Henry David Thoreau once said, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
If you’ve ever thought of bracing the wilderness on your own, you’re in the right place. Solo camping is more than just camping on your own. It’s a chance to see the world from a new perspective and experience personal growth in ways you probably haven’t even thought of yet.
Keep reading if you think solo camping is your jam because this post will walk you through the benefits of solo camping for the personal growth experience you’ve been craving.
History of Solo Camping
Solo camping dates back to the hunting and gathering days from the 1800s and before, when people would hunt and gather for food on their own.
The modern idea of solo camping came from Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about his experience of solo camping in many works of literature, which he described as helping him become more resourceful, careful, and self-reliant.
Much of Thoreau’s writing reflects on his experience of personal growth in nature while solo camping. Thoreau’s classical book Walden, published in 1854, chronicles his life in a secluded cabin away from modern society.
It’s important to note that solo camping might not be for everyone. For instance, if you’re an extrovert, being alone in the middle of nowhere might make you stir crazy. However, if you’re an introvert, you need time alone to rest and recharge.
Today, campers all over the world enjoy taking solo trips into the wilderness for several reasons related to personal growth.
Benefits of Solo Camping
Solo camping offers a whole new level of freedom. When you’re camping with others, you have to adhere to everyone’s wants and needs, but when you’re on your own, you’re the sole decision-maker.
Do you want to take a nap in your tent? Do you want to take a long hike? Go for it, because no one’s going to stop you from doing what you truly want to do when you’re the only one on your camping trip.
You are truly in control of your destiny. (All you have to worry about is Mother Nature!)
2. Increased Self-Confidence
When you’re camping with others, you tend to rely on their help. When you’re on your own, you have to figure it all out on your own, and it’s rewarding to have to do so.
Figuring things out, like how to set up camp by yourself or start a fire, is super rewarding and will increase your self-confidence and self-reliance. Proving to yourself that you can do it all on your own intensifies your personal growth.
3. Fully Connect to Nature
With no one to talk to, nature is all you have. Sit in the grass, cross your legs, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds of nature. Watch birds fly by, the squirrels gather acorns, and more. Nature can truly be entertaining when you fully connect to it.
When you’re alone, it’s easy to destress because you don’t have to worry about the outside world. All you have to worry about are the sounds of nature, which are quite calming and relaxing.
Being alone in nature allows you to truly focus on yourself as well as the thoughts and emotions you have that don’t align with your goals. This allows you to think about what serves you and your needs best.
6. No Distractions
Put the phone down and go distraction-free. No need to worry about checking your email, text messages, or Facebook wall. This time is about you and your needs, and no one else’s.
7. Introverts Recharge
Introverts benefit the most from solo camping because they require an extended amount of time alone to rest and become the best version of themselves.
When you’re camping with others, you may be tempted to ask someone else to fetch firewood. If you’re by yourself, you’re the one in charge of finding everything, so this increases the amount of exercise you get while in the wilderness.
Solo Camping Advice
If you’re planning on trying solo camping for the first time, follow these tips to stay safe and out of harm’s way while bracing the wilderness on your own.
Stay in State or National Parks
State parks provide a safe camping environment for first-time solo campers. You will frequently find park rangers patrolling the area to ensure there are no disturbances or safety issues.
Need state and national park recommendations? We have a plethora of them for you in every state. Check out the Best State Camping Archives and Best National Park Camping Archives, which will walk you through the best state and national campgrounds and the sights to see while you’re there!
Practice Camping Before Going Solo
If you have never been camping before, it’s not a wise idea to plunge into solo camping without practice. Like riding a bike, practice makes perfect.
Camping is best practiced with someone who’s done it many times, so grab your camping expert buddy and head into the wilderness. You should know how to set up a tent, start a fire, identify poisonous leaves, and more before trying solo camping.
Check out these helpful camping guides before camping solo:
- Camping in the Rain: Every Helpful Tip, Trick and Hack You Need to Know
- Identify These Biting, Stinging Threats at the Campsite
- Identifying Useful Trees
- Poisonous Plants You Need to Know About
- How to Create the Ultimate Camping Survival Kit
- Lost in the Woods: 5 Tips to Get You Back on the Trail
- Wilderness First Aid Basics
It’s not the best idea to start off planning to go solo camping hundreds of miles from home for weeks or months at a time. Start somewhere close to home and only stay one night.
If you enjoy your first night, you can gradually increase the amount of time spent solo camping as well as the distance you camp from home.
When you’re solo camping, you don’t have an extra set of hands. That’s why it’s important to travel as light as possible to ensure you don’t end up overloaded. That said, you want to make sure you have the essentials for a stress-free camping outing
Share Your Plans With Someone You Trust
Never go solo camping without telling someone where you’re going first. Ideally, you will share the exact coordinates of your camp spot with a trusted individual.
You should also resend your coordinates every time you hike to a new spot (if phone service allows you to do this). In the event something happens to you, this will help your loved ones track you down.
You can do this on an Android or iPhone with the following instructions:
Open your Messages and start a conversation with the person to whom you want to send your location. Click the little “+” button and select “Location”.
You may be asked to grant the app location permission if you haven’t already. Say yes.
A map with your current location will appear, or you can choose nearby locations if the map isn’t quite accurate. Then click send, and a Google Map link with your selected location will be sent to the recipient.
If you’re a family of iPhone users, you can share your real-time location with your family in Family Sharing Settings. How this works depends on which version of iOS you have. Learn more about sharing your location on iOS.
Note that when a phone is turned off, it will not send its location, so you should still send your exact coordinates to a trusted friend or family member using a method similar to Android.
Download the Google Maps app on your iPhone if you haven’t already, then open iMessage and select the person you want to message. Tap Google Maps, then you will be asked how long you want to share your location. The default is one hour, but it can be extended up to three days.
Tap send to share.
Keep Your Phone Off
After you have shared your coordinates with your trusted person or persons, turn your phone off unless in the case of an emergency
Keeping your phone off buys into the idea of distraction-free living and will also allow you to fully connect to nature in a way that allows self-awareness and destressing.
Those text messages can wait!
Bring Non-Electronic Entertainment
While you may not be able to do away with electronics entirely in a modern world, you should look for entertainment that keeps you off your phone.
Bring along a journal to write about your experience like Henry David Thoreau did, or bring a dog. Solo camping doesn’t have to exclude man’s best friend. If you decide to bring your pup, read these dog camping essential tips.
Wapping up the Benefits of Solo Camping for Personal Growth
You, too, can reap the benefits of solo camping for personal growth just like Henry David Thoreau describes in his writing. Maybe you, too, can walk out feeling taller than the trees! Solo camping is the ultimate therapy.
There’s so much more to know about camping. Visit out Camping page for campground guides and more tips for great solo camping adventures.