7 Safety Tips for Solo Camping

For some, a night alone in the dark woods is a nightmare. For others, it’s a dream come true. A solo camping trip can be an incredible experience. Camping by yourself provides a refreshing opportunity to escape inboxes and notifications and connect with nature. Those who find peace in solitude might enjoy the challenge of self-reliance and freedom that comes from solo adventures. But while solo camping can be rewarding, it can also be dangerous.

It’s far less safe than an outing with a companion, and the more remote your campsite, the more dangerous solo camping can get. You can drive up to a campground, pay the overnight fee, and pitch a tent by yourself without much worry. If you’re camping in the backcountry by yourself, however, you need to take extra measures to ensure your safety. Even something as minor as a sprained ankle can cause serious problems if you’re on the trail by yourself. Here are 7 safety tips for solo camping.

Truly love the outdoors

Before you even consider camping by yourself, consider your relationship with the outdoors. If what you actually enjoy is the company of friends or family in an outdoor setting, a solo camping trip or thru-hike is not for you. Don’t romanticize a night alone in remote woods. Nature can be dangerous and spooky. You might jump at every sound, you might get lonely, and you might even wonder why you decided to camp solo in the first place. When you camp by yourself it’s just you and nature, so you better love it.

Weigh your experience

A solo camping trip can be rewarding on many levels, but being by yourself out in nature is inherently dangerous. Camping by yourself at a maintained campsite is one thing, but every step you take from your car increases the risk involved with solo camping. If your outdoor experience amounts to a handful of weekend car camping trips with your drinking buddies, you’re probably not prepared for a solo camping trip. Hiking and camping mishaps provide valuable learning experiences when you’re with company. Experiencing those mishaps by yourself can be fatal.

Take your time

Don’t hike 10 miles into remote and rugged wilderness and pitch a tent for your first solo camping trip. Start by hiking and camping with others. Then plan a few solo day hikes. Plan your first solo overnight camping trip a couple of miles from the trail head and gradually increase the distance as you gain more experience and get more comfortable hiking and camping alone. The goal is to gradually gain the knowledge and experience to stay safely camp alone.

Plan your route

Planning is key on solo trips. Look over topographic maps to get a sense of the terrain, the surrounding area, and locations of landmarks and water. Note the difficulty and distance of the terrain. How much time will it take to get from point A to point B? Elevation inevitably slows down your hiking pace. You want to pitch your tent and have your fire made before the sun goes down.

Leave a note

Always let someone know your plans and trip itinerary. Many hiking trails have sign-ins located at the trail head. Use them. Letting people know your travel plans can save your life.

Play it safe

Illness and injury are the two biggest risks for solo camping. Don’t drink straight from a stream, and don’t walk too close to the edge. Always use good judgement, and when it doubt err on the side of caution. Risky behavior increases the likelihood of injury, and a suffering an injury while you’re by yourself camping or hiking can be life-threatening. You want to avoid injuries at all cost, but you should always bring a first aid kit just in case.

Your gear

Knowledge, experience, skills, and your gear determine the success of any solo camping trip. Be sure to pack all of the gear you need. Check and double check to make sure that you have everything, and that nothing is forgotten. Missing matches or a lack of a lighter can mean no food and no fire. Be sure to stop by and see us in Northwest Arkansas before your next camping trip! We have everything you need for solo or group hiking or camping trips and more!

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