Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure, but had no one to go with? I’ve been there. I decided that I didn’t want to wait for someone to experience the outdoors, so I started going by myself. I find solo hiking to be an extremely rewarding experience. You have the power to do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it.
Here are 10 tips to help you to be prepared and stay safe while hiking alone:
1. Do not post in real time
Wait until you leave a location to share about it on social media. You don’t want people knowing exactly where you are. I refrain from posting where I am going to be, and will not share a post or story about where I am until after I have left.
2. Tell someone your plan
Let someone know where you are going, what you will be doing, and when you expect to be back. Check in with them when you reach your destination, when you start the trail, and when you finish. I usually use my parents as my designated people.
3. Carry something for self defense
I carry a small can of pepper spray with me when I’m hiking alone. You can also carry a small knife, whistle, or sharp object. I have never had to use my pepper spray, but having it makes me feel safer.
4. Spend a little extra for nicer/safer accommodations
If you’re taking an overnight trip, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra for an accommodation that will make you feel happier and safer. When I’m traveling alone, I usually stay in poplar hotel chains, or boutique hotels from Airbnb.
5. Have a plan before you go
Before you leave, plan out where you will be going, how you will get there, where you will stay, which trail you will hike, where to park, and maybe even where to eat. That way you can tell someone what your plan is (see number 3), and you won’t be worried or stressed about what you will be doing. You can just relax and enjoy.
6. Download an offline map and a trail map before hitting the trail
If you’ve never been to the place before, download an offline map of the area before you leave. You never know when you may lose phone service. Download a trail map before starting too. I also recommend using the All Trails app to keep you on track while hiking. The app’s GPS technology is impressive, and will keep you from getting lost on the trail.
7. If it’s your first time, pick an easy, well-marked trail
If it’s your first time hiking alone, pick a trail that you have done before, or one that is popular and well marked. The more you hike alone the more confident you will feel. Start with something you know so that you can build that confidence and figure out what you personally need to do to be successful.
8. Be prepared
Make sure you wear proper attire and bring more food and water than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to be halfway through the hike and run out of supplies. Plan for the weather and climate where you are hiking. Make sure your phone is fully charged.
9. Air on the side of caution
Know your limits, and if you question anything, don’t do it. Wonder if it might be too late to start? Don’t start hiking. Unsure if you can make a 7 mile hike? Start with a shorter one. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel comfortable
10. Trust your instincts
Probably the most important tip for hiking alone is to trust your instincts and to have confidence. If something feels wrong in your gut, it probably is. Solo hiking is not the time to take risks. Use your best judgment and trust yourself.
Any other tips for hiking alone? Let me know!
I'm Abby, a traveling photographer and writer, and I'm most passionate about connecting people with the outdoors, and I started this blog because I believe in the power of visual communication to move people from awareness of the outdoors all the way to stewardship of natural resources.