Shelter in the Desert

Shelter in the Desert

This page contains information on how to survive by finding shelter in a desert area in an emergency situation, also you will find useful tips on how to make your own shelter.
Your survival in the desert depends upon your ability to use the available survival equipment, and your special skills to apply them to cope with the hazards you face as well as your will to survive. But most importantly your ability to improvise, because every survival situation is different, so think and improvise by taking advantage of what you have available to you.

Shelter in the Desert

In a desert environment, shelter is more important than finding water and food. However consider the time, effort, and material needed to make a shelter. Start looking for shelter as soon as possible. As you do so, remember what you will need at the site. The site must:

  • Contain materials made from what'a available to you at the time.
  • Be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably.

However, you cannot ignore your safety. You must also consider whether the site:

  • Is suitable for signaling for help.
  • Provides protection against wild animals and rocks and dead trees that might fall.
  • Is free from insects, reptiles and poisonous plants.

You must also remember the problems that could arise in your environment. For instance svoid flash flood areas in foothills since flash floods could occur any time.

If you have material such as a poncho, canvas, or a parachute, use it along with such terrain features as rock outcroppings, mounds of sand, or depressions between dunes or rocks to make your shelter, that will save you many hours of work. When using rock outcroppings, you should:

  • Anchor one end of your poncho (canvas, parachute, or other material) on the edge of the outcrop using rocks or other weights.
  • Extend and anchor the other end of the poncho so it provides the best possible shade.

In a sandy area, you should:

  • Build a mound of sand or use the side of a sand dune for one side of the shelter.
  • Anchor one end of the material on top of the mound using sand or other weights.
  • Extend and anchor the other end of the material so it provides the best possible shade.
Shelter in the Desert

NOTE: If you have enough material, fold it in half and form a 30- to 45-centimeter (12- to 18-inch) airspace between the two halves. This airspace will reduce the temperature under the shelter.

A belowground shelter can reduce the midday heat as much as 16 to 22 degrees C (30 to 40 degrees F). However, building it requires more time and effort than for other shelters. Since your physical effort will make you sweat more and increase dehydration, construct it before the heat of the day.

To make this shelter, you should:

  • Find a low spot or depression between dunes or rocks. If necessary, dig a trench 45 to 60 centimeters (18 to 24 inches) deep, and long and wide enough for you to lie in comfortably.
  • Pile the sand you take from the trench to form a mound around three sides.
  • On the open end of the trench, dig out more sand so you can get in and out of your shelter easily.
  • Cover the trench with your material.
  • Secure the material in place using sand, rocks, or other weights.
Shelter in the Desert

If you have extra material, you can further decrease the midday temperature in the trench by securing the material 30 to 45 centimeters (12 to 18 inches) above the other cover. This layering of the material will reduce the inside temperature 11 to 22 degrees C (20 to 40 degrees F).

The open desert shelter is of similar construction, except all sides are open to air currents and circulation. For maximum protection, you need a minimum of two layers of parachute material. White is the best color to reflect heat; the innermost layer should be of darker material.

More information: We hope this page was helpful and provided you with some survival techniques on how to take shelter in the desert. Check out our main page for more survival scenarios here Survival Guide, knowledge is light, and knowledge can save your life. Make sure you do your best to know what to do in a survival situation and then hope for the best.


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