1. Preparation is a must
From your trekking poles to navigational tools, you want to ensure that you're well-prepared for your hike. Even when you're not hiking solo, preparation is still a crucial part of any hike, but even more so now that you're hiking by yourself.
Even if you're hiking on a trail that you're familiar with, it's better to err on the side of caution and prepare a little bit extra. Since it's your first time hiking solo, you have to figure out what you need and then dial down as you go along and do it more frequently. Therefore, preparing everything beforehand is key to giving you the capacity to figure out what you need.
Almost everything in this list will be talking about or is in some way related to your preparation. That's why planning your hiking trip is one of the essential safety tips that you have to take to heart when planning a solo hiking trip.
2. Choose a well-maintained trail
To help get you used to solo hiking, you should choose a trail that isn't too remote and should have a well-maintained path.
Even if you think that you are an advanced hiker, it's all about having enough space to get a running start on your dip into hiking by yourself. Thus, you should start by hiking solo on a trail that you're sure you're going to do well no matter what and work from there.
A well-maintained trail won't have too many surprises in store for you. Simultaneously, it will be a lot easier to follow the path, so there are no risks of getting lost along the way.
Therefore, if you plan on hiking solo peacefully for the first time, choosing a well-maintained trail is the way to go.
3. Don't reach beyond capacity
Depending on how your preparation for your hike goes, make sure that you don't bite off more than you can chew.
A hiking trip that might have been manageable when you had people with you could be a lot more difficult when you're no one else to rely on but yourself. The location and conditions will also affect how comfortable the hiking trip will be.
It might not be ideal to go on a month-long hiking trip for your first time hiking by yourself. You should start gradually, just like how you used to start your hiking journey before. Take it a step at a time, which is a concept that hikers can relate to the most.
Again, even if you think that you're going to overcome the trail with ease, it's still best to be safe than sorry.
4. Bring the essentials
No matter who you're with or where you're going, it makes sense that you should have all the hiking essentials with you. Whether you bring any extras or not, it doesn't matter as long as you have these hiking essentials with you.
Once you've dialed down on which hiking tools are your essentials, you can set out without being too worried about your hike. The following hiking essentials should help you out:
Extra food and water, along with a camp stove
Ways to filter water, like iodine or chlorine tablets
First aid kit
Physical navigation tools, like a compass, a waterproof map, and GPS
A shelter (tent) and some extra layers against the cold in the evenings
A fire starting kit
Sun protection. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are your go-to sun protection.
5. Check the weather
Much like with any hiking trip, it's also a good idea to check the weather before you go on your first hiking trip alone.
The weather can make an otherwise pleasant and easy hike into an absolute nightmare that you could have avoided. That's why you should check the weather days before and on the day of your hike.
The weather will dictate the clothes you should be wearing or bring with you and any other hiking equipment you would prepare. At the same time, it can affect the conditions of the trail you've chosen.
Therefore, reminding yourself to check the weather before the hike is always a good idea.
6. Be familiar with the area
When choosing the first hiking trail that you would like to take on alone, it's a good idea to go to a place that you're most familiar with.
There are already too many undefined variables at play when it's your first time hiking alone. You don't need to add an extra challenge to it by tackling unfamiliar hiking trails too.
Aside from the safety factor of hiking somewhere familiar, there's also the ease and comfortability that comes with it. You know what you're getting yourself into and know which preparations you need to make before heading into it.
7. Inform someone about your trip
You should tell someone, like a good friend or your family, when you're about to go on a solo hiking trip. You don't only tell them about the fact that you're going on a solo hiking trip.
It would be best to let your family know about the following:
How long this hiking trip will take you
Which points you're going to be camping at
Expected timeline of you being in contact with them
These critical pieces of information are crucial should an emergency happens, and nobody has any means of contacting you out in the wilderness.
Hiking solo requires more care and preparation on your part since you don't have anyone you can rely on while out on the trail. It can be scary, but it can also be exciting.
Still, with adequate preparation and keeping in mind the seven safety tips listed above, you should have a less frightening time on your first hike.
After your first solo hike, you'll find a new sense of self-assuredness and confidence that you wouldn't have had otherwise.
This post was written by Geraldine.