Lessons Learned from my First Solo Camping Trip

Lessons Learned from my First Solo Camping Trip 1

Lessons Learned from my First Solo Camping Trip

By Morgan Rogue

At the time of my first solo camping trip, I did a lot of research of my location, what I was going to take, how I was going to set up camp, etc. I had intended to stay two nights, but I ended up only staying one night due to a variety of factors.

I was so excited to camp on my own. Prior to my first solo trip, I had camped a lot with my family when I was a kid. After that, I had always gone with past boyfriends and my husband. Never had I even considered going by myself. I got the idea when I started watching guys on their solo camping trips. It looked like so much fun, I just had to give it a shot. I’m always up for the challenge and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I enjoy camping with others, but solo hikers and campers seemed to really enjoy being by themselves.

I went to our national forest and hiked in to find a nice spot off a multi-use trail. It was a clear area with a couple down trees that I could use for sitting. I couldn’t see the trail and nobody could see me, there wasn’t a soul in sight. It was a beautiful spot and so peaceful.

 

After I got set up, I ate and just kinda sat there. I didn’t bring anything to entertain myself with. I had some eBooks on my phone, but that was it. That was my first mistake. It was late afternoon when I got there, so there wasn’t much I could have done anyway, but it would have been nice to have some ideas on how to stay busy or entertained. Outside of eating and sleeping and reading the eBooks or going out for a hike, I didn’t have any other ideas at the time.

 

Later, I got more into bushcrafting and survival and far more into hiking, so I have many ideas now on how to stay entertained and busy.

My second mistake was not knowing whether I could have a fire or not. I had no service and wasn’t able to check the local laws to see if there was a burn ban in effect. I was camping in TX and much of the state was in burn ban, but that was something I hadn’t considered before going. So I did without which was a pretty big downer. I later realized that I could have had a fire.

Many of the solo camping trip videos that I watched centered around hammock camping. I had never slept in a hammock before but I thought, hey, they’re doing it, I guess I should give it a try.

 

This was my third mistake. While setting the hammock and tarp up was quite easy, that night I discovered that I hate sleeping in hammocks. I was extremely uncomfortable the whole time and got a terrible night’s sleep. Plus, I felt extremely exposed. I really didn’t like not having the ‘walls’ that a tent offered. Even with the tarp around the hammock, it wasn’t enough. I realized then and there that I was a tent kinda gal. It was so bad that I ended up getting up well before dawn, packing up and heading back to my car. I rested in my car for a few hours and waited for the sun to come up.

Before I drove home, I went on a reflection hike. I realized that much of what I had done, I had done it because I was mimicking the solo videos that I saw. While there’s nothing wrong with trying new things, it probably shouldn’t have been done so far away from home and on my first solo trip. I should have stuck with what I knew and was comfortable with for my first time.

 

It wasn’t a total bust, I learned a lot and after coming to my realizations, I knew that I wanted to continue going on solo camping adventures. But next time, I’d make sure I was true to myself and make sure the experience fit my specific wants and needs. Start where you’re most comfortable and as you build experience, try more advanced or different methods of camping.

Solo camping helps you grow as a person and as an adventurer. It’s an experience that I highly recommend to everyone. Even though my first experience wasn’t the absolute best in the world, I learned a lot and carried those lessons to future solo trips. Anyone at any age can try their first solo camping trip. Be honest with yourself and have fun!

 

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Morgan lives and travels full time in an RV with her husband, two daughters and two dogs. They travel the US sharing preparedness and outdoor knowledge. She is the owner and founder of Rogue Preparedness (http://roguepreparedness.com) where she teaches emergency preparedness and survival skills.

26 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from my First Solo Camping Trip

  • May 22, 2020 at 5:11 pm
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    I absolutely envy you, you are so brave. I can’t even camp in my backyard alone. You are a rock-star and it can only get better from here.

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  • May 20, 2020 at 12:08 pm
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    Eating and drinking camping is popular in Korea. What do you do when you go camping abroad?

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  • May 19, 2020 at 10:41 pm
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    While I love camping, I don’t think I have ever done it solo. I do see the appeal though. I would keep myself entertained by trying to build a shelter, that I wouldn’t sleep in because I am a wuss and need my tent and my air mattress. lol And fire always keeps me occupied. I would probably camp near a lake so I could go fishing as well.

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  • May 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm
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    How awesome you went camping alone! I’m sometimes such a scaredy-cat, I won’t even go with people 🤣

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  • May 19, 2020 at 12:25 am
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    I haven’t gone solo camping before, but I used to sleep out in our field in a tent as a teenager. We grew up in the woods, love being out in nature. Last year, we lived in campgrounds in a tent as we were homeless and it was one of the best experiences ever. I’m glad that you shared this experience you had with us, I’m sure many will appreciate these tips for solo camping trips.

