How to Camp Alone Safely

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To those of you who thrive veering off the beaten track, I applaud you.

As a traveler who gradually progressed to solo trips, I still struggle feeling confident with my own instincts when I’m lost or having belief in my own strength if I happen to find trouble. One of my personal goals is to find confidence in my independence and take it to new heights in the future.

For inspiration, I look to my friend Clare. She lives to experience the world off the beaten track and really feel its beauty. “In fact,” she says, “if I could walk the whole world with my two feet I would.” Throughout her childhood, she was encouraged by her father to explore the world and not to be afraid. I admire Clare, her husband, and their daughter for their fearlessness to fully step out into the world and see what’s out there.

Clare regularly camps alone partly because her husband travels for work, but mostly due to her passion to explore. I’ve always been in awe of her ability to camp in the wilderness alone and decided “You know what? I wanna do that to! But how can I ensure my safety while I’m out there?”

Here’s the advice she gave me:

  • When camping alone, bring another lawn chair and set it up in camp so it looks like there are two of you.
  • Keep a boat blow horn in the tent/camper with you and/or bear spray.
  • Always have a whistle with you wherever you go and make sure it is easily accessible.
  • Keep your cell phone charged up during the day and make sure it’s fully charged before the end of the night. Keep it with you at all times.
  • When I am registering for a campsite, I always say there are two people camping. Especially when I am at the counter with other people in the office registering too. When I mention there are two of us, I usually try to say that the other person is a man, like my husband, brother, father, etc.

I always pick campsites that are open, where I can see others and they can see me. I like KOA campgrounds when I’m alone because its more family camping. Personally, I prefer the wooded areas but I have to be safe for my family and myself.

Camping in the woods doesn’t have to be a scary experience. In fact, it can be quite the liberating and empowering experience. Try it!

Have you ever gone camping alone? Would you?

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About Author

Meredith was bit by travel bug in 2009 and has been on the move since then. Her adventures started in Finland where she visited a Sami reindeer farm in Lapland, dogsled and ran in the forests of Finland, and then backpacked around western Europe. Later, she moved to Kenya for a Communications internship. She took advantage of her good fortune and went on safari in the Maasai Mara as well as explored beach paradise on a motorcycle. No matter where she goes, she never forgets about her home in Canada and greatly enjoys road trips across the Rocky Mountains and along coast of British Columbia. She is currently living in Canada working as a freelance writer and a communications specialist. You can follow her adventures and discoveries on curiousmeredith or get your tweet on with her @MeredithBratlan

2 Comments

  1. I used to go camping alone frequently (I’m married now and camp with my husband). I loathe KOA camp grounds, and most of the places I go don’t have cell phone access. Instead, when I go to a remote camp ground, I access who else is there – if there’s a couple – gay or straight – or a family, I would camp next to them or near them and befriend them. That – and the two dogs I usually had with me – kept me feeling safe and sound. If I pulled into a camp ground and it was all men, I would have moved on, but it never happened. Not at all saying that all men are rapists, but it’s about reducing risk. There’s a link to my own recs for safety and camping on my web site.

  2. Thanks for the good tips. But when I got to the KOA campground thing, I felt like it sort of defeated the whole idea of camping alone. I don’t think I’d feel nervous about being at a KOA! Actually any well-run campground. I was wondering more about isolated camping.

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