DD Adventure Blog
Journals and guides from the DD Hammocks team and special guest writers - read through the blog entries for exciting expedition reports, helpful camping tips, and inspirational photos of set-ups and spectacular scenery across the whole world!
Exploring the Sinai with Rosie Stancer
A long time veteran of worldwide expeditions and Vice President of the British Explorers Society; Rosie Stancer has been to North Pole, the South Pole, and almost everywhere in between for the past 20 years. This includes Broughton Island in 2011, Wahiba Sands in 2018, Lake Baikal Siberia in 2019 and most recently the first two parts of the "Desert Trilogy".
Following the crossing of the Aral Kum in August 2021, the Sinai crossing in 2023 represents the Second Expedition in the Desert Trilogy led by Rosie. Each expedition explores the effects of climate change on different environments and communities. In this case, the Sinai expedition focuses on the impact of climatic changes on the Bedu, their traditions, culture and way of life, whilst lending them a voice to express their own experiences and how they see their future changing and evolving.
Rosie Stancer getting boots on the ground in the Sinai
The desert team included fellow explorers Pom Oliver, Arabella Dorman and Lee Watts, who walked some 650 km from one water point to the next, accompanied by Bedu from Mzeina, Jebeleya and Aliquat tribes, while camels bore the equipment and supplies on their journey. Besides the environmental research aims of the trip, the team aimed to film, photograph and paint throughout their expedition to capture as much of life in the desert as they can.
Of course, crossing 650km of wild, arid duneland is no small feat, and when it comes to expeditions such as these, reliable gear becomes the explorer's best friend.
In her own words below, Rosie tells us more about her experiences in the desert armed with a variety of DD Gear, and how she truly became part of the desert on her mission;
A column of camels carry the kit for expedition across the wild and remote terrain
"One of the dividends of dedicating one’s life to expeditions and exploration is one becomes quite the guru on expedition kit and equipment. Like the canny instinct one builds up for knowing whether someone is cut out to be a good team mate on a mission, so too one’s critical eye becomes lazer-like in selection of kit simply because on both counts your life may depend on it or them.
In the preparatory stages of any normal business, carelessness in one’s approach to detail could cost you your shirt. In the business of extreme expeditions, it could be your life. I am forensic in the selection of equipment for any of my expeditions."
A window to other ways of life; the day starts in the Sinai
"In mounting my latest project, The Desert Trilogy, I found myself feeling, once again, like the new girl. I have an expedition shed crammed with polar gear but nothing suitable for the heat and sand of deserts. Yet some basic criteria still applied – light weight, bomb proof and easy to use - no fiddly kit. Intricate gear means not only more to go wrong or break, but more complicated to repair. Given that conditions are rarely comfortable to struggle with truculent kit in, simplicity is the order of the day.
And in this trilogy project, mission critical – shade. Somehow, catering for this on Part I of the trilogy got overshadowed by other logistics, monetary ones. Budget was tight and I judged that we would find, construct or construe our own shade."
DD Tarps provide a sheltered place to rest for a while on the trail
"Part I of the Trilogy and the first expedition (August 2021) was a crossing one of the world’s youngest deserts, The Aral Kum. My team mate Pom Oliver and myself hauled our carts through temperatures that exceeded the 50c throughout most of the crossing. Our shade was the occasional sparse Tamarind bush, which we’d gratefully throw ourselves under at breaks, which carried with it the hazard of by surprising other already incumbent residents such as scorpions or lazing snakes. Being aware of such local social life meant we scuttled into the sanctity of our tent at night, missing out on falling asleep under a sky of stars that sparkled like a Shirley Bassey dress."
A furry friend; camels provide transport and carrying capability on the trek
"Part II of the Desert Trilogy and our most recent trip was crossing the Sinai Peninsula with the Bedouin - and we weren’t about to put ourselves through the same ordeal we endured on part I.
Divine providence stepped in and one of our major sponsors, Jackson Swiss, recommended DD Hammocks to us. Browsing their website was a joy, DD Hammocks is a Cathedral of camping kit for the experienced. I found an abundance of equipment featuring with all my own top priorities – super-light weight yet sturdy designs and well-thought out details such as luminous ties for tents, extra long pegs (ideal for deep sand or snow), mosquito nets, waterbladders, even a ‘Magic Carpet’ to throw on the sand.
Pet favourites of us all included the easy-to-erect tarps, and the DD SuperLight Mesh A-Frame tents with transparent roofs so as to gaze up at the carpet of stars without the apprehension of being joined in the warmth of your sleeping bag by uninvited guests. My team and myself just felt that all the designs had been so considerately worked out by an experienced pair of hands."
The DD SuperLight - A-Frame - Mesh Tent provides a cool, pest proof place to spend the night
"Travelling with Bedouin and camels through shadeless, windless hot wadis, navigating over precipitous rough granite mountains and trudging over alluvial plains could all have been such an gruelling ordeal. However, and dare I say, we all actually had a far more comfortable time of it than we could have hoped for with the luxury of being able to afford the weight and space of tarps and tents. I like to imagine some of the Bedouin friends now enjoying such new luxuries as we gave a few to our loyal tribesmen, happy to take the risk that we might be softening them up!"
Members of the Aligot tribe pose for a photograph with their trusty camels
"Part III of the trilogy is, for the moment, still ‘under wraps’ – but one thing I can share, we will be ‘under DD Tarps’!"
To find out more about Rosie and her team's adventure on Part II of the Desert Trilogy and their progress throughout (and not to mention any upcoming adventures), you can read the Expedition Journal or see more on Rosie's Website, Facebook and Instagram.
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About the writer
A regular on the hiking trails of Northern Scotland, Vikki loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors. When she's not pulling on her hiking boots or trail shoes, this DD Team Member can often be spotted in the gym or curled up at home with a sketchpad and pencil.