Tips for Solo Hikers

Hiker RMNPHiking is a great way to enjoy nature, see some beautiful sites, and stay healthy. While many enjoy company on the trail, some prefer solitude for quiet reflection. Of course, hiking alone brings more risk than hiking with a group or a partner. Whether you’re day hiking alone, or a doing a solo thru-hike of the AT, you need to be prepared. Here are some tips for aspiring solo hikers.

Practice

For the most part, a beginner hiker should never plan on hiking alone. Hiking by yourself requires experience and knowledge that only comes from spending time on the trail. Of course, a leisurely stroll on a high-traffic trail is fine, but you must work your way up to more strenuous solo hikes. Get comfortable with hiking in groups, and then slowly increase the difficulty of solo hikes.

Make plans

It’s possible to wing it and come out unscathed. This can be risky, however. If you’re hiking alone, it’s important do your research and do some planning.

  • How long will you be out?
  • How much food do you need?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • Where will you set up camp?
  • How will you replenish water?
  • Do you need to coordinate drops?
  • Do you need a shuttle?
  • What type of camping equipment should you bring?

These are all important things to consider, and there are many more. Try to cover every aspect of your trip from start to finish.

Let someone know where you’re going

Always tell someone your trip itinerary. Send a text, shoot an email, call a friend, or leave a note, just make sure someone knows where you are. This increases the chances of rescue if you get lost or injured along the trail.

Physical fitness

Being fit makes your hiking experience more enjoyable, it decreases your risk of injury, and it’s necessary for hiking alone. If you’ve been on the couch rather than on the trail for a while, start with walks and work your way up to full on hiking.

Mental preparation

It can get lonely out the on the trail when you’re hiking by yourself. Make sure you’re prepared for the physical and mental challenges of solo hiking.

Be more cautious than you normally would

Use good judgement. Don’t take unnecessary risks, and always keep your wits about you.

Pay attention

Keep your eyes open for trail markers and land marks. It’s easy to get lost, so make sure that you’re being observant while hiking.

Talk to people

Be friendly. They can inform you on the trail ahead, and you can do the same for them. Share plans so you can help if a hiker gets lost, or they can help you if you lose your way. This is also a good way to keep the lonesome blues away.

Pack everything you need and know how to use your equipment

You need to make sure that you’re not lacking any equipment when you’re hiking alone. But it’s just as important to know how to use your gear. No one wants to set up for dinner only to realize that your fancy new backpacking stove requires fuel that is sold separately.

Need help figuring out how to use your outdoor gear? Need to add a new piece of camping equipment to your arsenal? Stop by and see us!

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