On the track

Walking in hot weather is generally tough on the feet if the ground is hard or rocky, while soft sand means slow, tiring walking. A lot of flat, semi-desert country has very subtle features, so check map and compass frequently, especially if following man-made features which can change significantly from those marked on maps. It has been estimated that it can take more than 20 years for a single vehicle movement off the track to completely disappear—so new tracks can appear rapidly, and old ones disappear very slowly. Navigation in these areas can be difficult, and reorienting yourself difficult and time consuming, so it is best to avoid becoming lost in the first place. Use of a GPS can be helpful in these circumstances.

Heavy rains or thunderstorms can cause creeks to rise rapidly to dangerous levels, but as they usually subside just as quickly, it is better to wait rather than attempt to cross a swollen creek. Because of the danger of flash floods, avoid camping in dry creek beds. Desert storms can be very isolated, and it is possible to encounter a flash flood many kilometres from the site of the rain—in fact it may not rain at all where you are, yet creeks can rise without warning. Dry areas are attractive to ants and other insect pests, so check the site carefully prior to setting up camp. Use sand or toilet paper for washing dishes to preserve water. Always clean dishes after use or your gear will be smothered with ants.

Dust or sandstorms can reduce visibility significantly and it is generally best to set up camp and wait for these to pass.