The idea of hiking alone can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve found that when people go out on their own, they are more likely to push themselves harder and find a new passion for the outdoors.
Are you a woman and would like to go hiking alone? Great! Like thousands of other women, it is easy to fall into stereotypes and have reservations, but you will soon realise the best way to overcome any doubts is to just take the plunge, hit the trails, and discover the most beautiful landscapes!
Once you get past your initial reservations, you’ll see that hiking alone is a rewarding experience! And there are many options available to you to do it in the best conditions!
When you are a woman and want to travel alone, you often come up against incomprehension. The subject remains delicate for many and is fed by the media that broadcast women’s misadventures going solo from time to time.
Travelling alone is not as scary as we would like to think! And remember, most hiking products are designed with your comfort in mind so you can enjoy every step of your solo journey with a bit of help too.
What Does The Data Suggest?
The number of individual hikers has skyrocketed, so if you are thinking about plunging into a solo hike, you are not alone! In 2020, 134.7% more hikers hit the trails in 2020 vs 2019 (950,733 vs 405,087). That’s a 12.97% increase from the combined total of 2016-2019 (950,733 vs 841,548).
According to a joint report released on February 12 by the AllTrails trail navigation app and the RunRepeat.com data analysis site, hiking will see explosive growth in the United States in 2020 and beyond.
RunRepeat.com examined over 7.9 million activities recorded on the AllTrails app since January 1, 2016, and discovered some intriguing findings. Among the key findings were that the number of hikes logged in 2020 increased 171.4 per cent over 2019, and the number of individual hikers increased 134.7 per cent over 2019. Furthermore, the average number of hikes logged per user (HPU) increased by 52.1 per cent in 2020 compared to the total for the entire four-year period from 2016 to 2019.
Why Are We Afraid To Be Alone In The Wilderness?
Is it the fear of the unknown? Or is it the fear that something will happen to us that we can’t control? Being alone in the wilderness can be a bit intimidating! And also, maybe someone has already told us one of those stories discouraging us from going hiking alone?
If we spent our time taking into account each other’s fears, we wouldn’t leave our homes… and we’d certainly miss out on some incredible experiences!
The world is what it is. But with a bit of preparation and following a few basic safety rules, there is absolutely no reason for a solo hike to go wrong!
Hiking Alone Is An Incredible Experience!
From fighting stereotypes to overcoming your fears to feeling empowered – solo hiking for women is almost a militant act!
Thousands of women travel alone and come back having achieved their dreams. Don’t let your fears win. Solo women’s hiking may be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!
Hiking is growing at an incredible rate. It’s expected to grow even faster than running over the next few years. More Americans are hitting the trail this year compared to last year. This means more opportunities for you to explore nature while meeting others who share similar interests.
Women make up only 7 per cent of all hikers, yet they account for 20 per cent of all hikes logged each month.
The Benefits Of Hiking Solo
Whether you’re taking a day hike close to home or embarking on a long-distance trail, going hiking alone has many benefits:
- Enjoy the silence! No one to talk to? Great! You have plenty of time to think about what’s important to you. Clear your head and leave room for your emotions, for the present moment, and to focus on what is most important: you!
- Walk at your own pace! Being on your own means you don’t have to wait for someone to lag behind or run behind others. There’s a nice spot past that lake, or just behind that big tree, and you want to rest for a while? Go for it!
- Do whatever you want on the trail! You are like me and like to take pictures? No worries, you can stop every 5 minutes if you want! Or is it your thing to sing when there’s no one around? Going on a hike alone allows you to do whatever you want! Absolutely anything.
- Gain confidence! When you go on a solo hike, you get to know yourself. You learn about your strengths and weaknesses, your hopes and dreams, your doubts and fears. Going hiking alone will give you more confidence and boost your self-confidence!
The Importance Of A Good Preparation
Good preparation is necessary for solo hiking. Do your research and find out as much as you can before you go.
Get some training
If you’ve never hiked for more than 3 hours at a time, it’s probably not the best idea to go hiking alone. You can do interval training on your own home before leaving or check out various trails close to where you live! For example, if you’re taking off for a weekend near the cottage, make sure to check out some trails in advance and walk them on your own. This will give you an idea of your limits and prepare you for that long hike!
Get fit and stay healthy
We all know it’s essential to eat right, sleep well, take care of our bodies… but it’s especially important when we’re hiking alone. Keep your strength up and avoid getting tired too quickly by eating well, resting enough, and staying in shape!
Get good equipment
Make sure your boots are broken in before setting off on a long hike. Do some research on the trail you plan to take and make sure you pack as light as possible, so carrying a heavy backpack doesn’t spoil your fun! And don’t forget: it’s without a doubt better to carry less than to risk being stuck out there halfway through the day with no water because you’ve picked too heavy a load!
Planning makes for a successful hike
Gather information about your destination beforehand. You’ll know where there is water along the way, how far it is between each source of food.
Now let’s get into the details of preparation. What are the essential steps for a successful solo hike?
Learn about the trail
Length, elevation gain, type of terrain. By covering all of these points, not only will you be familiar with the trail, but you’ll also know how to continue your preparations! For example, knowing what kind of gear to bring, what time to leave to arrive before dark, etc.
Know the weather
What are the expected weather conditions for your hike? Check the weather forecast several times before you leave so that you are prepared. The best advice I can give you is to bring all-weather clothing! If you’re going to the mountains, the weather can change suddenly, and a beautiful sunny day can quickly turn into a thunderstorm in minutes! Even if it’s not raining, but cloudy, cold, or even snowy! You can find the weather forecast in most places.
Finding your way on the trail
When it comes to orientation, if you’re using your phone to get your bearings, be sure to bring an external battery in case you run out! However, I highly recommend bringing a map and a compass in case you need them…
Afraid of getting lost? If you are well prepared, have a good hiking app on your phone, and have a map and compass, it is very unlikely that you will get lost. If it happens anyway, keep calm. Where was your last known location? Can you get back there? Normally, you should be able to find the trail on your own very quickly.
Equip yourself for a solo hike
The equipment you will take with you must be adapted to the trail you wish to hike and weather conditions. In addition to a map and a compass, think about a first aid kit. Hiking alone also means having to deal with “emergencies” on your own! Do not forget to have a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Make sure you leave your itinerary with someone at home if you are going hiking for several days… This way, it’ll be easier for them to find help in case of an emergency!
Warn your relatives
Finally, the last point, inform your family before leaving. Tell them when you expect to return, tell them which route you plan to follow, and ask their permission to go hiking by yourself. It may seem like overkill, but they might actually feel safer knowing that you are a safe while away from home.
It’s great to go hiking alone, but it’s a good idea to inform a few people of your itinerary and your return date. If you don’t do this, it’s very unlikely that anyone will come looking for you if you’re injured or lost. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
If you have any good tips and tricks about hiking alone… please share them in the comments below! Happy trails 🙂