To embark on your first female solo hiking trip can be daunting. Most people will tell you it is not safe and discourage you from doing it. But being an introvert, means I love spending time on my own.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being with my family and friends and as a family, we often go on hiking trips. We all love the time we spend together doing something physical, exploring new sites and just connecting with the peacefulness of nature. But sometimes I need a bit of extra recharging and I get that through being alone.
The Benefits of Hiking Alone
As much as hiking in a group is fun, it can be distracting as you need to be aware of others around you all the time. Not everyone wants to stop, adore and ponder on the amazing pattern in the tree – which only you can see. Or get wet and swim at the waterfall. Maybe you are an avid bird lover and want to stop and find every bird you hear. Hiking alone, gives you the opportunity to go as fast or slow as you want and appreciate the things that you love.
Being alone means I really get the time to focus on me. Everything happens on my terms. When else in life do you get such an opportunity, where you can really focus on yourself? Heck, there are days I go hide behind the door in the bathroom just to have 2 minutes of alone time and keep my sanity.
The peace and quiet you get in nature are amplified when you have nobody around you. This gives you the opportunity to explore, enjoy and connect with the beauty around you and within you.
Female Solo Hiking Tips
I don’t believe in living in fear and looking for the devil around every corner. I have a motto of going out and living life fully. Majority of times nothing bad happens anyway. But that doesn’t mean I am not realistic as well and know that I do need to be prepared for the odd time when something can go wrong. After all, there are some things that are beyond your control. But it is still in your control to take precautions and prepare as much as possible for any mishaps happening.
Here is what I do to prepare for my safety when I am out on my own.
Choose a popular and familiar trail
Start your solo walk with a trail that you have done before. Walk it with your family or friends and familiarize yourself with the difficulty, any alternative routes, and the general conditions. Be aware of the popularity of the trail. You are looking for something where there will be other people around but not so much that it will spoil your sense of being alone.
If it is your first time hiking solo, start small. Do a short hike for a few hours. Take your gear with and test things out. Do this a few times and make adjustments based on what you learned from your previous trip.
Check the weather
Sometimes I think trusting the weatherman is debatable. That doesn’t mean though you can ignore what he says. If a big storm is brewing, rather change your hiking plans.
I live in an area where we often joke that we have all 4 seasons in one day. I have learned not to go anywhere without something warm in the car. Even in mid-summer. The same goes for hiking. Make sure you are prepared for sudden weather changes.
Leave an itinerary with someone you trust
You want solitude with safety, not complete cut-off from the outer world.
Your itinerary should include:
- The time and date(s) you plan to start and finish
- The route you plan on taking
- Any alternative routes you might take
- Where you will park your car
- Your car’s license plate number
- Your cell phone number
- Contact details of family
My mom always tells me how much she appreciates cell phones. She remembers her younger years, being on road trips and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to contact anyone. As much as we want to switch off, a cell phone can be a life saver. Plus we need the camera for all the selfies.
Needless to say, make sure your phone is fully charged. If you are going on a longer trip, it might be useful to take a power bank with too.
Invest in a GPS or satellite communicator
Cell phones are great but batteries run out and the odds are good that you might not have signal in certain areas. When that happens, a good GPS or satellite communicator will be a life saver.
Check that all the essentials are packed
No matter how long my trip is, I never leave without these
- Food and Water
- Emergency kit
- Sun protection
- Tools and repair kit
- Fire-making supplies
- Emergency shelter
Use the right gear
Your shoes, clothes and backpack can make or break your trip. You don’t want chafing or blisters halfway into your trip. Never wear a new pair of hiking boots on a long solo trip. Walk a few shorter trips with them, wearing the same socks too. Learn how to pack your backpack to ensure the weight is evenly distributed. Go test your gear (yes this includes the underwear you plan on wearing) on your shorter trips.
Walk with confidence
It is well known that muggers will stay away from people who walk with confidence. They rather target someone that already looks scared. Wherever you are, in the streets or trails, walk with confidence. It will make the walk more enjoyable anyway.
As a woman you can certainly have solitude and alone time on your hiking trips. Don’t let fear hold you back. Plan properly and go for it. I hope these tips help you to plan your first solo trip and building a stronger life.