|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2009
Think like a desert dweller to stay cool and comfortable.
Sleep low. Cool air sinks, so look for shaded, north- or east-facing sites in valley bottoms.
Skip the stove. When you have to ration water in camp, save what you have for drinking–not cooking and pot cleaning. Pack dried fruit, bread with pesto, or backcountry sushi rolls made with cream cheese, pouch tuna, wasabi, and carrots on nori (or a tortilla).
Scrub down. You'll sleep better if you wipe off sweat and grime. Pack wet wipes, or use a moistened bandanna.
Sleep in a mesh tent. If you can't sleep en plein air because of bugs, use a well-ventilated shelter like Black Diamond's Beta Bug; $139, blackdiamondequipment.com). Leave the fly off of any tent when the sun is out so that solar heat doesn't collect inside.
Protect your pad. In the desert, shine your flashlight horizontally across the ground to locate pad-puncturing cactus spines. Sweep the area thoroughly before laying your pad down. Alternatively, pack a puncture-proof, closed-cell foam pad like Therm-a-Rest's Ridge Rest ($25, thermarest.com).