First you will need a respect and appreciation for the environment. Decades of man wondering the area has, in places, taken its toll. Enjoy what you see; what you find and leave nothing altered except perhaps pick up someone's trash.
Before you venture out trekking the Black Rock Desert Area there are several points and items you will need to address and obtain.
It is best to have a 4WD vehicle. A 2WD pick up truck could work. The main thing is ground clearance. Do NOT take your everyday car. Even on “regular” roads (which if not dirt are rough loose gravel) a car will develop problems before the day is half done. An SUV is best. High clearance is desirable but in 99% of the time a normal height SUV or pickup serves well.
Make sure all tires have good tread and inflated to the proper pressure. 2 and 4 ply tires are not advisable. You need at least 6 or 8 plys. In mild cases a 4ply tire with brand new tread could suffice but that's up to you. There might be some places that will be a challenge so why take chances?
Make sure the gas tank is full - goes without saying! And be aware of your vehicles range. Take along extra gas - it may help make the walk back a little shorter!
Check your vehicle’s water before starting out and take extra water for the radiator just in case. Make sure you have water as well.
In ideal conditions take two vehicles. If you break down out in these isolated areas it sure is nice to have your rescue right behind you. While this is not always the case, if you have any doubts about where you are going, and you should, be safe and travel together.
When we visit the Black Rock Area we are there for a short period of time. Any Trekking done is usually planned in advance and usually involves leaving early morning and returning well before dark. Of primary importance is never Trek alone and be sure to tell someone in what area you are heading and what time to expect you back.
GENERAL EQUIPMENT LIST
It is hard to say what is most important but take a Wide Brim Hat, preferably straw and vented. The Sun gets hot at mid-day and the venting sure helps!
A good pair of Hiking Boots is a must. Do NOT wear sneakers or street shoes. Make sure they support your ankles and have a good gripping sole. Steel toes are a consideration but not a requirement.
Do not wear short ankle type socks. Make sure they cover at least half way up your calves
Wear Long Pants. Do NOT wear Shorts, even though it may be extremely hot, you will be glad at the end after traveling through rocks, pointy weeds and bugs!
As stated take a Jacket. You may not need it but when you do you’ll be glad you brought it along.
Wear Sun Glasses. The starkness of the surroundings reflects the Sun more than one thinks. Take them.
Cell Phones do not work out in the desert. A satellite phone works always but they are expensive. However a satellite phone may be your only chance of survival in isolation.
A compass or a GPS will be helpful. Today’s Ipads work well via GPS communication letting you track where you are, where you been and where you can head. Make sure yours has this capability and is fully charged before leaving. Maps and “Field Guides” can be very helpful at times.
Take at least 50’ of good strong Rope with you. It could help if you’re stuck - or adventuresome.
A Flashlight and Head Lamp are also very handy. Take several and take extra batteries. Caves (and Mines) are dark inside. Keep in mind they also have critters sleeping in them! - experience teaches!!
Toilet Paper can become very handy at times. Also take some good strong Garbage Bags to haul any of your junk and waste back with you. Animals can poop in the desert but we can’t. That’s cause animals can’t read the signs.
What’s the sense of Trekking the desert if you can’t show others. Take a good camera with you and make sure the batteries are good and charged. Binoculars are also nice to have. You’ll be rewarded.
No matter what, in all cases take some food with you. Make sure its easy food unless you actually plan to cookout somewhere. Sandwiches from Bruno's are not the most exciting of food but at mid-day in the middle of nowhere they're gourmet dining. Remember you may be out all day - maybe even longer.
Last and absolutely MOST IMPORTANT - Take WATER. Plenty of Water. No beer. Soft drinks work half heartedly but Water is the staple of life as you may find out. Soft Drinks, Teas & Beer can create more of a problem in the long run. Take Water. Take Water. Take Water. Take Water. Take Water.
And if we can impress you with anything it's TAKE WATER!