CAMPING & HIKING

Camping Alone: Tips for a Memorable Camping Experience

camping alone featured
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Camping on your own can be quite scary at first but it can also be a wonderful once in a lifetime experience. Not only do you get the chance to experience the beauty of nature, you also have the opportunity to explore it all on your own.

But whether you are going on your own or you are traveling with a group of people, preparation is key and for you to have an enjoyable camping experience, you need to make the preparations beforehand.

All the more when you want to do solo camping since you are all by yourself. Solitary camping gives you that inner peace, but there are also downsides to camping alone.

Why Camp Alone?

Perhaps some may have already considered camping alone but just wouldn’t try because they are either too afraid or they don’t know where to start. Although it isn’t easy, camping has a lot of benefits than what you may think.

For one, when you camp alone you learn how to depend on yourself. And since you are alone there, you experience a different kind of peace and tranquility which gives you the chance to ponder on things and can pave the way for personal growth.

Man camping alone on the mountain

Solo camping has its share of challenges and difficulties which allow you to stretch both your mental, physical and emotional limitations. If you are strong enough to try, you can always challenge yourself to camp alone. When you are camping on your own, you develop self-reliance especially since there is no one out there who is going to help you.

Risks and Complications

But as with anything else, there are always risks and complications involved with solitary camping. Being with nature is truly a wonderful experience yet you cannot also spare yourself from any potential hazard considering that there are events or circumstances that may arise for which you do not have any control.

So it is much better that you are knowledgeable and aware of these potential risks and complications so you can prepare and you know what to do.

Some of the challenges include setting up the equipment and doing other tasks on your own. Since you rely on yourself and you are going to camp alone, it can be quite dangerous so you always have to ensure your safety and security. Being aware of the risks and complications make it easy for you to make the necessary preparations.

To get the most out of your camping, we give you some useful tips to follow and a checklist of items to bring to ensure that you prevent any unnecessary problem and to have a safe and fun camping onsite.

Prepare for the Camping

If you have finally weighed the pros and cons and you have already decided to camp on your own, the next step is for you to make the necessary preparations for your camping. Having general information about the topography of the area is very useful but you also need to know about specific details.

Woman hiker reading and checking map

Depending on your preference, you may opt for a campsite that offers free tent camping. Here are some tips to help you preparing for your chosen campsite:

  • Prepare your personal details beforehand. You may be asked by authorities to provide personal information like the site number, contact details, model and make of your vehicle and plate number.
  • If you have already decided which campsite, you need to make a research about the permit. How about camping rules and regulations?
  • Whether you are staying in a private campground or on state/federal covered lands, you should contact the office and request for a map of the area, ask about anything you want to know and say that you intend to camp alone.

Plan Your Route

One of the most important things that you need to do regardless of whether you are going for a day hike or you want to set up a camp overnight, planning is crucial. Take the time to gather information and research about the particular place where you want to hike and to camp.

Know more about the hiking trails, natural features and any info that you can get to help you know more about the wilderness areas. It also helps that you take a look at study the topographic map so you can find alternate routes, sources of water, landmarks and to learn geography itself.

Planning route

There are lots of resources available from which you can take the information you need. You can access the specific website of the campsite where you intend to visit. You can also use online resources from websites, forums to blogs. Some travelers and campers may have visited the place before so they have personal knowledge that they can share with you.

Nothing is as difficult as getting lost in the woods because you failed to plan your route thinking it is easy as walking in the city. So make sure that you plan really well.

Set a Realistic Time Frame

Once you have taken the time to study the topography and the natural features of the area, the next step is to set a realistic time frame. How long will it take you to go to the campsite and to go back to your car.

It is very important that you have at least a time estimate for every leg of the trip. If the hiking conditions are normal, the average time it would take you to cover a mile is around 30 minutes.

There might be some delays so make sure you include that too. You may also use hiking calculators online that allow you to estimate the time based on certain elevations.

Hiking calculator

Why is it important to estimate the time frame? This allows you to adapt to any unexpected situation. For instance, what if there is a sudden change in the weather that will slow down your speed? This is just one of the unexpected changes that you will encounter so it is essential that you estimate the time and mark the route map before you finally go.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

You may have made and set your plans and even estimated the time frame. But prior to the actual hiking and camping activity, if there is one thing that you should never forget to do is to always monitor the weather condition. Always be updated with the weather news. Even if let’s say you have already set the date and based on the weather forecast, it is going to be sunny and warm on that specific date.

