Go It Alone With Solo Camping

Guided treks can be a great getaway–that said, there are times when solo camping is preferable to visiting the wilderness with someone else. Just be prepared to consider the gravity of this decision. Not only will you not be able to discuss the pros and cons of taking this trail or that one, you’ll have no one else to talk to for long stretches of time. This is okay for some people, but a little unsettling for many others.

Also consider that you won’t have a partner to share in some of the chores and minor hardships that go along with living life on the trail. You’ll have to carry all the camping gear yourself; you won’t have an extra pair of hands to collect firewood. And no one will have “interesting” theories of tent-pitching to expound to you in the dark (or at least hold the flashlight) as you run the flexible poles through the small hoops and clips protruding from the collapsed mound of fabric on the ground. Never mind those other niceties that are much more difficult (if not impossible) when you go it alone–for example, looking to borrow a can opener when you’ve discovered yours has disappeared.

Still, some more experienced hikers and campers insist that the thrill is in the utter independence of pursuing an adventure solo.

Solo Camping Safety

Solo camping isn’t recommended for beginners–and may even be hazardous in situations where novice campers depart from the reach of others for even short periods of time. Consider that an injury from routine encounters with rocks and twigs will mean that you’ll have to cope alone. If others discover you injured along the way, they’ll have to deal with the situation. The likelihood of their trip being ruined is close to 100 percent. If you’ve left word about when you expect to return, and then don’t, someone will have to be sent to look for you at considerable expense and inconvenience. Depending on your particular mode of travel–especially if it involves canoes or kayaks and a large body of water like a lake–camping solo can be downright dangerous.

When traveling alone make sure to:

* Leave an itinerary with friends and family.
* Let friends and family know how you’re progressing by phoning from trailheads and ranger stations along the way.
* Take care of medical problems before you leave–you won’t have someone else to rely on to go get help if a problem crops up.
* Carry a credit card. It is waterproof and is useful if you need money for medical treatment or need to arrange an emergency departure by plane, or simply, if you lose all your cash.
* Arrange for someone to alert authorities on a certain date if your contact person back home doesn’t hear from you.

Still, the pros of camping solo are that you’ll be able to reflect on the wonders of nature uninterrupted, and that you can take pride in knowing you have accomplished the camping trip on your own. Solo adventures aren’t for everyone, and sitting next to a raging campfire by one’s lonesome may not be as much fun as if others were at your side, but many swear by it. Just take care, and camp or hike with someone a few times before embarking on a trip by yourself. BOLA TANGKAS
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