Which turban goes with the black shirt

The right clothing and other tips for the desert

You can find our articles on desert camps in the Moroccan Sahara as well as further tips in this article.

Are you also drawn to the desert? No wonder - the space and tranquility, the fascinating color contrasts and, last but not least, the clear nights under the sparkling firmament are something very special. Fortunately, today you can easily get an impression of the desert yourself and spend one or more nights in a desert camp.

However, we asked ourselves: What should you wear in the desert to avoid heat shock or sunburn? You can read about that and what else you should take with you on your trip here!

If you only go into the desert for one night, you can wear what you want - you won't really get the sun off there (but think of a warm sweater for at night!). The question of desert clothing becomes interesting if you have spent at least two nights and with it a full day out in the desert spends.

Contents overview

The Berbers have to know!

The desert is a place of extremes. It's hot, it's dry, it's sandy and, as is well known, the sun's UV radiation isn't doing that well either. It is a good idea to learn from those who know more than we do. In our case, these are them Berberwho lived their lives on the edge of the desert or in it - and have done so for generations.

The first thing you notice is: leave the shorts and spaghetti top at home. Locals almost always wear long clothesto protect yourself against the sun. Neither arms nor legs are free.

And the next noticeable thing that is at least as important: A decent head protection! With the Berbers, these are the well-known turbans, which are made of long cloths and wound around the head and can also protect the neck and face.

Of course, you don't need to wear an ankle-length caftan on your desert tour. There are alternatives for this. Then let's get down to business and show you which clothing has proven itself with us - and which ones don't.

Protection for the head and face

One thing is clear: it doesn't work without head protection - and any hat is better than nothing. Without proper headgear, sunburn on the face is inevitable and you run the risk of heat stroke. However, there are also headgear here that are more suitable than others.



Pierre has his Baseball cap Left at home because it is completely unsuitable for protecting the neck, ears, nose, face and throat.



In Merzouga, Pierre had his first Leather cowboy hat there, which is also not ideal. The shade of the brim is not enough to offer adequate protection from the sun and drifting sand, and a halfway tight-fitting hat can also be quite uncomfortable to wear, keyword “sweatband”.

His too Shemagh/ Pierre had Arafat cloth in his desert luggage. However, it is too small to wrap a real turban, so that only the somewhat martial "Palestinian look" is possible. And it really doesn't have to be in Africa.
Everyone Floppy hat, summer hat or other headgear with a wide brimthat provides shade for the face and neck would be suitable. The choice is of course yours. Light, yet well-fitting material is strongly recommended and it would not be bad if the part didn't slide down with every movement or fly away with the slightest gust of wind (attachment?).
We personally came up with that best Berber scarf tied to a turban rightly. You can also see it in a lot of locals. Even for those who do not work as tourist guides. We saw countless men who worked outside wearing the Berber turban (correct: Tagelmust).

The turban is airy and light, easy to tie and very versatile. Video instructions on how to do it can be found below 😀 You can use this to protect your neck and throat as well as your face, down to the eyes, if necessary. And also against wind (and therefore often sand).

At first we were unsure whether we should / can wear such a turban, because it felt like adorning ourselves with strange feathers.

But: Such a turban is really really practical for the desert. If the bottom line is that a turban offers the most benefits, then anyone can use it without being ashamed. We did that too, and no local protested about it in any way. Therefore: Courage to wear a turban!

At Women the Berber turban is not common. In the country, most women wear their usual headscarves anyway. That looked too religious for Debbie and she therefore preferred to wrap herself in a turban. It is less of a religious symbol and more of a traditional and practical piece of clothing. The turban is also seen more often among tourists.

You can get a Berber scarf like this on every corner in Morocco for little money. You should just make sure that he at least two meters long so that you can wrap it around your head. With the locals, it is often twice as long or even longer.

Clothing for the upper body

To avoid sunburn, there should always be something Long sleeved be. At the same time, too thickly packed also means that you sweat a lot.

In the desert there is a dry heat, so that sweat dries faster and you don't feel as sweaty as with us on humid summer days. But while you sweat it is of course not comfortable - that's why the right clothes are important to to feel good.

You also have to keep in mind that in most camps you will probably no shower facilities and most likely also got a lot of sand and dust. This is inevitable in the desert and is simply a result of a light wind. Debbie's tip at this point: Don't be angry about the sand on your body, you can't change anything about that anyway 😀 You still feel comfortable with the right clothes.

We generally recommend you for the upper body two layers of clothing: A T-shirt or sleeveless top underneath and a loose, long-sleeved shirt on top. This also has the advantage over a single, light, long-sleeved part that you can simply take off the shirt in the shade.

First layer: merino wool!

The T-shirt catches the sweat and ideally releases it to the outside, where it then dries. A is ideal for this Merino wool shirt. Yes, real sheep's wool in the desert! You may have heard that merino wool is an absolute miracle material. And we can confirm that too.

