Be Prepared for Desert Camping in Your RV
Each year, thousands of snowbirds descend in the deserts of the Southwest. Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico desert camping offers a scenic respite from the frigid temperatures of the North. And it’s no wonder. Gorgeous night skies stretch between the two horizons.
Warm and dry desert destinations offer an abundance of different outdoor activities that RV campers love. There are no mosquitos in the desert. At the end of the day, the cool night air is quiet, peaceful, and relaxing.
8 Must-Haves For RV Camping In The Desert
As with any other camping adventure, you need to pack the right supplies to make your desert RV camping experience enjoyable and fun. We made a list of our top must-haves for RV camping in the desert.
1. Lots of water
Lots of water is definitely #1 on our list of must haves for RV camping in the desert. Desert campgrounds may not have access to potable water, so even if you don’t plan on boondocking, you should bring more water than you think you will need.
In the deserts of the Southwest, it can be many miles to a place where you can get water, so fill up your tanks and bottles before you get to the desert. Be sure to include extra water for the four-legged campers too.
2. Aluminet shade cloth
Daytime temperatures can be above 85 degrees F. In the heat of the day in the desert, it’s essential to have a shady spot in which you can relax.
Aluminet is a metal fabric that has been knit together using a specialized metallicized material. Porous and knitted, shade cloths reflect heat and allow hot air to rise through them, keeping the campsite about 10 degrees cooler than the air around it. Their porous structure makes them less susceptible to wind damage than regular woven tarps.
3. A packable sunhat with a brim
Getting a heat stroke in the desert is a very real possibility if you don’t take precautions. Wearing a broad-brimmed, straw hat can help protect you from the heat of the sun. That being said: While a sunhat is great to have, every seasoned desert RV camper has seen at least one sun hat crushed and destroyed by the rigors of travel.
Packable sun hats are an excellent practical alternative to their non-packable counterparts. Packable sun hats can be packed flat and pop back into shape when you need them.
4. A good cordless vacuum
There is no getting away from the dust in the desert. You can keep it under control in the RV with a good cordless vacuum. We like the Dyson vacuum for its space-saving storage and superior suction. Without a good cordless vacuum, and its daily use, dust will permeate every corner and crevice of your RV.
5. Stay cool with loose, light-colored clothing
Clothing that is white and light colored reflects the sun’s rays and will help to keep you cool. Loose clothing will allow body heat to escape and will help you to stay cool.
6. Warm clothing for cool nights
As much as the desert heat can kill you, nights will be cool and can dip as low as 35 degrees in the Mojave desert. Bring warm clothing for unforgettable evenings under the starry desert sky.
7. An RV rug to help minimize dust near the RV
A lot of sand and dust can come in on our shoes whenever we enter the RV. It’s a good idea to have a large woven polypropylene RV mat to catch some of the desert before it comes into the RV. The one drawback is that some of the desert insects (like scorpions) might appreciate your rug as a good hiding spot against the desert heat during the day. We suggest checking carefully under the rug every day or two so they won’t become too populated.
8. A good first aid kit
Desert campsites are often many miles from medical assistance. If you are injured or have another medical emergency, you may have to travel for an hour to get medical help. This is why you need to have knowledge of first aid and a good first aid kit when you are camping in the desert.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
- Desert Boondocking Hurdles And How To Overcome Them
- How to Cope with Dust when Camping in the Desert
Lynne lives, travels, and works full-time in a Forest-River R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne has been an enthusiastic RVer for over 35 years. And then one day in 2019, she began full-time RVing as a lifestyle experiment. She quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com
Don’t forget the good thick soled shoes no matter the season .
Lynne Fedorick says
Great point, Jeff! Thank you for your input!
Pamela Ifft says
Makita cordless vacuums are the best!!