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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Solo Camping

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

One of my goals this year was to push myself outside of my comfort zone and camp alone. I know so many people who do it and enjoy it so I knew I at least needed to give it a shot. I have some time off work in July and since most of my friends will be working I will likely spend some nights alone. The idea of being in the wilderness alone overnight was a nerve wracking to me. People are creepy & wildlife can be scary!! Anyways, my backpacking plans for last weekend unfortunately got cancelled so I used this is an opportunity to push myself without having time to overthink.

I think the biggest factor that helped me overcome this fear was choosing a location I was familiar with. This took a lot of the anxiety out of the experience. A lot of times when we go camping we have a general area in mind but need to search for an actual campsite, which can sometimes take longer than expected. I did not want to do that on my own especially not in the poor weather forecast. I chose an area I have hiked in many times and have been to recently. I also got updates trail conditions from a friend a week prior. For this location, I know the way there without google maps, I know the road conditions, I had a parking/camping spot in mind and a hike planned for the next day, which was a repeat hike. I also know the area tends to be quiet but isn't too far from other more popular camping areas and a town. All of these things helped me feel more comfortable with this challenge.

I packed the car so that it was ready for me to climb in the back and relax/go to bed. I chose to sleep in the car vs. a tent or our rooftop tent for my first time so I could lock the car and feel a little extra protection. I partially had the car ready to go because it was supposed to rain but it also helped me feel more relaxed about not having to spend too much time moving things around and reorganizing as it got dark. I had my sleeping pad inflated, my bedding ready, my backpack ready for the morning and my cooler accessible for breakfast! Nyx and I shared a 4 inch sleeping pad from HeyTrip, my zero degree sleeping bag and my Rumpl Blanket.

Things I made sure Josh had before I left:

- Coordinates of where I planned to camp. If I had changed spots or didn't have a plan beforehand I would've sent him my coordinates from my Garmin inReach when I arrived.

- Car make, model and license plate number.

- My hiking route for the following morning, including a start time and estimated finish time. This includes what time I thought I would be back in cell service to text him since it isn't always the same at finish time.

Things that helped me feel safe & comfortable:

- Pepper spray

- Bear spray

- Knife

- Garmin inReach

- Lighting for inside the car

- Sleeping in the locked car vs. a tent or the rooftop tent

I arrived at the spot I had planned to camp and climbed into the back seat to eat dinner and relax. I brought a beer and a good book to help me! I did get a little cell service when I got close to the campsite so I texted Josh an update. I did have pepper spray next to me throughout the night. Overall I was not as anxious as I expected to be, I actually enjoyed it and felt very empowered by the experience. I think for my first time, having a detailed plan was the key to helping me relax.

Keep scrolling for my packing list & supplies....

Safety Gear Packing List

- Garmin in Reach Mini with subscription plan

- First aid kit



Ace bandage


Cortisone cream

Petroleum jelly

Nail clippers



Blister bandaids

Safety pins


Gauze pads

Medical tape


Hand sanitizer


- Lighter

- Jet Boil

- Emergency heat blanket

- Hand warmers

- Power brick, also serves as a hand warmer

- Knife/multi-tool

- Tissues

- Headlight

- Toilet paper and small shovel

- Pepper spray

- Bear Spray

- Car jump starter & jumper cables

- Tire inflater

- Traction mats

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