Solo Hiking Safety
Ahhh….peace. The quiet stillness that permeates through the valleys and mountain tops, the only sound being the wind, or occasional marmot chirping. There’s no one else dictating the pace or conversation. The miles just flow. Solo adventuring can be one of the most tranquil experiences in the outdoors, but there are some do’s and don’ts that you need to know about before you head out alone.
- Know your limits! Remember, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Use a resource like AllTrails before you head out. Check the comments to see what others are saying. Are there a few scrambling sections? Is there a water crossing? Any precipitation patterns that you need to be aware of? What is the best time to start for the best experience? These are all things to be aware of when exploring alone.
- Plan for precipitation. Weather in the mountains is notoriously unpredictable. The fluffy white clouds shading you at your lunch break can turn into nasty hail or create hypothermic conditions. Bring more layers than you think and a waterproof rain jacket.
- Bring safety items. This includes first aid, a headlamp, and a knife. You don’t need to pack enough band-aides for an army, but you should have enough that you can close an open cut or pad a blister. A headlamp is a useful item to have in case you run a bit late and it gets darker quicker than you expected. Always have a knife if you’re going out alone.
- Make your presence known. Before going out on any kind of solo adventure, it’s important to tell a few people. Share your location, let them know where you are going and about how long you expect to be out. If you see other folks out on the trail, it’s never a bad idea to let them know as well.
- Remember your phone. While we completely understand wanting to be out in nature alone to disconnect, it is important to keep a phone on you for the worst case scenario. You can always keep it turned off or in airplane mode.
- Bring a canine companion. Dogs make great companions and add an extra layer of security. It’s actually quite common for other hikers to remember folks by their dogs and not the individual.
- Bring a map. While not many people own maps anymore, having one for the trail is very important. Cell reception isn’t the best in the mountains so having a paper backup is critical.
Exploring outdoors with nothing but yourself can be one of the best and rejuvenating experiences. Just make sure that you are completely prepared!
Not sure that adventuring solo is your thing? Check out local outdoor clubs, Facebook groups, MeetUp, or ask a gym buddy. You could also ask your local outdoor shop since most have weekend events that you can sign up for.
Whether you’re adventuring alone or with friends, Out&Back is your trusted guide for all things outdoor.