7 Days to Die: How to Survive the Desert Biome

Learn how to survive the Desert Biome

7 Days to Die is set in Navezgane, a fictional national park located in Arizona. Not all of Arizona is desert, but the parts that are can be vast, dangerous, and oppressively hot. Likewise, the Desert Biome of 7D2D is a sandy expanse of cacti and death. It is also the only place where Oil Shale spawns naturally, and it hides a wealth of valuable ore and loot among its many dangers.

This guide will walk you through surviving in the Desert Biome and present important information about the biome in general.

Desert Biome Overview for 7 Days to Die

Basic Stats

  • Danger Level: 2
  • Survival Difficulty: Medium
  • Temperature: Hot

Key Resources

  • Oil Shale
  • Ore: Iron, Lead, Coal, Nitrate Powder
  • Plants: Cactus, Yucca, Aloe Vera
  • Soil: Sand
  • Wildlife: Chicken, Rabbit, Coyote, Rattlesnake

Major Threats

  • Sweltering Heat
  • Infection
  • Coyotes, Rattlesnakes
  • Standard Zombies, Zombie Vultures

Notable Locations (Navezgane)

  • Departure (1780 E, 1766 S)
  • Close Encounters Gun Range (360 E, 1110 S)
  • Hotel Zombona (365 E, 1395 S)
  • Dishong Tower (1788 E, 1780 S)
  • Tower Construction Site (1870 E, 1780 S)
  • The Last Sunset Nursing Home (1888 E, 1960 S)
  • Navezgane County Jail (2035 E, 2185 S)


  • Trader Bob (510 E, 1012 S)

Finding food and water

Though starvation can be averted rather easily in this biome, at least temporarily, water will be extremely hard to come by. Yucca Fruit can be easily harvested from any Yucca Plant or Cactus found in the wild and can be eaten raw or used to make Yucca Juice.

The Yucca Plant in 7 Days to Die
Farming the Yucca Plant in 7 Days to Die

Crafting Yucca Juice is definitely worthwhile, as it provides much more hydration than water. However, players will still need to procure clean water to craft this drink, so we strongly recommend players build a base or outpost near a Trader to allow them to easily purchase Water Filters for constructing Dew Collectors. Without this valuable structure, players will likely have a rough time scavenging enough water to prevent dehydration. Remember that overheating will rapidly drain your hydration, so wear heat-resistant clothing.

Eating raw yucca fruit will keep you satisfied for a while, but the low nutritional value means players must consume a lot of it to stay fed. Grazing on yucca is fine, but players will likely want to learn to hunt and scavenge for food.

The wildlife in the desert is mostly hostile, and snakes and coyotes will attack without being provoked on most occasions. Both of these animals, however, can be harvested for meat.

A Rattle Snake in the Desert Biome in 7 Days to Die
Harvest Rattle Snakes for Meat

Chickens and rabbits are rarer than predatory animals and much more difficult to catch. Investing in animal tracking perks can help you locate these delicious critters more easily.

Farming will require desert survivors to either scavenge enough clay to craft farm plots or to visit another biome to collect it since the sand won’t support the growth of much other than cacti and small trees.


Every ore in the game is abundantly available in the Desert Biome, so most base resources will never be hard to come by. Even Oil Shale spawns naturally in the desert, meaning players with a functional Chemistry Station will never want for fuel. Other necessities, however, including Food, Water, Meds, Skill Books, and Specialized Parts, will be harder to acquire.

Walking into a Town in the Desert Biome
The Outskirts of a Desert Biome Town

Players should procure any form of meds whenever possible, as they will likely receive many more critical injuries than those in other biomes. Mainly this is due to the prolific presence of Zombie Vultures, which almost exclusively attack the player’s head, leading to infection, lacerations, and concussions. Aloe Vera may be used to create medical bandages to stop minor bleeding, but everything else will require specialized meds.

Points of interest in this biome are, by and large, larger and, therefore, more dangerous than other biomes. Small houses are somewhat rare, so we recommend players search small motels and old west towns for clothing and other necessities such as food and cooking supplies. Gas stations, shops, and offices will often contain water coolers and other sources of hydration.

