Camping might just about be the ultimate family and friend activity, but there’s a simplistic beauty to a solo night under the stars. Whether it’s a getaway to clear your head, or just because everyone else was busy, spending time alone (or just with a four-legged friend) can make for some of the best nights camping to be had.
Planning your first solo camping trip can be an intimidating experience, so to help you out we’ve put together some of our top tips from around the office with the hope that you can learn from our mistakes and enjoy a smooth, fun night in the woods!
Preparation is key: As the old, yet tried and tested saying goes “Hope for the best, plan for the worst”. Planning is key to a smooth camping experience, and the importance is heightened when you only have yourself to rely on.
Research your location ahead of time, find out what the ground conditions are likely to be like (even when you’re taking a Tree Tent!), what wildlife is likely to be found in the area, and your potential pitch locations. Plan out your gear and make sure everything is in good working condition, remember if your stove dies you can’t steal your friends!
Finally, ahead of your trip keep an eye on the weather forecast, assess the situation and what additional gear you might need, and in worst-case scenarios don’t worry about having to put your trip on hold until the conditions improve.
Tell someone your plans: This is true for any adventure, no matter how big or small, or your experience level. While a single night camping is unlikely to end in disaster, for the time it takes to tell someone your plans it’s not worth risking it.
Something as simple as texting a friend before you go to tell them your intended location and duration could be the message that makes them jealous of your plans, or the message that saves your life in an emergency. This is even more important when going solo as in the event of a crisis you have no other form of back up.
Know your camping skills: Remember, there’s not going to be an extra pair of hands when setting up/packing down the tent, or an extra brain to help work out any issues you may encounter. Make sure you know and are confident using your camping skills along with basic survival skills for worst-case scenarios.
Think about every task you’d usually undertake on a trip, could you do all of them alone? Pitching the tent, navigating to your spot, building a fire, dealing with wildlife (big and small), and addressing injuries are just some of the things that you’ll want to feel confident with before you head out.
Dream big, but start small: On my first solo camping experience I thought I was on a real adventure. It was a one-night trip about 5 minutes from my house, but to me, I might have well been in the Alaskan wilderness. About an hour into the night I bottled it, called my dad, and got a lift home.
Dream of a big adventure, but for your first-time solo camping, go somewhere with good phone signal and not too far from civilization, that way if you’re not really feeling it you can easily get home. Most of all don’t worry about your pride, and hey if you want, just tell everyone you had to leave fighting off a pack of wolves barehanded!
Take some entertainment: While a night in the wilderness might seem like all the excitement one would need, in reality, you’ll often be left alone with your thought and with some spare time before you hit the hay. While this might be a dream come true for some, for others it can get surprisingly boring, and packing a good book is a perfect way to pass the night before bed, while also keeping you connected to nature and not staring at a screen in the dark!
We’d recommend ‘A Walk In The Woods’ by Bill Bryson
Bonus Tip! Relax and enjoy yourself: While the woods alone might seem like a daunting place, there’s a subtle beauty to being alone with nature. If you’ve prepared well then you should have nothing to worry about, relax into your newfound freedom and enjoy knowing that while everyone else is having the same mundane evening, you’re in the wild connecting with nature, like a modern-day John Muir! (Even if you are 5 minutes from your house)