• Hannah Smentkowski

The Pros and Cons of Solo Camping: What is it really like to camp alone?

Updated: Dec 14, 2021




To put it mildly, I'm an introvert.


I prefer to do almost everything by myself, from grabbing a beer at the brewery to going on outdoor adventures. Not only am I an introvert, but I also have anxiety issues, so to summarize, I am a nervous wreck when I go on adventures alone. Even with this in mind, I still prefer to camp by myself.


There are a million reasons why camping solo should excite your spirit, but also many reasons to be cautious. Here, I'm hoping I can inspire you to try camping on your own no matter your circumstance. Come brave the wilderness with me!

 

The Pros of Solo Camping:


Creating Confidence


Whenever I do things on my own I almost always come out the other end so much more confident, and this goes double for camping alone in the wilderness.

When you're camping you are dealing with your basic survival. You are carrying everything you need to live on your back (or in your car), and you have to know how to use every item to your advantage. When I cook my food over a tiny backpacking stove or filter water from a nearby stream, these small acts make me feel like I have all of the knowledge and control to take on anything! Also, being alive at the end is a pretty good indicator that you've got this.


Finding Inner Peace


I believe finding inner peace is best achieved when you are absolutely alone. I've discovered no easier way to acquire that tranquility than by driving 20 miles into the vast and empty mountain wilderness.

There is something about nature that brings out the best in us. For centuries humans have found emotional refuge in the bowels of the wilderness, and this is no different today. I mean, I legitimately hug trees to feel better sometimes. Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.


 



 

The Cons of Solo Camping:



Finding the Right Spot


For finding the right spot, I'm constantly concerned with getting lost (even when I'm following a trail). While backpacking I always feel like I've either gone too far or not far enough, and this tends to take away from my "peaceful" experience. This can be easily remedied by knowing your navigation skills and having some sort of GPS system to track your miles. This could be a watch or an offline mapping app that will allow you to make sure you're in the right spot.


While car camping, I have the same worry about finding the right spot but with the added detriment of either having enough gas or "can my car really make it down this crazy-ass dirt road"?

It's best to make sure you have backup spots for camping available to you in case your first choice doesn't work out. And to survey your roads before driving down them to make sure your vehicle is capable of making it to your destination.



Nighttime


My nighttime concerns really boil down to my caveman instincts of everything awake at night wanting to eat me! You don't realize how dark "dark" is until you're alone in the woods at night. Once the sun is down I'm in my tent reading a book or editing my photos from the day, just trying to ignore every tiny sound that happens around me. The only real reprieve from my fear of the night is my annoying nightly wake-up to go pee allows me to get a couple of minutes of peaceful star gazing.

If you want more tips on how I navigate my worries about camping solo you can check out my post on navigating these anxieties here!


 

Related Post: How to Stop Your Anxieties About the Wilderness

 

While being out in the wild by yourself can be a terrifying experience (especially your first time) I believe everyone, even the "non-camping" types should try it at least once in their lifetime. Having at least one night to be truly alone in the serenity of nature is an experience that is irreplaceable by anything. You will come out of it with a better sense of what you are capable of and feel connected with yourself in ways you didn't even know you could be. So, grab a tent (and a whole bunch of other stuff, like a lot of other things, don't go into the wild with only a tent, you are not Bear Grylls) and go find yourself out in the woods.


Feel free to comment below, DM me on Instagram, or email me with any questions or comments on this article!


Until Next Time,

Happy Trails!




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