5 Desert Camping Tips

If you're a lover of heat, sand and the Wild West, you're going to need some desert camping tips for that next vacation. Desert camping is not like camping in a nicely treed site as there is no shade or relief from wildly vacillating temperature. The desert can easily get down to single digits in the still of the night and up to triple digits during the day, so you'd better be prepared for all types of climates on your desert camping trip.

Below are five desert camping tips to help guide you through your vacation:

  1. One of the most important things to remember as you camp in the desert is the days are hot! You must have some sort of shade to exist. If possible, set up your camp around a natural shade, such as a Joshua tree if in the Arizona desert. If there is no natural shade, you must set up some structure, such as a gazebo set on poles, to act as shade.
  2. Another very important thing to remember as you camp in the desert is the nights may be frigid! Most people don't realize that nightfall in the desert can bring very cold temperatures, frequently in the single digits. Ensure your comfort by toting along warm sleeping bags and, if possible, a portable heater to get you through the coldest of nights.
  3. Bring along your own firewood as the desert may be barren environments. Don't expect to find oak wood or juniper just lying around your campsite. Instead, make sure you're prepared by bringing enough wood to get you through evening fires for the prescribed amount of days you plan on camping in the desert.
  4. Anchor all structures securely at your camp site. Deserts are very unpredictable environments and a sandstorm accompanied by very high winds can appear with virtually no notice. Make sure to drive all anchors deeply into the desert sand and all ropes are taut to your structures.
  5. Never walk in desert washes. Desert washes fill very rapidly with water and can easily become watery graves. Even if you know that there has been no rain in the desert for weeks, if it has rained in higher ground, a desert wash may fill without warning. Better to be safe than sorry, so stay clear of the washes.
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