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Photography by Waldseilgarten Höllschlucht

Indulge your inner daredevil at the Waldseilgarten Hoellschlucht in Bavaria, an adventure resort near in the German Alps.

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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.

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Dilemma: You want to squeeze in a sweet camping trip before summer runs out. But unfortunately, your family, friends and perhaps even your entire social network have used up their vacation days already. Should you let that stop you? Absolutely not. In fact, without companions, you’ll likely pack less and take your outdoor therapy to a new level. Plus, park rangers won’t have to bust a loud campfire sing-along after quiet hours.

Here are the best campgrounds for solo travelers — featuring all the perks from easy-access boat landings to secluded sites where you’ll feel like the only person on Earth. Hello, sleeping under the stars!

 

For the Multi-Adventurer: Burke Mountain Campground, Vermont

Solo travelers who are also adventure sports enthusiasts should head to this small 26-site campground located on Burke Mountain, VT. You can hike or bike the extensive network of single- and double-track trails around the mountain. And less than 20 miles away, glacially formed Lake Willoughby offers fishing, swimming and paddle boarding over depths up to 300 feet. Consider this haven your leisure playground that’s guaranteed to satisfy your itch for adventure.

For the Ocean Goer: Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon

This quaint little Oregonian campground is nestled on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It features more than 8 miles of forest hiking trails lush with wildlife. And if you’re the solo traveler who wants a little free entertainment, get this: Cape Lookout and nearby Cape Kiwanda and Cape Meares together make the Three Capes Scenic Route — a popular launching pad for hang gliders and paragliders. Come here for both beach and bay access, and don’t forget to look upward!

For the Island Hopper: Big Bay State Park Campground, Wisconsin

The Apostle Islands, a 21-isle archipelago off Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore, has a rich history of logging, shipping, stone quarrying and fishing. From Bayfield, WI, ferry to Madeline Island and sleep on Big Bay State Park Campground’s lakeshore. Want to see more islands without having to paddle solo on Lake Superior’s unpredictable water? Take the 55-mile Apostle Islands Cruise authorized by the National Park Service. The boat goes daily from Bayfield (May to October) and gives you a solid overview of the chain.

For the Backpacker: Sykes Camp Trail, California

If car camping isn’t your thing, try this moderate 19.5-mile backpacking trail located in the Ventana Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest, CA. Master moderate elevation gains through redwoods and stream crossings to natural hot springs. Select your camp at miles 5, 7, 10 or 12 and crash for the night. Added bonus: It’s a favorite for weekenders, so you’ll never be far from fellow hikers if you need help. For more inspiration, check out our best camping spots in California.

 

Camping solo means you need to be even more focused on safety. Check out Travel Channel’s camping tips before you go:

Off-the-Grid Camping Safety
Camping Do’s 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.

 

 

 

Photography by Jeffrey Murray / Aurora Photos

Upper Cathedral Lake reflects the majestic lines of Cathedral Peak, its backcountry companion here in Yosemite National Park in Northern California. More »

Photography by Brad Goldpaint / Aurora Photos

At Big Bend, all roads lead to a rich history of peoples living along the Rio Grande along with geologic wonders like the Boquillas Formation. More »

Having to prepare for a hurricane, endure losing your luggage or drive through a snow storm are just a few examples of potential emergencies that may throw a proverbial wrench in your travel plans. Luckily, Travel Channel’s new web series, Travel 911, is here to offer precautionary advice to travelers. Our travel expert, Rob Pralgo, offers suggestions on how to handle many of the travel emergencies that we hope you never have to experience, including what to do if you have a painful jellyfish sting, how to choose the best sun screen and how to avoid a shark attack.

In addition to practical advice, Travel 911’s camping webisode has helpful tips on what you should pack on your next camping trip, and what you should do if you have a face-to-face encounter with a bear. It’s advice that’s relevant in light of a recent string of bear attacks.

In Fairbanks, AK, a bear dragged 21-year-old Julia Strafford 20 feet before letting her go, according to the Seattle Times. She survived, but 49-year-old Richard White wasn’t as lucky. The photographer was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear in Denali National Park, according to Fox News.

We hope this web series will help travelers plan ahead and take better precautions when traveling. Oh, and what about preparing for Hurricane Isaac? READ MORE

Today’s Daily Escape is Horning’s Hideaway in North Plains, Oregon. More »

Photograph by Jan Sonnenmair / Aurora Photos

 

Turtles took over the runway at JFK airport today, causing a number of flight delays. According to Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico, 150 turtles came out of Jamaica Bay to lay their eggs on the sandy beach across the runway. Airport staff rounded up the turtles to relocate them to a safer spot.

JetBlue airlines tweeted about the turtle invasion earlier this morning, saying: “JFK is experiencing delays as the airport clears turtles off the runway.” This is not the first turtle takeover. In July 2009, a runway was shut down after 78 turtles crawled onto the tarmac. Ground crews returned the unexpected airport guests to the water.

Apparently, it’s the season for turtle spawning. It’s summer, and what better way to commune with nature and wildlife than a fun camping trip. Check out Travel Channel’s camping critters, essential camping gear, camping tips and more. Take a road trip! We’ll tell you how to travel the roads for a fun getaway — just stay off the runway. And we have best beach suggestions, and you don’t even have to cross dangerous airport traffic.  Just enjoy your summer and plan ahead with help from TravelChannel.com.

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Looking for hot gear to make your summer travels easier? Check out Travel Channel’s Summer Gear Guide, featuring a pet backpack, UV monitor watch, hybrid-solar charger,  scooter luggage and Commando Smartphone and more.  Rob Pralgo, host of the new web series, demonstrates how each gear and gadget works, and he explains the benefits for people who are constantly on the go.  Watch all the videos and click on the Facebook “Like” icon to let us know which featured summer gear and gadgets you like the most.

In addition to the Summer Gear Guide, Travel Channel is the perfect source for you next camping trip. Take a look at our list of camping tips and tricks to help you prepare for your next outdoor adventure.  That’s not all! We also provide camping dos and don’ts, a guide to camping with infants and toddlers and a fun slideshow of all the critters you may see while you’re communing with nature.

Check it out and get in gear for the summer!

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