Love the thought of heading out on a solo hiking, biking, and/or camping adventure? I do and here are some tiny tips that might help you embark on your own epic journey.
BE 100% SURE: All outdoorsy nature loving folk first make sure that you’re perfectly comfortable with the idea of travelling solo. Hiking and camping by oneself is quite different from travelling solo. You don’t meet many people, there’s a lot of alone time involved and it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The prime motivation, of course, is one’s love for the outdoors. There is no other time when you’ll feel closer to nature as when you’re by yourself walking for miles, seeing the world’s best views and waking up to mind altering sunrises.
RESEARCH IS KEY:A solo hiking adventure is best undertaken after doing adequate research. As a woman especially, make sure that the country or destination you’ve chosen has a good safety record. Hong Kong and France are particularly recommended for long hikes and safe campsites with stunning views. Your only concern- safety wise- should be poisonous plants and animals, not other humans.
Most importantly, note down emergency rescue numbers in the area, print out maps of your trail and prepare for any adverse weather you might face.
|Research the area you’re hiking in well. Sai Kung Peninsula, Hong Kong|
TELL SOMEONE YOUR PLANS: If you’re determined to explore the outdoors on your own it might be particularly worrying to your family if they knew all the details of the plans brewing in your head. Give them a “fair idea” of what you’re going to be up to but it’s best to tell them the whole story after you’re back from your hike. Make sure you inform them of the connectivity issues, if any, in advance, though.
That said; do not leave without informing at least one person of your exact whereabouts. Whether that’s a partner, a colleague or your best friend, someone should always know where you plan to be.
|Sleeping in isolated valleys all by yourself? Make sure you’ve informed someone|
CARRY ADEQUATE EQUIPMENT: A good hike is tied in with good quality equipment. There is nothing worse than losing the sole of your only hiking shoes on a tough ascent. Invest in a pair of sturdy hiking shoes, a rainproof (not resistant) tent and a sleeping bag. Remember to carry extra tent pegs and poles and if you’re climbing heights then enough clothes to layer accordingly.
A light and compact camping stove is essential if you’re on a long hike and plan to cook your own meals. Some camping luxuries like heating pads, a sleeping mat, a wireless radio and an e-reader make long hikes more comfortable and fun.
The most crucial things in your backpack, however, are a first aid kit (varied for each new place you hike in depending on the flora & fauna), insect repellent and a sharp camping knife (one that can be used for mundane camping tasks as well as self-defense).
|Remember to carry extra tent pegs and poles or be prepared to improvise|
STAY ON THE TRAIL: Trails exist for a reason and as hikers, one must always remember to stick to them. It might be tempting for some to go off route and explore different paths however not only it is dangerous (hidden crevices, wildlife etc) it is also potentially harmful to the flora and fauna in the area.
Also, bear in mind the Leave No Trace policy and remember to carry all non-biodegradable rubbish with you and to bury all that is biodegradable. If you’re camping in one spot for too long it’s worth shifting your tent a few meters every couple of days so you don’t kill the grass and organisms living below.
Staying on the trail is also good because that is when you’ll come across fellow hikers and campers. To go off the trail means going down an isolated route and this could lead to unforeseen dangers.
|Stay on the trail at all times|
REMIND YOURSELF OF THE REASON: If before your trip you start to get a little jittery remind yourself of the reasons that you’ve decided to go on this adventure.
Hiking and camping solo is close to a spiritual experience for a lot of people. The closeness to the earth and all that it contains can lead to some not only external but also internal revelations. To be woken up by the early morning light-laden rays of the sun instead of an alarm clock and then to zip your tent open and see the endless ocean or sky high mountains before you is how life feels like it’s meant to be.