A common mistake when writing adventures set in deserts is to assume that the climate is too ferociously hot to wear armor. Historically, most battles in deserts involved troops dressed in protective armor. Although they would have been miserable during the hottest part of the day or the hottest part of the year, desert weather isn't intolerably hot 24/7.
A legend tells of a people living deep in the desert, they appear at first as ordinary human beings, sometimes impersonating someone familiar to the PCs, before causing their features to disappear, leaving a blank, smooth sheet of skin where their face should be.
Pcs learn of high power magics that allow them to banish weapons and suits of armor to some 'elsewhere' place until such time as they need it. reduces encumberances, gets fewer questions, and when the PCs get jumped by thieves in the ally, they can summon their suits of full plate armor with weapons drawn.
Lesser powers would allow them to summon their weapons from another physical place, drawing them to their hands like Luke skywalker summoning his lightsaber on Hoth.