Photo from Time Out Dubai.

Quick – what do you think of when you hear about Dubai? Ridiculously large sky scrapers? Luxury shopping and resorts? Oil? Better add camping to the list because according to Time Out Dubai there are some amazing opportunities for desert camping just outside the city.

Desert camping outside Dubai sounds pretty awesome to me: spots where there is no light or noise pollution and no tire tracks (probably because they were erased by the wind the night before). There is plenty to see as well: sand monitor lizards, sand cats, and desert gazelle (if you’re lucky). Driving and hiking are some of the more popular pastimes for desert campers.

However, this warning from the article makes me think desert camping in the UAE may not be for everyone:

You should never journey into the desert without another vehicle – or another two if you’re going into Liwa. You must also be a competent desert driver and equipped with GPS. Be sure to check all fluid levels, tyres and the weather forecast before setting out.

It’s not really clear why you need multiple vehicles – breakdowns? hijackers? Clearly the tip on checking fluid levels and weather conditions is a good one for any type of desert camping or hiking excursion.

Finally, I want to share a camping tip this article reminded me of about staking a tent in the sand. While I was in the Air Force we often set up large canvas tents (called GP Mediums) in the sandy soil in Colorado and Florida and my NCOs taught me this trick: instead of pushing tent stakes straight into the sand, angle the stakes AWAY from the tent at a 45 degree angle. Of course this seems counterintuitive but it turns out the friction (or suction as some claimed) is what keeps your stakes secure from lateral movements caused by wind. A vertical tent stake will quickly be rocked back and forth until the hole is enlarged and releases your tent stake.

Now you’re ready to pitch your tent in the desert outside Dubai!

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