Camping alone as a woman can seem like a scary idea, but in reality, there are so many advantages to going solo. You can set your own itinerary and go wherever you want, whenever you want. You’ll also enjoy plenty of quiet time to gather your thoughts and learn how to be more comfortable spending time with yourself.
Sometimes, coordinating a camping trip with a large group can become overly complicated and require a lot of planning. When you’re camping solo, there’s no need to coordinate multiple schedules and make sure everyone has all the gear that they need. You only have to worry about yourself — what you need and want to do. Plus, you may not always find a partner to tag along on your adventures, so learning to enjoy solo camping can be quite liberating.
As a female who enjoys going solo, here are some tips I’ve learned to stay safe and comfortable in campgrounds on my own.
1. Always Let Someone Know Where You’ll Be Camping
It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’ll be camping, whether you’re camping alone or not. Let them know how long you’ll be gone and give them a call when you get back so they know you’ve arrived home safely. If you change your plans or decide to extend your stay, make sure to let your friends and family know so they don’t worry and call out the search party.
2. Camp Somewhere You’re Familiar With
If it’s your first time camping alone, opt for somewhere you know well — like a spot close to home or a popular state or national park that you’ve visited before. Even if it is a place you’ve been a hundred times, it will look and feel differently when you’re on your own. Being familiar with the camping area can go a long way in helping you feel more confident and relaxed. Go for a developed campsite over a more remote spot. It can be easier to sleep knowing there are families and other people close by.
3. Make a Checklist and Be Extra Prepared
Since there’s nobody to rely on but yourself when camping alone, you’re responsible for packing all necessary gear, planning all the meals, and making all the decisions if a problem were to arise. Make a checklist so you don’t forget any essential gear and make sure you know how to use all your camping equipment before you leave home.
It’s not a bad idea to test out all your gear at home before your first solo camping trip. Pitch your tent and test out your camp stove to make sure you can do it on your own and that everything is in working order. Don’t forget emergency items such as a first aid kit, extra water, headlamps, maps, and a multi-tool. The more self-reliant you can be, the better.
4. Befriend a Ranger or Camp Host
When camping alone, don’t hesitate to stop in the ranger’s office or introduce yourself to the camp host. Rangers and camp hosts can be very helpful if you have a problem — plus they are typically aware of what’s going on and around their campground and can alert you to any current threats.
On a recent solo trip to a remote part of Wyoming’s Absaroka Range, the camp host warned me of recent grizzly bear activity in the area and checked in on me daily to make sure I had returned back to my campsite safely.
5. Trust Your Intuition
If you don’t feel good about a campground, trust your gut and find somewhere else to call it a night. If you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. The few times I’ve felt uncomfortable in a campground, I simply moved my bed from the tent to the back of my car. I knew I would get a better night’s sleep behind the locked doors of my car or I could simply drive away if need be.
6. Don’t Announce That You’re Alone
Play it safe and don’t advertise to other campers that you’re traveling alone. This is a tough one since making new friends while camping is one of the perks of camping alone, so use your judgment. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, lie if you have to and say something like, “I have to go meet my friend,” or “My husband is just out for a run.” — anything you can think of to make the other person believe that you are not alone.
7. Consider Carrying Some Sort of Self-Defense
In order to feel safe, some solo female campers may feel better carrying a self-defense device. This can be anything from pepper spray or bear spray to a striking stick or personal panic alarm. Having a safety device within reach can make you feel more relaxed at camp.
I often sleep with my key fob near me in the tent. I figure if there was ever a problem in the middle of the night, my car alarm would certainly draw some attention to my campsite and perhaps chase someone away if they were up to no good.
8. Avoid Tagging Your Location on Social Media
Although it can be tempting to post the view from your amazing campsite at the moment, try to resist sharing your current location on social media when you are camping alone. Refraining from updating your current whereabouts on social media adds an extra level of safety, plus waiting until your home to post photos gives you the added benefit of being more present in the current moment while camping.
9. Bring Your Dog
Dogs can make the best camping buddies. Not only can they provide excellent companionship, but they can offer a little bit of protection as well. Dogs can alert you of unwanted visitors and animals that wander into camp and can make you feel a little less alone at night.
Just make sure dogs are allowed in the campground you’re headed to, and come prepared with extra gear and dog food so your dog doesn’t end up being more of a burden.
10. Bring a Journal and Enjoy the Solo Time
Solo camping gives you the chance to contemplate your life’s direction or just enjoy some uninterrupted reading time. Take advantage of the solo time and laze away the day reading in your hammock or journal your heart out next to the campfire.
Solo camping can be a wonderful experience and connect you more deeply not only with nature, but with yourself, too. So take the leap and try it out!
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