Spending time in the desert means that you have to be constantly alert about your environment and surroundings. After all, nature is far from certain, but it can be much safer if you are aware of certain dangers and risks. We do not pretend to scare you from nature, but you definitely need to have some basic and even advanced skills and knowledge on how to survive in nature.
Most of the time, this knowledge means the difference between life and death, especially when you are away from civilization and the hours and miles of help. And, of course, this knowledge can be absolutely invaluable wherever you go or in any situation you encounter.
The knowledge that we will offer you here in this article can be useful in the desert and later even applied in a disaster situation.
To be better prepared for the desert and how to survive in it, you need to have certain basic skills and knowledge. We will explore these points:
- Shelter building
- Lighting a campfire
- Looking for water and food.
- Sending help signals
- Browse the area
- Basic knowledge of first aid.
- Observing the weather
These areas of expertise will keep you alive and healthy for as long as the rescue team is there to help you or for as long as you are prepared to spend time in the desert. After all, some survivors like to face the harsh reality in the desert without the need to be saved, while others may inadvertently lose themselves. Any of the reader categories will get something useful from the information we have collected for you here.
Building your refuge
You can not spend much time without shelter: there is no safe place, there is no heat, there is no cover. It has been estimated that, due to the harsher conditions in the desert, a person without shelter can not survive for more than a week. This is due to rain, stormy winds and low temperatures, which leads to hypothermia. Rarely is the weather so stable for a week. You can often receive a surprise attack from an unexpected summer rain or a winter storm.
So this is what you need to do. Your first priority in the desert is to establish your refuge. Start by researching the area. Make sure it is dry and that there is no risk of water accumulation in case of rain. It must also be flat and not on a slope or a hill. While searching for the ideal place, try to locate it as close as possible to a water source.
Keep a logical distance from the water source, since other wild animals can get to drink water, and these are not always just deer and rodents. Placing your shelter near the water is also a good idea when you are hungry, since you can go fishing.
Next, find the materials you need to make your shelter. Maybe you have a tarpaulin, a poncho or an emergency blanket in your backpack? That would be great, of course, and it will save you a lot of time and trouble. Otherwise, you will have to install your shelter completely from wooden branches and other natural materials, which may take longer. Be sure to build your shelter so that it can withstand high winds and leave as little water as possible (during the rains). You need to be as dry as possible.
If you do not have much time to build a shelter, try to find a natural cover, between the roots of the trees (make sure the trees are not dry and dead), or other similar terrestrial formations. Also, before entering, make sure there is no other inhabitant there.
This can be as challenging as the previous one. If you are used to starting a fire using only a fire starter, you may have difficulty doing so only with the materials that nature provides. If you do not have any fire starter or even matches, you will have to do it using completely primitive methods.
And do not underestimate the need to have a fire. It can serve three purposes. It can help you cook your meals, keep you warm and also scare away the curious wild animals, some of which can be dangerous. It can even boil water and, therefore, sterilize it, so that it is safe to drink. As an added benefit, mosquitoes and other insects are repelled by smoke and will not disturb you while the fire is actively burning.
To begin with this task, you must find suitable wood and tinder branches. You should also be near them, since there is a risk of being too far from your shelter. Do not light a fire under dry trees and, in general, start to get away from the bushes and the dry grass. Make a small hole of stone, so that the fire is contained. If the winds are strong, they can ignite the fire and the flames can catch fire in their shelter or in nearby trees or grass. This can cause a chain reaction and spread a forest fire.
Here are some tips on natural material that burns quickly and will be invaluable when starting a fire:
The tinder is usually a dry material, very tender and thin and almost cotton, but a little rougher than that. Often, this can be dried grass, leaves, thin and dry bark, etc. The good thing about tinder is that because it is a 100% dry material, it can burn even if it is wet or after rain. You can try that at home to see that it is a reliable material. Keep in mind that you can hardly find tinder during the winter.
We recommend that you pick up the tinder while on the trail, as it can be difficult to find it in one place. Collect it in secure plastic bags, in your backpack, for later use. You can keep everything you want, since you may have to start several fires and not have to search for tinder at the last moment.
Kindling is again dry wood material, such as twigs, sticks and thin branches. These usually catch fire very easily and quickly. They can also be flammable even if they are wet.
The resin can be collected from the trees where the bark is damaged or cracked. The resin can ignite the flames immediately. Rub it in your tinder or ignite it to speed up the process.
And one last tip: do not wait for the desert to learn how to start a fire and how to do it correctly. Learn in a safe environment and use your mistakes to improve your skills.
Find and find water.
Water is, of course, the most important thing we need to survive. We can not stay alive for more than several days without water, so it is the main source of life for you as a survivor.
You should bear in mind that water can carry contaminants, microorganisms and viruses, including dirt and particles. This is the reason why you should not drink water that has not gone through, at least, through proper boiling. If you have any filtration or purification system or tablets in your backpack, this could be invaluable.
There is also another way to clean the water and filter it through the ground. The soil has the ability to capture dirt, microorganisms and viruses and leave the water clean. Of course, this may be a final measure, so do not totally trust it.
Also remember that if the water contains chemical contaminants, you can not eliminate them with the means you have in the desert. If you suspect that the water may be chemically contaminated, do not drink it. Basically, the only thing that can neutralize the chemicals are the purifying tablets. If you do not have these in your backpack, nothing else can eliminate the chemicals.
