperature

In the direct sunlight, even without movement, the water consumed is three times more than in the shadow. If you walk in the sun during the day, you can only survive for 1 to 2 days. In special cases, you should also learn the "night walking and sleeping" method. In addition, in case of heat, lack of water, thirst and anxiety, do not be fooled by the mirage.

Dress Code for Hiking in the Desert

Hiking shoes: high-top, large V-sole

Flip-flops (depending on the situation, you can wear them when resting and relaxing your feet)

Sweat-absorbing socks: four pairs

Quick-dry pants (to wear during the day)

Thicker pants (to wear at night)

Sports undershirt

Quick-drying clothes (to wear during the day)

Sun protection clothing (to wear during the day)

Surfing jacket (wear at night)

Fleece jacket, you can use down jacket instead (wear at night)



Magic scarf

sand glove (to avoid shoes full of sand, serious may rub foot blister)

Windproof glasses

Water bag

Baby warmer (you can prepare more at night if you are afraid of cold)

50L-60L backpack

Note: During the daytime hiking process, clothing must not wear cotton, there will be a risk of cold or wet temperature

Hiking Desert Camping List

Tent (choose a good windproof, light weight tent, and must be a double tent)

Sleeping bag (recommended temperature standard is -10 to 0 degrees; use down sleeping bag is better, small size and light weight)

Moisture-proof mat

Camp light

Headlamp / flashlight

Air tank


Camp pots

Lunch box


Personal toiletries

Wet paper towels

Sunscreen (essential, direct sunlight in the desert, UV rays are very strong, easy to sunburn)

Personal essential medicine (common cold medicine, band-aids, diarrhea medicine, anti-inflammatory medicine, etc.)

Other List for Hiking in the Desert

Cell phone

Camera (you can bring a waterproof cover, the sand is too fine may get into the camera)

Battery (remember to fully charged)

GPS navigation


Mobile power (you can bring a few more)

Life-saving whistle (in case of emergency you can blow it)

Plastic bags (bring a few, just in case)

Hiking desert food list

Desert trekking, water and food need to carry their own, food try to choose high energy, simple and easy to digest and not easy to spoil the dry food, try to use less water-consuming food. It is best to bring high-calorie foods such as ham, fruit jelly, cooked meat, chocolate and Snickers bars.

Each person needs about 1~2 liters of water per day, if you need more water yourself, you can press 3 liters.

Considering the special nature of desert crossing, individuals must prepare emergency food such as: compressed cookies, energy bars, air-dried meat, etc.. You can choose vacuum-packed cooked food, noodles and meat sauce, convenient soup ingredients, raw vegetables, etc. You can also buy capsules, curry ingredients and cooked beef in advance at the supermarket, and make curry beef bubble capsules when you camp at night. Buy some egg and egg soup, ginger soup, West Lake beef soup, apples and vegetables (lettuce and green onion) will be more delicious.

Notes for Hiking in the Desert

Remember to trim your toenails before hiking to prevent nail infections caused by worn out toenails.

In the desert, the temperature difference is large, the sun is poisonous, and the wind and sand are strong, so sun protection and sand protection are of utmost importance.

Eat and drink according to their own choice to carry, unnecessary as far as possible not to bring.

Drink 1.5-2 liters of water a day, you can always drink, but each time only a small sip, which is the most beneficial to the body absorption method, do not wait for thirst and then drink.

Snow cover is also have to bring, anti-sand. However, if the weather is cooler, you can do without.

Outdoor activities have many uncontrollable factors, different activities vary in geography, intensity, technical difficulty and danger, please choose to participate according to your physical strength, experience and equipment status.


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