To limit dehydration, keep all of your skin covered with light colored clothing. Cotton is an acceptable choice for daytime wear in hot deserts. The cotton fibers hold water and decrease evaporative water loss from your skin. Just make sure you have dry clothes to change into when the sun begins to drop, as damp cotton can accelerate hypothermia on frigid desert nights. Don’t worry about the old tricks of sucking on stones or chewing gum to slake your thirst, just keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose. Keeping your face covered will limit some of the moisture loss through your breath as well.
Across much of the globe, drinking water can be sourced by simply walking downhill until a stream or creek is located. But water procurement can be a backwards business in some desert environments. Since the dry air and soils evaporate the water along its normal downhill path, there are plenty of occasions when the nearest water is uphill – not downhill. You may follow river beds that exist from seasonal flooding, only to find the water course flattening out and disappearing altogether. Depending on the local geology, there may be pockets of water trapped on high ground, and none down below. Try to gain some local information about the desert area’s water sources, before you begin any trek into arid country. It could also pay to learn how to build a solar still, and bring the sheet of plastic, shovel and tubing necessary for that task. Better yet, take a few extra gallons of water. Yep, I said “gallons” plural, not quarts or liters.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
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Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist