10 Things To Survive 10 Days in the Desert
This is 10 things to survive 10 days in the desert, as in desert survival. Not, like, surviving a road trip through the Mojave on your way to Vegas, or slaying your first year at Burning Man. (But for those two I'd recommend this loud ass portable speaker.)
Rather, this desert gear roundup covers some basics, from UV protection to hydration to rounding up dinner the Apache desert hunter way, for those who are taking a 10-day trek in deep heat and intense cold of the Tunisian Sahara. Those setting off under the sun of the Australian outback. And those heading out to meet the high-five in the Atacama.
Note: Desert survival gear prices are listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.
Don't forget to pack some knowledge when you're assembling your desert survival gear. In addition to Survival Hacks: Over 200 Ways to Use Everyday Items for Wilderness Survival, author Creek Stewart has also written the book series Build the Perfect Bug Out, and served as host of the show Fat Guys in the Woods. So I think it's safe to say that anyone from your Apocalypse Team Captain co-worker Rex to your Old Country Buffet Team Captain Uncle Bill is capable of applying Stewart's suggested methods for wilderness survival in a MacGyver millisecond.
KAVU Chillba Hat
Heat, sun, and your exposure to them will likely be your very first concern on your Big Desert Adventure (even if it's only Burning Man.) KAVU's Chinese coolie-style hat is designed to block the sun and thwart its heat with a nylon base fitted with a quick-dry poly mesh headpiece. The hat's drawcord chinstrap and toggle lock hold it in place during movement, wind, and snatch-and-runs from all who will inevitably covet your Chillba.
LifeStraw Steel Personal Water Filter
Obviously you should bring water with you to the desert. But since it's hot you'll need a lot of it - a lot more than you're going to want to carry. Presuming you've scoped out a water source along your route, the LifeStraw can help you drink up without weighing you down.
The original LifeStraw was a Time Magazine Invention of the Year Winner. LifeStraw Steel is the company's "evolved" version, adding a 2-stage filtration system and more durable steel body to a 9" personal water filter that still removes a minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria from questionable desert sources as you slurp it.
A single LifeStraw Steel can filter up to 1,000 liters of water into potable refreshment without the use of chemicals, batteries, or even moving parts. This newer version also includes a replaceable activated carbon capsule that reduces chemical permeation (e.g., chlorine, pesticides, herbicides) for up to 100 liters per insert to produce better tasting, less smelly water.
Crua Hybrid High-Low Tent
Sometimes you feel like rooting to the earth, and sometimes you feel like hanging from the trees. And sometimes the sand, snakes, and crawlies, or the total lack of anything resembling a tree for as far as the eye can see make a unilateral decision about where you're going to set up camp (and shade) for you. The Crua Hybrid appeases all moods, and all parties.
On the ground, the Crua Hybrid is a single-person bivy tent. Compact for carrying, and utility-packed for comfort, the tent has an incorporated sleeping bag and an air mattress, both detachable and removable. The Hybrid is also modular, and can zip onto others like it for space- and body heat-sharing during plummeting desert nighttime temps.
In the air, the Hybrid acts like a covered hammock. It has a 285-pound weight capacity and can tie onto trees, trucks, or trailers with adjustable-span nylon cords.
Selk'bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
The desert is as notorious for swings in temperature as my ex-girlfriend Karen is for swings in mood. Hot HOT HOT! during the day (when it's time to boss me around and drag me to stores) and cold COLD COLD! at night (when it's time to make sexy.)
When the desert gives you its cold shoulder, Selk'bags give you a more versatile way to stay warm. The wearable sleeping bags cater to all outdoor enthusiasts looking to avert freezing at night without the constriction of a traditional rectangular or mummy bag. Rated to 37 degrees, the Selk'bag Original 5G cradles silhouettes in sizes S through XL.
Lightload Survival Tool Towels
Lightload Towels are certainly towels by nature, and their viscose construction will absorb water from rains and swims, and sweat from intense heat of the desert sun. And they'll do it even better, the company says, than cotton and microfiber.
But Lightload's true survivalist nature extends to their applications in the wild. If you're not drying off, you can use your Lightload as a wash cloth, a fire starter, a first aid supplement, a diaper, an insulator, or a mask. The wickable fabric will also keep you both dry and warm during active pursuits in cold weather.
SlideBelts Survival Belt
SlideBelts' Survival Belt elevates more than just your desert adventure pants. The rugged, infinitely adjustable strap culminates in a multi-tool Survival Buckle, made of glass-filled nylon, and filled with an integrated folding knife with bottle opener, LED flashlight, and a ferrocerium fire starter rod.
The Survival Buckle's knife is forged from heat-treated AUS-8 stainless steel with a Titanium Nitride coating. It's one-hand operable via a liner locking mechanism. The Survival Belt strap consists of an internal webbing core coated in a TPU alloy protective shield; it's leather-free and compliant with US FDA skin-sensitivity requirements. In other words, SlideBelts made the Survival Belt to last you for years of wear, to suit you for hours of wear, and to do you a solid for 10 days of wear.
Continuous notches that run the interior length of the belt enable adjustment for most girths.
Ranger Pace Counter
Whether your 10-day stint in the desert is forced or voluntary, you may find it difficult to keep track of where you've been and where you're going. The Ranger Pace Counter bracelet is accurate, works day or night, and is functional without satellite, cell tower, or batteries.
However, using the Ranger Pace Counter will require focus and baseline mathematical skills. So it's still not for everyone.
Easy eats, whether you're starving in the desert or getting hangry at your desk, almost always consist of bars. They're portable, they're nutritionally dense for their size, and these days they come made of pretty much every ingredient and in pretty much every flavor can think of. Epic Meat bars and ProSource protein bars are two of my favorites.
Though Epic bars look like a slab of jerky with the inexplicable addition of dried fruit and a fancy wrapper, I promise they do more than jerkify the worlds of protein bars, Paleo diets, and animals slaughtered to sustain our food supply. Texturally, Epic bars are much thicker and softer than jerky - they are based on a Plains Indian food called pemmican - and the buffalo flavor above combines 100% grass fed bison, uncured bacon, and dried cranberries for a high-protein, low-carb (and particularly low-sugar) hunger pummeler that will leave eaters of gummy, brown rice syrup-laden Clif Bars in its dust.
A more traditional sweet-flavored protein bar, ProSource goes for a trifecta of excellence in their product: a perfected combination of quality, tastiness, and clean ingredients that both give your belly a nutritionally-dense snack, and give your mouth flavors and textures it will happily devour. ProSource bars are ultralight, wafery like a Little Debbie Nutty Buddy, and get their 15 grams of protein from predominantly Hydrolyzed Whey Isolate, a powder that undergoes enzymatic breakdown to turn the large whey molecules into peptides, their smallest and most absorbable form.
Nomad Super Compact Survival Bow
If you run out your 21st century protein bars, this can help you get some dinner the prehistoric way. The Nomad is a small bow for small spaces, small animals, or big problems. Apocalyptic problems. The survival bow and arrow set from Xpectre breaks down and slides inside a pouch just 16" in length.