How to handle solo backpacking?

To some, setting off on wild trails with no one by your side can be an unsettling idea, but there are many others who wouldn’t want it any other way.  But is going alone for backpacking as enjoyable and safe as is the case with group backpacking? Here are some pointers….

Perks of solo backpacking

When it comes to solo backpacking, you may see many people shaking their heads in disapproval. But instead of giving in to apprehensions, a confident backpacker should focus more on the benefits of going alone.

  • Honestly, you may find it a little difficult to find a hiking buddy, especially if you are going out on short-notice. Nevertheless, that is not the one and only reason to visit the wilderness by yourself.

  • Again, going alone for backpacking helps you avoid many undesirable differences of opinion which can take place while you are on the go. For example, if you want to go light, you might have a spat with your friends who might want to carry heavy tents and gears with them.

  • If you want to undergo more spiritual experience in the backwoods, there is no substitute for going alone.

  • If you are unaccompanied, you are likely to meet more people. A solo traveler is much more approachable than an established group.

However, before you go alone, make sure that you know the survival tricks well…

Survival Tips for solo backpacking…

Since a solo backpacker can face more hazards than those going in a group, make sure:

  • To bring a map, compass or at least a GPS with you and learn how to use them.

  • Use hiking sticks and bring along a whistle and a headlight.

  • Bring along your cell phone for emergency situations.

  • Pack every necessary backpacking gear which will come in handy while you are on the go.

  • Choose a well travelled route. It is not wise to explore new backpacking spots all alone.

  • Carry lighter loads as going alone means you will have no friend to share the load of cookware, tents, cook stoves and other gear.

  • Learn the basic wilderness survival skills. For example, you should have a basic idea about making basic types of emergency shelters. You should also know how to start fire under any condition. Also, get acquainted with wild edibles in case you run out of food.

  • Last, but not the least, before you go for backpacking, let your folks know about your plans for backpacking, and your expected time of return. Ideally, leave a copy of the map with the route you intend to take.
Since you cannot turn the backwoods into a very safe place, keeping yourself safe is the least thing you can do.  And of course, everything said and done, it is always advisable to go for group backpacking rather than going alone.