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We often talk about the importance of off-roading and overlanding with other folks, just in case things go sideways and you have someone to help you out of a jam.
But with camping, while there are still some dangers to account for, you can plan and execute a successful solo camping trip that gets you out in nature and away from the stressors of everyday life.
If you’re thinking about taking your first solo camping trip, consider the following tips as very sage advice.
Practice Necessary Skills for Your Solo Camping Trip
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There are many skills that you need for camping, from knowing how to set up your tent to understanding how to read a map.
Beyond that, you should also know how to:
- Build and maintain a fire
- Address injuries with first aid
- Prepare drinking water
- Handle yourself when faced with a predator
- Use a compass
- Leave no trace
You don’t have to become a survivalist like Les Stroud to go on a solo camping trip, but having a good grasp of the basic fundamentals outlined above will certainly improve your chances of a safe trip.
Ease Into It
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Your first solo camping trip probably shouldn’t be to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail…
Instead, choose a location that isn’t too far from home, or at the very least, a location that you are very familiar with. A car camping trip in an established campground is a great place to start.
Then, as you learn more about camping and figure out what you are and are not good at (and comfortable with), you can start going on solo camping trips that are further from home and in locations with which you aren’t familiar.
A great way to prepare yourself for exploring new areas is to take a scouting trip – a day hike, for example – to get the lay of the land in an area you’d like to camp. This gives you a chance to see what it’s like and identify potential campsites that aren’t in established campgrounds.
Wherever you go, be sure you tell someone when you’re leaving, where you’re going, and when you plan to return. While going on a solo camping trip is a great way to get away from it all, you still want someone to know where you’ll be.
Plan for Problems on Your Solo Camping Trip
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The old saying, “hope for the best but plan for the worst” definitely applies here. When you’re out on your own, you obviously have no one else to rely on to get out of sticky situations. Thus, the need to understand and practice the basic skills outlined earlier.
But this also means doubling up on items like fire starters (i.e., a box of matches and a lighter) and outerwear (i.e., a light jacket and a heavier one). While you don’t want to overload yourself with food and water, you don’t want to short yourself either, just in case you have to spend an extra day out camping for some reason.
Also have a Plan B in place in case of emergency on your solo camping trip. Read your maps and understand the quickest way to get back to civilization in case something goes awry. It’s also helpful to understand where major trails are in relation to your camping spot, so if you need to find help, you know where the most likely places are for people to be.
Bring a Companion
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Camping solo means you’ll have a lot of time to yourself (obviously), so boredom can certainly creep in – and fairly soon.
Whether you bring along a book, a deck of cards, a camera, your dog, or all of the above, having some sort of companion to help fill the time will make your trip all the better. You can’t spend every waking moment hiking and exploring, so having something to occupy your time and your mind when you’re sitting around camp will help keep your spirits up and keep loneliness at bay.
With that, you have a few tips that will help you plan your first solo camping trip. Get yourself ready, plan the trip, practice your skills, and get camping!