Solo camping definitely appeals to me, but the thought of camping alone as a woman makes me nervous! I asked Paul from Outdoor Choose to share his top solo camping tips to set my mind at ease, and help prepare me for a solo camping trip.
Camping alone can be an incredible and enjoyable experience. People do solitary camping for numerous reasons; maybe you have decided to go camping alone for the peace and harmony it offers, or your friends or family had other plans, or perhaps your buddy cancelled the trip at the last minute.
But how safe are you when camping alone? Solo camping safety is something you have to bear in mind when camping alone, so this article will help to make your experience not only enjoyable but also safe.
Camping Alone Safely – 7 Solo Camping Tips
Solo Camping Tips: Plan Your Route
Whether you like to hang out for a campfire experience or go out for a hike, it is important that you plan your whole camping trip properly. Research the wilderness, camping areas, and trails you want to go to and know the flora and fauna, as well as other landmarks. Hiking alone has its own challenges, so it’s a good idea to practise going hiking on your own before you pack that tent on your back!
Get a good map of your desired camping area and study your route, checking the geography, water sources, reference landmarks, and alternative trails.
Take note of the curvy, non-connecting lines as well because they could entail elevation changes – fatter lines entail a more level land area, and narrow lines show steeper hills. Crossing these lines along the map indicates that you will be hiking downhill or uphill.
Beware of dangerous animals. Dangerous animals do not just mean large predators such as bears or sneaky ones like snakes; it also includes tiny ones such as flies, mosquitoes, and other disease carriers like ticks. Bumping into dangerous animals when you are alone can be life-threatening if no one is there to help you.
READ MORE: Solo Hiking Safety Tips
Camping Alone Safely: Choose a Campsite Carefully
Choosing the right campsite is essential for any solo camping trip. It is highly recommended that you pick a campsite that’s safe and secured for solitary camping. Select a campsite that has a ranger who you can contact at any time.
Do not allow yourself to be too isolated that you can’t call anyone for help, but equally don’t camp in areas that are too exposed such as along the highway. Being too exposed to people has a higher risk of you running into bad guys.
Leave a Schedule with a Contact Person
When solo camping, it is a good idea to leave your route and itinerary with a trusted person back home, who can help you in case of an emergency. Ideally, check in every day with your contact and update them with your whereabouts.
This is certainly subjective though, if your goal is to spend time camping completely alone or off the grid, adjust your plan accordingly and leave it with somebody responsible. That way, if something goes wrong or you have an accident, someone will know where you are.
You could also camp close to a family of nice campers who you can befriend. Ask for their phone number in case the need arises. Do not forget to ask the park ranger’s number too. It is their job to watch over the campers and are your first point of contact should you need help.
Camping Alone Safely: Set up your Shelter Properly
It could be an RV, trailer, tent, or perhaps a hammock. Whatever your chosen shelter may be, it needs to be comfortable. In solitary camping, your greatest obstacle may not be the wild or your fellow humans but the environment itself.
Even though in warm locations you might be able to get by using just a sleeping bag or a very tiny sleeping mat, you will never know what will happen with the weather, so it is so much better to be prepared and bring shelter with you. Hypothermia is the last thing you need when you’re camping alone!
If you wish to go without a tent, then you will require a sleeping bag, pillow, and an air mattress (optional) to get you off the ground. Also, there could be tiny rocks or anything hard or rough under your camping spot, so an air mattress would be much more comfortable through the night.
Bring the Important Gear
On any solo camping trip, you don’t want to bring more than what you can manage, but there are certain essential camping items you will need for your trip. These essentials may include equipment for camping like a lamp, tent and sleeping bag, personal items like a first aid kit, and practical items like a fire starter, pocket knife, water bottle, and others. Here is your full essential camping checklist.
Plan Your Food & Drink
Drinks and food are extremely important when camping alone. Ensure that you have prepared meals for each day of your trip so you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready for you. Make certain that you have each meal covered. Bring the best foods and drinks that you can while covering several meals, but which won’t go off quickly.
If you are carrying everything on your back, avoid heavy items like tinned foods. If you have a water source nearby then dried packets such as noodles or couscous are light and easy to prepare.
Be conservative with alcoholic beverages. You will need drinks that are durable, lightweight, and tasty. Some outdoor public spaces do not condone drinking, and rules vary from one camping ground to another so double-check online or with the park ranger beforehand.
Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, impairs coordination and judgment, as well as making altitude acclimation more difficult, so do not drink alcohol while hiking. Save it for later to have around the campfire.
Always remember that what you are bringing should be legal wherever you are camping.
For drinking water, be careful when taking water from natural sources like rivers and springs. Microorganisms could be lurking even if the water looks clean. Use proper sterilization methods like a Steripen, purification tablets or a water bottle with a built-in filter like a Water-to-Go bottle or Lifestraw. If you aren’t sure you will find water along your route, you might need to carry all your own water yourself.
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Check the Weather
You should always check the weather before you go solo camping. You can camp in every type of weather, but it is recommended that you know what kind of weather you’re getting into so you can prepare.
A lot of websites provide an extended weather forecast, so you can get an idea of the weather a week in advance. Keep on monitoring the latest forecast until the end of your trip. Often forecasts are fairly accurate when they’re made at least three days before the date of your camping plans, but things can change quickly.
If you think there will be rain while you are camping, make sure you have a waterproofing spray for boots and shoes to keep your feet dry and to prevent any possible infection on your feet, as well as a waterproof tent or shelter.
A solo camping trip can be a learning experience. Certainly, there will be times of nervousness, frustration, introspection, awareness, joy, peace, and humour as well as countless other emotions.
Remember that when you are camping alone and any time you feel nervous or afraid, increase your presence of mind and redirect your thoughts to the beautiful sunrise in the morning, and all the wonderful sites around you.
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About the author:
Paul Watson is a blogger who likes to share information about camping and the outdoors. He expresses his passion for camping and other outdoors not only by embarking on several outdoor adventures but also writing about them. And if you want to choose the best gear for outdoor adventures, take a look at his camping checklist from OutdoorChoose.com. You can also find him on Twitter
Have you been solo camping? Do you have any other tips on how to camp alone safely? I’d love to hear your comments!
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