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HOW DO I EQUIP MYSELF FOR DESERT TREKKING?

What type of clothing should you take for the desert? Do I also need to take bivouac equipment or is it provided? Here's a list to help get those suitcases fastened before the big trip...

Please note this list is provided for information only: your checklist also depends on how many days you are trekking, accommodation type, etc.

But don’t panic: travel guides or organisations will usually give you a list appropriate to your trek.

how do I equip myself for desert trekking?

DAY WEAR

Our advice: choose clothing that is loose, ventilated, covers well, anti-UV and doesn't let in the sand.

- A safari type cap that protects the nape of the neck from the sun OR a Tagelmust head scarf, which has the added benefit of protecting your face from the sand when there's a storm

- 1 pair of sunglasses with a 3 or 4 index AND 1 ski mask if there is the risk of a sandstorm

Be careful as the sand tends to scratch the lenses! Go for glasses that you don't care too much about or ones with anti-scratch lenses.

- Several anti-UV and ventilated long-sleeved shirts to protect you from the sun's rays and protect you from the heat and/or breathable t-shirts made from cotton or Merino wool (temperature regulating and does not develop bad odours) to wear with anti-UV sleeves to cover your forearms

In general, it’s best to avoid synthetic materials in the desert.

- Loose, long trousers, made from anti-UV fabric if possible

It's best to avoid skirts and shorts as they don't protect you well from the sun, as well as jeans and leggings which are too hot.

- A windproof jacket

- Breathable underwear, preferably seamless to avoid rubbing

- Breathable, cotton socks

- A pair of lightweight, anti-UV gloves to prevent sunspots appearing on the hands

- A pair of lightweight, high-top hiking boots to stop sand getting inside OR a pair of low trainers with anti-sand gaiters to put on them

Before any trek, we recommend you test your footwear to make sure it’s comfortable. During the day, avoid sandals (without socks) as they expose your feet to sunburn and insect bites.

BIVOUAC CLOTHING

Temperature differences from day to night can be significant in the desert: take whatever keeps you warm!


- A lightweight, warm hat made from Merino wool for example

- A warm fleece and a lightweight and compact padded jacket

- A lined, windproof jacket

- A pair of sandals for the evening as after a day walking there is only one thing you want to do - take off your shoes!

- Woollen socks to keep your feet warm

- Pyjamas and a casual outfit to relax once the bivouac is pitched

- Optional: Warm leggings to wear under loose trousers to be comfortable around the wood fire

EQUIPMENT

The majority of the equipment will be provided by the guide/tour operator but there are a few essentials you should take!


- A flask OR water bladder that is minimum 2 L: water for the day is generally provided by the guides each morning

- A pocket knife

- A headlamp, preferably rechargeable to avoid using space to carry batteries

- A 0° sleeping bag

- The mattress and tent are generally supplied by the tour operator

- A sleeping bag liner sheet for additional heat (the nights are cold with no cloud cover)

- An inflatable or compact pillow for extra comfort

- A small bin bag to take away your polluting waste (packaging, batteries, etc.)

It's best to leave any packaging in France before departure as waste is sorted there and generally recycled.

- Zip freezer bags to protect your electronic equipment from the sand

- If you are in the habit: a pair of hiking poles with snow tips

- Optional: to charge your electronic devices, remember a portable charger and/or a solar panel! 

HYGIENE AND HEALTH

Here are a few basics to take in your wash bag. And for your medicine bag? Best to ask the advice of your preferred pharmacist!


- Essential toiletries: Toothbrush, biodegradable toothpaste (solid), wet wipes to freshen up (water is precious in the desert), etc.

- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it after use and preserve the beautiful landscape

- High protection sun cream for lips and skin

- Physiological salt solution to rinse your eyes when there’s a sandstorm

- Moisturiser for superficial burns (blisters and sunburn)

- Purifying tablets to disinfect water

- Anti-mosquito spray because there can be mosquitoes in the desert!

- Patches for blisters

BAGS

You will need two bags in the desert: one to carry most of your belongings and another, smaller one, for walking.


- 1 flexible and durable travel bag (around 60 L) that will be transported by camels or in a 4x4 vehicle: avoid a hard shell suitcase or rolling luggage that could injure the camels.

- 1 20 to 30 litre backpack to carry your essentials when walking

ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE EVEN MORE...

You could take a star map to do some stargazing: the desert skies are amazing. A notebook would also be good to keep track of your memories during this emotional experience...

MORE DESERT ADVICE