Alone In The Outdoors: Safety Tips For All Your Solo Outdoor Adventures
So you want to spend some time alone in the great outdoors? We say go for it! Here are our top tips to give you the confidence you need for all your solo adventures.
Do you ever feel like going hiking by yourself or on a solo backcountry mission only to second guess yourself and google something along the lines of “is hiking alone as a woman safe?"
If so, we feel you. And we are here to help!
In this world, it would be all too simple to say there’s no reason for concern. There’s always a certain amount of caution that should be taken in the outdoor world. However, that being said, we firmly believe that all people should be able to get into the outdoors alone and safely. So we’ve come up with our top tips (based on our experience) for exploring and enjoying nature, alone...
1. Get to know your desired terrain!
Whether it’s snow, dirt, rocks, or water, take a look at what you're heading into. We suggest planning your adventure in controlled terrain. There are usually a ton of excellent resources like trail maps, weather/land condition reports, and safety tips for your desired area. For example: when heading into the snowy backcountry, always check your local avalanche and weather report; when surfing, always go to a patrolled beach and check the wave and rip reports; and on hikes keep to the trail and check in with the local authorities before heading out. The outdoors comes with many variables, of course, but these are some of the things within your control that you can do to ensure the safety and sweetness of your adventure.
2. Be prepared!
This is crucial. Speaking from experience, you do not want to be caught unprepared in the rain during a hike or find yourself in choppy waters without someone watching you on the beach. So pack your backpack or car with all the essentials, things like energy bars, a head torch, a rain jacket, extra socks, an emergency blanket, and a portable charger are things you don’t want to overlook. For ideas on more extensive lists check out the National Park Service’s “Ten Essentials,” list that covers what you need when heading out to a national park! We also love REI coop’s “Backcountry Skiing/Snowboarding Checklist.” The best way to feel prepared is to be prepared!
3. Tell someone where you’re going (and when)!
Also mention how long you’ll be gone and to check in with you by a certain time. Seems basic right? But this step is regularly overlooked and you will feel all the more ready for your solo adventure with a friend waiting for your “I’m all good,” message at the end of the day. If you want to go a step further, many local authorities have online forms you can fill out so the authorities know your details and whereabouts in case of an emergency.
4. Pick a populated spot!
A spot with more people is and will feel safer. Starting your solo adventures on a well-beaten trail will give you more confidence. As you get more comfortable being solo in the outdoors this might begin to matter less, but as you start we’ve found this one particularly helpful. For inspiration check out: Luex’s “Snow Trips for Solo Travelers” or Backpacker’s “The 10 Most Gorgeous Solo Hikes,” these are either adventures you’re ready to tackle right away or perhaps goals for your future inner solo adventurer.
5. Make sure you’re still all ready and comfortable!
To get all cozy and comfortable with spending the night outdoors, you’d have to create a home-like experience. The right sleeping bag and travel pillow for napping and sleeping will make you feel like you’re in the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re on a flight, camping, or simply taking a rest on your couch, you can never go wrong with the right pillow.
6. Bring an animal!
OK, so technically this isn’t going alone, but animals are great outdoor companions as they won’t interfere with your mindfulness and ability to enjoy the serenity of nature. Also, they will make you feel much more comfortable and secure. Plenty of people take dogs with them on backcountry adventures. If you don’t have a pet of your own - ask around, or check out dog sitting platforms like Rover. There are plenty of people who would be happy to get their dog out on a walk with a willing nature lover such as yourself.
7. Know your limits and have fun!
This tip does NOT mean that we doubt your abilities. In fact, we know you can go out on your first solo adventure and #nailit. That being said, some adventures are best done with a trusted partner or group. So just know your limits in the outdoors and don’t compare them to anybody else's! This will keep you safe and give you the ability to enjoy some much-deserved alone time in the great outdoors.
We hope you found this list helpful and gives you more confidence in heading into the outdoors alone. Please remember this list is not exhaustive and you should always do your own research before an outdoor adventure.