This post is authored by Nora D. King
Hiking with family and friends is fun, but sometimes, the work, time and the schedule of everyone making it hard to push through the plan. Sometimes, you crave to travel solo. You have your reasons to do so; maybe you want to experience this kind of adventure, or just because you know you are confident enough to do it successfully.
Whatever your reason is, be a responsible hiker. This list of tips for hiking solo will help you plan your trip.
1. Pack your backpack accordingly
Create a detailed list of your hiking trip. Considering that you are travelling solo, you cannot borrow from another person should you forget, ruin or lose an essential item. Know the value of packing your backpack properly, since help is not guaranteed in this kind of trip. Go over your list if you have all the essential items and the necessary backups.
2. Familiarise yourself with the area you plan to hike
It is beneficial to know the terrain you are planning to go hiking. Check out and understand a map of the city, or you can google the location so you can study it. By doing this, you can be told if the site is woodland or mountainous region. Are there a lot of rivers? How about the height? You will also determine how long the hiking trail is. This also includes researching uneven terrains in the area. Protruding roots and stray branches could become your enemies if you are not aware of your surroundings. More importantly, research about the wildlife in the trail, so you have an idea about the animals that you may encounter along the way.
3. Assess your skills and capabilities
When hiking solo, it is highly recommended to stay within the safe limits in terms of technical skills, navigational challenges, elevation gain, and mileage. It is not the right time to experiment with the hiking trails. Check your current health status as well. Your mental and physical health should be in good condition. Postpone the trip if you do not feel well, and recovering from a serious injury or ailment. Moreover, you should not hike alone if you have still unresolved serious personal, family, or work problems. Deal with your issues first before you head out into the wild.
4. Acknowledge the Dangers
There are many benefits of hiking solo such as more flexibility and freedom, testing your own skills, controlling your fear, and being able to push your physical and mental limits. However, you need to acknowledge the fact that there are risks in hiking alone, as with any other solo trips.
Here are some dangers to be aware of:
- It is possible that you may get lost.
- Your supplies may be insufficient.
- You may get sick or injured.
- You lack the knowledge or skills for hiking. In other words, you are unprepared.
5. Create a communication plan
Hiking by yourself gives you a chance to be alone with nature, rejuvenate your mind and switch off to the busy technology. But for safety purposes, tell at least a couple of your friends or family members about your hiking plan. Travelling solo poses a higher risk, and loved ones may get worried about your trail plans. Text or call someone from time to time, as your way of telling them is that you are doing fine. Fortunately, it is easier to keep in touch with your loved ones in the city even if you are in a remote area. Wi-Fi connections are available in some of those remote locations.
6. Use common sense and trust your instinct
Solo travelling is not something that you take lightly. Even if you are naturally bold and an adventurous type, refrain yourself from taking risks. If you feel something is not right, then maybe danger is close to you. Do not hesitate to turn back if you feel nervous about another person you pass along the trail. Always trust your judgment. If you must, choose a well-travelled, busy trail that is easy to navigate. In that way, it is likely you will meet other hikers, and their help will reach you easily in case of an emergency.
7. Essentials to bring on your solo hike
- Water and ways to purify it. Avoid altitude sickness and hypothermia by keeping yourself hydrated with clean water.
- Extra clothing and rain gear. Do not forget to bring a hat. Another useful tip to remember; dress in layers to be able to adjust to the changing weather conditions.
- Backpack. Make sure you are well prepared for your hike trail. Choose something that is comfortable to carry with all the essential features such as rain cover or waterproof design.
- Footwear. Trail shoes are ideal for day hikes with minor technical terrain and do not involve heavier loads. On the other hand, wear hiking boots for longer walks with quite a steep terrain, and larger packs.
- Food and nutrition. This will help keep your energy up and your mind more focused.
- First aid kit. You can find first aid kits that are already packed at the local outfitter. Put some medications there as well.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen. These two essentials are useful in protecting your eyes from snow blindness and your skin from sunburn.
- GPS, map and compass. GPS can help you find locations easily. Bringing a map and compass is considered a good backup. These will help you in case you need extra water, find a near campsite, or an emergency escape plan.
- Knife. A good multi-purpose tactical knife can perform a variety of tasks and repairs.
- Illumination and fire starter. Night Time and darkness can hinder your vision. Bring headlamp, flashlight, or other light sources. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries. For fire starters, bring water-resistant matches, chemical fire starters, or dry lint.
Conclusion about these Hiking Solo Guide
Did you enjoy the list? Are you into solo hiking, or have been dying to try it for a long time? It is essential to be prepared and know what to do in advance when planning to travel solo. You do not want your family to end up requesting a search and rescue to find you, just because of your unpreparedness.
The tips above will help give you more confidence and pump up your energy to push your solo adventure through.
Did we inspire you to experience this one-of-a-kind journey? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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About this Author: Nora D. King is the owner and contributor of RainyAdventures.com. She is a nature lover who believes that it is important for people to connect with mother nature’s gift of the great outdoors. Nora writes for several websites that focus on travelling and backpacking. She has also ghosted for other famous personalities who are known to be active in exploring nature and survival enthusiasts.