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How to perfectly dress for desert adventures

example of how to dress for the desert in Wadi Rum

How to dress for desert

“What are the best clothes to wear for the desert?” This is a frequently asked and important question. Preparing yourself properly for a desert adventure is essential to fully experiencing its wonders. The proper attire can safeguard you from the harsh elements and make your experience more comfortable and enjoyable. That is why knowing how to dress for the desert is crucial. We have compiled seven essential tips to help you prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Wadi Rum. 

Table of Contents

Tip 1: Consider Wadi Rum’s climate and seasons

Wadi Rum is a desert with a hot and dry climate, with an annual average temperature of 18.9 degrees Celsius and an annual rainfall of on average 40mm. Our summers are typically dry and sunny, with average day temperatures ranging from 34-36 degrees Celsius. In contrast, cloudy conditions and occasional rainfall are more common during our cooler winters when average day temperatures range between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius. Lastly, spring and autumn are the seasons that bring more moderate temperatures, making them the favorite times of the year amongst travelers.
Check out our Wadi Rum weather page and read our blog post titled ‘What is the Best Time to Visit Wadi Rum?’ to plan your visit to our captivating desert.

Tip 2: Be aware and sensitive to our religion and traditions

Our close-knit community has a rich religious and cultural heritage and a long-standing tradition of modesty and respect, which, amongst others, is reflected in the way we dress. We have always worn loose-fitting, covering clothes. We are conservative people who hold our religion and traditions in high regard and are proud of the knowledge and experience passed down through generations by our ancestors.

While our guests are not required to dress like us, we highly appreciate you considering our custom of dressing modestly by covering shoulders, chest, back, and knees.

Tip 3: Dress appropriately for the desert activities you have planned

If you plan to join us on one of our desert tours, you are in for a fantastic experience! You will get to do a lot of fun and exciting activities, like, amongst others, walking through soft sand and scrambling over rocks to enjoy the beauty of our desert. And if you sign up for it, you can even ride a camel. Also, you will ride seated in our pickups’ open back. So, you will be climbing in and out of the back of our car quite a lot. And also, you will sit on the ground for lunch.

Our recommendations on clothes to wear in the desert

We want you to be comfortable, so we recommend you wear something to let you enjoy the activities. Remember that skirts and dresses are impractical in the desert, so we suggest opting for trousers instead. Also, it is worth noting that the desert sun can be pretty harsh, the wind can blow fiercely, and the temperatures can be extreme. To ensure you are well-protected from the elements, we suggest you wear comfortable, wide, long-sleeved clothing and closed shoes.

One more thing to keep in mind! It is a good idea to leave your fanciest and white outfits at home and pack clothes that you would not mind getting a bit dirty or worn out. This way, you can really enjoy yourself without worrying about ruining your favorite clothes!

dress for desert example with guides and guests

Tip 4: The best clothes to wear in the desert during of the each season

In the summertime, wide, long-sleeved, light-colored clothes made from cotton or linen are your best bet. It is a good idea to wear slightly warmer clothes and a wind-stopper jacket to stay cozy during early to mid-autumn and mid to late spring. As the weather is colder in mid to late autumn and early to mid-spring, it is best to wear thicker trousers and a winter jacket to keep yourself snug. And when winter’s at its coldest, bundle up with thick winter trousers, a warm sweater, a winter jacket, a hat, a scarf, and gloves to stay toasty.

Lastly, bringing along layers of clothing with you is always a good idea, just in case the temperature changes unexpectedly. So, in the summer, don’t forget to pack a light jacket or a sweater for cooler days and evenings. And in the winter, bring lots of layers you can wear under your favorite coat. Some days can be gorgeous, while others can be downright chilly. And when the sun goes down, the temperature can drop even more. So, always be prepared and pack those layers!

Tip 5: Suitable footwear to bring for your desert adventure

We recommend wearing closed shoes with good grip throughout your exploration of the desert. This will help you scramble over the rocks and climb rock bridges safely and with ease. You can opt for walking shoes, sneakers, trainers, or even mountain boots – whatever you find comfortable!

While it is tempting to wear open shoes such as sandals, loose-fitting shoes like clogs, open-toe shoes, or shoes with an open back like flip-flops or slippers, it is neither safe nor comfortable. The hot sand can cause painful burns, and you are at risk of cuts, bruises, or worse. However, you can wear them during the evening and at night when relaxing at the camp.

Tip 6: Often forgotten but very important; desert headwear

Protecting your head and neck from the harsh sun, wind, and sand is essential. While wearing a cap or bandana can help, these do not cover your neck. A wide-brimmed hat is a fantastic option, but if you want to be in style, we have an even better choice for you that is both comfortable and practical. You can try our traditional Bedouin headwear, a scarf, and we are happy to show you how to tie it in our ‘Bedouin-style’! You can switch to a warm winter hat and scarf in the colder months to stay snug all day.

Tip 7: Protect your eyes in the sunny desert

Wearing sunglasses when you are out and about in the sun is always a good idea. Not only do they look cool, but they also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. So, do not forget to grab your shades before heading out into the desert!

What does science say about wearing covering clothes in a desert environment?

It is a common practice in many Western countries to dress up warmly in cold weather and wear lighter, less skin-covering clothing when it is warm. However, contrary to popular belief, wearing less skin-covering clothing in the sun does not keep you cooler. In fact, scientific studies have shown that desert-dwelling people like us who wear body-covering clothes even in hot weather have solid reasons for doing so. Exposure to sunlight causes the body heat to rise, and sunscreen, while useful in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays, limits the skin’s ability to sweat, which is one of the body’s natural cooling mechanisms. Wearing wide, long-sleeved clothes protects against the sun’s heat and assists with losing heat. If you are interested in learning more about the science behind this, you can check out websites like ResearchGate to find related studies.

Brief summary

Embarking on a desert adventure in Wadi Rum can be an experience of a lifetime, one that you will cherish forever. However, to make the most of it, it is important to prepare carefully. When it comes to clothing, make sure you wear comfortable, covering clothes that are appropriate for the time of year. Since it is an adventure, you should wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty or worn out. And lastly, remember to wear good shoes and protect your head, neck, and eyes to ensure your well-being and enjoyment.

Now that you know what to wear, it is time to choose your perfect desert adventure. Check out our tour packages and accommodation options, and join us for the adventure of a lifetime!

Team Wadi Rum Nomads

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