Do you long to camp alone, but don’t know if it’s safe? That’s a common feeling among pre-solo campers, especially women. Although it is good to be cautious, it’s also good to heed the call of the great outdoors.
If you are dying to get outdoors on your own, there are some great ways to stay safe. With a little preparation and an ounce of prevention, you can feel comfortable and confident with going solo. The following are my top safety tips for camping alone.
For your first trip into the great outdoors alone, there are a few things you can do to prepare.
This literally refers to mapping out your route. I recommend mapping both your driving route and your hiking or backpacking route. I also recommend going somewhere you have already been. It will increase your confidence the first time around!
Map out your driving route on a real map. This can be something you print from Google Maps or an actual road atlas. You want to be sure you can navigate if your GPS loses service. It’s also important to give others an idea of where you are at all times. This becomes especially important if, god forbid, something goes wrong.
Do you plan on hiking into your campsite? Are you going on a multi-night backpacking trip? Do you plan on hiking while you are camping? If any of these apply to you, you will want to map out your route ahead of time.
If you are backpacking, it is crucial to mark where you are going to camp along the way. If you are hiking, mark your exact trail and bring specific directions if necessary. The key here is to feel safe and secure in the route you are traveling. Only plan to hike as many miles as you can handle. I recommend hiking 1 or 2 miles less than you think you can.
Chances are you will be driving to your campsite. Most likely, you will have to stop on the way for drinks, gas, bathroom breaks, and food. The worst places to do any of these things are rest stops. Just search crime at rest stops and you will find horror stories of muggings and worse.
I recommend stopping at grocery stores if possible. Realistically, it’s not always convenient to drive into a town. In this case, try to find well-lit, busy gas stations. It’s nice to support local businesses, but small-town gas stations are creepy.
Try to map where you plan to stop ahead of time. This makes your travel safer and keeps you from getting lost or running out of gas!
There will be times when you need to move campsites. Luckily, this doesn’t happen too often. However, it is best to be prepared. The reasons you might want to move can range from creepy people to intrusive neighbors. You never want to find yourself in a situation where you have to spend the night somewhere you don’t feel safe.
The most important things to pack are the 10 essentials. These are:
When packing, try to bring your lightest gear. That goes double if you are hiking or backpacking into your site. If you are backpacking, bring meals that are easy and lightweight. A hammock can save a lot. So can sleeping under the stars!
Before you leave, give someone your itinerary. This is good to do even if you are going out with 2 or more people. However, it is 100% necessary if you are going alone. If you don’t come back on time, the authorities will know where to start searching.
I’ve run into some potentially dangerous characters in more than a few off the grid campsites. Sometimes, these people are simply annoying and loud. Other times, you will want to move campgrounds. Listen if your gut is telling you to leave.
Some people feel safer with weapons. Some people feel safer without weapons. Regardless, it is smart to take a self-defense class if you plan on solo camping often. Bear spray or wasp spray is great to take out with you. If you don’t feel comfortable with a real gun, a pellet gun may do the trick. The important thing is feeling safe.
If you are camping alone, it is good to do some research ahead of time on cell service. Websites where users review sites is a good place to start. If you are camping on the grid, call around to the various campgrounds to check. Hopefully, you will never have to call 911 while camping. However, an ounce of prevention is worth your life.
Have you ever heard the phrase, stay alert stay alive? It sounds a bit scary, but it is true. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we can’t depend on others to do the right thing. The best thing to do when you are doing anything alone is to stay alert! Keep an eye on your surroundings and the people in the vicinity at all times. Always be aware of anyone acting strangely.
This is a lower-cost, easier to carry emergency beacon. Personal Locator Beacons allow you to call for help if you find yourself in an emergency situation. The device can even send check-in messages to let someone know where you are located.