Quick run down of helpful takeaways from my solo camping trip last weekend:
Safety: I brought all of this stuff with me out hiking as well
- Knife (or several)
- I kept one in my pack, a big one in the van, and a small pocket knife in my pocket at all times
- Super bright flashlight
- I’m not talking about the kind from the gas station — get yourself a super bright light. Never know when you might need to temporarily blind/stun something or someone out in the woods
- Emergency Whistle
- Good to scare off animals if you’re in a really remote space
- Worst case scenario — if you get lost in the woods, at least people can follow the noise to find you
- Bear Mace
- First Aid Kit
- Rain poncho, just in case
- Common Sense
- Trust your gut! See more on this in the Camping section
- Set your maps app to “avoid highways.”
- If you’re not crunched for time, taking the scenic route is way more fun. I got to see parts of Washington that I normally wouldn’t if I drove on major interstate highways (like I-90), and stumbled upon cute towns and campsites I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. Deception Falls was one of those spontaneous finds!
- I used the Ultimate Campground app to find dispersed camping. My advice: stick to Forest Service sites as the State Sites listed tend to be really close to the freeway or just out of date and no longer available for camping. Slightly disappointing given that I paid for the app, but overall it was really helpful.
- Park yourself near by families. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and since I was alone, I opted to sleep at campsites that were more family oriented. Conversely, I left a site that looked awesome on paper but when I got there, I was the only woman among a large all-male group of hunters/dirt bikers. I’m sure they were really nice people, but I just didn’t feel comfortable with that ratio, so I left. Trust your instincts!
Most importantly, take your time, enjoy the daily tasks like making a fire, cooking a meal from scratch and enjoying scenery. The best part of that weekend was that I could pick up and leave whenever I wanted to, spontaneously hike a trail that I stumbled upon, and most importantly, live for a few days without an alarm or schedule.
To anyone who hasn’t spent time in the woods alone, take some time to #optoutside.