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How to Get Over Your Fear Of Solo Camping

Updated: Feb 25, 2022



I really enjoy camping by myself (with or without my dog Leo here), but that doesn't always come with a whole bunch of confidence. Even though I've been camping so many times, each new experience comes with the same difficulties and anxieties. I'm hoping if you have some of the same worries as I do, that I can help show you ways to overcome them and simply enjoy your time outdoors.

Most of these tactics used here are for back-country camping scenarios, not necessarily your campground-type camping, but I feel like there may be some common ground here that can help anyone enjoy the outdoors more fully.



When it comes to camping alone in the wild, my biggest worries are:


1. Getting Lost in the Wilderness

2. Night-Time Creatures

3. Being Under Prepared for an Emergency


 

1. How to Not Get Lost


Before hiking into the backcountry with only a map and a willingness to explore, it's best to really research your route first. Weather, reroutes, closed trails or an old map, any of these things can happen and throw you off course, but if you come prepared there is no need to fear!

While I could (and probably will) write a whole blog only about "wayfinding", here I'm going to stick to my basic supplies and tactics that I use to keep from getting lost.


For backpacking supplies, I always bring:

- Paper map (either printed free or purchased)

- Compass (simple and cheap)

- Garmin watch (any smartwatch will do)

- Phone (for the All Trails app)

By having the paper map, I'm not relying on my phone to either have a signal or be charged. I have run into a situation where I was driving to a campsite in the middle of nowhere and my phone lost signal, rendering me lost and helpless. Thankfully the paper map saved my ass! I won't go to a new area without one now.


The watch is one of the most helpful tools, by showing me how many miles I've walked while hiking I can look at the map and see how many I have left with amazing accuracy. This way I'm not guessing how far I have been or far to go. No more worry!

My phone is really only used for the "All Trails App" (which I will talk about all the time because it is amazingly helpful). With a paid membership, this app lets you download maps of your trail, which I like to use as a backup to the paper map. It can also track you with GPS on the trail map so you'll always know where you are on the trail!



 


 

2. Nightime Fears


I normally have no problem with the dark, I mean I was born in it, molded by it (jk, dumb batman reference), but honestly, there's something deeply instinctual in me that feels a real fear all alone in the woods at night. Like, every sound out there is a giant mythical beast about to tear me to shreds. But I have found a very successful way to handle this fear.


Supplies:

- Lantern (small and at least 200 lumens)

- Headlamp (at least 200 lumens)

- Small flashlight

- Extra batteries

- Phone (music)




Of course, artificial lighting is my first go-to for nighttime. For this, I bring the flashlight, lantern, and headlamp. It may seem like overkill, but it always makes me feel better to have backups, it's always worth the weight for me. Also, most importantly, bring a way to either charge these items or back up batteries!! There is nothing worse than realizing your only source of light is dead (especially during those 2am bathroom breaks).


My best tip for when you're actually going to sleep is to play either some nice music or your favorite podcast. I like podcasts when I'm camping alone because it feels like there are other people there talking to you, and they're a little more distracting than music. Just make sure to download extra music and podcasts before your trip, since you most likely won't have a signal while you're camping.


 

3. Be over Prepared


One of the worst things about any trip is realizing you forgot something important.

"Yay, I remembered my comfy socks! Crap, I forgot my sleeping bag." My favorite ways to make sure I have everything I need for my camping trip is to not unpack and check off a list.



You can do the "not unpacking" for both backpacking and car camping, all it means is that whatever you pack for your trip, you leave packed up. For backpacking, I leave all of my gear in my backpack even when I get home after the trip. Simply wash your dishes and clothes, and return them to your bag for safe storage.


For car camping, I use totes (or plastic bins, whatever you want to call them) to organize my items. The totes make it easy to bring my gear to the car and to store it while I'm home.


The camping checklist I use is actually one of my own designs which you can get here!

Camping checklists are a great way to make sure you have everything you need by physically crossing it off you'll know that your essentials are packed. No more worrying about forgetting something at home, this list has everything you could possibly need.






 


 


Those are my top tips on how to be prepared for the anxieties of camping all by yourself. I hope this gives you a little more confidence to start going out alone. Even it's for just one night and it's in your backyard, anything can be an adventure!


Feel free to comment below, Dm me on Instagram, or Email me if you have any further questions or concerns about solo camping!


Until Next Time,

Happy Trails!



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Hey there! My name is Hannah Smentkowski, I'm the photographer, writer, hiker, camper, and craft beer drinker of this blog!

 

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