Inside a Desert Biome Town Looking at a Wooden Wagon
POIs in the Desert Biome Are Often More Dangerous

Salvaging cars is the best way to gather up Mechanical Parts and Electrical Parts, but more specialized parts must be looted from some of the larger and more dangerous points of interest. The town of Departure is a hub of these locations, but beware of the many infected stalking the area.

Players looking for weapons and armor should check the military bases, shooting ranges, and county jails.

Building and defending your base


It isn’t impossible to come by, but procuring Wood is much more troublesome than in other biomes like the Pine Forest. There are trees dotting the landscape, and desert survivors must harvest these and the chunks of dried Wood lying on roadsides whenever possible, especially in the early game when Wood is a vital construction component.

Staring at Dried Up Wood in the Desert Biome of 7 Days to Die
Dried Up Wood is Precious in the Desert Biome

The main material benefits of living in the desert come from the abundance of sand and ore. Unfortunately, Clay Soil is somewhat rare, so players must either visit another biome to collect it or skip the cobblestone phase of construction altogether. We recommend players in this biome utilize a Cement Mixer and build their base mostly from concrete.


Depending on your creativity, you may find the base opportunities in the desert somewhat lacking. Though not abundant, the Desert Biome contains some of the most unique base opportunities on the map.

A Base Built on a Gorge Cliff Side in 7 Days to Die
A Base Built on a Gorge Cliff Side

Simple, functional bases can be constructed from isolated houses or gas stations, and we recommend that early-game players utilize one of these locations to start with. Larger, more advanced bases may be built out of the army base, Ranger Station, one of several churches, or one of the motels.

For a more interesting and creative spin, consider repurposing the hanging visitor’s center over Deadman’s Gulch, the adobe ruins down inside the ravine, or even building on top of one of the tall buildings. Groups of players might choose to occupy the shooting range or even wall off one of the old west towns and build their own settlements.


Spike Traps are still a viable option in this biome, but we recommend focusing more on using Barbed Wire Fences. This is both for conserving Wood and exploiting the wide open spaces in the Desert Biome. Slowing down enemies with barbed wire and Electric Fences gives players time to react and line up shots. These long stretches of open ground also make Dart Traps particularly effective.

Zombie Vultures Flying in the Skies in the Desert Biome
Keep Your Eyes in the Skies

In this biome, in particular, players need to ensure that their base is covered by a sturdy roof. The desert is swarming with Zombie Vultures, pesky flying enemies that can easily avoid most defenses by simply flying over them. These vultures are fast, dangerous, and hard to hit, so always watch the sky when defending your desert base.

Tips and tricks for surviving the Desert Biome

A Gallows in the Desert Biome of 7 Days to Die
In a Desert Town Staring Down the Gallows
  • Players can receive temporary relief from the heat by submerging themselves in water. You may not be able to drink it safely, but standing water can lower your temperature and protect you from the sun.
  • Mining underground in this biome can be very dangerous. Ensure to properly support your mine and leave space for surface sand to collapse so you don’t get crushed.
  • Be extremely careful when using explosives to defend your base, as sand terrain is weak and will cave in from very little damage

Final thoughts on surviving the Desert Biome

Players planning to make their home in the desert should consider the challenges and rewards The Fun Pimps built into the region. The desert can be a great source of fuel, ore, and rare supplies, but only if you can survive long enough to make use of them.

Looking for some other tips to help you get started in 7 Days to Die? Check out our 10 Tips for Getting Started and the 7 Days to Die Beginner’s Guide.

Aaron Van Dyck's avatar

About Aaron Van Dyck

Aaron Van Dyck is a thriller novelist with a passion for survival games and exploration. He started writing at the age of 13 and has always been drawn to the sense of self-reliance and freedom found in open worlds. An avid urban explorer and RPG enthusiast, he enjoys dungeon crawling and has a particular love for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Far Cry 5, and Cataclysm: DDA. He's also a fan of shooters and action games with immersive stories and unique monsters to encounter.

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