By: Paul Watson, outdoorchoose.com |
There are several ways to get the most of the outdoors, but nothing can be more unique than a solo camping trip. Nothing compares to enjoying peace and quiet while getting in touch with nature at the same time. If you think you’ve been hanging around with people for quite some time, this is your chance to give yourself a break.
But the challenge of looking after your safety out there in the woods remains. Having such freedom may come at a price. Nature is not safe and enjoying such freedom entails making sure that you are prepare for whatever comes your way and leaving very little if not no room for mistakes.
The right planning will spell the difference between a rejuvenating and memorable trip into a disastrous one. In this post, we provide 6 tips for preparing a solo camping trip.
So keep reading…
6 Tips for Preparing a Solo Camping Trip.
- Plan Your Trip All the Way. Whether you’re planning a day’s hike or an overnight hanging by the campfire, you will have to plan all the way before you go on that trip. Research the areas, wilderness and trails you will be going to and remember their flora, fauna and other natural features.
Look into the topographic map of the place you will be exploring and learn as much as you can about alternative trail routes, water sources, reference landmarks, and geography. Take not of the curved nonintersecting lines on the topographic map because they represent shifts in elevation – the farther apart the lines are, the flatter the terrain will be.
Crossing a line over the topographic map means that you will be hiking downhill or uphill.
- Choose the Ideal Campsite. Search online for good camping sites in wilderness adventure blogs, online forums and destination websites. Read real-life stories and reviews from hikers who’ve been from the area and try to find out if the campsite is a quite beach or buggy swamp.
There real-life stories are important for getting good information about seasonal trail conditions, regional weather patterns and other related local conditions.
If you are camping solo for the first time, select a spot where you have camped with others before. That way, you are familiar with the area and can avoid any surprises that may come along the way. The more you familiar you are with the area, the safer you would feel.
- Estimate Your Time. Making a good estimate of the amount of time it would take to go to the campsite from your vehicle; and vice versa. Schedule all of your activities during the trip – including the simple ones. The average person generally covers 30 minutes for a mile of hiking on flat terrains under normal conditions.
You can utilize a hiking calculator for these estimates and don’t forget to consider various elevations.
Give yourself enough time for unforeseen delays and include the sunset and sunrise schedules. Don’t forget to take not of every stopping point with a lot of daylight left to camp and get set for night time. Building a fire and setting up a tent during night time could be quite troublesome.
- Have a Plan B. Determine how long you’d be staying in specific locations to develop a plan B in case the unexpected happens – weather changes, emergency situations, etc. Take special note of overnight camping sites on your route map – they can serve as check-in points in case of emergencies.
Informing others of where you will be going will also provide them with a good idea of where to start searching in case you go missing.
Check the weather before you leave. Up-to-date weather reports and predictions would be more accurate than those that are not updated. Remember that weather forecasts can change fast and you need keep yourself updated with the radar tracking in your area.
A basic understanding of the different types of clouds, weather patterns, and frontal zones can help you assess the constantly changing weather conditions. If you know the weather will be unpredictable, it would be more convenient to bring a waterproofing spray with you.
- Document and Share Your Itinerary and Route. Documenting your route map and itinerary could be a life saver. Sharing your whereabouts to your friends along with your schedules and expected check-ins can reduce your chances of being stranded or missing with nobody looking for you.
Clearly mark your routes and strops and make a detailed plan all the way. Call your loved ones at certain times during the day. Give one route map and trip itinerary to your check-in contact and reserve another one for local authorities and park rangers near your camping area. Several web sites provide updated contact information for campers in case of emergencies.
It is also advisable to leave one copy behind on the dashboard of your campsite lobby or parked vehicle. Tech-savy campers carry GPS-equipped devices which they can use to connect with monitoring services websites and communicate their whereabouts in the wilderness.
Bonus Tip – Preparing An Economical Camping Vacation
If camping is your choice and you are looking for out-of-the-way places, contact the Wilderness Society, Western Regional Office. They can provide information on wilderness area locations for hiking, backpacking, canoeing, and horseback riding.
If you plan to visit several places maintained by the federal government in one calendar year, send $10 for a Golden Eagle Passport to the National Park Service Headquarters. This will entitle you to visit, in your private vehicle, any federal outdoor recreational area that charges an entrance fee, as well as historical houses and museums in federal areas.
It does not cover fees such as those charged for camping, and it is good only for the calendar year when issued.
Certainly the most economical and fun way to vacation and, in many ways, the most rewarding, is to go solo camping. Managing your route and stuff properly should always include planning for your solo camping trip and ensuring that your experience the best results.