Survive the Sun

Ocotillo Sky

NPS Photo/Jennette Jurado


In all seasons, whether walking, backpacking, or day hiking, follow these tips to conserve your internal water reserves:

Reduce Your Activity
During the hottest days, usually May through August, avoid hiking in the lower elevations during the heat of the day, generally 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Find Shade
Shade in the desert means the difference between excessive heat gain from radiant sun and sheer comfort. In an emergency, a person resting in the shade will survive longer than someone exposed to the sun.

Drink Your Water
Don't try to conserve the drinking water you have. Whether casually strolling, or taking a strenuous hike, you must drink your available water. Carry plenty of drinking water; at least one gallon per person per day. Balance your food and water intake. Eat a salty snack every time you take a drink of water.

Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Water is the best remedy for dehydration and listlessness. The diuretic effects of caffeine and alcohol can result in an accelerated loss of body water.

Protect Your Body
Our sensitive skin burns easily; it needs shade, sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and proper footwear. Dehydration is accelerated by exposed skin, so keep your clothing on. Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting, light-colored clothes.

Last updated: June 15, 2012

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PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



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