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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 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 efficiency of sharing load for stoves, tents and other common items. It's easy - and dangerous - to become overloaded when yours is only backpack. You might want to read up on ultralight backpacking.
Solo backpacking is riskier, but for some of us, it's well worth risk. Try it, and you might agree. Just be sure to take 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