Merino wool clothing is light, does not scratch, hardly crease and does not feel clammy too quickly - Merino fibers can absorb a third of their weight in moisture without you noticing. And the best thing is: odor-causing bacteria can only stick to the fibers with great difficulty. That means in plain language: Merino doesn't smell too quickly. Just let it air out overnight, that's often enough. Therefore, merino wool is ideal for everything that involves physical activity and that you cannot / do not want to put on a new item every day. So also for the desert.

For the desert in particular, it is also interesting to know that merino wool temperature regulating properties hat: It cools you when it's warm and warms you when it's cold. Both occur during the day in the desert - because, as is well known, it gets cold in the desert at night 😀

Further detailed information about the advantages of merino wool can be found at bergfreunde.de (provision link, information on this).

On hikes, on hot days and of course in the Moroccan desert Merino wool has proven itself so wellthat we no longer use any other shirts for this.

You can find a wide selection of merino tops, for example in the merino section of bergfreunde.de (commission link). Bergfreunde has always come back interesting discount promotions run for merino wool.

Second layer: long-sleeved shirt against the sun

You are already taken care of directly on your upper body. Nevertheless, you still need something on top to keep your arms in front of the harmful UV radiation to protect the sun. A loose-fitting, thin shirt or a wide blouse is very suitable for this.

The material is not so important because it doesn't sit directly on the skin (let's exclude arms: D). But it is important that that Material is very tightly wovenso that no sun comes through. Some suppliers even specify the UV protection factor (UPF value) in the product description.

Pierre got himself a shirt from Mammut (here on Bergzeit with more information or Amazon, commission links) with UPF 40 (according to the manufacturer) for the desert, with which he was very satisfied. Debbie had a normal, dark blue cotton shirt with her and didn't get sunburn.

The shirt should be wide because a shirt that billows and flutters in the wind is ideal for additional cooling cares. Skin-tight clothing is not for the desert!

By the way: dark textiles allow less radiation to pass through than light ones with the same material thickness - you can also see this on light and dark curtains. But does that really make a difference in the end? The main thing is that you protect yourself with tightly woven fabric.

tip: If you are out with a dromedary at lunchtime, for example, you should also have yours Protect your hands from the sun. However, we didn't want to go into the desert with gloves on. In the end, it was enough to put another cloth over your hands 😀

Third shift: At night it gets cold in the desert

And for the evening? It can get a little thicker then. Since the temperature in the desert drops significantly after sunset, you should always have one Have a warm sweater in your luggage. How cold it gets at night naturally changes over the course of the year. Find out beforehand what temperatures you will be dealing with!

We were in the Sahara of Morocco at the beginning of September and have also slept two nights on a wool blanket in the dunes. We had another blanket to cover us with, otherwise it would have got a little cold. We didn't have a thermometer, but the temperatures should have been around 15 ° C.

Tip: a hood is really recommendedwhen you want to sleep outside, otherwise your ears could get cold!

Debbie also had this cozy hoodie (commission link) made of organic cotton and recycled polyester over her merino shirt. Pierre wore a hooded sweater at night (commission link). It was important to him that the predominant material used was cotton.

The right pants

Long-sleeved at the top and anyway at the bottom. You hardly ever see shorts on locals, except on children, and there is a reason for that. If you sit on a dromedary for some time, you don't run the risk of some strap chafing on your legs. Therefore: long pants are a must!

And they should be as light and airy as possible, because the heat builds up in heavy trousers made of thick fabric. But not so lightly that sun rays come through the material - that Material must be tightly woven 😉 Fortunately, there is a good selection in the outdoor area.

That's what Debbie says

Debbie bought light travel trousers some time in advance of our stay in the desert. The Craghoppers Nosilife (here on Bergzeit with more information or Amazon, commission links) weighs just 260 g, but according to the manufacturer, it has a UPF value of 50+ thanks to the tightly woven stretch fabric.

The pants dry very quickly (subject to sweat, but also short underwear after a stay in the desert ^^), fits perfectly, does not restrict freedom of movement and has proven itself very well for me both in the desert and on hikes in home areas.

I usually like to wear very loose, light harem pants in hot weather. But the Craghoppers pants are through her light weight and their elastic adaptability Certainly the better choice for the desert!

They are interesting as travel trousers because they have an RFID security pocket for credit cards on the leg, which can also be securely closed with a zipper and mini snap hook.

That's what Pierre says

Pierre has them in the desert Senhor Cabral from ViaVesto (here on Bergzeit with more information or Amazon, commission links) and is completely enthusiastic. He usually belongs to the short-pants-from-April-otherwise-I-sweat-group and at first couldn't imagine putting on long pants in the heat. But the new pants could change his mind.

Compared to my normal cargo pants with their many pockets, which I like to wear in cooler temperatures, with ViaVesto it feels so light, as if you are not wearing anything. This is a real advantage, especially when hiking in hot areas / during hot seasons!

