Camping Alone: A Guide to Solo Camping

Solo camping means camping alone. Many people like engaging in solitary camping because of the unique experience they get from it.

Surprisingly lots of people prefer it to camping with other people. Camping alone can give you peace of mind and self reliance, and it affords you opportunity to reflect on lots of things in your daily life. However if you want to enjoy this type of camping there are some important factors to consider to make the most of your trip and to stay safe.

Solo Camping Checklists

When you want to camp alone, you have to consider a lot of things and the most important among them is safety. When you are camping alone, it means you have to plan for your security, because you are not going to be able to rely on anyone else. You should know there is always the possibility of a mishap and when it happens you may not be able to reach outside help. Here are a list of checks to run through.

Choosing A Camping Shelter

Breathable 1 person bivy sack

It goes without saying that you’re going to need some kind of shelter to sleep in. Something that sleeps 1 to 2 people is likely to be all you need and if you’re backpacking all that you will want to carry. Consider these 1 person tents or if you have a bit more gear go for a 2 person tent. If you really plan on traveling light you could always opt for a bivy sack, or hammock, perhaps with an additional tarp for waterproofing. Whatever you decide upon go for the best you can afford, buy cheap and you’ll buy twice.

You’ll need to be able to setup on your own

When choosing a shelter remember you’ll need to be able to put it up and pack it away on your own. Something large will give you space to move around in but could be awkward to setup.

Smaller tents offer greater flexibility on placement and will be easier to set up when camping alone.

First Aid Kit

At the minimum a simple first aid kit should be the first thing you pack. Should you sustain an injury in the course of the trip you should be able to treat yourself until you are able to get outside help. Plan to be able to treat something from a simple headache to putting a limb in a splint.

Keep basic medicines to hand

When you are camping especially in areas where cell phone reception is limited you should have basic medicines to hand. Saying that if this is your first camping trip alone we’d recommend not going too far off the beaten track. Some of the risks you can be subjected to include bee stings, sun burn, a fall, sprains, basically injury or illness.

There are numerous ready made basic first aid kits available on the market from brands such as Coleman. But don’t just pay your $10 and think job done, take care to really consider what you should include. Consider at least the following;

  • Band Aids / Sticky Bandages
  • Scissors
  • Ibuprofen / headache tablets
  • Insect / mosquito repellent
  • Antibacterial spray or ointment for cuts
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bandages for wounds
  • Sterile pads
  • Medical adhesive tape
  • First aid manual or book
  • Throat lozenges
  • Poison ivy treatment

Plus don’t forget any prescription medicines that you take.

Protective Clothing & Gear

Other than a first aid box to protect yourself from potential injury you could consider protective clothing. You should take serious precaution as you walk. If you walk through the bush consider wearing hand gloves. Footwear should be secured and laced up correctly and ideally should incorporate ankle protection. A sprained ankle on your own miles away from anyone is no fun at all and potentially life threatening.

Clothing wise you should pack for hot and cold to protect yourself against the vagaries of weather. Everything from sunglasses to a rain jacket should be in your back pack.

Food & Drink

If like we recommend, your first camping trip alone is at an established campground, then you should only need to take basic provisions and cooking equipment. This might include snacks and small items to add flavor and seasoning to supplies you purchase at the campsite.

Food for the duration of the trip

If however you plan on venturing further afield and maybe this isn’t your first solo trip then you will need to take a more thorough supply of food and drink. You’ll need to take as much food and drink as you’ll need for the duration of your trip.

You should pack a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables plus plenty of fluids. Plus you’ll need the gear to cook and clean with. See this list of pro camping tips to really get ahead of the game.

You’ll need a means of purifying water

best backpacking water filter in use at the river
Backpacker purifying water beside a stream

If you don’t plan to carry water in a Camelbak or similar you should ensure water purification tablets are part of your kit. Alternatively for around $10 consider a LifeStraw, better still go for a pumping water purification device that can rid dirty water of all contaminants.

