Planning on a solo hiking trip?

Taking on a solo hiking trip can be one of the most rewarding and peaceful activities that you can do. The downside is that hiking solo can be pretty frightening. You start to ask yourself what do I do if I run into a bear, is that guy I passed on the trail earlier following me? Is Bigfoot real? Most of the time you don’t have to worry about any of those things (except for Bigfoot, that is real).  hiking on your own has some pretty cool advantages such as going at your own pace and not worrying about a slow or fast hiking partner, you are fully in charge of where you go and how long you stop for along the way. This is your adventure. There is no question, hiking alone is not as safe as it is hiking in a group or at least the buddy system, but there are a few things that you can do to help ensure a safe and epic hiking Adventure.

If You Are Hiking Alone It’s Even More Important To Be prepared

Planning out your hiking trip is always important but when taking on a solo trip, planning is much more important, it can be the difference between having an awesome adventure that you will never forget and never being found again.

  1. Research the trail you plan to hike. Make sure you find out what the trail conditions are, how to find the trailhead and warnings about Wildlife that is active in the area.
  2. Check the weather report for the hiking day and the week ahead. You’re going to need to know the weather report so that you can prepare the proper clothing just in case you have an unexpected overnight stay or the weather could possibly change.
  3. If you’re a novice hiker or having anxiety about hiking trails that are not frequented often you might want to find popular trails that would have other hikers Within eyesight or earshot.
  4. Always let others know where you are going, tell friends and family the trail you plan to go on and when you expect to be back. Getting lost or injured on the hiking trail is a reality and you don’t want to starve to death because you didn’t want to tell anybody where you were going do you?
  5. Purchase and carry a GPS unit that suits your preferences and budget. You should also have a Personal Locator Beacon that would be used in a situation of imminent danger. These are hooked up to an International satellite system that will send out a distress alert and location to emergency search and rescue operations.

What’s to pack? – 10 essential items every hiker should have with them

  1. Navigation – this can include a trail map, compass, GPS system, and an emergency beacon for worst case scenario.
  2. Sun Protection –  this includes stuff such as sunscreen, long sleeve shirts, and pants, as well as a hat.
  3. Illumination –  this could include a good flashlight, inflatable solar light, and a headlamp.
  4. First Aid Supplies – This is one of the most important items that you need to carry, it should always be in your backpack. first aid kits that are made for hikers are lightweight and watertight making them a great choice. A good extra for your first aid kit would be moleskin blister dressings.
  5. Fire Starter Tools – Don’t ever rely on one single thing for Firestarter, it’s a good idea to have storm-proof matches, a survival lighter and Ferro rod. Remember matches will run out as will later fluid but get good at using a Ferro rod and you could use it thousands of times.
  6. Insulation –  This can come in the form of layers of clothes, emergency blankets, and emergency bivvy. These things will allow you to stay warm if the weather changes or if you have an unexpected overnight stay.
  7. Emergency repair kit –  This could include things such as a small sewing kit, paracord, a multi-tool or multi knife such as a Swiss army or Leatherman, And maybe some duct tape.
  8. Hydration –  It is likely that you are going to take water with you on your hiking trip but in the unlikely event of having to stay overnight, you’re going to want to have a backup such as a LifeStraw or iodine tablets for purifying water making it safe to drink. Always take double the amount of water you think you’re going to need when you set out.
  9. Nutrition – You are sure to pack yourself a sensible lunch before setting out on your hiking adventure, Make sure to pack things that are higher in carbohydrates giving you the energy to complete your hike. You might want to also pack a few Backpacking meals such as Mountain House which pack for the 600 calories per meal or even military-style MRE’s the typically have 1200 to 1500 calories per pack. Both are lightweight and will give you the energy required.
  10. Emergency shelter –  Hopefully, you never have to be in a situation where you do have to spend an unplanned night in the wilderness, but if you do you will want to have an emergency shelter with you. Exposure is the number one killer of people that get lost in the wilderness. Lightweight emergency thermal tents will hold in 90% of your body heat and are wind resistant and watertight. These are a no-brainer and should be included on every backpacking trip.

A solo hiking trip is not the time to test your limits

It’s always good to challenge yourself, but when hiking solo it’s not a good idea to test the limits of your endurance by selecting a trail or timeline but you’ve never tried before. always be conservative when taking on a solo hiking challenge.  If you get halfway through your hike and you’re starting to feel too fatigued there’s no shame in turning around and trying this hike another day. If the conditions of the hike change from sunny and warm too cold and snowing it’s also a good idea to turn around and come back some other time. Always play it safe when hiking by yourself.

Have fun and enjoy the Zen

Remember you decided to take on this solo hiking challenge so you could have fun and enjoy it. You are the master of your hiking destination, speed, and stops along the way. Take the time to take lots of pictures and video so you can share with your family and your friends at the AARMED Outdoor Adventures Community.