What to Put on Mountain climbing within the Desert – Bearfoot Principle

Mountain climbing within the desert is an effective way to see and expertise unbelievable landscapes, geology, vegetation, and even wildlife. However guests to arid climates must pack the proper desert climbing garments and kit to remain snug and protected in excessive temperatures – cold and hot!

I’ve spent a whole lot of time climbing across the deserts of the Southwest and with the proper gear, clothes, solar safety, and hydration, you’ll be well-prepared for an incredible desert journey, too. On this weblog publish, I share my high ideas for all of this and extra whether or not you’re visiting Southern Utah’s Nationwide Parks, Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, Loss of life Valley Nationwide Park, or one other superb desert vacation spot.

Essential Reminder: Because it goes in all the locations we share, please apply good path etiquette and keep in mind to Depart No HintThis implies packing out your whole rubbish (together with bathroom paper) and following the established guidelines. Within the desert, this additionally means studying defend cryptobiotic soil and the way it has a huge effect on our ecosystems.

Desert Mountain climbing Ideas

Earlier than I get into my desert climbing garments and kit ideas, I wish to share a number of vital issues to concentrate on as you pack on your journey.

Pack For Sizzling and Chilly Temps

Desert evenings can truly get fairly chilly. Deserts are recognized for being excessive, and it’s not unusual to have actually excessive temperatures and actually low temperatures on the identical day. So, it’s a good suggestion to pack further layers to throw on after the solar goes down.

That is very true within the colder months when the climate within the desert may be surprisingly wintery. Don’t be shocked if the temps dip into the 30s (or beneath!) within the desert.

Don’t Skimp On Solar Safety

It’s sensible to be ready with ample solar safety, particularly if you happen to’re visiting in the summertime and plan on spending your days out having enjoyable within the solar. Reasonably than lacking out on lovely desert locations, my recommendation is to pack loads of sunscreen and put on clothes that reduces your publicity to the solar.

Keep Hydrated

It’s straightforward to get dehydrated within the desert as a result of sweat tends to dry rapidly as a result of arid local weather, so chances are you’ll not notice how a lot fluid you’re shedding. All the time deliver a hydration pack crammed with water or a big water bottle with you on any tour out into the desert.

>> Learn Subsequent: Finest Mountain climbing Daypacks for Girls

Select Mild Colours

Mild clothes colours similar to white, beige, and pastels will assist preserve you cooler on desert hikes since these colours don’t take up the solar’s warmth as darker colours do. Additionally, go for loose-fitting garments so you may get good airflow whilst you hike.

Get An Early Begin

Mountain climbing within the desert may be HOT – spring, fall, and winter are one of the best seasons to go to the Southwest when daytime temps are milder. If you happen to do plan to go to throughout summer time, keep away from climbing through the warmth of the day (11am-4pm). Warmth can flip harmful rapidly, so we all the time advocate beginning at dawn, or heading for a sundown hike.

Kristen taking a selfie photo with Utah canyon landscape behind her
A hat is important for climbing within the desert

Desert Mountain climbing Garments

Brief Sleeve Mountain climbing Shirt

Pack a light-weight climbing shirt that wicks moisture, dries rapidly, and can preserve you cool. The Patagonia Capilene Cool Light-weight Shirt is one in every of our favorites. It does all the above whereas being tremendous light-weight and packable, plus it doesn’t wrinkle. It’s splendid for any desert hike as a result of it has nice air flow and odor management, making it good for warm days and lengthy hikes. Plus it’s Honest Commerce Licensed and makes use of recycled supplies.

Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt

Test worth: REI | Patagonia | Backcountry

Lengthy Sleeve Mountain climbing Shirt

For further solar safety, go together with the Patagonia Capilene Cool Lengthy Sleeve Shirt. I’ve honest pores and skin and have not too long ago gotten into the behavior of sporting lengthy sleeves once I hike within the desert, even on hotter days, so as to defend my pores and skin.

This shirt is quick-drying, prevents odor, and is rated for 50+ UPF solar safety. It additionally breathes very well, so that you gained’t get too scorching even within the solar. Protected to say, you possibly can put on this in your complete journey and hand-wash it when you have to freshen it up. Plus, just like the Patagonia tee above, this piece is made out of recycled supplies and is Honest Commerce Licensed.

