Camping solo for the first time? Well then you have come to the right place – with essential tips, hacks and checklists, we’re here to help you keep the anxiousness of being alone away. After all, alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely! So, tag along, and we’ll fight these pre-solo-camping heebie-jeebies as a team!
Is it safe to go camping alone? Can I go solo? Should I go solo? Will camping alone be risky? Or boring? Or weird? Why should I go solo camping?
If you’ve ever found yourself thinking about going camping alone, then these questions must have popped in your mind in some form or another.
Well, you’re in luck; your hunt for these answers ends here. Stay with us until the end and we’ll answer all your doubts and clear all the confusion and anxiety that often revolves around the concept of solo camping.
Whether you’re a young adult venturing out for the first time, or a crackerjack who has just not gone solo before – camping alone can sound both awesomely exciting, and freakishly scary.
Let’s stop beating around the bush and face the harsh fact – going alone, out in the wilderness, is risky business. The risks are often greater for women. Well, then; you might ask, with all possible risks and discomforts, why think about going solo in the first place?
The short answer is – camping alone is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
The long answer is – solo camping isn’t really as exaggeratedly difficult as we think it to be; with the right guidance for appropriate planning and practice, camping alone is as manageable and fun, if not more, as any other camping experience you must have had.
Want to know how to make the most of your solo camping trip? Tag along on this ride, and we’ll find out together!
#1 Why Go Solo?
Before venturing out in the wild, almost in the middle of nowhere, all alone – it is important that you know why you want to go alone in the first place.
Maybe it’s the alone time that you need, or maybe you just want to see if you can survive all by yourself – the point is, it doesn’t matter WHAT the reason is; it only matters that you know it. Here are a few reasons why we think you should go solo camping:
- It is rewarding.
Going solo is rewarding. Period. This is a trip from which you’ll not only bring back unique memories, but also a new sense of confidence in yourself and your capabilities.
Camping alone means balancing between extra responsibilities and fun. So, if you manage to camp alone without fretting about the tasks you’ve got to do, you’ll come back with an added sense of self-reliance and boldness.
- It is relaxing.
You do not have to adjust your itinerary according to anyone else’s needs but yours. Camping alone will help you get a little selfish, and care about your needs and wants.
Be it the choice of a location, choice of activities, or even choice of how early you want to wake up or sleep – in this trip, you do you.
So, relax, read a book, go on a wild photography walk, or simply listen to the sounds of rustling leaves and chirping birds whilst having an entire compartment of snacks all to yourself. Solo camping will be one of the most rewarding experiences you have.
- You learn new things.
When camping alone, you have to rely on yourself for everything – from choosing the perfect spot, to packing all essentials, to choosing the kind of tent or sleeping bag and perhaps even choosing the people you interact with – you are completely on your own.
While it sounds taxing, once you get out in the field and do all these things, you also learn a lot of new skills.
Camping alone is a sure shot at improving your street smartness and people skills, all the while enjoying the scenic beauty of untamed nature. This might as well be the most beautiful classroom of life skills!
- Because you can.
One of the most important reasons to go solo camping is to show to yourself, and perhaps to everyone around you, that you can.
As our fellow ladies would agree and relate to, it isn’t uncommon for a lady to be underestimated in a plethora of activities for the simple reason that she is a lady. Be it fixing your car’s flat tire, or opening a jammed can of beans, or in our case here, camping alone.
If we introspect a little, we’ll see that it isn’t just the people around us who underestimate our skills, but we ourselves are guilty of it too.
As a lady, it is understandable to have genuine concerns about hygiene and safety – more so on trips that involve living in the middle of nowhere.
But this is exactly where camping alone helps us – when you go solo camping, you will be doing everything.
From hammering the tent stakes into the ground to set up your camp, from exploring the wilderness to taking responsibility for your protection; you will be in charge of everything. And that’s how you’ll build your confidence bit by bit.
Coming back from a solo camping trip will make you realize that you have all the skills and the strength that is very often just attached with the image of a stereotypical man.
#2 Risks Involved
After knowing all the fun and rewarding outcomes, it is time to snap back to the harsh realities – there will be risks. It is absolutely understandable, and in fact, even expected, that your first reaction to the thought of going camping alone will be filled with nervousness and fear.
This list isn’t supposed to scare you off; instead, through this list, we intend to verbalize your internal fears and tell you that you are not alone. After all, how will be prepared for adversity, if we don’t know what the adversity is?
A few risks that we need to think of while planning a solo trip are:
- Other People.
Thugs, conmen, or worse – assaulters.
Was this the chain of thoughts that you had when you first thought of camping solo? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to have thought so, and your concerns are understandable and valid.
However, we’d like to bring those thoughts from the high scale that they currently seem to be in, to the real level at which they occur.
Comb through the stats and numbers, and you’ll realize that public lands like national forests are overwhelmingly safer when compared to the country as a whole.
Your risk of being a victim of a violent crime (murder, rape, or aggravated assault) is thousands of times lower in a national park than in the country as a whole.
While this it the major concern for women, a few other, more generic fears include:
- Being Stuck With No Supplies
All of these risks can be handled with proper planning; nothing, as such, something you won’t be able to manage.
In general, women report much higher levels of fear of violent crime than men do, even though men are much more likely to actually be crime victims—a phenomenon sociologists call the fear-gender paradox.
“It’s very natural for women to feel afraid because that has been ingrained in our minds from a very young age,” says Jennifer K. Wesley.
