If you’ve ever seen Reese Witherspoon’s Wild, you’ve likely spent at least one evening wondering what it would be like to go on a solo hiking trip. And while we can’t all be Cheryl Strayed, hiking on your own can definitely be the experience of a lifetime. However, as with any other solo trip, there are certain precautions and measures to be taken. With that in mind, take a look at our girls’ guide on solo hiking for women.
Choose the Right Trail for Your Solo Hiking
The most important consideration when going on a solo hiking trip, without a doubt, will be choosing the right trail. Be completely honest with yourself and determine your hiking skills and your fitness levels. When hiking alone, you can’t always count on help to be readily available, so you need to be quite sure you can get to a shelter each evening.
You should also research the best trails for women hiking alone and choose a safe and well-frequented one.
Research Your Trails in Advance
You will also need to make sure you understand the trail before getting there. Study your maps, watch videos of others who have completed the trails already, and read blogs about them. Gather as much information as you can before heading out on your solo hiking trip.
This will help you get out of any tight spots. For instance, you may know that there is a shelter or a clearing up ahead, so you’ll push on to it at the end of a long day instead of camping on some rough terrain.
Know What to Pack
Packing for a solo hiking trip will be the second most important consideration. You want to make sure you have everything you need but also that you don’t overpack and make it hard for yourself to carry the load.
Once you compile a list of the items you think you will need, take a hike around town with your full pack and see how you get on. If it’s too much, you will need to cut back.
Just make sure that a satellite phone, a first aid kit, and a beacon and flashlight stay in there.
Understand Your Equipment
You need to be perfectly sure that you know how to use every piece of equipment, from the phone and the first aid kit to your stove and water disinfectant. Don’t just read the instruction manual and assume you’ll get it right. Test everything out, and make sure you know how to troubleshoot your basic items as well.
Train for Solo Hiking Beforehand
If you are under the impression that hiking is just walking, think again. Yes, it is largely moving your feet across a path, but don’t forget the weight, incline, and uneven road.
Don’t head out for a couple of days’ hiking without having taken a shorter hike on your own first. Your body will need to adjust to being out in the open. Help it ease in, as opposed to throwing it in the deep end.
Understand the Mental Challenges of Solo Hiking
Hiking is largely a question of your mental state, especially when you’re doing it completely on your own. When you are alone, there’s nothing to distract you, and your thoughts can quickly get the better of you. So, make sure you understand the challenges ahead.
No solo hiking trip will ever be easy, at least not all the time. There will be rough weather to overcome, and there will certainly be moments when you feel alone and lonely. You will also be tired and cold and tired and hot. The mere fact of accepting these difficulties will help a lot.
Take Good Care of Yourself
You’ll need to push yourself on your hike, but you should never put your fitness or your health at risk. This is why understanding your physical and mental limits is so important. You want to overcome your fears, but you don’t want to break yourself on the trail.
The importance of eating and drinking enough on a solo hiking trip can’t be stressed enough. Even if you don’t actually feel hungry, make sure you fuel your body for the challenges ahead.
Don’t Be Afraid to Join a Group
Finally, even if you’ve set out on a solo hiking trip, don’t prevent yourself from joining a group here and there. You may not want to hike with them all the way, but sometimes it’s good to have a bit of company, even if it’s just at mealtimes.
Try to join groups of women or mixed groups. While it does sound a bit irrational, you want to make sure you feel perfectly safe, so don’t be afraid to refuse an invitation from a group of men. Most experienced hikers will understand where you are coming from perfectly.
Final Thoughts on Solo Hiking
If you want to go on a solo hiking trip but are afraid of the challenge, start small and take a day hike around the area you live. It will soon give you the confidence you need to tackle some of the longest trails in the world.