If you love to hike, America is indeed the land of opportunity. From the rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the rolling forests along the Appalachian Trail, there is an incredible range of landscapes to explore, but perhaps none are so American as the deserts of the Southwest. Whether you are trekking across the sand dunes of Death Valley, traversing the splendor that is Joshua Tree in California, conquering the incredible rock formations in Utah’s Arches National Park or Zion, or even camping at Burning Man, the sights that await you are both uniquely beautiful and uncommonly rare. Hiking in such dry climates does present its own challenges, however, demanding a degree of preparation and endurance that is beyond the scope of some weekend warriors. Hydration and sun protection are of paramount importance, and greater care needs to be given to hygiene since access to water is so limited. For those who know how to care for themselves, though, desert hiking can be a literal walk in the park, and with the added bonus that these epic vistas are far less busy than most trails.
Dress for Surroundings
No matter where you are, the first rule of spending serious time outdoors is to embrace the local environment. That means dressing for your surroundings and packing the right kind of gear. Experiencing all the wonders that the desert has to offer will involve a lot of activity in relatively harsh conditions, with dehydration, sunstroke, and sunburn constant threats, so plenty of water and breathable, wicking clothing that offers sun protection are both essential. Sun damage and dehydration aren’t the only dangers of the desert, either, with sand and dust serious concerns that often go overlooked until it’s too late. All that loose particulate matter will irritate your eyes, nose, and throat, as well as your skin—fine sand has a way of getting into everything, rubbing against the inside of your clothing and causing itchy rashes, and eventually abrasions. This isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s unhygienic, and can lead to serious problems in a backcountry environment. That’s why in addition to food and water, you will want to bring a first aid kit and a hygiene solution, both of which need to be lightweight and offer protection for your skin.
Protect Yourself from the Harsh Realities of the Desert
Hygiene and health go hand in hand, which is why being able to remove the dust and grit from your body on a long hike isn’t just a luxury, but a necessity. That’s why no-rinse outdoor body wipes such as the Combat One Tactical Bath have become a keystone of desert hiking—they don’t just easily clean your skin, they also restore skin to its natural pH and offer protection against a host of pathogens and threats. Years of development by medical experts and testing in the harshest field settings have resulted in a versatile and lightweight product that should be a fixture in any pack.
Look into Combat One for yourself online, check out the line of personal cleaning system products, and before you hit the desert, purchase Combat One hygiene system supplies to help you stay clean and healthy no matter how dirty and hard the trail.