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How Much Water Do You Need to Drink in a Desert?

How much water do you need to drink in a desert?

It may be surprising to learn that desert travellers often live for many weeks and months at a time, working hard in hot conditions with only a few litres of water each day. Conventional wisdom may dictate drinking many times more (up to ten litres in some instances) for that level of exertion in those temperatures but evidence from desert expeditions indicates that, if properly managed, you can safely operate for long periods on considerably less.

Below are the daily water rations of some different desert travellers. I’ve included what they used the water for and what activity they were undertaking to help give a fuller picture. I’ve listed my sources too, although in most instances I just asked the person in question.

How To Cross A Desert

How to Get to the North Pole: and Other Iconic AdventuresThis is an edited excerpt from the How To Cross A Desert chapter of my new book: How To Get To The North Pole And Other Iconic Adventures.

Desert Explorers’ Daily Water Consumption

Regis Belleville

  • Across the Sahara with camels
  • Consumption: 4 litres
  • Used for: Drinking and cooking
  • Information Source: www.regisbelleville.com

Louis-Philippe Loncke

  • Across Simpson with cart
  • Consumption: 4 litres (average of 2.5 to 5 litres)
  • Used for: Drinking
  • Information Source: Louis-Philippe Loncke

My Wife and I

  • Across Wahiba Sands on foot with pack
  • Consumption: 3.5 litres
  • Used for: Drinking

Michael Asher

  • Eastern Sahara with camels
  • Consumption: 1.5 (cool season) to 3 litres (hot season)
  • Used for: Drinking
  • Information Source: Michael Asher

Pierre Schmitt

  • Across the Ténéré with cart
  • Consumption: 4 litres
  • Used for: 2.5l drinking, 1.5l cooking
  • Information Source: www.pierreschmitt.com

Sam McConnell

  • Across Namib with pack
  • Consumption: 3 litres
  • Used for: Drinking
  • Information Source: Sam McConnell

Regis Belleville

  • Static in the Sahara
  • Consumption: 1 litre
  • Used for: Drinking and cooking
  • Information Source: www.regisbelleville.com

Wilfred Thesiger

  • Across the Empty Quarter with camels
  • Consumption: 1 pint (568ml)
  • Used for: Drinking
  • Information Source: Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

How to Get to the North Pole:

and Other Iconic Adventures

Newly published for April 2012

How To Get To The North Pole



Laura and Tim Moss are currently cycling 10,000 miles around the world. They are raising money for JDRF Diabetes Research and proudly supported by Brooks England.

About The Author

Tim has supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents. He has climbed new mountains, crossed a desert and is currently cycling around the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society London and a Guinness World Record. He aims to encourage more people to live adventurously.

Number of Entries : 587

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