Photo Credit: Patrick Hendry/Unsplash
Camping solo as a woman can be a liberating experience. It might afford you some much-needed introspection time, or it might just be a fun way to see the sights and adventure on your own terms. If you’ve never camped by yourself before, however, it can feel a bit daunting. Thankfully there are many experienced female campers with advice on how to prepare and stay safe on the trails. We’ve gathered a few of their tips on how to have a safe, fun time while exploring the great outdoors.
Research Campgrounds Before You Go
Before heading off into the wilderness, it’s important you know the lay of the land and where you’re going to spend your nights. Sarah Smith knows reviews and forums are an important resource for women wanting to camp solo. She founded The Dyrt, a site with a collection of campground reviews, photos, and tips entirely sourced by campers. “The Dyrt is dedicated to making camping and the outdoors more accessible,” Smith tells CircleAround. At 52, the travel tech leader runs her company not only remotely but from her own camper van, where she is “living and working at campgrounds across the U.S.” Her app also includes tips for women wanting to camp for the first time.
Protect Your Privacy on the Road
Bionca Smith runs an Instagram called @Offthegridwithakid. She’s been traveling and camping with her son since 2017. While she has an active social media presence, she takes care to post her content after she’s moved on. This is a measure she uses to protect her privacy on the road. “Never post a picture of the spot you’re at on social media unless you’re no longer there or are leaving very soon. The last thing you want are unexpected guests easily tracking you down.”
Notify Trusted People of Your Plans
While it’s important to protect your privacy on the road, it’s equally important to let trusted friends and family members know your location and itinerary. This way, you’ll be traceable in case of emergency. “Let them know how long you’ll be gone,” suggests Amiee Maxwell, a contributor at Current Camper. “Give them a call when you get back so they know you’ve arrived home safely.”
Ask Park Rangers and Staff Questions
Getting to know the folks who make a living from guiding others in nature and keeping campsites and parks safe is one of Holly Scherer’s favorite safety tips. Scherer runs a travel site where she details her experiences exploring the great outdoors. She suggests taking time to ask questions, especially if it’s your first time in a particular area. “Always make contact with the rangers and park staff,” she writes. “They are incredibly helpful and aware of what’s going on in their parks. … They’re used to solo female campers and they’ll be happy to help you out.”
Brush Up on Your Auto Repair Knowledge
Samie Stamps recently left a career in the corporate world to travel around the world solo, and the blogger is a big fan of car camping. She is currently car camping through the U.S. and recommends knowing car basics for anyone using a car to get to a campsite. “Breaking down on the side of the road is the last thing you want to happen when solo car camping, but being prepared and knowing what to do are the most important things you can do for your safety,” she explains. “You may be able to save time and money if you can diagnose your car troubles yourself.”
Keep Campfires to a Minimum
If you didn’t make a campfire, did you even really go camping? They might make the experience feel more rustic and cozy, but without proper training, there can be risks involved (like starting a forest fire, for one). Gabaccia Moreno, multidisciplinary creator, consultant, and passionate outdoor advocate, understands that even this seemingly essential part of the camping experience can be dangerous. Her personal philosophy is to create “an efficient fire, a fire that provides for what you need, no more, no less.” Her Instagram post contains a few great tips on how to enjoy campfires and keep yourself self, like figuring out the right size wood to use and how to extinguish the fire later.
Beware of Bears. Really!
Bears are a reality while camping, especially in remote areas. Most likely you won’t encounter one in person, but knowing what to do if you see one and how to prepare your camp gear can make a huge difference. “Most established campsites that have bears in the area will provide bear lockers,” Kristin Addis, a long-time solo female traveler, explains. “However, if you are backcountry camping, do some research into your chosen area to make sure you don’t need a bear can. They will be required in most of North America outside of the desert areas.”
Support Other Solo Female Campers in Times of Need
For Lauren Gay, a photographer, podcast host, and advocate for Black travel experiences, it's important that camping enthusiasts understand each person’s experience is different. This includes the way women, people of color, and those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are treated on the road. While solo camping can be fun, safety in numbers is sometimes the right way to go. “Speak up and speak out if you see mistreatment of anyone at any time,” she encourages. “If you encounter someone being harassed, stay with the person and try to bring them along with you if they are comfortable to get them to a safe place.”
Finally, it’s always a good idea to learn some self-defense moves that you can use not only while camping, but during other distressing times as well. Xin Xin has dedicated her travels to helping others travel safely and created a few tutorials on the subject on her Instagram account. Hopefully there won’t be an occasion to use them, but in the event of an emergency, you’ll be glad to have a few moves ready.
The Bottom Line
Solo female camping is a fun and exciting experience that nature lovers should try at least once. Whether you’re car camping, going off-grid to backpack, or just glamping, preparing yourself for the great outdoors will ensure your time is as safe as it can be.