Is Solo Camping Safe?
When we think of camping, we generally associate it with a family outing or group of friends getting together for a weekend. But have you ever thought of a solo camping trip?
Meaning just you, your camper, and maybe your dog.
It’s one of the best ways to connect with nature and get much-needed alone time.
But, is solo camping safe?
What is Solo Camping?
A simple definition means that you are camping by yourself. You get to choose whether those words scare you or exhilarate you.
And I am hopeful that you feel a bit of excitement when thinking about wandering off by yourself.
When I think of solo camping, I think of relaxation and have no worries about what others are thinking or doing. I look at solo camping as a time for self-reflection, focusing on my needs and desires. It gives me a chance to re-energize and re-connect.
Most iportantly, solo camping means it’s your time.
With that time spent by yourself, you’ll likely want to feel safe, allowing you to enjoy your time without worry.
Is Solo Camping Safe?
When solo camping, you aren’t surrounded by your family and friends.
You are relying on yourself for everything. So, if you left your lights on and your battery is dead, do you have the resources to remedy that?
If you forgot your stove, can you adjust for that?
Granted, you can always ask people for help. But there are times when that doesn’t feel comfortable.
So, is solo camping safe? Yes. Can your safety be guaranteed as a solo camper? No.
So instead of being terrified of solo camping and never attempting it, think of it this way. You have one great big beautiful life! If you want to head out into the world by yourself in a camper, set yourself up for success with a few tips you’ll find from us here.
Boondocking vs Campgrounds as a Solo Camper
If you are a first time solo camper, you might be a bit nervous about heading out into the middle of the woods completely off grid from the rest of the world. Just as in any new endeavor, take it slow, one step at a time. Start your first solo camping trip with a reservation at a campground.
Camping by yourself in a campground allows for you to be solo, but also gives you a sense of security that there are other people around in case something goes wrong.
Depending on the type of campground and the amenities available there, your first solo camping trip might be made more comfortable knowing that you have a camp store on-site, well-marked trails to explore nearby, and the murmur of other campers nearby to keep you company at night.
Boondocking solo doesn’t take much more planning in the large scheme of camping. You’ll have to make sure you have everything with you, such as water, solar or generator power, food, and any emergency supplies you feel you should carry with you.
Really, you should be making sure you have all this with you regardless of where you camp, even a well-equipped RV park.
The biggest difference with boondocking compared to a campground simply means you have less access to amenities and people.
You, maybe your dog, the solitude of an open prairie or the peaks of the snow-capped mountains, the whispers of aspen leaves or the babbling brook, you get to choose your view without anyone else’s opinion, except maybe your furry friend’s.
When it comes down to it, choosing between a boondocking spot or a campground is up to what you want to experience as a solo camper, and what your comfort levels are.
The biggest thing to remember as a solo camper is to trust your gut.
Pro Tip: In our boondocking experience, these are the 5 worst spots for camping.
Safety Tips for Solo Camping
And when it comes to safety tips for solo camping, trusting your instincts is the most important.
Everything you do when following safety protocols as a solo camper – choosing a campsite, keeping people notified of your location, choosing protective devices, planning and preparing and utilizing social media properly – all of these tips should be followed while listening to your instincts.
You know you. Listen to yourself.
Choose a Campsite Where you Feel Safe
Just as in choosing between boondocking or a campground, you have to choose what makes you the most comfortable. Push your comfort level a bit. But don’t push it too far where you are too terrified of a place to even sleep.
Read reviews on specific sites, but also read them with a grain of salt. Everyone has a different safety and comfort level, listen to yours. If you pull into a campsite and something feels off, take a moment to assess your current situation.
Decide from there whether you should stay or find a new place.
We recommend avoiding these 5 cities on your next camping trip.
Let Someone Know Where You’ll Be
Maybe you’ve heard of Aron Ralston? He’s the highly experienced climber who had to cut off his own arm when he fell and got stuck between two rocks.
