Are you planning your first solo camping trip? The thought of being out in the wilderness on your own can be daunting, but there is also something freeing about being on your own in nature. Go at your own pace. Set your own rules. Eat whatever you want. The feeling you get after a successful solo camping trip is one you won’t soon forget.
If you’ve decided to leave friends and family at home and set off on your own, here are 8 tips to keep in mind when camping alone for the first time.
1. Sharpen Your Camping Skills
First things first. If this is your first time camping, you probably shouldn’t go it alone. If you’re an experienced camper, it’s not a bad idea to spend some time practicing your fire starting skills, pitching a tent, and other camping duties you will be performing solo.
2. Mentally Prepare
What’s the hardest part about camping alone? Your own brain. Give yourself a few days to get comfortable with the idea of being on your own. Accept that you will probably freak yourself out a few times when you hear weird noises and that you might get lonely now and then. Most of all, remind yourself that you’re capable of camping on your own and have confidence in your skills.
3. Share Your Camping Plans
This one is obvious, but it’s important. Make sure at least one trusted person knows when you’re leaving, where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. Stick to your plan, and if something changes, make sure you let someone know.
4. Bring an Emergency Device
To keep worry at bay for you and family members, consider buying or borrowing a personal locator beacon. These tools allow you to call for help if there’s an emergency and you can send family and friend check-in messages, including your GPS location.
5. Stay Close to Home
For your first trip, choose a location close to home or a place you’re really familiar with. Maybe there’s a campground you’ve been to a handful of times with friends or a backcountry site you’ve ridden through on your mountain bike. Being familiar with your surroundings will help ease anxiety and make it more comfortable to get out and explore and your own.
6. Explore, But Do It Safely
Just because you’re alone that doesn’t mean you should stay at your campsite all day. Get out and explore. Hike, bike, paddle. Do whatever makes you happy, just do it safely. Don’t take risks you would usually take if there were other people around, make smart choices, and be aware of your surroundings.
7. Pack Light & Have Fun With Gear
Have you been wanting to get back to the basics? Camping alone is the perfect opportunity to pack light and ditch those luxury items. If it’s going to be dry and warm, you might consider sleeping in a hammock. If you’d prefer to have a roof over your head, there are a lot of great solo tents and lightweight sleeping bags available. Only bring what you really need, there will be no extra hands to lighten the load.
Remember to relax and savor the alone time. Bring along a good book or a journal. Try to leave electronics at home and allow yourself to really get in tune with nature. Regardless of what you do, have fun and enjoy getting to know yourself.