Camping alone as a single lady sounds fascinating but daunting too. You worry for your safety, admittedly, but you want to experience the rush of the great outdoors on your lonesome. Can a woman camp safely on her own?
Women can safely camp alone with these tips:
- Don’t camp too remote
- Have a plan
- Know your routes
- Go with your gut
- Bring protection
- Don’t overexert yourself
- Get used to being alone
- Consider bringing a dog
I’ve camped alone several times, and I highly recommend it. That said, I can totally see how it’s very scary, especially your first time out. In this article, I’ll share my best tips for camping by yourself, so make sure you check it out!
12 Tips for Camping Alone as a Woman
1. Don’t Camp Too Remote
Just because you’re camping solo doesn’t mean you have to camp solo, if you catch my drift. What I’m trying to say is that your tent doesn’t have to be miles from civilization.
Even if you are on your own, there’s nothing wrong with pitching a tent that’s still within sight of several other tents or RVs. It just makes you feel better to know that if something were to happen, such as someone trying to enter your tent (or something such as a wild animal), and you were to shout and scream, someone would hear it.
2. Have a Plan
If you were camping with a group, you would have all sat together and made an itinerary for each day, right? Now that you’re camping alone, you still want at least a loose itinerary. What’s there to do on the grounds? Can you go hiking? Swimming? Fishing? You need answers to these questions, or you could find yourself in a very unenviable predicament, being bored and alone.
Loneliness is going to be something you’ll inevitably experience on your solo camping trip. The busier you are, the less time you have to think about it. You’ll also exhaust yourself so your brain shuts right off at night.
Ideally, you want to begin planning before you venture out to the campsite. Once you get there, you have no idea what kind of reception you’re going to get on your phone. Besides, you want to conserve your phone battery as much as you can.
3. Know Your Routes
Remember, you can’t rely on your smartphone for directions anymore. You’re also not camping with a group, so if you normally have a camping buddy who knows every route like the back of their hand, you need to become that person.
While you’re hiking or walking, you could come across someone who could point you in the right direction if you get lost. Then again, depending on how remote of a park we’re talking about and how many trails, you might not.
Please do yourself a favor and learn the routes on the grounds before your camping adventure. You might even want to print out the route information and bring the paper copies with you. Trust me, nothing will put a damper on your solo camping trip faster than getting lost with no one to help you.
You’ll never want to camp on your own again, and you’ll miss out on amazing future experiences!
4. Don’t Advertise That You’re Camping Solo
During your travels, you will likely meet other campers like yourself. Undoubtedly, once they realize that there’s no one in your party, they’ll ask if you’re alone. Some women are okay with admitting that they are camping solo. Many more are not. I would say that you should keep tight-lipped about the fact that you’re on your own.
Unfortunately, unsavory characters like to prey on women in foreign situations such as camping alone. You don’t want to invite that kind of attention if you don’t have to. When anyone asks whether you’re camping solo, tell them you’re with a group. You might say something like, “but we all split up right now.”
If this person asks you to point out who you’re camping with, get out of that situation fast and maybe talk to a park ranger if you can. This person is being very invasive, and I’m sure it’s making you uncomfortable. Keep an eye on the person from now on and maintain a good distance until you go home.
5. Go With Your Gut
Speaking of creepy or unscrupulous characters, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch when camping. It’s unavoidable. It’s a big enough campground that you and this other person can coexist, but from a safe distance, as I said before.
Please don’t feel like you have to give people the benefit of a doubt as a solo female camper. You absolutely do not. If someone raises your hackles and gives you that bad feeling in your gut, don’t deny your intuition. And please don’t wait until something bad happens or is about to happen for you to realize that your intuition was correct all along.
You’re at the park to enjoy the beautiful nature and experience a solo camping trip. That’s it. You’re not there to be anyone’s buddy. Be as cordial as you have to be, but if someone is giving you pause, don’t stick around long enough to see what happens.
6. Bring Protection
I also wouldn’t recommend traveling without a variety of protective items as you go camping alone. These items will safeguard you not only from the aforementioned creeps but invasive animals as well.
So what items do I suggest you have on your person? You want the brightest flashlight that money can buy, for one. A headlamp is fine too, but it needs to be ultra-bright.
When you shine a bright light on an animal, it usually stops dead. People who are trying to get too close to you can be blinded by your flashlight as well, disorienting them and buying you enough time to get away. It’s fine if your flashlight has adjustable brightness settings, but that bad boy should get bright when needed.
You should also carry bear mace, which works on humans, bears, and other animals alike.
I’d also advise you to have an axe handy. An axe is practical, as you can use its butt end for nailing in tent stakes (don’t cut down any trees at the park unless you’re allowed). It will also scare off predators of the people and animal varieties.
Oh, and last but certainly not least, make sure you have an airhorn as well. Like a blinding flashlight, the sound of an airhorn spooks approaching animals and people or at least disorients them so you can escape.
7. Let People Know You’re Camping Before You Go
Do you have to contact every friend, family member, and neighbor to let them know your plans? No, of course not.
