Clothing in the Desert

Clothing in the Desert Clothing helps reduce fluid loss and gives protection from sunburn – as well as warmth at night and a barrier against insect bites and thorns. In the desert it should be light and loose-fitting, with air space between the garments and the body to provide insulation. Copy the flowing, layered garments of the Arab world. Trousers give more protection from insects than shorts (and guard against serious burns on the legs if forced into daytime exposure). Cover the head and feet. The flowing, layered garments worn by desert dwellers provide excellent examples of clothing appropriate for expeditions into arid climates. Light and loose-fitting clothes protect from sunburn and fluid loss, while also allowing for cooling pockets of air. HEADGEAR Any hat with a piece of cloth attached to the back will give some protection to the head and back of the neck but it is better to copy the headgear of desert peoples. You need a piece of material about 120cm...
Read More

Food in the Desert

Food in the desert Heat usually produces a loss of appetite – so do not force yourself to eat. Protein foods increase metabolic heat and increase water loss, and liquids are needed for digestion. If water is scarce, keep eating to a minimum and then try to eat only moisture-containing foods, such as fruit and vegetables. Food spoils very quickly in the desert and any stores, once opened, should be eaten straight away or kept covered and shaded. Flies appear from nowhere and settle upon uncovered food. PLANTS Vegetation, away from oases and waterholes, is likely to be little more than scrub and grasses – even in the semi-desert – but grasses are edible and sometimes plentiful. The acacia tree in the scrub provides edible beans. Beware of the acacia’s thorns but try all its soft parts: flowers, fruit, seeds, bark and young shoots. The grasses of the Sahara and Gobi are neither nutritious nor palatable, but in the Sahara and the Asian deserts you may...
Read More

Water in the Desert

Water in the Desert Water needs in a desert environment are paramount. Finding it is VITAL. If you have it, ration it immediately. If you are stranded during a planned desert crossing, you should have plotted your route with an awareness of possible water sources, wells and/or waterholes. Wells can be very deep and the water level may require a container lowered on a line to reach it. Small water holes in river bottoms are often seasonal. They are usually covered with a stone or brushwood. If you are away from known waterholes, try digging at the lowest point of the outside bend of a dry stream bed or at the lowest point between dunes. Do NOT dig in the heat of the day, the exertion will use up too much fluid and you may find none to replace it. You must always balance fluid loss against possible gain. Exploit cactus and roots as water sources and, in deserts where the day/night temperature range...
Read More

Surviving Severe Heat

Surviving severe heat during the summer months Severe heat during the summer or in desert environments is miserable for adults as well as children. Playing outdoors is out of question due to the risk of heat stroke and severe sunburn. Rolling blackouts become a common occurrence because everyone is draining the power supply running air conditioners and fans. People suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion. Follow these steps to learn how to survive a heat wave. 1 – Drink plenty of fluids to survive the heat. This includes water, juices and caffeine-free beverages. 2 – Play or work outside in the early morning and late evening when the temperatures are a cooler. 3 – Run high energy appliances at night. Running the dryer and dishwasher during the day heats up the house and puts a strain on the electrical system. With the heat outside you can hang clothes up and the sun will dry them just as fast as a dryer would. 4 – Call your...
Read More

Proper Clothing

Proper Clothing Examples of proper cold weather/mountain apparel Severe cold and harsh winds can freeze unprotected flesh in minutes. Protect the whole body, hands and feet. Wear a hood – it should have a drawstring so that it can partly cover the face. Fur trimming will prevent moisture in the breath freezing on the face and injuring the skin. Outer garments should be windproof, with a close enough weave to prevent snow compacting, but porous enough to allow water vapor to escape – NOT waterproof, which could create condensation inside. Base layers should trap air to provide heat insulation. Animal skins make ideal outer clothing as well. Openings allow heat to escape; movement can drive air out through them. If clothing has no draw strings, tie something around sleeves above cuffs, tuck trousers into socks or boots. If you begin to sweat loosen some closures (collar, cuffs). If still too warm remove a layer. Do so when doing jobs like chopping wood or shelter-building. Only a...
Read More

Mountains

MOUNTAINS Mountain peaks are exposed to high winds and often covered in snow. They provide neither food nor shelter. Climbing rock and negotiating ice and snowfields calls for special skills, which are best learned first-hand in mountaineering schools and practiced under supervision. No inexperienced person should think of trying to tackle real mountaineering territory, except as a learner with a properly organized party. But disaster may leave you on a mountainside or force you to cross a mountain range to get to safety. If no rescue is likely, the first aim in daylight should be to get down into the valleys where food and shelter are available. At night and in bad visibility this is too dangerous. Some kind of shelter must be found until visibility improves. Dig into the snow if there is no shelter among rocks and no wreckage to provide cover. If below the snow line you must cover yourself to prevent exposure. A plastic bag will make an improvised...
Read More

How to Start a Fire

How to Start a Fire Always light your fire from the upwind side. Make sure to lay your tinder, kindling, and fuel so that your fire will burn as long as you need it. Igniters provide the initial heat required to start the tinder burning. Methods for starting a fire fall into two categories: modern methods and primitive methods. Modern Methods – Modern igniters use modern devices—items we normally think of to start a fire. Matches Make sure these matches are waterproof. Also, store them in a waterproof container along with a dependable striker pad. Convex Lens Use this method only on bright, sunny days. The lens can come from binoculars, camera, telescopic sights, or magnifying glasses. Angle the lens to concentrate the sun’s rays on the tinder. Hold the lens over the same spot until the tinder begins to smolder. Gently blow or fan the tinder into flame, and apply it to the fire lay. Metal Match Place a flat, dry leaf under your tinder with a portion exposed....
Read More

Cold Weather Survival

Cold Weather Survival It is more difficult for you to satisfy your basic water, food, and shelter needs in a cold environment than in a warm environment. Even if you have the basic requirements, you must also have adequate protective clothing and the will to survive. The will to survive is as important as the basic needs. There have been incidents when trained and well-equipped individuals have not survived cold weather situations because they lacked the will to live. Conversely, this will has sustained individuals less well-trained and equipped. You must not only have enough clothing to protect you from the cold, you must also know how to maximize the warmth you get from it. For example, always keep your head covered. You can lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The...
Read More