When you think of camping, the scene given to us by the movies comes to mind: a group of friends sitting around a bonfire, roasting marshmallows, singing and recalling stories from the past. But what if you were to go camping alone? Camping companionless not only is equally, if not more fun but is also extremely fulfilling as it is the definition of ‘me time’ without any distractions. Solo camping can give you your much-deserved time to relax, recharge and learn to survive in the wilderness all by yourself. It is suggested that everyone should experience this life and attitude-changing journey at least once in life. However, solo camping forces you to plan for the tiniest of details as the only person you can depend on is yourself. Even advanced campers can forget important fundamentals. To assist you in your travels, here are the essentials for a great solo trip, such as heading over to theexpertcamper.co.uk/tents/one-man-tents to pick out a suitable tent for your trip.
1) Don’t Leave Home Unprepared
This may seem obvious, but it’s the most important point to note. It is crucial to adequately prepare yourself to have a great time on your trip. This can range from getting the required maps and deciding hiking trails to take beforehand, to practising with your gear, usually if new, before leaving to ensure that no mishaps occur on the journey. It will be quite disappointing to reach the campsite only to figure out that you don’t know how to pitch a tent.
2) Don’t Go MIA
As you are spending time alone in the wilderness, it’s important to ensure you are safe. It is advisable to let someone know where you will be at all times. Write out your entire itinerary on paper and pass it to a family member, friend or neighbour. Be sure to include exactly which trails you’ll be taking and when you will be returning. It might feel like a buzzkill to tell someone else your whole plan but you’ll surely be thanking this article if you end up requiring assistance. Also, don’t forget to call and thank them afterwards to inform them that you’re safe and well after the trip.
3) Don’t Arrive Late to the Campsite
You should aim to reach your campsite on-time. Especially since you are alone, it would be a blunder to think you can reach your camp in the dark. Darkness can not only feel unsettling but can also make it difficult to find and use your gear. Make sure you arrive at least one to two hours before sunset to allow yourself enough light to find an appropriate campsite, pitch your tent as well as make your dinner. You might even get some extra time to relish a beautiful sunset!
4) Don’t Freak Out
It’s understandable to be slightly scared when there’s no natural light around, and you can hear weird animal noises and twigs snapping around you. But, remember, that freaking out will not solve the problem. The time you spend alone can be stressful after darkness covers the woods and your mind begins imagining the scariest of possibilities. Don’t let your imagination run wild. Rather, console yourself, remain rational and calm. Remind yourself that the reason you came solo camping was to spend some time alone with nature and enjoy some quiet time.
5) Don’t Forget To Prepare a Leisure Activity
The solo time is surely satisfying but can bore you after some time. So carry a book, guitar or pack of cards in your bag. This will help you keep busy after a tiring day of hiking and there’s no one around to chat with. You may get so absorbed in an interesting podcast that you forget the creepy animal noises around.
6) Don’t Overestimate Your Capabilities
It would be advisable not to assume that you will have the same stamina, pace and ability as you normally do on this solo trip. Walking through the woods on a normal day and hiking through the woods with a heavy sack are wildly different. Few campers get so preoccupied in their thoughts that they forget the miles lapsed easily. For most others, however, it is a daunting task to keep on walking with no one to converse with and minutes can seem like hours. So, remember to not be too harsh on yourself and keep your first solo trip an easy one. Target a distance that you find achievable by not overestimating your capabilities to make sure that you get your tent and food sorted in the daylight to simply relax when it gets dark.
7) Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Another vital tip is to not try to achieve too much and keep your goals realistic and doable. Even if some people advise you to do four or five nights on your trip, they do not know your abilities as much as you know them yourself. It seems like a good idea to spend more time alone to realize the essence of solitude. While that perspective is understandable, it may not be a great idea for your first trip. This experience is a new one for you and it would be better to come out of it with renewed energy for another one in the future. Don’t push yourself too much that you despise the idea of another solo trip due to one bad experience. Liked the first time? Great, add another night of camping to your next trip.
8) Don’t Be Scared of Strangers
All of us have heard our parents say: don’t speak to strangers. As adults, we should take the adage with a grain, or two, of salt. Be aware of your environment and leave a situation that feels uncomfortable. However, the point of a solo trip is to discover yourself, but it can also be a means to make a new friend, or two! Your new friend will have at least one common interest as you: exploring the outdoors but spend some time conversing over other interests too. Don’t be scared to talk to people on a trail or at a campsite. You might just find yourself a new camping partner.
9) Don’t Be Over-Ambitious
This cannot be reiterated enough: do not be an over-ambitious newbie. Solo camping is fulfilling and enriching but it is crucial to know and experience firsthand the basics of camping and hiking before setting off on a solo trip. If you are an absolute beginner, it would be better to go on an adventure with a friend or in a group to learn the ropes before venturing out unaccompanied. This is simply to ensure your safety. There is always the chance of something going wrong or encountering a wild animal and without any experience to handle such a situation you will find yourself in danger’s way very quickly. Once you are confident in your skill and preparedness, only then think of a solo trip. You will also learn and enjoy more if you’re not constantly unsure of what to do.
So, that’s it. These were nine don’ts to follow when embarking on a solo camping quest. Camping alone is safe, satisfying, and a great experience, one we hope you’ll try soon, keeping these essentials in mind.