Desert Backpacking Gear
I was reading a forum discussing what to bring backpacking in the desert and felt as though I had some useful knowledge to share since I am often sleeping on sand. Here is what I wrote:
I'm lucky enough to get to camp out in the desert for 10 day intervals as part of my job. The challenging part is that I must camp 3 miles from the border in the Yuha Desert in southern California. My habits may vary based upon the fact that the Yuha is lightly vegitated and extremely windy.
What I have found is that the best way to sleep in the desert in the wind is without a tent. I just lay right down on a tarp and crawl into my bag. I have never had a problem with any type of animal. Sometimes I may opt for a bivy if it is cold and windy.
For clothes, I just make sure I have pants that will not get snagged by the desert flora. Lightweight ripstop nylon works great. I am a little lazy when it comes to shirts and often end up in a cotton tshirt. I do recommend a long sleeve shirt though.
My footwear has recently been limited to my keen sandles. I have strong ankles and have worn them for almost every backpack trip this past year in the southwest; the exception being the grand canyon due to the cold(snow). I have no problem with sand and sandles; although when I went hiking in the Algodones Dunes Wilderness, I went barefoot. The only scorpion sting there was from my friend sitting on one.
Again, this may vary for you depending upon which desert.