Camping Solo – a First Timer’s Guide
By Polly Cooper
Camping with friends and family is great, but if your loved ones don’t share your enthusiasm for the great outdoors, there’s no reason you should miss out! If you’ve never taken the plunge before, camping alone for the first time can be daunting, but it can also be extremely rewarding. In this guide, we go over some basic and helpful tips to get you prepared for your first camping trip as a solo female.
Your number one priority when camping alone should be your safety. If you have little survival skills, wandering off into the wilderness to pitch a tent may not be the best idea. For your first trip, camp in an area you are familiar with, perhaps one you have visited before with others. Campsites are also great for first-time solo-ers as they offer all the benefits of camping in a safe and secure environment.
With our busy modern lifestyles, solitude is something we seldom get to enjoy, and one of the best things about camping alone is the novelty of peace and quiet. However, as women, we can also feel quite vulnerable out in the wilderness by ourselves, but by spending your trip worrying about your safety, you’re defeating the purpose. To feel at peace when camping alone, all it takes are a few precautionary measures that will save you in the event of an emergency.
A loud safety alarm is a fantastic gadget to carry with you when camping alone. The purpose of an alarm is to alert the attention of others if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation. This could be if you’ve injured yourself when hiking, encountered some dangerous wildlife or (less likely) find an intruder in your tent.
If you’re the type that likes to truly switch off from the outside world, you may not like the idea of bringing your phone along with you, and that’s fine! However, a phone can be a lifesaving device in an emergency and therefore is certainly worth bringing with you, even if you leave it switched off most of the time. Taking off without letting anyone where you’re going may seem freeing, but in reality it’s just irresponsible. Give a trusted friend, family member or partner the location of your campsite and make a plan to check in with them a few times a day.
A padlock is essential for locking yourself in at night and securing your tent when you’re away from it during the day.
- First Aid Kit
Whether you’re alone or with others, it is always a good idea to bring a first aid kit with you on a camping trip. The kit should include a variety of aids to treat minor ailments such as allergies and small scrapes as well as a few things that will provide immediate treatment in the event of an emergency (until you can get to a doctor). Items such as sterile wipes and rinses, gauze pads and bandages and an emergency blanket are ideal. There are many pre-packed emergency and first aid kits out there on the market, so you don’t have to make your own!
Trust your gut
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that just don’t feel right. Whether it’s the atmosphere of an environment or the way a stranger approached you. If, for whatever reason you find yourself feeling uncomfortable at any time don’t brush it off. Trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation until you feel safe, even if that means packing up all your gear and heading home. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Checking the weather forecast before a camping trip goes without saying, but as we all know, weather can be quite unpredictable. Just because it is forecast to be dry all weekend doesn’t mean you should leave all your waterproofs at home. It is sensible to prepare for drastic weather changes such as a drastic change in temperature and unexpected rain. Remember, the temperature can drop by quite a bit at night, even in summer so pack extra layers of nightclothes that can be taken on and off in accordance with the climate.
When camping solo, you may also find it’s a little cooler in your tent than it would be when sharing it with others. Make sure you take a women’s sleeping bag (yes, there is a difference) designed for the season you’re camping in and extra blankets for added warmth and comfort.
Stay Safe on the Road
Staying safe on the journey to your destination is just as important as staying safe once you get there. If you’re driving to your campsite, remember to pack the items you need in the event of a breakdown. This can include a hi-vis jacket, torch and hazard warning sign. If you are a member of a breakdown service, make sure you keep the company info in your car so you can call them if you need. Don’t forget to also check your car’s tyres, oil level, coolant level and lights too.
Bring Your Hobbies Along
Whether it’s reading, sewing, painting or playing the ukulele! How often do you get to truly indulge in your hobbies? Camping by yourself provides the perfect opportunity to really get stuck into a creative project or enjoyable pastime without being disturbed. Plus, nature can be very inspiring!
The most important tip of all, if you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right! Doing anything by yourself for the first time can be scary, but like most things in life, the more you go camping alone, the less scary it becomes, and soon enough it will be second nature!