Patagonia Capilene Cool Long Sleeve Shirt

Test worth: REI | Patagonia | Backcountry

Hiker smiling for camera wearing hiking gear and carrying trekking poles on trail in Utah with red rock bluffs in background
Carrying my Patagonia Capilene Cool Lengthy-Sleeve Shirt on a hike in Utah

Mountain climbing Shorts

You’ll desire a pair of snug climbing shorts for these heat desert days. We love The North Face Aphrodite Shorts as a result of they’re tremendous comfortable and light-weight and so they have a large waistband and simply the correct amount of stretch to them.

They’re additionally an ideal size and have pockets that are all the time useful, plus they dry rapidly. We’ve worn these climbing, rafting, and lounging and so they’re all the time an ideal alternative.

The North Face Aphrodite Hiking Shorts

Test worth: REI | Backcountry

Mountain climbing Pants

On cool desert days or when the solar goes down, you’ll wish to placed on one other layer like these prAna Halle II Mountain climbing Pants. They’re mild and stretchy sufficient so that you can preserve shifting on the path however sturdy sufficient to face as much as the weather.

These pants layer nicely over a pair of lengthy underwear if you happen to’re visiting within the winter or the desert temps actually drop at night time.

prAna Halle hiking pants

Test worth: REI | Backcountry

>> Learn Subsequent: Finest Girls’s Mountain climbing Pants & Leggings

Mild Heat Layer

It doesn’t matter what time of yr you’re heading to the desert, packing a flannel or light-weight heat layer is all the time a good suggestion. When you have to add a layer, the REI Wallace Lake flannel is a strong alternative. It’s smooth in your pores and skin, but sturdy for climbing and tenting. And, it’s accessible in seven completely different colours, so take your choose.

REI Wallace Lake Flannel

Test worth: REI

Woman sitting on rocky cliff edge in Utah at sunset with Canyonland vistas below
Carrying the REI Wallace Lake Flannel

Heat Jacket

In case you are touring within the shoulder season, nights within the desert can get fairly chilly and also you’ll probably want a heat jacket (you possibly can skip this if you happen to’re visiting in mid-summer). I all the time have an insulated puffy jacket with me, and one in every of my favorites is the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket. It’s tremendous light-weight, heat, and made with eco-friendly supplies (recycled ripstop nylon on this case). 

And, it’s packable so it’s straightforward to deliver alongside on any journey.

Patagonia Nano Puff

Test worth: REI | Patagonia | Backcountry

>> Learn Subsequent: Finest Girls’s Artificial Down Jackets

Woman sitting on rocky ledge overlook with expansive Utah Canyonlands below

Desert Mountain climbing Footwear

Mountain climbing Sneakers

The Oboz Sawtooth X Mid are good for climbing within the desert. They’re sturdy and breathable, making them nice for desert climbing when paired with light-weight climbing socks (Darn Powerful are our favourite).

The tempest outsole is tremendous grippy which is able to show you how to navigate throughout rocky and sandy terrain. The Oboz Sawtooth X is snug from day one, so that you gained’t must endure a stiff break-in interval.

Oboz additionally has some waterproof climbing boot choices that we love, though I personally advocate the non-waterproof for desert environments since they’re extra breathable. If you happen to’d like extra data on the Oboz Sawtooth X’s you possibly can learn my full overview right here.

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid

Test worth: Backcountry

>> Learn Subsequent: Finest Girls’s Mountain climbing Boots & Sneakers

Mountain climbing Sandals

Among the finest elements of visiting the southwest is attending to discover the distinctive waterfalls, rivers, and canyons. Reasonably than sporting your climbing sneakers or flip flops, I like to recommend packing a water sandal that may additionally double as a camp shoe.

These Teva Common Path Sandals are a sturdy choice that can carry you from the path to the river. They’re light-weight, snug, and supply nice traction with their Vibram soles to stop slipping.

Even higher, the straps on these new sandals are product of 100% recycled plastic! Take a look at my full overview of those sandals for more information.

Teva Universal Trail Sandal

Test worth: REI | Backcountry

Desert Mountain climbing Equipment

Huge Brimmed Solar Hat

Carrying a well-brimmed hat within the solar will scale back your publicity and assist preserve your head cool. The perfect hat on your desert climbing journey is a hat you’ll truly put on, so choose one out based mostly in your fashion – the broader the brim the higher out within the desert.

My absolute favourite solar hat is the Wallaroo Girls’s Sedona Hat pictured beneath. It’s crushable making for straightforward packing, doesn’t get too scorching when climbing, and it has a drawstring within the brim that permits you to tighten the hat if it’s windy.

*DISCOUNT CODE: Save 20% on the Wallaroo Sedona hat whenever you use the code BEARFOOT20 at checkout.

