From the astonishing natural wonders of Death Valley and the Great Mojave Desert to the sizzling open spaces of rural Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, there is no denying that the American Southwest is in itself one of the great natural attractions of North America. Think clear night skies ablaze with stars or vertiginous and gravity-defying rock formations, and you get a pretty good idea of why this region draws in tourists from around the country and around the globe. It’s a massive space – often quite forbidding – but it is nevertheless one of the most popular spots in the world to go camping.
If this is something you would like to do for the first time, then it goes without saying you should engage in some careful and serious planning before you set off. This is not a natural environment that is particularly conducive to human life. While it might be going a bit far to say that the camping in the American Southwest is a survival adventure, there’s no denying that the consequences of poor preparation can be nothing short of disastrous. And for desert camping in the American Southwest, you will, of course, be travelling by car – there’s really no other way to get there.
Top Tips for Desert Camping in the Southwest
It will come as no surprise that the most important elements of preparation for such a trip is to remember to pack everything you need. And if you don’t own one, you should aim to hire an offroad vehicle of some sort. Not only will this allow you to explore the terrain more safely and effectively, but it will also give you the room to pack everything you need.
And if you are planning to attach anything to the roof of your car – from mountain bikes to camping equipment – be sure to use secure and durable cam straps. Rollercam, a company specializing in cam straps for adventure and outdoor sports purposes, recommend that you ensure nothing external to your vehicle is jostling around as you drive; driving in the desert is a far cry from doing so over smooth roads.
So, with that most important tip in mind, here are some of the others you should be sure not to forget:
Bring Lots of Water (And Enough Food)
But of course! The desert is a place where – surprise, surprise – water is not always readily available. As a rule of thumb, pack one gallon of water per person per day. Less immediately urgent but, of course, important nevertheless, is to bring enough high energy food. It is likely you will experience some physical exertion, so plan for this.
Stop at Every Gas Station
Another great danger of desert camping getting is getting caught out with no gas. This can be disastrous, so never turn down the opportunity to fill her up to the brim.
Plan Your Route
Related to the last tip is also the importance of planning out your route. You need to do this with gas in mind. Where is the next gas station? Can you make it there on a full tank? Don’t forget to plan also for the return trip.
Plan for The Heat and The Cold
The desert is roasting during the day – and freezing at night. Accordingly, be sure to plan for this. Your tent should be warm, and you should bring warm clothes along. You are probably expecting the sun but prepare for the freezing nights as well.
By covering these most important bases, you can at least prevent disaster. Beyond that, your planning can revolve around making the trip one you will remember for a lifetime.