Camping alone can be a lot of fun. It defiantly comes with its own set of rewards and advantages. Like everything in life, there are also some disadvantages. Camping alone means you are always going to be alone, especially during emergencies. Be sure to take some precautions before and during your time camping.
So, here is my list of 12 Steps To Safe Solo Camping:
1. Let someone know where you are
2. Set a routine check-in time
3. Use a registered site
4. Use a site where you have been before
5. Take a dog with you
6. Drink plenty of water
7. Do your homework on the wildlife
8. Carry insect repellent
9. Know the plants in the area
10. Take a first aid kit
11. Know how to build and maintain a safe campfire
12. Plan for the unexpected
Let dive into each one of these so you will be well prepared to feel secure on your solo camping trip.
Let someone know where you are
Before you leave camping make sure at least a couple of people know where you are headed and for how long. On the very rare occurrence of something happening to you and you do not come back in time then there will be a frame of reference of how long past your expected time you are late by and gives those looking for you a reference point. Giving authorities a general window of time and a location to search will help them find you and end up saving your life.
Set a routine check-in time
Be sure to set up a routine and means by which to check in with someone. There are devices out there that can log your location and send it to someone of your choosing so if there was an instance of you going missing they can use these coordinates to find you and get help to you right away.
For those who can afford it, a satellite phone is a good idea to bring along as well. Camping is a great way to disconnect and that can mean getting somewhere where there is no cell service, or it is spotty at best. In situations like that, a satellite phone would be a great resource in case there is an accident or emergency.
Use a registered site
It would also be best to use a camping service or other resource like it to book a location for your site. Using a registered site is a great way to stay safe. There is a chance other campers may be nearby and your location will be logged so you can be located easily. Sources like these will still allow you the solitude you are looking for but also come with these safety measures. It also saves the hassle of having to find a good spot totally out in the wild.
Use a site where you have been before
Also, when picking a location to go camping alone, it might not hurt to pick somewhere you have been before. Using a location new to you might be more trouble than it is worth if you are alone. It would mean you would have to learn the area on your own and that can come with some risks.
Picking somewhere you know might also help with the inevitable fact at some point you are going to feel scared. It may not always be logical but being out in the woods alone would make anyone uneasy. It will pass.
The important thing to remember is to be rational and do not do anything without thinking, especially if you are bringing a firearm with you. Take deep breaths and slow down at those times.
Take a dog with you
If you have a dog bring them with you. Dogs are the best alarm systems on 4 feet. They can smell, hear and see animals and people much farther than humans.
They also make great camping companions because they help keep you calm and provide someone to talk to. And if they are trained that’s even better. They will great emotional support and reduce the potential for loneliness when solo camping.
Drink plenty of water
Carry a canteen and a portable filter to use in streams or lakes to keep plenty of drinking water with you. If you get dehydrated, which can happen sooner than most think, it will affect your thinking and is the reason many get lost in the woods.
After a while, every tree, rock, and trail began to look the same. And if for some reason water is not plentiful then consider bringing a few gallons to keep at camp. You don’t want to cut your trip short by not planning ahead to have plenty of water.
Do your homework on the wildlife
Many forest services will post on their website the local animal activity. Animals have mating seasons and become more aggressive during this time. Knowing what type of wildlife and their seasonal activities can be very helpful especially if you are camping in the bush and not a campground.
Wildlife may consider you an intruder and cause your encounters to be less than favorable for you may like. If you do encounter big cats, bears, or even large herd animals like deer, never run. Just slowly walk away. Sudden movements can cause them to respond defensively.
Most animals are naturally afraid of humans and will not approach you unless they have been conditioned and feed by other campers. If so, they will only be looking for something from you to eat. Do not feed them or they may follow you and accidentally cause you harm or at the minimum destroy your camp looking for food.
Carry insect repellent
Most likely animals will not be your biggest threat. It will be bugs. Especially mosquitos and ticks. Carry plenty of bug repellent. The last thing you want is to get sick from mosquitos, ticks, and bee stings. These guys can quickly turn a great camping trip into a ride to the local hospital especially if you are allergic to any of them.
Know the plants in the area
Sometimes folks aren't aware of various plants that can cause as bad of an allergic reaction as a bee sting. The oil on the leaves of poison ivy or sumac can irritate the skin and cause swell. Some are not allergic to these plants, but you don’t want to find out for yourself. You can save yourself a lot of pain by just taking a small book with you about the local plants so you know what you can touch or not.
If you do get bit by insects or brush up against a poisonous plant, treat if immediately with something. Pay attention to how you are feeling over the next hours. If you don't notice any change in the affected area such as swelling or an increase in itching, then most likely you are going to be okay. But if you have swelling, increased itching, or start sweating you may need to seek medical attention.
Take a first aid kit
Especially, when solo camping you will need to carry a first aid kit. Since you will usually not be near a doctor or drugstore should a medical situation arises to take care of like bug bites, cuts, burns, diarrhea, or other little nasty things that could cut your solo camping trip short, I recommend building your own first aid kit. Here are some of the things you need to include.
Know how to build and maintain a safe campfire
You are going to need a campfire for cooking, staying warm, and generally, it makes you feel good to sit around the campfire, especially at night. But unless you have built many campfires by yourself, I recommend you read, 9 Easy Steps To Build a Safe Campfire. This article will not only teach you step-by-step how to build a campfire, but how to maintain it safely.
Plan for the unexpected
The big win for solo camping is being alone with nature and enjoying all it has to offer. But sometimes things happen that you did not expect. So safely following the regulations and mandates of local law enforcement is very important. Read all notices provided on wildlife, weather, and events. Keep the numbers of local emergency services handy.
How do I entertain myself solo camping?
Now that all the safety stuff is taken care of and you are feeling good about your first solo camping trip, I recommend you read, 10 Things You Must Do While Solo Camping. This is a fun read of all the cool things you can do to get the most out of your trip including how to entertain yourself while camping alone.
So, is it Okay to go camping alone?
It absolutely is okay to going camping alone if you enjoy being by yourself, enjoy nature, like making your own meals, know how to build a fire, put up a tent and stay safe and practice the 12 steps in this article. It will be one of the most rewarding things you will have ever done. And can make you proud of the new skills and courage you have to do it alone.
Get out there and give it a go.
All the best,