Wallaroo Sedona Hat

Test worth: Wallaroo Hats

Portrait shot of woman smiling at camera wearing wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses around her neck
The Wallaroo Sedona Solar Hat is packable, light-weight, and shades your complete face

Polarized Sun shades

One other must-have merchandise for a desert climbing journey is an efficient pair of sun shades. One in every of my favourite moderately priced pair of sun shades are the SunCloud Patrol Polarized sun shades. With 100% UV safety, these are nice sun shades for climbing within the desert to guard your eyes from the solar.

SunCloud Patrol Polarized Sunglasses

Test worth: REI

A Buff

Buffs are nice multi-functional items which might be nice for conserving your neck protected in scorching desert environments. We love the Buff CoolNet UV+ as a result of it has a cooling know-how end and UPF 50+ solar safety. It’s additionally made out of 95% recycled supplies.

If the temps are actually excessive otherwise you feeling some warmth exhaustion, moist your buff with water and put on it round your head. This may assist preserve your physique temp cooler.


Test worth: REI | Backcountry

Desert Mountain climbing Gear

Day Pack

When you get to your desert vacation spot, you’ll want a rugged, sturdy day climbing pack, just like the Osprey Tempest 20. With simply the correct amount of room, it has a number of pockets to retailer every part you want for a day exterior.

You may connect a helmet or trekking poles to the outside and combine your hydration reservoir. General, the Osprey Tempest 20 Pack is an efficient all-around day pack so as to add to your desert packing record.

Osprey Tempest Daypack

Test worth: REI | Backcountry | Osprey

Hiker taking a selfie while trekking through narrow slot canyon with tall cliff walls on either side and standing water
Carrying the Osprey Tempest 20

Hydration Reservoir

One of the crucial vital issues to recollect whenever you’re out exploring the desert is to keep hydrated. The Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir is a dependable, BPA-free reservoir accessible in 1.5, 2, and three L.

I like to recommend the 3L reservoir if you happen to’ll be heading out for a full day – water sources may be restricted climbing within the desert. This hydration reservoir is designed to maintain a low profile, so your pack will nonetheless be snug.

Osprey Hydraulics Hydration Reservoir

Test worth: REI | Backcountry | Osprey

Water filter

If you happen to’re heading out on an extended hike and you already know there shall be water sources like a river or creek, it’s a good suggestion to pack a water filter so you possibly can refill your hydration bladder and never fear about water. We love the LifeStraw Peak Squeeze 22 fl oz water filter as a result of it’s small and light-weight and really straightforward to make use of. Simply fill it up and squeeze the water out into your bigger container or reservoir.


Test worth: REI | LifeStraw

>> Learn Subsequent: Finest Backpacking Water Filters

GPS & Satellite tv for pc Communicator

All through a lot of the wild locations in distant desert areas, there’s very spotty cell service or none in any respect. You could wish to contemplate carrying a satellite tv for pc communicator just like the Garmin inReach Mini 2-way Satellite tv for pc Communicator.

This tiny handheld machine has 2-way texting, SOS, and monitoring capabilities. It may very well be a life-saver (actually) if you happen to need assistance and also you’re out of cell reception. I really feel slightly extra snug once I’m off-grid realizing I’ve an emergency machine like this.

Garmin inReach Mini GPS satellite communicator

Test worth: REI

Up-close photo of hand holding Garmin inReach Mini GPS satellite communicator
Having a GPS Satellite tv for pc Communication machine just like the Garmin inReach Mini may be life-saving

Sunscreen & Lip Balm

Final, however positively not least, don’t neglect the sunscreen and lip balm. We’ve been loving Assume Sport’s Naturally Tinted Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen as a result of it blends in nicely, doesn’t go away a white residue, and most significantly it’s eco-friendly, reef-friendly, and freed from dangerous chemical compounds.

Additionally, you should definitely again a tube of chapstick with SPF as a result of there’s nothing worse than sore and blistering lips!

Think Sport eco friendly sunscreen

Test worth: Amazon

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I hope this helps you dial within the gear you want on your desert climbing journey! What questions do you will have? The place are you most enthusiastic about visiting? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

Get your gear and clothing dialed for desert hikes in the southwest so you're ready for any adventure from hiking to camping and more.

Written by
Kristen Bor

Hey there! My title is Kristen, and that is my out of doors weblog. I found the facility of the outside in my 20s, on the time I wanted it most. Now 15 years later, prioritizing that essential reference to nature continues to enhance my life. My aim at Bearfoot Principle is to empower you with the instruments and recommendation you have to responsibly get exterior.

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