Many of our guests have never been offroading before – and that’s just fine, all our routes (unless stated) are suitable for offroading rookies, and we will coach you as we go along. Most have never been camping before, so here’s a suggested list to maximise your comfort on one of our weekend overlanding trips in Abu Dhabi.
Our weekend trips are usually fully catered with dinner and breakfast included. Depending on meeting/finishing time, a picnic lunch is sometimes included too, and this will be detailed in the listing.
A tent: choose one which is easy to put up and take down, and if it’s new to you, please try putting it up at home!
Tentpegs: you will mostly be putting your tent up on a sandy base, and we recommend sandpegs or angled pegs for this. Generally the ones you get when you buy your tent are not suitable for sand; we’ve used this type for over 10 years. You might also like to take either carrier bags, or cloth gymshoe pags as well, so you can fill them with sand and tie your guylines to them.
Mattresses: either air mattresses with a pump, or maybe a thick yoga mat, or even a foldable foam mattress. All have drawbacks – air mattresses generally do not last for a long time, yoga mats are quite thin, and foam mattresses take up a lot of room in your car.
Sleeping bag: or sheet and blankets: The desert can become surprisingly cool in the middle of winter; UAE temps can be as low as 5C early in the morning in January. Saudi temps, depending on location, can be sub-zero!
Extra blanket: whatever you decide to take, please take an extra blanket with you. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep when you are freezing cold!
Pillow: if you have room in your car, do take a comfortable one, or alternatively use a cushion, or a rolled up jacket inside your sleeping bag cover.
Chair: traditionally the Bedu sat on the ground round the campfire, but if it is cold then you could be warmer on a camping chair. Choose one which rests on 4 feet rather than 2 sidebars as these are more stable in the sand.
Small table: optional. It’s sometimes nice to have somewhere to put your cups and glasses down.
Melamine/plastic dishes and cutlery: optional. we use disposable bamboo/pulp plates and wooden cutlery, however if you want to be even more environmentally friendly, you are welcome to take your own dinner plate, cup and cutlery.
Head torch: we always aim for dark places so you can make the most of an inky black sky studded with stars. White light ruins night vision, so if everyone has a headtorch with a red light option we all see more stars!
Water/drinks/snacks: for in between meals. Our trips generally include breakfast and dinner, and on some trips, where expressly listed, a picnic lunch too.
Coolbox: optional. Good to carry/keep cool those soft drinks for when we are driving
Medicines: we are usually a long way from civilisation, so we suggest you take paracetamol, antiseptic cream, antihystamine. Remember to pack your prescription meds too.
Sunscreen: if you need it. Even on a cool, partially cloudy day, the sun can burn the lightest of skins
Toiletries/tissues/baby wipes: please bag your tissues and baby wipes and take them out of the desert with you
Clothes: we suggest comfortable, loose fitting, modest attire. Skimpy clothes which are fine in most places in Dubai are not recommended for the conservative towns of the far west. Pack a fleece, and if you are joining a trip in the middle of winter, a woolly hat!
Closed in footwear: for when it is dark. We have never had any guest bitten or stung, but we know of it happening. Desert wildlife generally keep a wide berth from humans, however if you accidentally stand on a “beastie” in the dark, then it will be sure to retaliate!
Recovery Gear: optional. We have a winch, sandboards, shackles and snatch straps, which is normally more than enough for any stuck situation. If you have rated recovery gear and would like to take it along, then please do. If you’d like to learn how to use it then we are happy to help.
Whatever you buy, please do try it out before you join the trip! Check all pieces are there, and that you know how to use it. This will give you much more time to relax round our campfire!