10 Tips on How You Can Survive If You Get Stranded In the Desert without Water


The imagination of getting stranded in the desert is horrifying. Considering the desert receives not more than 250 mm of precipitation annually. How would you survive without water? Human body cells cannot function without water.  Since the temperature in the desert is so high, you can hardly survive for four days due to dehydration. So what should you do?

1. Avoid Eating

You can survive for more than three weeks without food. Mahatma Gandhi is believed to have survived for 21 days without food. Your digestion process requires water. If you eat without taking water, you are likely to have some complications.

2. Avoid Losing Water through Sweating

The temperatures in the desert are hot during the day and cold during the night. You walk during the day, and the scorching sun will make you dehydrate. You can minimize your day time activities and move at night. Avoid removing your clothes during the day. They help to regulate the sweat evaporating from your body.  If you have a hat, use it to cover your head. If you don’t have one, you can wrap your head with a piece of fabric.

Since you are trying to avoid sweating at all cost, your urine is beneficial. Urinating on the clothes you are wearing will help to regulate your body temperature. That might sound awkward, but it is crucial when trying to control sweating. Drinking urine will be disastrous since the body requires a lot of water to flush waste.

3. Follow Wildlife

You can check the animal trails and watch the sky to see whether you can see circling birds. A swam of fries and mosquitoes is also an indication of water nearby. You can also follow the straight line the bees are using to travel. It will direct you to their hive or the water source. 

4. Vegetation

Vegetations cannot survive without water. You need to look for greenest plants. If you see wide-leafed trees, know that there is water nearby. You are likely to see different tree depending on the desert.

5. Canyons or Valleys

If you have a map, it will be easy to get to a valley or canyons.  If there is a significant rainstorm in the desert or snow, the canyons or valley are likely to retain waters. 

6. Dig Pool

The only possible place you might dig and get water in the desert is in a dry riverbed or a dry stream. You can be lucky to dig and get the water right below the surface. Try digging in the river bend or the edges.

7. Promising Rock Features

You are likely to get water in sandstone.  When it rains, these stones hold water for some time, since they have some pockets. You can also try digging beneath the surface of impenetrable rock slopes.

8. Dunes

If the desert is near the ocean, you can dig in the dunes. They can trap and filtering the water from the sea. You have to check the high tide mark and dig above it. There is a high chance of getting fresh water.

9. Disinfecting the Water

If you have the means of boiling the water, don’t hesitate. You can also sieve it using an anti-microbial filter. It helps to remove the biological contaminant. If you fail to disinfect your water, the contaminated water will make you get an infection. Vomiting and diarrhea might follow. Since you are alone in the desert with no doctor, you might die due to dehydration. If you have no way of disinfecting it, soak your clothes to help you remain cool.

10. Cactus Fruits

You can easily find cactus in the desert. Their fruits contain juice that can supplement water. It has some spikes and hairs. You have to be careful when collecting it. Roast them for few minutes to remove the spikes. They are suitable for human consumption. Don’t eat any fruit you get in the desert. Some are poisonous.


 When travelling in the desert, you require a map. If you lose your team and get stranded, you have to survive. Avoid any activities during the day. Try to find water. Avoid sweating at all cost. Eat cactus fruits and be careful not to eat other poisonous fruits.