Is camping alone safe? Short answer, yes, but only once you take the proper precautions. Always ensure that you let someone know where you are going, prepare adequately, be cautious, and avoid complacency.
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas, or your day to day life can be therapeutic and help you regain balance.
Camping with friends and family has a range of benefits, but it also has some disadvantages.
Coordinating schedules, deciding who brings what, and having to make adjustments to accommodate co-campers can bring on the very stress you are trying to leave behind at home.
What Solo Camping Options Best Meet Your Needs?
It is very reassuring to know that you have several options. You can opt for glamorous camping (glamping), go the recreational vehicle route, or my favorite; backpack camping.
While glamping and RVing are less risky than backpacking for solitary campers, they still present safety risks. Precautions still need to be taken.
Safety Risks While Camping Alone
You can be exposed to danger while camping by four main threats. These are forces of nature, wildlife, technology or equipment failure, and other humans.
As we review the five best tips below to have a safe camping experience, we will breakdown these risks in detail and review ways to avoid them.
1) Carefully Select Your Campsite
Some factors you should consider in advance include; familiarising yourself with the area first, the distance away from emergency facilities, access to bathroom facilities and the reliability of cell phone service.
Once onsite, ensure you pitch your tent in a safe location, avoid un-stable trees, flooding, and other threats from the natural environment.
Do you prefer avoiding people while enjoying the wilderness? If so, then ensure you examine your closeness to locals, other campers, hiking trails, lakes, or anything likely to attract people.
- Satellite phones are great for emergencies, pack extra batteries or a power bank.
- Research how to dispose of all waste in the greenest possible way (we have covered eco-friendly camping before).
- Trees attract lightning and can be unstable in high winds. Falling trees and branches risk life and property.
2) Monitor the Weather and News
Weather is always one of the most important considerations of any travel plans.
Bad weather can put a damper on your camping plans. It can also put your life at risk whether it be from flooding or forest fires.
Carefully thought out plans can also be ruined by dust storms and other unforeseen events.
Carry out a quick internet search for news about your camping destination and the route you plan to take. This can help you decide on preceding with or postponing camping plans.
3) Create an Emergency Plan
Checking in with friends and family is important in case of unplanned events and emergencies.
You should always have more than one contingency options in place in case one fails.
Select two reliable persons and inform them of which days and times you will be gone and where exactly you will be.
Determine and share the following with your emergency contacts only.
A preset check-in time and method of check-in (A text, phone call, or email will suffice).
Share your campsite host’s information if applicable or if you are camping wild, try your best to pinpoint your location and share.
Wear a GPS tracker and share your location.
Knowing the best escape routes and the nearest emergency assistance locations are important.
Having a physical map can help you find these locations if your devices are damaged or lost.
Have your ID information and medical instructions (if applicable) handy in case you are unconscious.
These, along with your map, should be secured in a waterproof case.
4) Tell No One You are Alone
Do not be afraid to lie while making friendly conversation with strangers. Never let anyone know you are alone.
Create a fictional co-camper who is either coming to meet you or waiting on you.
It’s almost impossible to understand a stranger’s motives, whilst they may appear pleasant and friendly it’s always best to be on the cautious side.
5) Protect Yourself Wildlife (And Potentially Other Humans)
If you can take along your dog, please do so; a dog is good at alerting you to campsite intruders and scaring them off.
Take bear spray or pepper spray with you since they are good at warding off wildlife. You can also opt for a blinding flashlight or headlamp that can stop wildlife in its track or blind a person from approaching.
I recommend you take along an airhorn, although any form of loud alarm is great. The loud noise can be disorienting to people and wildlife.
Keep money in multiple locations in case of robbery or theft and always trust your instincts. Relocate, sleep in your car or leave if you feel you are in danger.
Checklist For Camping Alone
You will need the below items if you are going camping by yourself:
- Shelter (Tent or hammock and canopy, all poles and stakes)
- Proper thermal wear and sleeping gear
- At least three additional days of water supply or water purifiers if camping near a source.
- At least two additional days worth of food & emergency supplies
- A wildlife canister to conceal stored food odor
- Portable stove/kit to make a fire
- Cutlery, plates, and washing-up kit
- A satellite communication device and emergency beacon
- A cell phone & chargers plus (fully-charged) portable battery pack
- A knife or a multi-tool
- A personal hygiene kit, toilet roll, and trowel
- A map of the area, local ranger station, and phone number
- A first aid kit
- A Whistle or Personal Alarm Device
- A headlamp or flashlight
- Personal Identity Documents and Emergency Health Documents and instructions (in case you are found injured/ unconscious)
Your solo-camping experience will be safe and successful if you plan carefully, follow your instincts, take precautions and take nothing for granted.
Learn to use manual alternatives in case advanced equipment fails. Doing so improves the safety of your solo camping experience.
Everyone deserves a break now and then. Camping alone the wilderness is the perfect way to achieve it.