Camping can have a lot of appeal. Getting away from screen time and schedules, waking up to the sunrise in a redwood forest, sleeping beneath a blanket of stars, exploring the natural world — what’s not to love! But camping solo can be daunting, especially when thinking about trying it for the first time. And while no activity is completely without potential hazards, here are some ways to make a solo camping trip as safe as you can.
Be honest with yourself about your own limits. If it’s your first time camping alone, maybe don’t head into the backcountry for a multi-day excursion. Start with one or two nights, see how things go, and don’t try and push yourself too far, too fast (via GoreTex).
Tell someone when and where you’re going and when you expect to be back, and choose somewhere you’ll likely feel comfortable. Maybe it’s somewhere that you’ve been before as part of a group or with a partner and you’re familiar with it. If it’s a brand-new place, do some research, and be honest with yourself about what might be a comfort dealbreaker.
Practice setting up your gear before camping alone
Consider some common questions before camping alone. Will there be cell service? Does the campsite have toilets? Does it have running water? Can you drive up in your car or do you have to hike in? Could there be other people around, and do you want to be around other people? (via The Washington Post). It can be comforting to head to a campground where you know others will be around. You don’t have to hang out with them unless you want to, but it can be nice to know you’re not completely alone if something happens (via Sky Above Us). National and state park campgrounds are often a good start with others around, but it won’t be like a more crowded KOA style setup — remember, to each their own! (via Be My Travel Muse)
Once you’ve picked your spot, don’t leave on your trip without testing your gear. Practice setting up your tent and using the gear, especially whatever it is you’ll be using to prepare food. Plan out what you’re going to eat, and review what you need to prepare it, even trying it out at home (via GoreTex). Make sure that you’ve got the appropriate clothes and sleeping stuff to be warm enough at night, and check the weather for that area for about a week beforehand so that you don’t head out on your trip into unexpected rain or snow (via Sky Above Us).
Mentally prepare before camping alone
Mental preparation is also important for being safer while camping alone. Some suggestions on getting in the right headspace include channeling your inner Cheryl Strayed (of Wild fame) and telling yourself that you are a brave, bold woman who absolutely can do this. Write out your fears, and then try some role play — how would your brave self address those fears (from Outdoor Book Club Blog)?
As comfortable as you may be with a place and as much mental prep as you have done, when the sun goes down and it’s just you in your tent, it can be easy to succumb to fears with every snap of a twig. Some things that can help distract you include a book and a good headlamp or lantern to read by, or music to listen to. Plus, don’t forget to remind yourself of just how awesome you are for being out there in the first place.
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