“The fear is what’s holding women back, not the reality. Women are not in more danger in wild spaces,”Jennifer K. Wesley, Ph.D., Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of North Florida
#3 Pre-Planning Essentials
As we mentioned above, proper planning can help you deal with all the risks and possible problems. Here are a few key pointers you should keep in mind while prepping up for your solo trip outdoors:
- Booking A Campsite
The first and foremost thing to take care of is the location.
If you’re venturing out for the first time, it is advisable that you book a developed campsite, perhaps one you’ve already visited before. This will help you acclimatize easily into the slightly freaky first-time-solo atmosphere.
Choosing a public land, like a National Forest, can be beneficial in that you will have a good amount of families around, and yet, amidst the population, you’ll manage to find a relatively quiet nook for your camp.
- List Out Nearest Facilities
Make a list of, and if possible, have a pre-tour of the location, to know the nearest hospital, precinct, town and general stores.
At this stage, it’ll also be worthwhile to mention – inform a few reliable people about the details of your trip. Let them know things like:
Whether or not there is cell service;
Times of day when you will call/message them;
Duration of your trip;
And a float plan in case of any untoward emergency.
This brings us to our next essential pointer-
- Have A Float Plan
While statistically speaking, you’re safer going on solo wilderness adventures than going to the grocery store, it’s still better to have a plan just in case. Here are a few tips that can come in handy –
>> Carry either a pepper spray, a bear spray, a taser, a swiss pocket knife, or if you want that extra push of confidence, pack these all in, and have your own ammo-kit ready for self-defence.
>> Carry an anti-rape whistle alarm. These tiny alarm whistles can produce a sound of up to 120dB – loud enough to call for help and scare off any intruder.
>> Carry a blinding headlamp or flashlight. This one will help you against any form of live danger – human, or animal. A blinding flashlight can give off a light of about 300 lumens: enough to blind a creature for enough time for you to escape.
>> Do not advertise that you are alone. While being kind to everyone is a good thing, and making friends an even greater one, make sure you do not let it out that you are camping alone : especially to strangers or people you don’t trust. Keep away all that excitement of sharing your experiences until you’re safely back home.
>> Trust your gut. Always. You do not have to say YES to every plan, and you do not have to be kind to every stranger you meet. If your gut feeling about anyone has you uncomfortable, get yourself out of that conversation or interaction; be assertive, and even rude if you have to.
>> Learn the language of smart excuses. If you want to excuse yourself out of a situation, say things like “my friend is waiting for me”, or any such statements. But do not overdo it. It’s all part of how well you manage to not advertise your solo venture as long as you’re in the wilderness.
>> If you do not feel comfortable about the location, leave. It is as simple as that. When you go solo, confidence is everything. So, you’ll be giving yourself unnecessary mental troubles by forcing yourself to stay in a place you don’t feel confident about.
Know that you’re not Bear Grylls, and that’s okay. On some trips, you’ll have the confidence to hunt your own food; while on some others, even a developed campsite might not feel so good.
And that’s all okay. It is all a part of slowly learning how to be independent and self-reliant in a world that tells you to back off. And you’re doing great.
So, don’t let the various hashtags on Instagram or trends of the generation discourage you. Camping is a very personal experience – do what helps you relax and grow.
#4 Solo Camping Checklist For Women
1. Safety Devices.
This includes pretty much everything that sets your solo camping trip apart from other camping checklists. Make sure you carry the “ammo-kit” mentioned above. Also carry a personal GPS tracker like Spot or InReach.
2. First-Aid Kit
Carry a specialized camping first-aid kit, as it has all that you could possibly need when you’re out there in the wilderness.
From dry shampoo to wet wipes to extra tampons – carry all your personal hygiene products in an organized manner.
4. Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags aid in maintaining the organization of your luggage. From keeping your bread fresh to helping carry the disposed-waste in a hygienic manner, Ziploc is really the best organization master there is for campers.
For other essentials and checklists, check out this article on camping essentials for women:
If you’re worried about your periods ruining your camping plans, check out this article below that helps you have a hassle-free camping experience even during “that time of the month” –
#5 Final Checks To Do Before You Go Solo
Well, you can never be too careful. So, it’s always better to have a few extra safety measures taken before you go solo. We’ve discussed how to deal with threats of assault and wildlife; but there’s another thing we must prepare ourselves for well in advance – Weather.
- If you’re going solo, being stuck in harsh weather will be the last thing you’ll want, especially with all the other responsibilities on you.
So, it is better to have a recce of the location before you set up a camp. Moreover, track the weather of the location for at least a week or 10 days.
You can keep a tab on the weather via the website weather.com which shows the weather forecast of 10 days for any location.
- Befriend the park rangers and officials. This is especially useful if you’re camping for a week or more.
Being the in the good books of officials will act as a dual benefit: you’ll have some authority to fall back on, and that in turn will give you an added sense of relief.
- Breathe. Relax. Amidst all the planning and precautions, don’t forget why you decided to go solo in the first place – to relax on your own terms.
So, take time out for mindfulness; read, relax, take that extra nap, do whatever calms you from the maddening city life.
A few important numbers to list down are:
- Reliable friends or family members
- Emergency number of the locality precinct
- Emergency number of the locality hospital
- The contact details of the campsite
- Classic, 911.
It would also help if you share this list with that reliable contact of yours whom you share your float plan with.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, now that you’ve packed all essentials, made a plan, shared the plan with someone reliable, and are all set to go solo – just remember : confidence is key; relaxation is the purpose, and solo camping is something every woman can and must do.
You are only as much at risk, as you make yourself believe. Some of the other risky things can happen anywhere; but as long as you’re confident in yourself and your preparations, you’ll sail through almost anything – be it solo camping or any other thing.