Whether it's bad weather, unsavory bad guys or wild animals, some women think that camping alone is only for the very brave or very crazy. But that doesn't have to be the case. If you've got the right gear, right preparation and the right attitude, camping alone can provide just the right combination of adventure and much-needed alone time.
Why spend time outdoors by yourself?
Camping by yourself is a great way to spend some quality time with the one person who probably needs it the most: you. The simple act of being around trees, rivers, lakes and the woods can take you from being a burned out, over-stressed crazy lady to a zen, bring-it-on kind of Wonder Woman. There's nothing that will build your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment faster than throwing all your gear in the back of your car and heading outdoors by yourself. (Plus you'll have the best story on book club night — which brings me to the best reason you should get outdoors: uninterrupted reading time!)
Here are seven tips to help you feel safe and relaxedwhile camping by yourself:
7 solo camping tips for women
1. Prepare mentally.
Take some time t channel your inner Katniss Everdeen or even Cheryl Strayed. Imagine yourself as strong, capable and a total total badass, ready to take on whatever challenge the outdoors can throw at you. Then minimize risks by following the rest of my tips to give you even more confidence.
2. Test Your gear.
Don't over pack, but make sure you have everything you need (this can be a hard balance for many women to strike). Bring a first aid kit, and know how to use it. Also bring bear spray or mace (something that should be in every woman's standard hiking/camping gear) for emergencies, and understand how it works. Practice setting up your tent and cooking stove before you leave.
3. Let someone know your plans.
It's always a good idea to let several people know where you're going and when you'll be back. If you're going to be hiking or camping somewhere remote, leave your information on the front seat of your car, where someone can easily see/read it. It should include the following:
4. Pick a well-worn route.
Pick a trail or area that you're familiar with, and have visited before — barring that, pick a destination that's known to have good cell phone reception.
5. Know your limits.
Start small, with a day hike so that you can become familiar with the area. If you're going to be gone for more than one night, make sure you're physically (okay, and mentally) capable of taking on a solo trip - be honest when it comes to your limits. Build up to what you'll be taking on through walking, running and lifting weights, and make sure you have the appropriate food, water and gear (including good shoes, a warm sleeping bag and the ability to pee in the woods) before you go.
6. Bring your dog.
A canine companion will provide just the right amount of company, though make sure you know the rules of the campground or area where you'll be bringing your pooch. Also make sure you pack extra gear and food so that Fido is comfortable and doesn't become more of a burden during the time when you're supposed to be re-charging your mental health.
7. Bring a great book.
This is your chance to have some amazing reading time - make sure you take advantage of it! Whether you spend the whole time holed up in your sleeping bag in a tent with a book in front of your face, or intersperse your reading time with some strategic hikes or cooking some gourmet meals for yourself, novels make great camping companions.
Camping by yourself isn't difficult or hard — it just seems that way if you've never done it before. Take the leap and you'll find it truly rewarding. What other tips or questions do you have when it comes to camping alone?
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Jill Hinton Wolfe