Why didn’t he wait to have people rescue him? Because he made the almost fatal mistake of not letting anyone know where he was climbing that day.
This is the simplest, yet almost always forgotten tool to keep anyone safe, especially a solo camper.
Take just a moment to let some of your main people know where you are headed. You may not know exactly where you’re staying. But you will generally have an idea of the area you will be in, so let others know.
That one piece of information could save your life one day.
Carry Protection if You Desire
Carrying protection does not have to mean a weapon. But if it does be sure to know the different state and country laws.
And more importantly, be sure to know how to use your protective device. Having a device and not knowing how to properly use it can be more dangerous than not having one at all.
Other forms of protection can be motion lights or sound systems for your doors, windows and other possible entry points. Self defense training can help, too. Just the confidence you show can be enough to scare off a possible attacker.
And just as you listen to yourself, if you are traveling with your furry friend, listen to them as well. They often know a lot more than humans do.
These tools are more of an insurance policy than anything else. In all our years of being on the road, the only thing we’ve ever had to use was our innate ability to listen to our instincts.
Don’t let these scare you off of solo camping, let it just be a way to stay aware. Just like you would do even when camping with friends.
And for the record, a dog can totally count as protection!
Bring All The Necessities
Make a list; check it twice. When packing up for your solo camping trip, think of all the things you need and desire when living at home.
What do you need for a solo camping trip?
Add a few extra items, such as an emergency battery charger, an air compressor, extra water, battery-powered lanterns, extra food that doesn’t require cooking or only requires hot water. These are just a few examples.
Do your research ahead of time, take your time and double check your list. As you solo camp more and more, you’ll realize you actually need less than you think.
Don’t Post Your Live Location on Social Media
In a world of instant access to everything, including both strangers and people you know, do you really want everyone to know exactly where you are in real time?
Let your main people know where you are going, yes, but do that privately and not on social media.
Ok, I get it, the places you may be camping are going to be gorgeous and you may want to share your experiences with the world.
Go for it, just share it later, after you’ve left and you’ve found your next beautiful spot. After all, you are solo camping and others are not invited along for this ride.
Solo Camping Safety Knowledge Conquers the Fears
Just as in anything that may be new, if you want to get better at something, you do that something again and again. Don’t expect to be completely comfortable on your first solo camping trip.
Things that go bump in the night might make you reconsider because you don’t know what’s out there. But hang in there, those things that are making noise in the night are generally the creatures that you think are adorable in the light of day.
It is fear that stops us from understanding so many things.
I challenge you to take that fear, face it, get to know it and realize when it comes to solo camping that fear actually becomes your friend as it slowly transitions into challenges that you are excited to conquer.
Welcome to the life of a solo camper! You’re gonna love it! Just be safe while doing it.
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This is a very thought-out article, very informative and comforting to some I’m sure.
Good ideas for the nervous people. I was lucky, being raised in an outdoor adventures family. First camping age 4 months. Started solo camping when in college. I’m 71 now and still solo camping, solo hiking, solo everything and no, I don’t tell anyone where I’m going. Why. Because I often don’t know until I’m out there. True adventures depend on the weather, and safety depends on you realizing the weather is bad for what you intended to do, so you do something else, somewhere else.
Same thing during my boating life. Told to file a float plan. Well, actually following a plan could spell disaster. Supposed to sail to that island today? Wrong wind and waves. Better to sail to that other island in the opposite direction.
I would never have had all great adventurous life I’ve had if I had to wait for someone to go with me. Plus. I got to go where I wanted, when I wanted and do what I wanted. Yep. Lots of I. Guess that’s the solo attitude. Lol!
Been solo camping for years. Pup tent and backpack. Camera. Last time I was out was THE last time. Walked to spot. Set up tent. Cooked dinner. Read for awhile. Took some pictures. Settled in. Fell asleep.
Woke up next morning. Fixed breakfast. Cleaned up. Packed out.
Got pictures developed a few days later. The last 5 pictures on the roll were of me – sleeping.
I’ll never go again.