In the second-to-last entry posted on his Spike-TV blog on August 27, Tanner wrote,
"I've been sitting around this apartment, bored to tears, waiting on the last of the gear I need for the desert adventure to come in the mail. I've really been looking forward to getting out there. I've been writing about it a little bit here. It seems some MMA websites have reported on the story, posting up that I might die out in the desert, or that it might be my greatest opponent yet, etc. Come on guys. It's really common down in southern California to go out to the off road recreation areas in the desert about an hour away from LA and San Diego. So my plan is to go out to the desert, do some camping, ride the motorcycle, and shoot some guns. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. A lot of people do it. This isn't a version of Into the Wild. I'm not going out into the desert with a pair of shorts and a bowie knife, to try to live off the land. I'm going fully geared up, and I'm planning on having some fun.
I do plan on going back pretty far, so I did mention in one of my posts that I wanted to make sure to have good quality gear. Any failure of gear out in the desert could cause a problem."
Tanner had recently purchased a dirt bike, and on September 3 he rode into the desert-like region north of Brawley, California to go camping.
According to Tanner's manager John Hayner, Tanner called that afternoon to say that his bike had run out of gas, and that he would accordingly walk back to civilization. 
According to the marine search and rescue team who found his body, he was in the desert camping and while trying to return to his camp after hiking to Clapp Springs, he succumbed to elements after he drank all of his water while hiking to anticipated wet springs, only to find them dry.
He waited until nightfall, after calling friends, to attempt a quest back to his campsite where he still had water and a fully fueled motorcycle.
Evan succumbed to the exposure of the elements. He was found 2 miles from his camp after having hiked 5 miles away. Temperatures that day reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and friends became concerned and reported Tanner missing after he failed to contact them.
His body was discovered by a Marine helicopter on September 8, and the Imperial County sheriff's office cited heat exposure as a preliminary cause of death.
It was a fight that did more than showcase two fighters in terrible need of redemption within the UFC -- the difference between Kendall Grove and Evan Tanner is rich and deep -- and exemplified by more than just the Mountain Man beard. Grove is a child, and spoiled. Tanner was a fighter/philosopher, and world weary.