It also offers a UPF of 50, makes a robust impression and dries quickly again even with short washes. The cut and fit are also perfect for me.

I also really like the fact that it has enough side pockets and a secret pocket to stow more important things quickly and safely.

Shoes in the desert

Shoes are an ambivalent topic in the desert. The camel drivers do not wear closed shoes, only sandals. Here we play it safe and prefer to sturdy shoes.



We also have tourists Slippers and flip-flops seen, but especially on the camel I wouldn't feel like doing it, because you have to be careful all the time so that they don't slip off your feet. Apart from the risk of sunburn.

There is nothing against it, sometimes walking barefoot through the sand. Everyone should do that anyway, because the sand is just so pleasantly fluffy ^^ But you should have your shoes with you. The sand can get very hot and uncomfortable during the day - and Debbie would always be a little afraid not to step on a buried snake. We didn't see any snakes and didn't hear that there were any problems with them, but our guide Hasan once showed us the trail of a snake on the dunes. So…. ^^

It should also be borne in mind that in the area around the camp a few pointed objects lying around could. Maybe a piece of glass, some old plastic, or who knows what. Plus lots of dried camel poop.

With sturdy shoes you are definitely on the safe side in every respect - and you can take them off at any time.

With shoes, however, you have to expect that they are from top to bottom and inside and out will absolutely sand and dust. So don't take your good office shoes! Otherwise it doesn't have to be really special shoes. The tread depth is completely irrelevant in the loose sand when walking up the dunes, you can forget a good grip anyway ^^

If Trekking shoes or ankle-high hiking boots are better, one can argue about that. Pierre wore his boots (with merino socks), Debbie her trekking shoes. We cannot offer a final verdict - everyone was happy with their choice. And as I said: the sand is everywhere anyway 😀

Further equipment and tips for the desert trip

For your trip to a desert bivouac, you only take with you what you need for this time. You leave your large suitcase / backpack in the car or hotel. Your Valuables you should have it with you!

Otherwise you will need a toothbrush, toothpaste and a small towel. Sunscreen shouldn't be missing either. Furthermore, you should also have handkerchiefs and possibly wet wipes take. You never know when the toilets will all fail or when there will be no more water.

Optional: Debbie had one in addition to her backpack medium-sized shoulder bag (this: commission link) that she always had with her. This is helpful because you don't always have to carry the daypack to have the valuables with you. Even the compact camera and a Mini tripod (this: commission link) for nighttime starry sky shots fit in there. I (Debbie) can really recommend such a shoulder bag, everything is ready to hand on the dromedary too!

electricity and water

A flashlight is pretty helpful at night - we've got ours here Cell phone flashlights leave. Without a moon or with a cloudy sky, it gets so dark that you really can't see anything apart from the camp lights.

We had the phones in airplane mode so there weren't any problems with the battery charging. You cannot rely on having electricity in camp. The camp in Merzouga was supplied with small solar panels, but that was not enough for the tourists' devices.In Zagora you could connect your cell phone.

Drinking water could possibly also be a topic. During our trip to Merzouga there was plenty of water in the camp - we had too much with us. In Zagora, however, there was no water, everyone had to bring enough with them. Throwing a few bottles into the large pockets of the dromedary wasn't a problem either, so there was no need to cram all the water into a daypack.

It is best to find out in good time before your trip what it looks like in your camp with water.

Optional: Pierre is a great friend of Hydration bladders, i.e. a water reservoir in the backpack, from which you can drink at any time, even while running, with a hose that is carried over your shoulder and fastened there. This has clear advantages because you don't have to take off your backpack and fumble out bottles to drink. If, for example, you are very thirsty on the camel, it becomes difficult to drink from the bottle.

Pierre has integrated his hydration bladder into his rucksack for years and he found it very practical even in the desert.

Be careful with the camera - the sand is everywhere!

One last note about the camera: Debbie underestimated the desert and not one of them Dust protection thought. Even before we left for the desert, the first sand had stuck in the filigree lens shutter, which then no longer closed properly. After the trip to the desert, the camera was so silted up that it crunched heartbreakingly when the mechanical parts were operated, and so did the camera professionally cleaned had to become. Dust had also gathered behind the fixed lens.

But I also made the mistake of throwing the camera into my shoulder bag without its own camera cover - “nothing will happen, we're not at war” - and of course sand has accumulated there. tip: Keeps the camera safely in its case and not just in any other bag because of being quick and easy. Only take them out when you need them and then put them away again. The fine drifting sand in the desert should not be underestimated!

About commission links: If you click on a commission link and buy something there, we get a small portion of the purchase price as commission. The does not cost you anything extra, but we are happy about it 😀

“Why are we doing this?

Author: Debbie

Nature lover and writing enthusiast. Loves tinkering with their websites and uploading new fancy posts as often as possible.
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