Camping alone is an experience unlike camping with friends. You will experience solitude, beauty, and introspection all at once. Although, it is not without its own set of challenges. You will have to rely more on yourself. If something goes wrong, it is on you to address the problem.
All in all though, it is a deeply rewarding experience. You will learn about yourself, wildlife, and the natural world. You will develop self-help skills and master yourself. Read on to learn all you need to know about camping alone; the hazards, skills, and knowledge needed will be discussed in this article.
Benefits and Risks to Camping Alone
Most people do not go camping alone. It is simply not that common for people to do. Others prefer to go with friends or family, but there are many benefits to taking time for yourself in the seclusion of nature.
- Self-reliance, because you are out by yourself. You will have to fend yourself. For this reason, camping alone fosters this important trait. In so doing, you will grow stronger and more sure of yourself by camping alone.
- Inner peace and quiet, by going alone, you will have no one else there to bother you. It will provide you with much-needed ear relief from the hustle and bustle of our modern world. It is very therapeutic.
- Introspection, one of the most overlooked activities today is introspection. By traveling alone, you give yourself the opportunity for growth. You can find traits such as humility, confidence, and empathy all within yourself. A strong character is found within.
- Limit testing, on top of all that, camping alone is a great way to test your mental and physical limits. These limits will grow by camping alone. Sounds will echo that may just unsettle you. That is okay. It is part of the experience. If you are hiking a lot, it will stress your body. Your feet will grow weary, but they will get stronger. Your body and mind will strengthen.
In addition to the benefits of camping alone, there are also risks involved.
- No one is there to help you. If something goes wrong, like you get sick, or you injure yourself, it is on you. You will have to get help or carry yourself out. It is the greatest risk of camping alone.
- Wildlife, just like any experience in nature, you will never be fully alone. In the wilderness, you share the outdoors with rabbits, squirrels, deer, mountain lions, bears, and raccoon. Primarily, you will have to worry about them eating your food, but there is also the possibility for confrontation.
When camping alone, you need to consider the positive and negative aspects of the experience. Before anything else, you need to minimize downside and then look to the positive aspects of the experience. Stay safe and then everything else will follow.
I am not going to lie. Camping alone is a scary experience. Everything is put on your shoulders. If you hear a sound, that noise could come towards you. If the weather worsens, that is going to affect you. If anything goes wrong, then that is on you. You cannot go running to someone else for help.
Because of this, camping alone can be quite a frightening experience. As such, you will never be completely free of it. Fear will always be present and acting to holding you back. Fortunately though, there is a solution. It is called managing it.
Firstly, the greatest way to manage fear is through learning. Everything comes from a point of origin. For this reason, you can learn about it. Consequently, you then take away its power. If you are worried about injury and being stuck alone, you can get a satellite phone. If you are fearful of bears, bring bear mace. If you are worried about getting lost, then bring a GPS or learn how to use a map and compass. Fears only exist because you do not fully understand the issue at hand.
On top of that, you can always “act out” your most of your fears when it comes to hiking. Now what do I mean by that? If you worry about injury, lay out the steps that you would take to fix that injury. If you fear catching an illness, write out the steps and medicine you would need to alleviate it. If you worry about getting lost, then get lost and try to find your way back.
Fear is not insurmountable. It is something that your mind tells you to think. To recap, you can manage fear by learning and acting it out. Just remember, someone else had your exact same fear and overcame it.
Because you are camping alone, you need to learn a number of skills that you could otherwise let slide if you were camping with a group.
- Map and compass, this has become less of a used skill with the invention of GPS, but it is still important to have. It lets you locate yourself on a to map and can be used to plot a route to follow.
- River crossing, one of the most common terrain features you will encounter is a river. They can be treacherous. If you are not careful, a river will sweep you off your feet and into the rocks below. As such, never cross barefoot or without a stick to steady yourself. River rocks can be quite slippery.
- Tent set up, before going out into the wild, know how to set up your tent. You should be comfortable doing it. Nothing is worse than getting to camp site and then spending hours on set up of your tent.
- Start a camp fire, when it is cold outside, a camp fire is a great way to warm your soul. Start by clearing the area and then gather tinder and wood. Use flint and steel or a lighter. Remember to never leave an open fire burning.