At the very least you’ll need the ability to heat and boil water. Undertaking research of the area you plan on camping in, if wild camping, will be time well spent.

A word to the wise consuming alcohol while camping alone in isolation should be avoided. A trip or fall while under the influence could have devastating consequences.

Physical Attack

Although highly unlikely it is an important safety concern to consider the possibility of attack by beast or even from fellow humans. Because of that, you should always beware of large predators, as well as poisonous creatures that can endanger your life. Take care when hiking out alone, don’t be overturning rocks where snakes or dangerous insects could well be. Limit the risks you need to take.

Don’t become a target for an inquisitive bear

In Bear country store foods away from sleeping quarters and in sealed containers. Don’t leave waste hanging around. You may even want to setup a perimeter wire to warn and startle any creature that accidentally crosses your path.

If you are camping in an area where other hikers or backpackers pass by you may want to give the illusion that you’re not alone. Setup 2 places for dinner, hang clothing of the opposite sex from a washing line, you get the idea.

Pre-camping Safety Checks

Even before you set off camping, you should take safety measures to ensure that you are protected. It is in your best interest to inform a couple of people where you plan to go and when you’ll be returning, before you set out on the journey.

If there is a local authority like a local ranger service then you should inform them of your movements, check in and check out. Also take note of any local safety information available.

If you are a lone female camper these precautions are even more vital as unfortunately you are more of a target than a lone male.

Camping Alone Benefits

When you have taken care of the safety issues, you will more likely appreciate the benefits of solitary camping.

  • It makes for self reliance. Perhaps the greatest benefits that you can derive from it is that it will help you develop your self reliance ability. This means that you would no longer depend on other people for this type of activity.
  • A unique experience. There is a peace and tranquility that accompany this type of camping that is unrivaled you will enjoy nature to its fullest.
  • It helps with personal growth. Every individual deserves a unique opportunity for personal growth. Solo camping is the opportunity waiting for you. You are going to grow through introspection.
  • Discover and understand your own limitations. Most importantly, it is going to help you to find out those mental and physical limitations unknown to you and will also reveal inner strengths.
  • Share experiences on your own. You are not going to share anything with anybody. It means that you are going to have things all to yourself.
  • Develop your camping skills. Anytime that you engage in this type of vacation you’re going to have to undertake every activity and chore from lighting the fire, to cooking and cleaning and being prepared for whatever will confront you. This would not have been the case if you were part of a group where tasks are shared.
  • Can enhances your intuition and reasoning ability. Moreover, solitary camping has the capacity to sharpen your intuition. You are going to be curious of any noise and any movement around you you will become used to the sounds and site of potential danger. Overall this can help improve your decision making ability.
  • Flexibility. Solo camping offers the freedom to do what you want and at the time that you want to. Because you are alone, nobody would stand in your way to achieving the happiness and joy you deserve. It offers you the space and freedom to do those things that can please you, and keep you happy.
  • Personal reflection. It is a great opportunity for sober personal reflection. You may need a moment to be alone, perhaps in an isolated place to have a review of things around you and think of how to forge ahead with your life.

If you still like the idea of camping alone then go for it. It is a unique experience that you will either love or hate. Do follow the advice about gear and safety equipment and buy the best possible quality you can afford.

2 Comments

  1. Hi; I’m 47 and female, I’ve been solo road traveling not so long and I really enjoy it; been thinking about solo camping and looking forward to it. I’m gonna start in not so isolated places till i get comfortable going further into more isolated spots.
    Any suggestions?

    PS: bringing pepper spray in case….

    • Dean Anderson says:

      Hi Miri,
      I think starting in not so isolated places is a wise move. Also having an agreement with a friend before you travel to ‘check in’ at fixed intervals would be good practice. Other than that pack well and enjoy yourself!

      Let us know how you get on.
      Dean 🙂

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