Writer Patty Hodapp on a solo camping trip with her dog Pele along Lake Superior’s north shore in Minnesota.

Camping alone as a woman might sound crazy. Uncontrollable variables like weather, wackos and wild animals give credit to the old adage “safety in numbers”. But if you’re comfortable in the outdoors and want to camp solo, don’t let fear stop you. It takes common sense, good instinct and adaptability. Yes, it’s risky, but so is driving a car or stepping out your front door. The good news? There are a few things you can do to sleep outside alone, safer. Here are 7.

1. Know Your Gear

Test your camping gear before you pack — especially if it has been sitting unused in storage for a while. Bring extra batteries, matches, a lighter, tinder and paper in a plastic bag so they don’t get wet. Own a tent you can pitch by yourself (sounds obvious, but believe me, shelters with complicated pole structures are tough to set up solo).

2. Be Accountable to Someone

If you’re sleeping outside alone, tell someone where you are. Text a friend or relative your location, loose plans and end game, so someone knows when to worry and where to look for you. If you want to get specific, try SPOT — a sweet little GPS device that beams your location via text, email or emergency notification to those at home.

3. Stay at Family-Friendly Campgrounds

If you’re nervous about sleeping outside alone, splurge on a site at a family-oriented campground. Ask the park ranger or do your research online before you set up shop. Better to neighbor-up next to a couple with small kids than a rowdy group of partiers who might trash your gear or give you trouble.

4. Stick to the Trail

It’s simple: When you take day-trip hikes, stick to marked trails. That way, if you need help, you’ll be in a higher trafficked area so you’re more likely to get it. Bushwhacking is fun, but leave it for camping trips with friends. Also, invest in a backpacker’s first-aid kit or build your own, and keep it in your daypack always.

5. Skip the Booze

Sure it’s fun to have a brew around the campfire, but when you’re alone stick to water, sports drinks, coffee or anything that won’t impair your senses. You’re the only one out there to watch your back, so don’t get tipsy.

6. Bring a Dog

Some people argue that dogs provide a false sense of security. I say it depends on the dog. If your dog is used to the woods and alert, chances are it’ll hear, smell and respond to approaching animals and people faster than you. It was only because of 2 dogs that I survived a run-in with a mountain lion in New Mexico. Or so a professional lion hunter told me when I called him up the next day. I believe him.

7. Leave Room for Error

Think ahead and anticipate problems. Have a backup water supply; learn how to change a tire and use bear spray (don’t hose it upwind); master map reading. No trip ever goes as planned, but if you expect error it won’t catch you off guard.

Sleeping alone under the stars? Here are the best campgrounds for solo travelers who want a last-minute summer getaway.

 

You May Also Like:

Backcountry Survivor Skills
Camping Dos and Don’ts
Camping Tips and Tricks

 

by Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.

20 Responses

  1. Jullia says:

    Wow! Wonderful share.This is a very interesting and comprehensive list! I will have to keep these in mind, especially point 1,2 and 5.

  2. Kim says:

    I agree with the part about bringing your dog(s)! That is the only way I go camping alone–with my German Shepherds by my side.

  3. Natalie Diaz says:

    Really awesome tips that must be considered for the solo camping. Moreover you must have proper storage space to have the essentials things for safety and security.

  4. Jason Ryaan says:

    Solo campaign is quite challenging and adventurous task. Everyone should make a list of essential stuffs that should be carried during campaign. Bringing a dog in solo campaign is the nicest idea.

  5. Kizie says:

    I don't think I could enjoy camping on my own. I simply need company, it's more fun :)

  6. Great tips for camping alone. Camping at a family type site or nearby is great advice, because in the open spaces, you really never know who you could run into. The best piece of advice is to stick on the marked trails and know when to turn around before you get lost. Getting lost in the mountains is very easy. One tip that goes for camping alone or with a group, always know the weather. In the mountains, lightning can strike even if you cannot see the storm over the mountains.

  7. Robin says:

    As a woman, I don't think I could ever go on a solo camping trip. I'm not as brave to do it although I think it would really be cool because being by yourself surrounded by nature is perfect for a "me time".

  8. weird camping says:

    or better don't go on a camp without a man:))

  9. Liz LaFarge says:

    I'm shameless! But maybe you'd like my blog about being an old lady tent camping alone: thetentsoloist.wordpress.com.

  10. diemy says:

    I already read the article above, and I got usefull information about that

  11. "Interesting information, thanks for making these contributions.

    Thank you very much!"

  12. Nice blog post my wife also want to go for camping alone with her dog I will share this useful information with her for sure.

  13. Jason Billy says:

    Camping is one the best family activities out there. It’s the chance to spend quality time, away from the office, away from the TV, in the great outdoors just hanging with the kiddos.
    Fantastic tips you have posted. Sharing it on my wife's wall.

  14. Metro Square says:

    I will have to keep these in mind, Going on vacation is all about having fun, but poor planning can ruin your trip before you get to your destination.

  15. Great tips for both women AND men who want to spend quality time alone outdoors.

  16. Camping says:

    I have just been searching for this type of information for a while and finally found here so far. Thanks!

  17. Matt @ GCS says:

    Totally agree, nothing beats a healthy lifestyle and getting outside into your garden for some good old fashioned manual exercise.

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