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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?

Continue reading the full article written by Jenn Pharr Davis.


October 22, 2023

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Jennifer Pharr Davis

Hiker, Speaker, Author

Jennifer Pharr Davis is an internationally recognized adventurer, speaker, author, and entrepreneur who has hiked more than 14,000 miles of trails on six different continents.

In 2011 she set the overall fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail by finishing the 2,185-mile foot path in 46 days (an average of 47 miles a day). And she hasn't slowed down since.

Jennifer has backpacked 700 miles pregnant, walked across North Carolina while nursing her newborn son, and hiked in all 50 states with her two-year-old daughter.

She is a member of the President’s Council of Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, was featured in the 2020 IMAX film Into America’s Wild, and served on the board of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Jennifer is truly a force of nature. But what excites her most is introducing people to the life-changing opportunities that nature provides.

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