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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Solo Adventuring

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

I did my first solo hike a few years ago and my first solo camping trip last summer. Solo adventuring can be nerve wracking, but it can also be an amazing experience. Here are some tips I have put together based on my own experience!


Starting small can mean a few different things. Starting with lower distances, smaller elevation gain and overall shorter duration is a great place to start. Firstly, it is great to do this with any kind of exercise to build your endurance but it also doesn’t allow you time to overthink the fact that you are alone when you first start out. You are also less likely to get bored of your own company if you are new to spending time alone. Starting small can also mean starting somewhere familiar and closer to home. This minimizes the navigation or route finding you will have to do, you can just enjoy the outdoors. I also recommend starting on a well-trafficked trail where you know you will encounter other people if you do get concerned about safety or something goes wrong. Think about it as gaining confidence and working towards a bigger goal - remember, you wouldn’t run a marathon on your first day of training for a marathon! Check out ‘Planning an Adventure with AllTrails’ for tips on finding trails for your adventure.


It is important to make sure at least one person knows your plan. This includes details such as: start time, estimated end time, route/map and if they will be able to reach you (will there be cell phone service). I like to give my designated person an estimated finish time as well as a ‘panic time’. So if the route takes a bit longer than expected that's okay but if it’s ‘x amount of time’ past my estimated finish time you should contact emergency services if you haven’t heard from me. This ensures that worst case scenario: if an emergency occurs, you don’t have a way to contact anyone and you don’t see anyone else on the trail, help will be on the way.


A backpack filled with all the essentials is a must for any adventure, but especially important if you are alone with no one else to rely on for supplies. It is also necessary to make sure you know how to use the supplies you packed, for example basic first aid. Make sure you have more food and water than you think you will need; even if it is a short hike the easiest way to run into trouble is to be hungry or dehydrated. Other things to make sure you have: extra layers, a first aid kit, a headlamp, protection (bear spray or pepper spray) and seasonal dependent gear such as microspikes and sunscreen.


Understanding your location and the risks it poses is very valuable knowledge to have prior to heading out on your adventure. Step one is to check the weather before you head out. For most hikes searching for the weather by the nearest city or town will suffice. However, if you are heading to a more remote area or higher elevation my favorite resource is Mountain Weather Forecasts. It is also important to understand seasonal geographical risks. Examples include: mud slides, avalanches, lightning storms, tornados, hurricanes, flash flooding and winter road closures. Lastly, wildlife risks are another important consideration when choosing your outing. Bears, moose, rattlesnakes and many other wildlife pose threats while hiking. There also may be additional supplies to carry, such as bear spray, if certain wildlife is prevalent in your area. For your first solo adventure it is probably best to choose a day with ideal weather and minimal aversive conditions.


My Garmin inReach Mini is one of the best purchases I have ever made. This device connects to your cell phone via bluetooth and allows you to communicate directly from your phone through text messages even if you don’t have cell service. You can have two-way conversations as well as share your location and route. It also has an SOS function in case of emergency; this feature alerts the nearest authorities of your location and you can then communicate more details with them, if you are able, through the messaging features. You can also view maps and check the weather in real-time. There are many similar devices out there, including the latest iPhone models, but this one has worked great for me. For more information and a full review: Gear-Up: Garmin inReach Mini.


Being educated about how to recreate safely and responsibly in this beautiful world is going to make your adventures much more enjoyable. In addition to all the topics discussed in this article there are many other things to consider and research. You may consider taking a basic wilderness first aid course or a map reading course. Leave No Trace is also a wonderful resource for recreation tips and knowledge. And lastly, browse Go Out{Side} for tips on many types of outdoor activities from a wide variety of writers.


Solo hiking can be nerve wracking and can take a while to feel comfortable with. But,I have learned to love my own company through these adventures. It is so relaxing to not have to think about anyone's plans or goals except your own. As a people pleaser I can often get caught up in thinking about if my hiking or traveling partner is enjoying themselves or handling the route well; being alone completely takes this away and allows me to be in the moment. For me it is also so empowering to think about what I have accomplished by myself. Solo adventures have helped me build self-confidence, self-motivation and a new sense of pride in my accomplishments. I hope solo adventuring brings you as much joy as it brings me!

here are some photos from some of my favorite solo adventures last year....

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