5 Tips for Solo Hiking

Hiking alone can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Of course, solo hiking isn’t for everyone. Hitting the trail without a co-pilot can be risky, and at times it can be downright intimidating. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for hiking by yourself.

Leave a note

Always tell someone where you’re going before a solo hiking trip. Better yet, write down the details of your trip.

Tell them your travel plans, give them a general itinerary, and let them know how much wiggle room you have.

Here’s an example:

I’m hiking the BRT starting at the Boxley Valley trailhead and finishing at Pruitt. I plan on heading home Saturday, but I might push that back to Sunday depending on my pace. I’ll for sure be back by Monday afternoon.

Play it safe

There’s a time and place for taking risks and seeking adventure. Solo hiking trips aren’t the best time to be daring. You’re on your own, and if something goes wrong you’re at much greater risk than if you’re with a group.

Here are a few ways that you can hike on your own while still staying safe.

  • Hike popular areas. Lots of foot traffic means that you’re not completely on your own if something goes wrong.
  • Go to places you’ve been before.
  • Use good judgement and err on the side of caution. Don’t jump the gap.

Pay attention

It’s easy to zone out, get tunnel vision, or set yourself on auto pilot. This is fine when you’re hiking with a partner or in a group, but it can get you into trouble if you’re hiking alone.

Keep track of your mileage, check your location, look for landmarks, be alert, and pay attention to the turns that you make.

Train

Fitness is especially important on a solo hike. You’re on your own, so you need to be able to take care of yourself. The better shape you’re in, the lower your risk of injury.

There are lots of things that you can do to get in good shape for hiking. Walking, jogging, strength training, and conditioning are all great ways to increase fitness, but one of the best ways to get in shape for hiking is to go on hikes.

Be prepared

You can’t prevent bad things from happening, but you can prepare yourself to handle whatever comes your way.

Check the weather before rolling out, and dress accordingly.

Pack the ten essentials:

  • food
  • water
  • emergency shelter/emergency blanket
  • clothing
  • headlamp
  • lighter
  • navigation
  • repair kit/tools
  • first aid
  • sun protection

Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for any outdoor gear or backpacking equipment you need.

Make sure that your vehicle is prepared. Pack a portable jump starter, check tire pressure, make sure you have enough fuel, and check your spare before heading out.

Be mentally prepared, too. It can be scary out there on your own, especially if you’re backpacking alone over long distances. Embrace the challenge, and learn how to thrive out of your comfort zone!

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