By: Desiree Hester
Whether these unprecedented times are leaving you inclined to adventure away from the crowds or you are simply interested in experiencing some quality you time, solo camping can be a rewarding and fun experience. Solo camping is a great adventure filled with opportunities to unplug, test your wilderness skills and experience real solitude. If you’re unsure where to begin then fear not- we are here to guide you towards a fun and safe first solo outing!
Test out Your Gear
Setting up camp can be a breeze when many hands are involved but when you are flying solo it can be difficult to navigate the otherwise simple tasks of setting up a tent or preparing a campfire. Before heading out on your first solo trip, do a trial run of setting up your tent alone. The smaller the tent, the easier it will be for you to manage alone. If there are areas of expertise in which you are lacking, such as chopping wood, starting a fire or running a camp stove, take the time at home to develop your skills.
Keep it Simple
Camping requires work and can become tiresome if you are accustomed to sharing the load only with others. In order to make your solo campout more enjoyable aim to simplify in any area that you can. Plan for quick and easy meals, allowing for more time to focus on important tasks like stoking the fire. Avoid overpacking unnecessary items that will add to your load. Focus first on the essential items that will keep you safe and comfortable. If you tend to sleep cold, you may want to pack an extra blanket or a warmer sleeping bag. Not having another person in the tent can make a surprising difference in how warm you stay while sleeping.
Ease into Being Alone
Taking your first solo camping trip can be a bit intimidating if you are weary of being in the wilderness without company. There is no shame in being nervous or in taking your time to learn how to be comfortable by yourself. Start by planning a campout in which family or friends join you but camp a few sites away from you. You can still experience independence while having the added comfort of knowing that company is nearby if you are in need. Once you are comfortable with setting out on your own, plan a quick overnight trip to ease into flying solo.
Another great source of comfort while solo camping can come by bringing your favorite furry friend to keep you company. I feel secure and content when I take my beloved pup with me on my solo adventures. As an added bonus, having another warm body next to you can help keep you warm during cold nights. It is also very helpful to keep your mind active while solo camping. Simple activities like tending to a campfire, reading a book, playing solitaire, journaling or even listening to a podcast or music can help keep your spirits high.
Make Safety Your Top Priority
Of paramount importance is safety. Though there can be added risk when adventuring alone, there are several precautions you can take to ensure that you will be as safe as possible. Before embarking on your adventure, let someone close to you know of your plans including where you will be camping and when you can be expected to return home. Though not always an option, you can seek out campgrounds where you will be within or close to cell phone service.
Wherever possible, select a campsite where you will be either near a park ranger or a camp host. Both rangers and camp hosts will not only assist you in time of need but can also provide a wealth of knowledge about the area. If you are solo camping in a less established area or are backpacking, seek out areas where you will have privacy but will still be close to other campers who you could reach out to for help.
Being in the great outdoors also exposes you to other concerns like inclement weather and wildlife encounters. Prior to your campout, do your research so that you are informed of the expected weather. If there is a chance for rain or snow prepare accordingly by packing the necessary clothing and equipment. Be aware of the wildlife in the area where you are camping. Packing away all food and scented items in your vehicle and carrying both a pocketknife and bear spray will protect you and provide peace of mind. You should also always carry a first aid kit in the event of emergency.
We hope this list leaves you feeling confident to set out on your first solo camping trip. Whether you plan on making it a regular habit or simply want to try it once, you are sure to learn and grow. Above all, solo camping is sure to bring you true adventure.
About the Author:
Desiree is a photographer, blogger, world traveler and creator of The Wayfarer Journeys travel website. Through her words and photos she aims to inspire others to dedicate more time to being in nature and to add outdoor adventure into every trip that is taken. Desiree believes that anyone can benefit from travel and time spent in the great outdoors- no matter their skill level. Whether in her beautiful home state of Utah or while traveling abroad, she can be found hiking, back packing, camping, snow shoeing, cooking a mean dutch oven meal or out on the lake with her wonderful husband and fearless adventure pup, Waldo. You can follow Desiree on Instagram at @thewayfarerjourneys