Tips for Solo Backpacking
Internationally celebrated adventurer, author, mother and business owner who set the fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail.
“Aren’t you scared, going out there by yourself as a single woman?”
As a professional speaker, I usually end my talks with time for questions. And one of the most common ones I get asked is “aren’t you scared, going out there by yourself as a single woman?” The answer I always give is that I feel a lot safer on the trail than off it, particularly if I’m in a big city. I do practice common sense habits when I hike alone, like telling my friends and family where I’m headed, carrying pepper spray (at the behest of my husband), and steering clear of the occasional hiker or townsperson who seems less than stable (including at trail shelters, where said unstable person might stop for the night).
But the question behind that question- about how you handle yourself differently when you’re by yourself in the woods, regardless of gender- is a good one and worth thinking through to set yourself up for a successful solo backpacking experience.
Here are some things to consider when backpacking solo. First of all, there’s a freedom to backpacking solo that isn’t found when you have a hiking partner or family. You can choose which trail you want to hike. And you can pick when you want to go. Do you want to do something on the west coast this year? Do you have vacation time in the summer so it makes sense to head north to the Midwest or New England?
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