Traveling alone can be incredibly relaxing, but a woman traveling alone will need to pay special attention to her surroundings. It’s also critical that any solo traveler be fully competent in using all of their gear. Finally, you’ll want to have a buddy to check in with on your travels.
Make sure that all of your gear can easily be packed and/or carried. If you’re planning to park at your campsite, you can allow more gear and allow a higher weight tolerance; for example, hiking out to a rustic campsite will mean that you have to be able to carry in the water you need, while camping near your vehicle gives you more hauling capacity.
Do not count on finding drinkable water or anything edible in the wild. Those fresh berries may look edible, but an upset stomach will not improve your camping experience. Be honest about your food and water requirements and pack in what you need.
Share Your Travel Plans with a Trusted Friend
There’s something fun about disappearing for the weekend, but do make sure that you’ve got someone in the outside world who knows
- when you expect to get to your campsite
- approximately where you’ll be
- when you plan to pack up
- when you’ll be back home
If you’re planning a long weekend of Coopers Rock state forest camping, you’ll be doing a lot of hiking. Check-in with your friend with a photo of the trailhead. Share a snapshot of the highest point on the trail, and another when you get back to your tent. Should you take a tumble and sprain or break something, having someone in the outside world who knows that you didn’t make it back can keep you safe.
Check Time of Sunrise and Sunset
Make sure you check the time of the sunrise and sunset in your area and try to enjoy them from just outside your tent. Even on the Dark Skies Trail, you’ll want to be back at your tent as the visibility drops.
As the sun goes down, you may want to enjoy a campfire if allowed. Take care not to spend a lot of time staring at the fire. You will lose your ability to see into the darkness around you. A campfire may also notify campers nearby that you’re interested in company. If you’re not, you might want to skip the fire.
Test Drive All Your Gear
Make sure you can easily set up all your gear. Fire up your stove at home. Confirm your tent is secure and that all the poles are in good shape. Pack garments that fit well, move easily, and will keep you warm at night and cool in the day. Be ready to layer.
Pay special attention to your footwear. Wear your old, battered hikers for best comfort. Make sure you have wicking socks to keep your feet dry and safe. Finally, make sure you pack a first aid kit that will fit in the top of your pack so you can tend to blisters.
Make Plans to Remain in Your Tent All Night
It’s a good idea to make sure that you have some form of bathroom facilities inside your tent to avoid a nighttime run into the trees.
While you may not have room for a camping toilet in your tent, a used laundry soap jug or other wide-mouth bottles with a lid can serve as an emergency urine container, and plastic bags can serve for solid wastes. It may not be fun to store these in your tent until morning, but staying inside the tent until dawn will reduce risks.
Plan for Wildlife
Check out the camping restrictions at your destination. Are there bear boxes? Do you need to worry about raccoons? Wildlife in many camping areas have learned that folks who are incautious with their garbage are happy to leave them a smorgasbord of garbage. Follow all instructions for storing your food safely and for the disposal of your garbage.
Camping on your own is a wonderful way to shut down your brain and relax. However, it’s important that you not go completely off-grid. Check-in with a friend and make sure they have the number of the ranger office so someone can check on you if you go missing.