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  • May 18, 2020 at 3:56 pm
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    Great lessons you learned from your first solo camping trip! That totally stinks that you were bored & didn’t realize you could have a fire set up!
    As an avid backpacker, I guess solo camping doesn’t bother me with regards to boredom because it isn’t the main attraction. In other words for me, the camping or setting up camp is the in between from hiking! So by the time I get to my campsite, set it up my tent and unload my pack, and other “camp ground” stuff, I really don’t care about activities because I had already spent 8 hours backpacking into the area, exploring and hiking. So the camping part of it is my respite from all my activities. (Man that was a long ramble to get to my point, sorry!)
    I also agree with you on the hammock thing! I don’t really like it much. Don’t get me wrong, it takes up a little less space & weight which are key to backpackers but it sucks if the outside weather elements suddenly change and it can be murder on a sore body! Give me a tent and a sleeping back every time!
    If you are looking for something to do that is lightweight, non-electronic (I hate ebooks), and can be nerdy fun, invest in an Astronomy or Nighttime Star wheel disk! What I do is pre-study it before my trip and to see what planets, stars, & constellations will be in my area, then I research the greek or roman mythology stories behind them all and even print out the stories. That becomes my night time entertainment and I use the paper print outs as I read to stoke my fire!

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  • May 18, 2020 at 3:24 pm
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    I have always wondered about going camping solo. I think it’s important to do some sort of trip by yourself. You definitely learn some important things.

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  • May 18, 2020 at 3:06 pm
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    There are some really good tips here for sure. I cannot wait to go camping after all this is finally over x

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  • May 18, 2020 at 2:15 pm
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    Wow, you are so brave! I’ve always wanted to go on a solo camping trip. I think I would be sleeping in my car though haha

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  • May 18, 2020 at 1:13 pm
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    I’ve gone camping before but never myself. I think I would have gone nuts trying to sleep in the Hamock at Night. I’m a tent person myself

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  • May 17, 2020 at 6:19 pm
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    I love to camp but I don’t think a hammock and tarp would be enough for me either, I need something with a bit more substance! I also hear you on entertainment, it’s amazing how much time you can have on your hands, isn’t it! x

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  • May 17, 2020 at 2:56 pm
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    Even though it wasn’t all that you expected, you did it! You wanted to do something, so you made it happen and I love that. I had never been camping by myself because I never knew how to build a fire or pitch a tent. I still don’t know how to set up a hammock, but I have been working on the other things. I would like to give it a try and incorporate some of the lessons you mentioned like bringing things to entertain myself.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm
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    Thanks for being so vulnerable and letting us know your mistakes. It’s not so easy to share such feelings. I must say, brave girl, you be. I would also not like to sleep in a hammock; the tent is my choice as well. Good that now you know that it is better to know about the burn bans beforehand and also how to keep yourself busy during solo camping.

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    • May 17, 2020 at 11:09 pm
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      Thank you for sharing, I have never been brave enough to go camping on my own. I have gone with big groups so there was always someone to defer to about things. Though I would have loved a have a hammock, we always just a tarp on the growned then lined up the sleeping bags.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm
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    I’ve never camp alone so it’s interesting to read about your experiences! I also hate sleeping on hammocks too, especially if it’s the whole night. Bringing a tent is definitely a better option. Thanks for sharing your mistakes and what you learn from them!

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  • May 17, 2020 at 8:45 am
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    I’ve never considered camping alone but i do love my adventures so thank you so much for this new idea. And thanks for listing your mistakes!

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  • May 17, 2020 at 8:41 am
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    I love to go on solo trips to obscure destinations but where it is inhabited with people around. But never done many hikes and definitely not a solo hike. It was quite a learning experience for your first solo camping is what I can gather. Definitely if you do not have a chalked out plan on activities to do apart from reading and eating I too would get bored and enjoy as much. But I really appreciate your courage going ahead with your first solo camping trip in a place without humanity in sight. Although being a guy I would be quite scared of the unknown.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 4:52 am
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    Oh my. You are so brave to go on a solo camping trip! Your experiences have taught us so many things and I am going to share this with friends who also enjoy this kind of outdoor activity.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 3:13 am
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    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am not a camping person, but my sister is and I will definitely share your post with her.

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  • May 16, 2020 at 3:00 pm
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    I love how honest your article is! You didn’t wait until you got it all right to write about it. Thank you for sharing the real, raw experience you had. “Success is a poor teacher”. We can learn more from you sharing your mistakes than hearing how wonderful everything was. Brava!! I hope you keep putting yourself out there. <3

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  • May 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm
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    With the situation now I don’t know how safe will be the option of camping going forward. But I give it to you for daring to go out solo for camping. I am sure its one of a kind experience. And it is true one should be aware of all the laws before camping at any place. And your experience taught that well in the article.

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  • May 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm
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    I cannot wait to go on my first solo hike and camping trip! Thanks for the tips!!

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  • May 16, 2020 at 5:41 am
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    I am not kind of brave to camp all alone! You are such brave girl and glad to hear your experiences.I could understand hammock camping is not good idea, instead tent is far better. I have done camping in groups but not into the wild. Loved reading your mistakes which can help to avoid by other fellow travelers.

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  • May 15, 2020 at 2:52 pm
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    I love camping and solo travel, but I haven’t gone solo camping. Thanks for the story and way to go for pushing yourself to try something new. I don’t know if I could really spend the whole night sleeping in a hammock either – much different than an afternoon nap. Was it comfortable (besides the exposure)?

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  • May 15, 2020 at 10:17 am
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    What a brave girl going solo camping! I love camping but I don’t think I could do it by my own…at least not in the wild.
    Yes, knowing if you are allowed to make fire or not is indeed very important knowledge for successful camping😂

    I hope you will have fun on your next solo camping!

    Reply

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