Solo Backpacking Tips

Solo backpacking means peace and quiet. No one to talk to means no words are put between you and the beauty around you. The miles just flow. It's entirely up to you to say when you eat or take a break. Want to jump in that alpine lake? It's your decision alone. It's a unique experience.

A solo backpacker also is vulnerable. Twist your ankle, and there's nobody there to help you. Have you ever been stuck alone without food for days? How can you make your solo backpacking trip safe? You can't. It's inherently more dangerous to go alone into the wilderness. What you can do though, is make it safer.

Some Solo Backpacking Tips

1. Tell someone where you'll be, and when you expect to return. It's probably best if you leave a map with them, and let them know who to call if you don't return on time.

2. Bring a cell phone. I don't do this yet myself, but many lives have now been saved by cell phones. Turn it off and put it in the bottom of your pack so it won't bother you.

3. Bring the usual safety items (matches, 1st aid, iodine tablets, etc), but double-check to see if they are there and in working order, as you'll have nobody elses supplies to back you up.

4. If you're not sure of your abilities, or have a bad knee or other potential problem, stick to well-traveled trails. On many routes, another backpacker will be by every hour. That's good to know if you're in trouble.

5. Learn well how to read a map and use a compass. If you are two miles off route and can't get a signal on your phone when your knee gives out, you're in trouble. Even if you like to wander, you should be able to know where you are on the map for safety.

6. Know your abilities. Don't plan on twenty-mile days if you haven't done them before.

7. Learn to lighten your load. When you're alone, you lose the efficiency of sharing the load for stoves, tents and other common items. It's easy - and dangerous - to become overloaded when yours is the only backpack. You might want to read up on ultralight backpacking.

Solo backpacking is riskier, but for some of us, it's well worth the risk. Try it, and you might agree. Just be sure to take the necessary precautions.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of ultralight backpacking. His advice and stories can be found at http://www.TheBackpackingSite.com

In The News:

A bite of the outdoors  The New Indian Express
Outdoors Act enabling GMUG projects | | gjsentinel.com  The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
PT Film Festival outdoors and online  Peninsula Daily News
The magic of outdoors  Royal Gazette

Alaska - Brief Travel Guide

WHAT TO SEE, TO DO AND WHERE: Mount McKinley is... Read More

Discover Eaton Canyon In Pasadena California

Eaton Canyon Natural Area Nature Center, entrance, 1750 N. Altadena... Read More

Dont Forget that Camping Gear Checklist Before You Leave on that Family Camping Adventure

A camping gear checklist is an important tool to help... Read More

Hiking Safely on the Hills

SAFE WALKING TREKKING OUTDOORSIf you are contemplating a long distance... Read More

Join the American Hiking Society

Have you taken up hiking as a new form of... Read More

Camping and Outdoor Activities: Get Involved with Nature

Camping mixed with outdoor activity is a great way to... Read More

7 Need to Know Campsite Cooking Strategies

Are you sick and tired of not knowing what to... Read More

Zambia Safari Top Five National Parks

Zambia is Africa's best kept secret as far as safaris... Read More

Unforgettable Cape Cod Vacations: The National Seashore Gift

Take a captivating trip through the Cape Cod National Seashore... Read More

Tamil Nadu ? A potpourri of culture and festivity

Tamil Nadu is a delightful anachronism. With a rich culture... Read More

Packing a Backpack - A Guide

With so many different designs, packing a backpack will vary... Read More

Stay Warm - A Backpacking Skill

Stay warm or die. That's what it comes down to... Read More

Alaska Hunting Guide

WHAT TO HUNT AND WHERE: Alaska is a hunter's paradise.... Read More

Experience The Real Florida

Every year around 40 million visitors come to Florida for... Read More

Comal White Water or More Blue Green

White Water on the Comal river in Central Texas is... Read More

Plymouth Plantation and Mayflower ? Links to Our Past Guide, Part 1

Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II ship are major attractions... Read More

Santa Cruz Church ? the Portuguese Legacy in Bangkok

Santa Cruz Church, the church of the holy cross, was... Read More

Canoe Trip with Nature

A canoe trip is a great way to appreciate Nature!A... Read More

Rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon

Oregon's Rogue River is one of the nation's most beautiful.... Read More

Bird Watching Mecca ? 338 Species At Acadia National Park

When it comes to birding, Acadia National Park is a... Read More

Alternatives to Pressurized Fuel

Recently I attended a Boy Scout Leader Roundtable meeting where... Read More

Hiking Shoes Versus Hiking Boots

Hiking shoes versus hiking boots? Hiking shoes win. Okay, next... Read More

Tanzania Safari Top Five National Parks and Game Reserves

Ask about perfect wildlife destinations and a Tanzania safari will... Read More

Inflatable Boats: An Overview

Inflatable boats are made from flexible material, usually rubber, canvas,... Read More

The Great Outdoors is to be Explored and Loved in all its fullness

The thing with enjoying the great outdoors is seeing aspects... Read More