Seven Solo Backpacking TipsWritten by Steve Gillman
Solo backpacking means peace and quiet. No one to talk to means no words are put between you and 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 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 bottom of your pack so it won't bother you.
3. Bring 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.
The Joy Of Solo BackpackingWritten by Steve Gillman
Have you ever gone solo backpacking? If you have, you'll probably agree that it isn't a matter of it being better or worse than backpacking with friends. It's just a different activity altogether.
When you go backpacking with others, it's a social event. You enjoy scenery, feel good hiking trails, and you get to know people in a different setting than usual. There's usually a lot of talking, and you feel relatively safe as part of a group. It's a good experience.
Solo Backpacking Trips
When you are alone in wilderness, it's different. There is a peacefulness that can never be there when you're with others. With nobody to talk to, you stop defining everything and start seeing things more directly.
I remember sitting by an alpine lake at 12,000 feet in Sierra Nevadas, after not seeing anyone for two days. The sun was shining, and silence was broken only by clatter of rocks falling from cliffs above. I was relaxed, and I felt like it was most beautiful place on earth. It isn't same when I'm with friends.
It's also true that there's an "edge" to solo backpacking. There is nobody there to help you if you run into trouble. The grizzly outside my tent in Wyoming, or rockslide in front of me in Colorado - these things were felt viscerally. You become very aware of how vulnerable you are. This is an interesting experience - but not a bad one.