What to Wear in a Desert: Tips for Staying Cool | Trekking Days
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What to Wear in a Desert: Tips for Staying Cool

by | Trekking Savvy

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While it can be tough to stay cool in an arid climate, it should be a cool experience if you have the right clothing and accessories. With this in mind, today I’m going to give you some tips on what to wear in a desert so that you can enjoy your trekking trip without feeling overly uncomfortable.

Hot vs. cold deserts

When you think of deserts, you will typically think of camels and dunes. It’s perhaps not common knowledge that the world’s largest desert is the Antarctic Desert!

The thing is, there are at least two types of deserts: cold and hot. Some classifications also mention semiarid deserts and coastal deserts, among others. Cold deserts are found in polar regions like Antarctica, while hot deserts are found in arid regions like Africa. Both are deserts because they meet one basic criterion: they receive a very small amount of annual precipitation.

In the most widely used classification system, there are extremely arid lands (areas that don’t receive any annual precipitation), arid lands (areas that receive less than 9.8 in (250 mm) of annual precipitation), and semiarid lands (areas that receive between 9.8 and 19.7 in (250 and 500 mm) of annual precipitation. Semiarid lands are typically considered steppes when they are grasslands.

The main difference between these hot and cold deserts is their temperature. As the name suggests, cold deserts are much colder than hot deserts. Now that we have a more technical understanding of what deserts are, here are a few tips for staying cool in a hot desert by wearing the right clothes.

Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect the sun’s heat

One of the most effective ways to stay cool in hot weather is to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. The light color helps to reflect the sun’s heat, and the loose fit allows air to circulate around the body and helps to regulate body temperature.

A wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and face from the sun

You can protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Hats with brims that extend at least three in (7.5 cm) all around are effective at shading your face, ears, and neck. They also prevent your hair from getting bleached by the sun. In addition, hats with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) fabric can offer even more sun protection.

Sunglasses to protect your eyes

Sunglasses help to reduce the amount of UV light that reaches your eyes, providing valuable protection against these potential problems. When choosing sunglasses, look for those that offer 99-100% UV protection. Wraparound styles offer the best coverage, but even small lenses can provide some degree of protection. Wearing sunglasses will not only make you look even cooler but also help you safeguard your vision.

Sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays

But by applying sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, you can block out most of the UV rays and help keep your skin healthy. It’s important to remember that even if it’s cloudy, UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and damage your skin.

Wear comfortable shoes that will protect your feet from rough terrain

When you’re hiking in a desert, you need to be aware of the different types of terrain you might encounter. There might be areas of loose sand, rocky outcroppings, or cacti. It’s important to wear comfortable shoes that will protect your feet from these hazards. Hiking boots with good traction are a good choice, as they will help you keep your footing on loose sand and rocky surfaces.

Be prepared for extreme temperatures – it can be very hot during the day and quite cold at night

The temperature in a desert can vary widely, depending on the time of day and season. For this reason, you may need to be more careful when packing for a desert trip than for a savanna safari. During the day, it can be extremely hot, while at night, it can get quite cold. It’s important to be prepared for these extremes by dressing in layers that you can add or remove as needed. Wearing thermal underwear at night will help keep you warm, while light, breathable fabrics during the day will help you stay cool.

A water bottle to stay hydrated in the hot weather

It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re in a hot climate, and one of the best ways to do this is to carry a water bottle with you. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If possible, drink filtered or bottled water instead of tap water, as the desert’s high mineral content can make tap water taste unpleasant.

Bottom line

Now you know what to wear in a desert. Deserts have a unique climate, with huge variations between day and night temperatures being common. Before you pack, it’s best to check the average day and night temperature in the location of interest so you can pack accordingly. 

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