Here is how to find your water sources. Look for moist or muddy soil. Any type of crack or valley may contain rainwater. Low areas also tend to collect drainage water. Inspect the vegetation. It always tends to be greener and more animated around the water. Observe the tracks of the animals. They tend to travel the same roads when they are familiar with their preferred water source. This may be a good indication that water may be nearby.
Finally, if you have a map of the area you are in, you can also help him find water. The compass can also be an invaluable friend to you in these efforts.
Food can be more abundant and a little easier to find than water and shelter. You can capture many wild animals, rodents, squirrels, fish, and if you know some plants, even fresh foods can be part of your daily meal. If you do not get upset easily, you can also eat insects, and these can be found in abundance.
During the winter, animals and insects can be a bit difficult to get, while edible plants can be virtually non-existent. When it comes to insects, it is preferable that you cook them first, as this can kill and neutralize some bacteria or viruses.
Fish can also be abundant if your refuge is located near the water. You can almost always have food on your plate if you are skilled at fishing.
When it comes to hunting, this requires some skill and knowledge. In case you do not have the experience and the time dedicated to learn the proper ways to hunt, it is better not to try. It may take you too much time and energy and you may have to return to your refuge with hunger and fatigue. This can be more risky, so it is better to do what you are good at. The other option for you may be to configure only some traps (as long as you know how to do it) and check them several times a day. You may be lucky once in a while.
The eggs of the birds are also a great food for survival in the desert. You can cook them like ordinary eggs. Keep in mind that not all birds have their nests on trees and branches, but sometimes even on the ground in isolated areas, around tree roots and in tree holes, which can be accessed easily.
As we mentioned, you may have to cook almost everything you manage to catch. This will keep bacteria and viruses neutralized. You will need a metal container or can if you water to boil water and cook eggs or insects.
Sending help signals
Whether you are alone in nature on your own or lost, you may have to ask for help. Even the most experienced survivors have faced difficult times when they had to rely on someone’s help. That’s why it’s important to know how to get attention and get help.
When it comes to visual signals, during the day it is better to start a big fire. Do it on a hill or in a wide area, meadow or clear. Whether on the ground or in the air, both the smoke and the fire itself will make it visible to your rescuers. It is also important to know the S.O.S. Point so you know you are sending the correct message. The signal consists of three short signals, three long and three short. To repeat it, wait a moment and then perform the signaling again.
You can send this message through smoke signaling, visual representation (arrange stones and rocks in this code) or through a mirror to send light signals. This also works if you have a flashlight. During the day you can also use well polished metal objects, as they also reflect light well enough. The mirror on the compass can also work very well. Anything around you can be used to send the right message.
Browse the area
When it comes to navigation, you can use certain natural signs in nature and surroundings that can be extremely important for your survival. These can be the sun, the moon and the stars, even the trees, the plants and the moss. All this in combination can be invaluable to get your bearings without a compass.
The sun can be useful to know where the south and the north are. The moon also has a way of showing you where the south is: when it is not a full moon, the two and the n. 8216; the horns of the half moon create an invisible line, pointing directly to the south. Of course, this is not a 100% bulletproof method, but it can give you a general idea.
The wind can also be useful, since it tends to shape the landscape around you. For example, the prevailing wind tends to bend the trees slightly and you can see the general trend of the wind. In desert areas or snowy landscapes, the wind leaves marks (crests) that also show you where the wind’s tendency comes from. Also, if you are in the south pole, the cold wind tends to come from the south pole and the warm wind from the north (the equator), while in the northern hemisphere it is the opposite: the cold wind comes from the north and warm. from the south.
When it comes to the messages left by plants, they tend to be easy to decipher. Plants like sunny areas, and this means they thrive in the southern parts of the landscape you’re navigating through. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the crown of trees may be more abundant and oriented to the south (and vice versa in the southern hemisphere).
Moss, on the other hand, likes shaded areas and is cultivated in the northern part of trees and rocks. Of course, this is not entirely true, but because mosses and lichens like moisture, the shaded northern sides tend to retain more moisture and the shaded parts are more humid.
Basic knowledge of first aid.
First aid help is a whole issue by itself. It is strongly recommended that you visit a first aid course and buy (or make your own) first aid kit. Do not enter the desert without a basic knowledge on how to perform first aid, either on yourself or on other people.
He must know how to control breathing, stop excessive bleeding and handle a person in shock. Find the necessary literature and attend a course (the Red Cross offers this type of courses throughout the year).
Observing the weather
Finally, learning to read the signals that the weather sends you is also part of any set of survival skills.
A good way to control air pressure, whether it is falling or rising, is to observe the smoke from the campfire. If the smoke rises freely above, the air pressure is constant or increasing. If the smoke is not constant and is swirling or even falling, the air pressure is also decreasing. Low air pressure means a change of weather and rain / storm. The increasing pressure of the air indicates good weather, stable and sunny.
When it comes to clouds, you may already be familiar with some of them. Non-rainy clouds are usually white (with a little gray below). The rainy clouds are mostly very thick, large and high in the sky. Often, they can be dark gray and threatening, and approach in large mass formations and conglomerates. When you see a gray veil in front of you, this means that it is already raining and is approaching. You must immediately reach your refuge.
A final note on the weather: sunset and sunrise can also be good indicators of weather. A red sunset (with some clouds) means dry weather the next day. A red dawn means that humidity increases and there is a possibility of rain.
All of the above combined knowledge can increase your chances of survival in the desert exponentially. It is important that you also practice the above tips and apply the knowledge in real life, before you really go to nature. Nature can be dangerous and hard at the same time, but it also contains the keys to a successful survival.