5 Things I've Learned from Camping in the Desert

I just got back from my ninth year at Burning Man. Each time I've gone, it's been in a teardrop trailer and I think I've learned a fair amount about camping in the inhospitable desert in a tiny trailer. If you are thinking of doing some desert camping (which is doable almost any time of year), these five tips might be helpful.

1. Elevate and line your ice chest

Keeping your ice chest elevated off the hot ground will keep your food colder. We also line our ice chest with Reflectix reflective insulation and freeze a few items (beer and soda cans, meat) to keep other food items cold.

2. Orient your trailer for optimal shade and breeze

It's easy to move a teardrop trailer around to take advantage of the sun's position in the sky as well as desert breezes. In addition, bring a shade structure to shade your living or sleeping space. However...

3. ...beware of freak weather

In the desert, I've seen freak thunderstorms, dust devils and sand storms. Make sure everything is staked and tied down and close up your teardrop doors and galley hatch when not in use.

4. Enjoy the mornings, evenings and nights

Mornings, evenings and nights in the desert are a delight. Take advantage of those times for exploring, hiking and cooking. Relax in the heat of the day.

5. Don't be afraid to get out there

Many people are intimidated by the desert and avoid it. There are some amazing places to camp in the middle of nowhere and most likely you will be the only camper around. Just be prepared with plenty of water, fuel, tools and other safety supplies.


  1. Thanks for the good tips and most apply to me camping here in Florida. Leaving windows down while you take a 45 minute walk and sure enough a quick shower comes along and before you can get back everything inside is wet.
    I especially like the tip about insulating the cooler. Great tip, never would have thought of that. I'm going to do that to mine this week!

    1. Thanks Mike! Yes, these tips can apply to any hot weather climate. I learned about lining the cooler from another teardropper and it extends the life of our ice and frozen food by nearly two days.