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How to Make Shelter in the Desert

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Written by Isaac&Carmen Gutierrez   

desert shelter We never know if we are traveling in the desert and get in a situation being stuck out in the desert. What can we do if you are in the desert and we have no shelter? Weather in the desert is very harsh and hostile. During the day temperature can reach in the 100sF or get into the very freezing point during the night. So a shelter is part of an essential thing to do if we are stranded in the desert. There are two method to build a shelter in the desert let us learn how.

When you need a shelter in the desert and a suitable feature as a cave is not available you will have to build something. Have you ever heard of “hot rocks”? Well here is a method on how to keep warm during the night. Find a slope facing the sun with plenty of rocks lying around. Try find south –facing slope. A shallow cave facing the south is ideal. The wall of the cave will retain heat. Use rocks that have been baking in the sun for most of the day.

Build a wall with the rocks. But remember when building the wall; make sure the hot side of each rock is facing into the shelter. Try to enclose the entire hallow part from the entrance, which can be located either at the foot or on the head end of the shelter. Make sure to make the shelter as small as possible, so that your body will almost touch the hot rocks.

The second way is to build a pit shelter. You need to be in an area where there is sand or dirt that can be dig and some shrub or wood.  Mark the area that you are going to dig about a 1ft wider and longer. Start digging the pit, any tools you have or your bare hands. Dig about 3 feet dip. If it is sand you may need to build some retaining walls so to prevent collapsing. Even if the soil is not sandy, you will need to lay 2 beams along the side of the pit for the roof to rest on.

Gather some strong branches and lay them across the pit to begin constructing the roof. Leaving a head opening at one end, start pile flat rocks on top of the sticks of the pit. Cover the rocks with sand or soil to form the roof. Try to get rid of all the gaps, so sand cant fall through into the pit. Place a layer of sand over the rocks as insulation. Form a slight dome over the area, so any water can run out. Make sure you leave an opening that runs the entire width of the shelter and is large enough to squeeze through. The shelter needs to be easy to spot both for yourself when out roaming, and for potential rescuers.

Photo by Western Sahara Project

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