Deserts are a beautiful and exciting place to explore, but you need to be prepared for the extreme and variable temperatures to fully enjoy the experience. Desserts typically get incredibly hot during the day and take a surprising turn to severe cold during the night.
However, being prepared with the right kind of items means you can go in confidence that you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
Lightweight & Breathable Hiking Boots
Your footwear is an essential part of a comfortable desert hiking experience. Make sure you buy a pair that are airy, light, resist excess moisture, and have thick soles for rough terrain. They should be broken in so you don’t blister your feet, but they shouldn’t be excessively worn either.
Remember, feet begin to slightly swell due to increased circulation and built-up fluids while walking, so you want to have a small amount of room to spare in your boots.
Merino Wool Socks
Socks are important to help avoid skin injury and discomfort when walking for extensive periods. Keep in mind that the desert sand can also be abrasive and your socks need to help avoid sand in your shoes. You also need to ensure that the sock’s material can avoid excess sweat, which leads to further irritation on the feet.
We suggest socks made from natural fibers like Merino wool. This material is great at wicking away moisture, preventing microbes, and providing the support your feet need.
Gaiters are designed to protect your ankles and feet from sand and debris while desert hiking. They can even help avoid bites from insects or small snakes.
The most important thing to remember is that your gaiter needs to be made from waterproof breathable fabric. This prevents extra heat and irritation from moisture around the ankles and feet, which are already taking the brunt of the strain when hiking.
To help you stay comfortable during windstorms and cooler weather, as well as protect your skin from UV rays, you will need a windbreaker made from quality fabrics. You can DIY your own windbreaker from outerwear fabrics like nylon or softshell for a customized item that perfectly suits your itinerary and your destination’s terrain.
Clothing for Nighttime
Fleece jackets, pants, or pajamas all offer a solid layer of protection against cold desert temperatures with minimum weight. Choose from a variety of fleece options like stretch fleece, wind-resistant fleece, and more depending on your area of travel.
While it may be tempting to wear shorts during a hot walk in the desert, it is best to wear loose pants to protect your skin from the sun and keep your circulation flowing smoothly. The best pants will be airy, long, and use lighter colors to reflect the UV rays instead of absorbing them, causing even more heat.
Cargo pants are the ideal choice for many hikers, plus they provide the added bonus of more storage space in easy-to-reach pockets.
Desert travel can be a marvelous and one-of-a-kind experience, but it relies on your level of preparation and the quality of materials you choose for all of your must-have items.