Arizona Desert

If you are going into the wild and untamed beauty of the desert, one small survival kit could make the difference when it comes to three common dangers.

Heat stroke.

Heat stroke seems obvious, but it is subtle, fast, and if you’re on your own in the desert, easily fatal. Before heading out into the desert, make sure you’re wearing light, loose-fitting clothing. Wear long sleeves and pants. This will protect you from the sun’s direct rays, keep you cooler, and protect you from spiny desert plants. Wear a hat. For your survival kit, pack plenty of water, or something with electrolytes. Take your time and don’t push your body. During the heat of the day, rest in any shade you can find. If you feel dizzy or start to get overheated, indicating heat fatigue, stop immediately and find shade, cool your core temperature to avoid internal or brain damage.


Less obvious is hypothermia, but if you find yourself in the desert overnight the risk of becoming chilled and even freezing is a real threat. Because of very little atmosphere in the desert, temperatures rise dramatically during the day, but plummet at night, reaching freezing temperatures during a large portion of the year. Put a reflective blanket, lighter or a flint in your survival kit. A blanket and fire will help keep you warm, and both can be used as signal devices.


Make sure your survival kit has extra water. If you are thirsty, you are already becoming dehydrated. A slight throbbing headache will only become worse if you don’t get water. If you are standing or walking you may notice light-headedness or nausea. If you find yourself without enough water, ration the water you have—avoid gulping, instead relying on small sips. Don’t eat food—eating requires water for digestion. If you are rationing water, your stomach will rob your blood stream of vital water to digest food. Calm your body. Panicking will only increase your heart rate and perspiration. Keep your hat and long-sleeved shirt and pants on. This will keep you from losing as much sweat.

If your wilderness survival pack has enough water, a reflective blanket and a lighter or a flint you have the essentials to avoid the three most common and dangerous desert killers