Not sure about camping alone? You’re in the right place to learn the ins and outs of enjoying the wilderness by yourself.
Some consider camping by yourself to be strange, but camping alone is not weird at all. In fact, spending some time by yourself in nature can have benefits for your mental health. Camping alone is also a way to build confidence and reduce stress.
Perhaps your coworkers or your family are giving you a hard time for wanting to go camping by yourself–but really, it’s not very odd at all. Continue on and you’ll learn some of the benefits camping by yourself can have, as well as how you can prepare for a safe solo camping trip.
Am I Weird For Camping By Myself?
We live in a world where there can sometimes be a strange expectation that we avoid doing certain things alone. Seeing a movie, going out to dinner, and camping tend to be things we’re expected to always do with others. Otherwise, we end up looking “weird”.
I felt this way when I decided to do a solo trip to New Zealand where I’d be camping and hiking by myself for 3 weeks. (If you’re planning on a trip to New Zealand, make sure to stop by my post, here so you can easily save yourself a few hundred dollars). My coworkers thought I was crazy.
The thought of being on your own while camping is really foreign to many people. The truth is that solitude isn’t for everyone. In fact, there have been studies (source) that have confirmed that being alone for some people is a negative thing.
While there might be some who feel this way, it’s an expectation that shouldn’t stop you from going out on your own.. It’s natural and healthy to do things alone sometimes. Those of us who use alone time to recharge can really benefit from things like camping alone.
According to Psychology Today, time alone can help us to get away from the pressure placed on us by social interactions. While there are many who thrive on socialization, some people need to get away from it all from time to time. Time spent alone can be so refreshing.
I experienced this to a degree I didn’t think possible during my 3 weeks in New Zealand. It was healing and helped me feel more prepared to face the normal world at my normal job.
Spending time alone in nature can bring a level of peace you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s freeing and can help you to break away from the constant contact with others that comes with modern life. That contact can really be exhausting, and there’s nothing wrong with needing a break.
Not only can camping alone be relaxing, but it can also be a fantastic way to work on your confidence. Knowing that you have the skills needed to survive out in the woods is pretty darn cool. Not to mention it may come in handy if you ever end up lost in the woods!
Even if you’re just car camping, you definitely feel awesome not experiencing air conditioning or central heating for a few days. Learning how to preserve your food and finding the best trails are awesome experiences that build your confidence.
With all of that said, camping alone does require more planning. It can be more dangerous than camping in a group. However, that’s no reason to avoid it. It just means you’ll need to make sure you have the camping skills and preparations to keep you safe while you enjoy your time alone.
If you’re unsure about planning an entire camping trip just for yourself, you can always start by camping for just one night. It’s a great way to dip your toe in and see how you feel about being out in the woods alone. In our article on planning a camping trip for one night, you’ll learn everything you need to get rolling. Check it out here!
If you don’t want to be totally alone–you can always bring man’s best friend. I talk about bringing your dog and talk about several other lessons learned from camping alone in my detailed post here.
Positive Aspects Of Camping Alone
Camping with friends and family can be a great time, but camping alone can be a very relaxing experience. There’s no denying that camping, in general, is good for you. Our article on the subject provides some scientific reasons why it’s good for you to get out into nature. Take a look at it here.
The following are just a few reasons to try camping on your own once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying nature by yourself.
Peace And Quiet
Camping with the family can feel like a party. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it may not always be what you want. When you’re camping alone, you can really limit the sounds and activities that take up your attention. Fewer distractions allow you more of a chance to relax and recharge.
If you’re someone who needs their alone time, camping is a fantastic way to get it. You can sit around the fire, enjoying just the sounds of nature without having to worry about making conversation. It’s just you and the wilderness until you’re ready to return to a world of socialization.
It’s at these times that you can focus on things that generally are not “two-player” activities like writing in your journal, or even taking a shot at writing poetry or song lyrics. The world’s your oyster.
As much as we love our friends and families, spending a little time on your own once in a while is good for your mental health. One of the reasons people love camping is because it allows them to get away from the responsibilities of daily life.
Camping alone extends that aspect beyond getting away from bills and work. You also don’t have to worry about entertaining anyone else. For example, parents out there know that camping with their kids can be a blast, but it can also require a lot of work. SO much work. We only have a 11 month old (at the time of this writing), but camping is no longer the simple affair that it used to be.
It’s All About You
Instead of having to worry about the needs of others, you can use your camping time to do what you want to do.
Want to spend the whole day fishing without listening to a choir of family members complaining about being bored? No problem. Just want to sit around the campfire all day long? Go for it!
Want to get up super early and go explore that waterfall? You’re the captain! I love that total freedom to do everything and nothing all at the same time.
There aren’t any rules when it comes to camping alone!
Enjoying Nature To The Fullest
Without any distractions, you can connect with nature in ways that may be difficult when other people are involved. Each sight and sound can be enjoyed for as long as you want, and without human noises getting in the way.
That might mean listening to the birds sing in the morning and staying in bed as long as you please. It could mean watching squirrels, deer, or other critters without having to keep little ones quiet to avoid scaring them off.
Is It Safe To Camp Alone?
There’s no denying that camping with other people is safer than camping alone. At a bare minimum, it means someone can help you if an accident should occur. When you’re camping alone, you’ll have to be more careful, plan more effectively, and make sure you have everything you need to stay as safe as possible.
Although it can be more dangerous, it’s still entirely possible to enjoy your camping trip alone safely. There are many people out there who enjoy camping alone for weeks at a time, so it can certainly be done!
Tips For Camping Alone Safely
When you camp alone, there can be a greater risk of getting lost or being injured for long periods of time. It’s harder to get help when you’re alone, so you’ll need to plan carefully to keep yourself safe when you’re out in the woods.
Use these tips as you plan your solo camping trip:
- Don’t Overdo It. Don’t start by spending weeks alone, hours away from your home. Take a look at your camping experience as it is right now. Try camping with fewer people, camping by yourself at a drive-up campground, or otherwise camping alone somewhere close to home.
- Keep Loved Ones Informed. Let at least one family member or friend know where you’re planning to go and for how long. You don’t have to be texting them during the entire trip, but make sure to let them know you made it to and from your camping spot safely.
- Check your skills. Do you know how to set up your tent alone? Cook your own food? Make a fire? If you need to brush up on any of these things, make sure to do so before you head out.
- Don’t take on too much. Try to limit what you’re packing, especially if you’re going to be doing any backpacking. Keep it simple and take care of one thing at a time. Excess stress and rushing yourself can lead to injury. While you may get to pack and unpack at your own pace, it can help to make those processes easier and quicker. Take a look at our article on making packing quicker and easier here.
- Be prepared for anything. Consider anything that might go wrong and prepare for it. That means bringing things like first aid kits, animal repellents, emergency devices, and anything else you think you might need to stay safe.
One option if you’re planning on going into the middle of the wilderness but you want to really disconnect but want to stay safe is to use a satellite messenger. This is a low-powered lightweight GPS option that is designed for those out in the wilderness and uses satellites for communication rather than cell towers.
I’ve never purchased one of these before, (they are pricy… you can spend well over $300 for one), but one example is the Spot X 2-Way communicator (Amazon), and another more expensive but better rated option is the Garmin inReach Mini.
You might not need these where you are going–but if you are planning on hiking into the backcountry, this or something like it may be the only way you can send a message out in an emergency.