That said, you do want to inform at least a couple of your closest friends and family members and let them know you’re going on a solo camping expedition. I would recommend contacting the most open-minded ones.
It might have taken you a lot of time and convincing to finally decide that camping alone as a woman is a good idea. You don’t want someone to try to talk you out of it now. Tell the people in your life where you’re camping, where the park or campground is located, when you’re leaving, and when you plan to be back.
If you don’t come back on that projected date, your friends or family can call the police and they can launch a rescue effort. Since everyone knows exactly where you were supposed to be, the police can start searching there.
In a missing person case or any disappearance, time is absolutely of the essence. The less time wasted, the greater the chances of you being found.
Now, let me be clear, it probably won’t come to any of this. Hopefully, at least. That said, the additional peace of mind you’ll feel knowing that at least some people know your whereabouts is priceless.
8. Don’t Venture Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you’ve only ever camped in a group setting before, then you’ve probably deferred to what the group has wanted to do, right? In the meantime, you might have missed out on trails and campgrounds that you were interested in exploring because no one else was.
Now that you’re on your own, you could theoretically go anywhere you want. There’s no one there to say no or stop you provided that you follow the rules of the park or campground.
While that freedom can be intoxicating, I implore you to stick to your itinerary. Even if that trail that’s off the main path is calling your name very strongly, you have to resist the temptation as best you can. Venturing too far outside of your comfort zone puts you in danger.
To reiterate my point from before, when you camp solo, you’re reneging on the possibility that someone will be available to rescue you. That’s doubly true when you’re off the main trail or too deep into the woods.
Here’s my rule of thumb that you should follow as well. If you want to do something that wasn’t in your plans and there’s someone else around or several other people, then you can do it if you really want to.
There are still no guarantees that anyone would help, but the chances of you being rescued are higher. That said, if you’re completely by yourself, then don’t proceed!
9. Don’t Overexert Yourself
Another awesome freedom when camping by yourself is that you can do as much as you want from sunup to sundown. If you know other friends who are less experienced campers, you don’t have them holding you back anymore, so to speak.
When you go buck-wild with the activities and exhaust yourself, you’re once again putting yourself in danger. Your senses are dulled because you’re so tired, so you might make careless mistakes around other people that you wouldn’t if you weren’t so exhausted.
That carelessness can extend to everything else you do as well. You might take a misstep on a rocky cliff or a rope bridge. It only takes one small misstep, and you could be dead.
If you decide to take a nap just anywhere on the campground, you could become lunch for a hungry bear or another creature. That’s not to scare you, of course; it’s just the reality of things.
Keep your itinerary busy but not so jam-packed that you get exhausted, because exhaustion equals carelessness.
10. Get Used to Being Alone with Your Own Thoughts
When you turn off the Netflix, the YouTube, the Spotify playlists, and you erase the noise from your apartment neighbors, what are you left with? That’s right, silence.
You might have thought silence is golden until you go camping by yourself. Then the silence can be deafening. It’s just you out in your tent alone at night with your thoughts. Sure, you’ll hear insects buzzing and sounding, but that becomes background noise.
To make being alone with your thoughts not quite so terrifying, I recommend doing it before you go camping. This way, you’ll be used to it. A few weeks before your trip, spend a couple of minutes each day with nothing going on. Turn off all the audio and video and close the windows and doors so it’s as quiet as possible.
Just let yourself sit and be. You’ll have a lot of thoughts hit you at once. You can ignore them and move on to different ones. You can even try to learn meditation so you don’t focus on any one thought. What matters most is getting used to what goes on in your own head without all the other noise in life.
Gradually increase the amount of time you’re alone with your thoughts. By the time you spend the first night in your tent, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable.
11. Consider Bringing a Dog
If the thought of camping completely alone seems too uncomfortable or difficult for you, you can always bring someone with you that isn’t another person.
I’m talking about man’s best friend, of course!
Camping with a dog has a lot of benefits. You have someone to talk to (even though they won’t talk back), engage in activities with, and spend time with. Having a dog gives you a sense of purpose, as you never look like you’re wandering around aimlessly (even if that’s exactly what you’re doing).
Dogs are also great for protection. Your dog can bark to alert you of an impending animal. If your pup doesn’t like someone, they might growl, and you’ll know to stay away from that person.
Of course, pets are not allowed at every state park and campsite in the country, so please do your research before you pack up your pup. You also can only throw away dog waste in designated areas, so please be respectful of that.
12. Have Fun!
My last tip for camping solo as a woman is to enjoy it!
You’ve got this unique experience in front of you that you might not get again. Make the most of it.
Yes, it will be uncomfortable, and lonely, and awkward, and kind of weird at times. That’s all normal, though. If you anticipate it to be a bit strange and you go with the flow, you’ll find yourself having a much better time.
Camping solo as a woman can be safe if you take the proper precautions. Don’t camp in a completely remote area, bring protection, consider camping with your dog, and always trust your gut. Good luck and have fun out there!