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Solo Camping: Tips and Tricks for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Part of the appeal of camping is sharing outdoor experiences with family and friends and meeting new people. But solo camping can also be a great experience, offering a chance to reconnect with yourself.

Of course, solo camping also means you’ll have no one but yourself to rely on for gear, camp chores, and personal safety. Read on for tips and tricks for making solo camping a fun, rewarding, and safe adventure.


How to Get Ready for Your Solo Camping Adventure

Your solo camping adventure might be a backpacking weekend, some glamping, or a week in a campground with other campers nearby. Whatever form your time alone takes, there are things to do in advance to ensure a rewarding experience.

Choose your spot

Spontaneity should be part of solo camping, whether it’s deciding to hike to the perfect spot to watch the sunset or trying out campfire cooking. There’s one exception to this rule, however. Be deliberate in choosing where you’ll go.

Doing some research will ensure your solo camping adventure is as worry-free as possible. Before settling on a destination, find out about the availability of water, cell phone service, potential animal dangers, and the proximity of emergency assistance.

If you’re planning your first solo camping trip, consider limiting it to a couple of days. It may also be a good idea to camp where other people are somewhat close in case you’re not quite ready for complete solitude.

Watch the weather

Once you’ve chosen your solo camping destination, keep a close eye on the local weather forecast for your chosen dates. Nothing can ruin the enjoyment of time alone in nature faster than a driving rainstorm or plunging temperatures.

Know your gear

As you’re going the solo camping route, it’s a good idea to be sure you’re familiar with the gear you’ll be using. Take some time before your trip to set up your shelter, use your fire-starting tools, and operate any emergency locator equipment.

Staying Safe While Solo Camping

Solo camping offers many rewards in terms of personal growth, but it also comes with a need for exercising personal responsibility. Even if you’re camping by yourself within sight or earshot of other campers, it’s your responsibility to maintain your own personal safety while out in nature.

As a first step, be sure to notify a family member or friend of your plans, including your destination and the time you expect to return. That way, if anything goes awry, emergency responders will know where they can expect to find you.

Read on for some help with choosing safety gear, handling encounters with wildlife, and dealing with other personal security issues while solo camping.

Essential safety gear

If you’re heading out into the wilderness alone, there are a couple of non-negotiable items to include in your safety gear. A first-aid kit is a must to address injuries, and a map and compass are necessary tools to help you find your way in the wilderness.

First-aid kit

For solo camping, a first-aid kit should, at a minimum, include an assortment of bandages, pain relievers, and insect repellent. Also, don’t forget to take prescription medications with you. Be sure to check your kit before you go to ensure its materials remain within their effective use dates.

For more guidance on first aid while camping, check out our post on wilderness first aid basics. Also, be sure to take a look at the post on creating a first aid kit for backpacking.

Map and compass

Cellphones are so commonplace today that it’s understandable if you simply assume yours will always be ready to get you in touch with emergency help. But a cellphone with a dying battery, or one that is out of range of a communications connection, is useless.

To ensure that you can find your way to safety in the event of need, always carry a map and compass as part of your solo camping gear. Sectional maps covering the entire United States are available from the US Geological Survey.

Of course, using a map and compass is a skill that may take some time to develop. In the meantime, consider including a handheld GPS unit in your gear.

solo camping

Handling wildlife encounters

As with most adverse situations you might face while solo camping, taking preventative steps is the best way to avoid wildlife encounters. A big part of doing that is to keep food and food waste tightly covered. Also, hoist food into a tree some distance away from your campsite.

If you do find yourself in unwelcome proximity to wildlife, don’t make any sudden moves or loud noises. In general, you should be noisy enough at your campsite during your stay that wildlife is aware of your presence.

If you do have a close encounter with wildlife, avoid direct eye contact with the animal and back away from it slowly. If you’re solo camping in an area that serves as a bear habitat, consider carrying an aerosol bear spray as part of your gear.

One more safety tip

A key to ensuring your personal safety while solo camping is to trust your instincts. If something seems a little “off” to you when choosing a campsite or encountering other people in the wilderness, trust your senses and adjust your plans accordingly.

Make Packing Personal for Solo Camping

While you certainly want to have adequate gear and cover other basics for safe solo camping, don’t forget that you’re heading outdoors to have some fun. So be sure that your backpack, your car, your RV, or however you’re getting to the woods is geared up for that.

Do you have a favorite wine? Maybe pack a bottle with your gear. How about some favorite music? Be sure to load it into a personal electronic device before you leave home. The same can go for that book you’ve been wanting to read.

Or how about a favorite snack, junk food, or candy? Yes, pack that, too. Above all, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re claiming some “me time” while solo camping. So bring along things that make you happy, or thoughtful, or otherwise help you connect with your deeper self.

solo camping

Wrapping up Tips and Tricks for Solo Camping

Solo camping can recharge your personal life, helping you get in touch with what’s really important to you. Armed with the tips and tricks in this post, your solo adventure in nature can be pleasantly profitable.

Before you head out, check out Beyond The Tent for a look at the benefits of solo camping. You’ll also find a guide for solo camping in an RV.