First Time Solo Camping? Everything You Need to Know
Camping alone? For many people, camping can seem very risky and something that can only be done if there are appropriate conditions that allow safety at all times. It is common to think that, in order to guarantee safety, it is necessary to be accompanied by a group of people who can keep an eye on everything that happens. While it is true that being with other people offers more oversight and guarantees of safety in the face of any danger, that does not negate the possibilities or advantages of camping alone: I have had great experiences in solo camping and everything depends on your excellent planning and being prepared for any contingency.
If you are going to camp in any circumstance, preparation is a must. The main difference is that when camping with others, preparation tasks can be divided among the different people who will participate. The challenge, when camping alone, is that all those tasks must be done by you, in order to guarantee you a healthy and pleasant experience, and not to run away in the middle of the night on your way home. in this article, I’m going to show you a series of tips that have been very useful for me to camp alone, and that can help you in your first time.
1. Think carefully
Before you take the decision, don’t be afraid to take all the time in the world to think. Although I had been camping for a while, I had always thought about how possible it would be if I could camp alone. The agendas of people who want to camp don’t always coincide, and sometimes the companions I had were not to my liking. It didn’t matter what the excursion was: mountain, beach or long walks: solo camping was always a recurring idea.
It’s important to make time for those thoughts. In this step, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses and begin to determine whether you want to take the step of camping alone on a hike you’ve thought about. If you have a lot of thoughts, you can make a list of pros and cons of camping alone, and from there, make a decision about whether you want to try it.
2. Before planning, ask and investigate
To camp alone, you don’t have to stop thinking at any time. When it was clear to me that I wanted to make solo camping, I rushed to plan my next adventure, but I didn’t ask the people who know about camping alone and I didn’t first investigate what I needed. There I made a mistake.
However, it is important that you, before planning, contact people who have already done solo camping for the best advice, and start researching the best options you have to make your camping experience a great one that you can constantly repeat. Don’t be afraid to take your time and gather your information. You can write down everything you need and organize it, so you can have an orderly and phased planning.
3. Make a list of the things you need
Tent, water, food, first aid kit, medicines, clothes, insect repellent, radio, GPS, compass, flashlight… You’ve taken all that on your camping trips? Usually, when I go camping, I memorize all the things I need and write them down. When you go camping alone, 100% of that responsibility falls on your shoulders, so you need to plan better than ever.
Based on what you’ve been told by other camping buddies, and based on your own experiences, you should make a list of everything you need for camping alone. It doesn’t matter that it takes you weeks to have everything ready to camp it’s better to wait and camp well, than to embark on a solo adventure that ends up being a failure due to lack of planning.
4. Plan your food, water and general supplies
It’s impossible to camp without bringing food and water. In my experience, when there are large groups, it is common for some people to take charge of planning the food for everyone. They are usually the most knowledgeable. But this time, it’s all up to you. Depending on the length and conditions of your trip, you should plan solid meals, plus other items that keep you fed, such as power bars.
Water is the other main ingredient of the trip. If this is your first time, I do not recommend that you count on being able to drink spring water in some rivers and streams or to carry implements to filter the water. The best thing to do, to start with, is to take all the water you think you need from home, to avoid bad experiences.
5. Don’t skimp on first aid equipment
In my first time camping alone I carried a very heavy first aid kit, but that made me feel safe. Although I don’t recommend you carry something very heavy, it is necessary that you plan carefully all you may need to cure a blow, a cut, a mosquito or insect bite… Your first experience in solo camping should be safe, and if that implies carrying everything you need to guarantee your health, that will be the best.
6. Choose a camping option in line with your abilities
If you are a hiker who usually camps with groups in your city parks, or in the outskirts, you should not choose a five-day tour alone. Step by step. At the beginning, I was very adventurous, but there are always experiences that mark you and make you change. If you want to try the solo camping, choose a park nearby, a piece of land you already know, where you can go for a short time and practice gradually. If you do it step by step, in the future you will be able to make great excursions on your own.
7. Determine what to do in possible emergencies
I know many hikers who find it an unnecessary burden to carry a physical map, a compass and a flashlight. Although for me it is completely necessary to carry a digital GPS, digital flashlights and a power bank to charge them, I will never stop giving importance to having a physical support, for the worst emergencies. A physical map of where you are can help coordinate you, just like a compass.
Once you have those tools, you must plan what emergencies may arise and what to do in each case. The actions to take in the event of a flood are not the same as those to take in the event you are lost. Also, keep in mind that you should not, under any circumstances, camp in an area where there is a risk to your physical integrity, whether due to natural conditions or armed people.
8. Inform others of your location
Yeah, when I want to camp alone, I want to forget about the world. But it’s very important that at least one person you trust knows your location in case of emergency. That will allow you to be safe, especially if you are in a place where there is no phone coverage and you cannot make calls. Also, if you’re in a national park or a public park, don’t forget to register with the park’s authority as a camper.
9. Calm down, breathe and follow your plan
On every one of my excursions, I tell myself that I have to relearn how to breathe. If you have followed each and every step, success must be assured. Emergencies should not be bad experiences if you plan ahead. Once you are camping alone, you should calm down, enjoy nature, do all the activities you want and, if any contingency arises, apply the plans you have already made. All this will make you breathe and then, the solo camping will become one of the best experiences of your life.