Figure 5-40.Face and neck protection.
eyes; use sunglasses or improvise a mask for
Clothing is your protection against sunburn,
heat, sand, and insects. Clothing also helps you
get along with less water. Keep your body and
head covered. During dust storms, cover your
m o u t h a n d n o s e a s s h o w n i n f i g u r e
5-40parachute cloth will do.
Keeping your clothing loose and flapping will
help you stay cooler. Light-colored or white
clothing is best because it reflects heat and light,
whereas black or dark-colored clothing absorbs
it. Wear your clothing at all times even though
you imagine it will be cooler to strip it all off. It
wont. Stripping off your clothing will cause your
perspiration to evaporate too rapidly, and you will
lose its cooling effects. Besides, the rapid
evaporation of perspiration speeds up the process
Shelter in the desert is important not only to
protect you from the sun and heat but also to
protect you from the cool of the night and
occasional rain. Use whatever materials are
available to improvise a suitable desert shelter.
Your parachute can be used effectively to make
a good shade and serve as a signaling aid at the
same time. Several layers spaced apart provide
good insulation from the sun. Use your inflated
life raft turned upside down to elevate your bed
off the desert floor. By using the parachute for
shade and the life raft for insulation, you will be
20°F to 40°F cooler than you would be in the
You will need fire in the desert, not only for
cooking and signaling but also for heat at night.
In some deserts fuel is extremely rare. Wherever
you find plant growth; save all twigs, leaves,
stems, and underground roots for burning. Dry
animal dung often found along travel routes
provides a very hot flame.
Eat sparingly unless you have plenty of water.
Of course, dehydration will help you out on that
scoreit will decrease your appetite. Whatever
food you do get, eat it immediately; food spoils
rapidly in the heat. Dont try to preserve food by
drying it. Dehydrated food is of little value if you
dont have enough water.
In most deserts animals are scarce. Look for
them at water holes; in grassy canyons or low-
lying areas; dry riverbed areas, in which there is
greater chance of moisture; or under rocks and
in bushes. They are most likely to be seen at dusk
or early morning. The most common animals are
the small rodents (rabbits, prairie dogs, rats) and
reptiles (snakes and lizards). They are your best
and most reliable source of food.
Dont travel in the desert unless you are
absolutely sure you can reach your destination on
the water supply available. When the days are hot,
travel only at night. Stay in the shade during the
day and rest. Follow the easiest route possible
a v o i d s o f t s a n d a n d r o u g h t e r r a i n . I n t he
sand-dune areas follow the hard-floor valleys
between the dunes or travel on the ridge of the
dunes. Follow trails if at all possible.