Shelter from a sandstorm
Never try to fight your way through a sandstorm. These can occur quite suddenly and last for hours, sometimes even days. Any attempt to carry on will only get you lost and completely exhausted. Instead, stay calm and look for any form of shelter the landscape offers. Ensure that your eyes, nose and mouth are protected, then wait it out until the storm passes.
The water problem
In normal climates, the average person can survive about three to five days without water. In the heat of a desert: much less. Before things become critical – and as repulsive as this sounds – you should drink your own urine if it’s relatively clear, as it can keep you alive. If your urine is already brownish and viscous, do not consume it and instead look for animals like snakes or bats. Drinking their blood can keep you from dehydrating, and although it carries the risk of infection, this becomes a rather secondary consideration when the only other option is death.
In some deserts, you‘ll have to cross difficult terrain to find a way back to civilization. For example, a rock formation can appear in front of you, blocking the path. In this case, you should first carefully consider whether it is worth taking the effort to climb over it.
Ask: will you be able to get back down on the other side? Is there a way back? Constantly assess the situation and never let your decisions take you beyond a point of no return.
Build a camp for the night
At night, the temperature in the desert drops considerably, and if all you have to keep warm are your clothes, you’ll soon become bitterly cold. During the day, keep collecting any wood and dry material to build a fire come the evening. Of course, it will eventually go out after you fall asleep.
The solution: dig a hole the length and width of your body in the sand and fill this with the glowing embers from the fire. Cover back over and lie down on it. Like underfloor heating, this trick will keep you warm through the night.
Finding a dead camel
If you come across a dead camel that had got lost or was left by nomads in the sand, consider yourself very lucky – it could just save your life. You can eat the meat, drink the blood and, if necessary, even squeeze out the contents of the animal’s stomach. These can include water, if the camel has not yet decayed. The animal‘s fur makes the perfect blanket, and you can use the body as a shelter - provided you remove its innards beforehand.