Once the temperature drops, thousands of UAE camping enthusiasts shun the bright lights and head to the desert. But what if you’re a first-time city slicker? We’ve created a camping rulebook, picked the brains of an outdoor expert and even written you a shopping list. It’s time to get your camp on…

Best time to go
Now. Any time between November and April is when camping in the UAE is at its coolest, and best. It can get cool at night though, so pack some thermals.

If you’re planning on having a campfire, bring firewood with you so that you don’t disturb the local vegetation. You can buy a big bag of wood at either Adventure HQ (Dhs100) before you go or, if you are already on route, shops near Al Badayer, Nizwa, Al Madam and Al Khawaneej are always well stocked.

Don’t litter
This should be a given – remember to take your litter with you. If left it looks ugly, pollutes the area and can be harmful to wildlife. The more we respect the outdoors, the more we can keep using it.

Where to go
Where you go camping in the UAE depends on what you want to do. Here’s our rule of thumb:
• Mountain biking out near Ras Al Kor
• Rock climbing near Ras Al Khaimah and Wadi Bih
• Fujairah for family camping.

Law change
Musandam in Oman has long been a favourite spot for overnight campers from the UAE, however, new border regulations require you to show proof of a hotel booking. Our advice is to plan ahead and make an advanced booking with Absolute Adventure to arrange a pass.
Absolute Adventure, Dibba, Oman. Tel: (04) 3459900. adventure.ae

There are no official off-road rescue services in the UAE – you have to rely on the police of whichever Emirate you are in to come and rescue you.
Police Hotline: 999

Don’t leave home without ticking these essential items off your list: Cool box, camping mat, outdoor stove, pillows, water (lots of it), solar-powered phone charger, GPS device, bottle/can opener, bin bags, matches, torch, toilet roll,

Put a roof over your head
It’s a romantic notion, but sleeping out under the stars isn’t particularly practical – or even safe. Adventure HQ recommends three of the best tents for you and your friends.


Mozzie Dome II Tent DHS 295 SLEEPS 2. This one sheet tent is perfect for hot and dry conditions, and cheap.


Eco Swift Pitch 3 DHS 495 SLEEPS 3. The Uvtex fabric keeps this three-person tent cool in hot conditions.


Oztrail Blitz 240 Dhs 2,995 SLEEPS 4. Like your own private majalis – spacious, airy and strong.

Adventure HQ, Times Square Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Tel: 800 238368873. 
Taxi: Times Square.
Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur and Fri 10am to midnight. 

 This article first appeared in What’s On in December 2012