Essential Hot-Weather Camping Gear for Desert Camping (2020)

One of the great things about camping is that you can do it in so many places. One of my favorites is desert camping, but this specialized climate requires some hot weather camping gear.

Before you head out into the heat, make sure you're prepared with all the right gear for your desert camping excursion. Your basic camping equipment will help, but you want to make sure you're ready for everything the desert can throw at you. I've got 10 of the most essential hot weather camping gear that will get you started.

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Stay hydrated!

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Your first priority in desert camping is water. It's essential that you have enough with you, especially if you're out on a hike. CamelBak is one of the most popular options for a reason. This hydration pack is lightweight and well-fitted, and allows you to get a drink without pulling your whole bag off and rummaging around for a waterbottle.

Keep your water clean

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It might seem like overkill to bring a water purifier with you, but this little guy is lightweight and small, which makes it a great addition to your desert gear. If you find that you're low on water and you need to use some from your campsite, this purifier will keep you healthy and safe. And having enough water when you're camping in that desert heat? It's absolutely essential.

Get the right footwear

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When you're out camping, you're likely to be on your feet for most of the day. Your shoes are one of the most important items of clothing you can bring. When we're talking about desert camping, having the right gear on your feet becomes even more important. You want something that will be stable, cool and breathable, and easy to walk on in sand and other uneven terrain. The only sandals for the job are Tevas. There's a reason your mom has been wearing them on camping trips since 1970: they just work.

Fight the sweat

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From personal experience, I can tell you that hiking while absolutely covered in sweat is not the most fun. When I go desert hiking, I like to have a small towel that I can use to deal with that excess sweat, and this quick-drying micro-fiber towel has quickly become my essential. It's the difference between a comfortable, challenging hike, and feeling like the swamp monster.

Feel fresh while you're in the wilderness

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Did I mention yet that sweat is a major element of my desert camping life? Few things are as refreshing as getting a shower when you've been in the heat all day. That's why I always bring my solar shower with me. You might think that you wouldn't need heated water in the desert, but once the sun goes down it cools off and a warm shower is a delight.

Protect yourself from sun

While heat may seem like the biggest concern in desert camping, the sun itself is also an important factor. No one wants to get sunburned on their first day of camping and spend the rest of their trip in agony. But the right gear can keep you safe. This wide-brimmed hat is cool enough to wear in the desert but protects your head, face, and neck from sun exposure.

Get a good night's rest

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One of the challenges of desert camping is the way the temperature can change drastically from the day to the night. If you're gearing up, you want a sleeping bag that will adapt to these changes. This bag is the perfect piece of hot weather camping gear. It's made of breathable material, so on hot nights you can stay cool, but will retain heat when the temperature drops. And it has the right price point.

Stay comfy

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A sleeping bag isn't the only key to a good night's sleep. Sleeping on the ground can be challenging when you don't have good padding. A rule of the universe is that I will find a way to lay down directly on top of a sharp rock. Lucky for me, this inflatable sleeping pad is actually incredibly comfortable, and barely adds any weight to my pack when I go camping.

The best hot weather tent

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No one really loves to talk about it, but the desert has some...interesting critters. As lovely as it can be to sleep under the stars, I would much rather have a fully sealed tent that keeps any creepy crawlies away from me while I sleep. This Marmot Fortress is a great option: a reasonable price point, breathable design, and a fully sealable flap to make sure that my desert camping experience doesn't involve spiders.

But be prepared for emergencies

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Of course no matter how carefully you prepare, there may be emergencies. It's always a good idea to have first aid gear on hand when you're desert camping. This is a robust kit that has everything you're likely to need, so you can get back to your camping fun.