- Cooking, when out in nature, cooking outside is much different from cooking indoors Your resources are limited, your appetite is increased, and your meals are simplified. Be sure to practice at home with basic recipes to get the hang of what it will be like to camp cook alone.
- Water purification, when you are out in nature, water is critical to having a good trip. If you do not have water, then you are as good as toast. To get plenty of water, there are a number of options available to you. You can filter from a stream, bring your own (which is heavy), boil it, or use iodine tablets. All of them are great options available to you.
Skills are worth their weight in gold. If you can master these skills and more, then you are that much more prepared to handle yourself in the wild.
Taking Safety Measures
Camping alone is a lot different from camping with others. When camping with friends or family, you can always count on them for support if something happens. This is not so for camping alone. As such, the three biggest potential risks you have to worry about are as follows:
- Illness, this is one common occurrence when camping alone. One day you are hiking and you return to camp with the sniffles. It is no big deal as you have had it before. The next day is a bit worse. You wake with a fever and stomach cramps. Uh-oh. This is just one possibility, but you can prepare for it.You can greatly reduce the chance of catching a cold by first being healthy. This involves the most basic element of eating good nutritious food and getting plenty of deep sleep. After that, there are natural health remedies such as tea, ginger, and turmeric that you can employ to keep you healthy. Otherwise, there are plenty of medicines available to you.
- Injury, this is the second biggest problem confronting solo adventurers. One day you are returning to camp from a long day of hiking. It has been a tiresome day. You are a little careless, so you trip on a rock, twisting your ankle. A great trek just turned into a nightmare.Fortunately though, there are ways to plan for such events. Bring a first aid kit with you and learn how to care for basic injuries like bruises and cuts. You can also learn how to address a fracture, sprain, skin disease, weather ailments, or open wound by researching online. There are plenty of resources available to you.
- Wildlife, the third largest challenge you will face when camping alone is wildlife. More than likely, you will be dealing with small animals like squirrels, deer, and raccoon. They will want your food, which will just be a matter of keeping it out of their reach.The bigger problem, though, will be bears and mountain lions. If you do see a mountain lion, hold your ground and do not run away. Slowly walk away while facing them. Act intimidating if they approach. The same goes for bears. It will vary though if it is a black or brown bear. In general, use common sense.
In addition to the biggest risks you will encounter when in the wild, you need to do these two important things to stay safe.
- Leave your itinerary with two people. If you are camping alone, this is a MUST. No matter how good you are, you need to leave your information with someone who has your back. Most hikers and campers who died in the wild did so because they failed to leave their information with someone. Take the bit of extra time to leave your itinerary.
- Be conscientious. It is different being outside than in nature. Leave your iPod at home because you have to listen. Even though it appears mostly silent, nature has a lot to say and show you. When you are walking, mentally picture where your next step will be. In short, be aware.
Great! Now that you know all the biggest dangers for camping alone and understand what you need to do. You are now ready for the next step.
Preparing to Camp
Further, there are a number of steps you need to take as a solo camper to prepare for your adventure.
- Research the area you are traveling to. Before anything else, you need to know about the place you are going. By researching the area, you can get a permit and make any special arrangements needed for that particular place. That way you can learn about the scenery, any hazards, rules, regulations, and the like. On top of that, be sure to get a map of the area. It will help you navigate it.
- Be aware of the weather. If there is one thing that happens more frequently than not, it is weather changes. One moment it is sunny out and the next it is pouring rain out with a blistering breeze. Find out the predicted weather online so you can pack appropriately.
- Create a checklist. A checklist is one thing that will save you a lot of headache down the road. I do not know about you, but my memory is not the greatest thing in the world, so, if I need to remember something important, I write it down. It is no different when it comes to preparing for a camping trip. Write down what you need weeks in advance to properly prepare. It will serve as a reminder for all that you need to do and get.
Congratulations! You now all you need to know about camping by yourself. You will experience profound introspection in the silence of nature and witness majestic scenery. It will be a wondrous experience. Just remember to stay safe. Have fun. And leave no trace.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed something, please comment below and I will reply appropriately and quickly. Thank you for reading.