Hiker checking the weather on smart-phone

However, we know that weather can be quite fickle. You will never know if there are sudden changes if you will not keep an eye on the weather condition. What if there is an upcoming typhoon or there is a landslide warning in the area?

Yes, you want to enjoy the outdoor activity but safety always comes first. Monitoring the weather condition allows to prepare and to cancel any plans in the event that the weather gets really worse.

Make a Complete Camping Checklist

After gathering the information you need about the campsite, the planning and preparation stage still doesn’t end there. You need to have a camping checklist so that you can be sure that you wouldn’t miss out anything important. Creating one is fast and easy. You may also want to check out sample checklist from travelers and campers who have been to the area.

Checklist

When you are making your own checklist, always list down the important things at the top. In your checklist, you can include the following items and details:

  • Your Personal Details (Name, number, blood type, emergency contact number and other contact information)
  • Important phone and emergency numbers
  • Camping Gear/Equipment (Utensils, Pots, Wares, Backpacking Stove, GPS, Flashlight, Camera among many others)
  • First Aid Kit along with the medicines that you are taking
  • Food and water supply
  • Maps and the other information that you have gathered during your research
  • Clothing (Clothes for hiking, jacket, protective clothing, sunglasses, hiking pants/shorts, footwear)
  • Camping tent if you intend to stay overnight
  • Other Items (multi-purpose tool, skin-repellant, etc.)

Selecting Your Camping Equipment

It is your discretion to choose which camping equipment to purchase and to bring. But whatever it is, make sure that you can set it up all by yourself especially if it is something that you have never used before. One of the most difficult things that you will encounter if you go for solo camping is the setting up of the tent. Without any help, you should know how to set it up on your own as it requires long patience and skills.

Before your planned camping day, practice setting up the tent so you know how to do it and you wouldn’t encounter the situation where you are already at the camping site and you don’t know how to set up your tent.

Camping equipment

That is why when you are buying your camping equipment and other gears, there are important things that you have to consider. Firstly, is the gear light and compact. Remember you don’t have anyone to help you and since you don’t want to carry with you bulky items and tools all on your own, go for gears that are lightweight, easy to store and compact.

Next is the ease of use. You wouldn’t want to use camping gears that are difficult to set up and complicated the use. Lastly, do not bring things that you know you don’t need. Doing so can only be a burden.

Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst

When planning and preparing for your camping, you want to make sure that it is stress and hassle free. But we all know that it is not always the case. Since you are outdoors, you should consider even the worst-case scenario. You need to have a contingency plan in the event that something bad or unexpected happen. Nothing can be as difficult as getting stuck in the wilderness and unprepared.

Prepare emergency devices from GPS to asatellitephone, having these devices can be useful. You should also have a whistle.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Doctor

In camping alone, you also need to be physically fit and ready. Before you head out for your camping adventure, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Have a complete physical checkup so you wouldn’t have any problem when you are out.

Doctor and patient

It may be the last thing at the back of your mind but your doctor can actually help you a lot in planning for your trip. Not only does your doctor help you with your first aid kit as well as the other medicine supplies and vaccinations that you need.

To Go Solo Camping or Not?

Solo camping has its fair share of pros and cons. When you camp on your own, you have the time all by yourself, a time to ponder on things and to enjoy nature to its fullest. But on the other hand, there are also risks, complications, and challenges involved in camping alone.

The question is, are you ready to face the challenges? If you are willing to take the risks and you know what you are up to then you can go camping on your own.

Solo camping

Just make sure that you prepare and you share your camping plans to your loved ones. In as much as you want to enjoy the experience of camping alone, you have to prepare should there be unforeseen events. When you take the time to plan and to get the information that you need, it will be fine.

Some people may criticize you for going solo and it is just normal considering the downsides, the risks, and hazards. But in the end, it is all up to you.

Relaxing in hammock

Camping on your own is a very rewarding experience especially if you’ve made it without experiencing any major problem along the way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

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