How To Survive In The Desert When Lost


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Hiking in the desert can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be dangerous if you get lost.

The desert is a harsh environment, and without proper preparation and knowledge, it can be deadly.

Here are some essential tips to help you survive in the desert when lost.

Wear the Right Clothing

When hiking in the desert, it’s essential to wear the right clothing.

Loose, lightweight clothing that covers as much skin as possible is ideal.

This will trap sweat against your skin, slowing evaporation, and therefore water loss.

It’s also important to wear a hat to protect your head from the sun.

Preserve Sweat, Not Water

Many people believe that conserving water is the key to survival in the desert, but it’s actually your sweat that you should worry about.

Focus your efforts on maintaining a normal body temperature and keeping your skin out of the sun.

To do this, you should rest during the hottest part of the day and avoid strenuous activity.

Make sure you are familiar with the signs of heatstroke, such as dizziness, confusion, and a rapid heartbeat.

Look for Water

Finding water is crucial to your survival in the desert.

Some deserts experience rainstorms, and if one has taken place recently, you should be able to find small pools of water between rocks or on the surfaces of flat stones.

If you notice animals’ tracks leading downhill, it may be an indication that a watering hole is nearby.

However, it’s most likely that you won’t find water, so you should always carry enough water with you.

Personal Locator Beacon

The best way to ensure survival after getting lost in the desert is by carrying a personal locator beacon.

This hand-held device sends out an emergency signal via satellite, which is then received by Rescue Control Center, who will be able to see your location and send out help.

Stay High to Stay Dry

One of the biggest threats in the desert is flash flooding.

Ditches, arroyos, and canyons can fill quickly with water and cover you before you realize what’s happening.

Drowning kills more people in the desert than dehydration.

Keep to high ground and avoid any place that could spell doom during a torrential downpour.

Make Your Mark

If you’re lost in the desert, it’s essential to make your mark so that search and rescue teams can find you.

You can do this by leaving markers, such as rocks or sticks, in a pattern that can be seen from the air.

You can also use brightly colored clothing or a mirror to reflect the sun.

Keep Your Cool

Staying calm and rational is essential to your survival in the desert.

Panic can lead to poor decision-making and waste valuable energy.

Take deep breaths, assess your situation, and make a plan.

Create Adequate Shelter

Creating adequate shelter is crucial to your survival in the desert.

It will protect you from the sun during the day and keep you warm at night.

You can use natural materials, such as branches and leaves, to create a shelter.

If you have a tarp or emergency blanket, you can use that as well.

Don’t Drink the Cactus

Contrary to popular belief, drinking cactus juice is not a good way to hydrate in the desert.

Cactus juice can cause diarrhea, which will only dehydrate you further.

Stick to drinking water or other safe sources of hydration.


Getting lost in the desert can be a terrifying experience, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can survive.

Remember to wear the right clothing, preserve sweat, not water, look for water, carry a personal locator beacon, stay high to stay dry, make your mark, keep your cool, create adequate shelter, and don’t drink the cactus.

Stay safe out there!