Essential items for Desert Travel



The following are all items that you should carry with you when you are traveling in the desert. The list may sound like a lot, but in a worst case scenario you would want to be prepared. If you are not prepared you are risking your life, as well anyone’s life that may be traveling with you. This is in no way a complete list, but a good starting point.

  • Water – You can never bring too much! Some people recommend a gallon of water per person per day. I recommend a 5 gallon jug for every two people in your party per day.
  • Food – Always carry extra food that can last you a day or two. I keep enough prepackaged beef jerky with me to last a few days. It is light weight and compact. Self-Heating MRE’s are also a wonderful option to keep packed in your vehicle for an emergency meal.
  • Shovel – My shovel stays in my vehicle at all times, even when I’m just cruising around town. You never know when you might get stuck.
  • Gasoline – There are long stretches of backcountry roads, and many times a gas station can be over a hundred miles away. Having some extra gasoline with you as a precaution is a good thing.
  • Handheld GPS or Compass – A Handheld Outdoor GPS is the only GPS that you should trust in the desert. Make sure it is loaded with topographical maps of the area that you are traveling, and make sure you know how to read a topographical map. DO NOT RELY ON YOUR VEHICLES GPS DEVICE.
  • Spare Tire or Two – No explanation needed. Don’t forget the jack!
  • Matches/Lighter – Something that will allow you to start a fire easily.
  • Signal flares or mirror – Anything that might get the attention of an airplane flying overhead, or another motorist that you may see at a distance.
  • Knife or Multitool – A knife can come in handy in many situations. From skinning an animal (if needed), to using it to help build a shelter, or even using it as a signaling device.
  • First Aid Kid – Injuries happen when we least expect it. Be prepared for them!
  • Blanket/Warm Clothing – In the spring, winter and fall months – temperatures at night can get downright cold. Sometimes well below freezing! Don’t let the warm daytime temperatures fool you, and always be prepared for colder weather.