Hiking alone can bring many benefits to your physical and mental health. It is a great chance to discover new places by yourself and focus on your inner world without the intrusion of others. The main rules of safe solo hiking are preparedness and as little spontaneity as possible. To help you with that, you can find extensive info on preparation and essential equipment in this guide for backpackers and hikers.
And in this article, you’ll find a guide on how to prepare yourself for a solo hike, so it becomes a harmless adventure for you.
Ask an Expert
If you decide to hike in the area that you are very familiar with, you can organize the adventure by yourself. But if your destination is yet to be explored, the help of an expert will be very handy.
For instance, if you have never been to Machu Picchu or Bhutan but decide to hike there, it will be better to contact such agencies as Kandoo Adventures. They will explain to you which places you should see and which pitfalls can await you there. So your hiking experience is as safe as possible.
Familiarize Yourself with the Area
Before you hit the road alone, you need to familiarize yourself with the place where you hike. You can Google the terrain or check the map. It will help you not to get lost, and you will know better what to expect from your hiking.
You should check which trails you can take in advance. Some of them might be too long and dangerous for solo hiking. And you might need to choose shorter and safer ones.
Check the Weather Forecast
You should check weather reports before undertaking a hike. Also, it would be best if you checked the weather patterns in the area where you go. So, even if the forecast is wrong, heavy rain or a snowstorm doesn’t catch you completely off guard.
Your clothes should mainly depend on the weather. If the area where you hike is often rainy, you should take a raincoat and an extra set of dry clothes. If it’s boiling, cover your head and wear a light outfit made of natural materials. If it’s freezing, don’t be afraid to dress like an onion.
The duration of your solo hike also depends on the weather. Don’t take long trips alone on very hot days. If you start feeling bad because of the heat, there might be no one around to help. Hiking by yourself when it snows can also be very dangerous. You should do long hikes only in mild weather when the risk of getting dehydrated, sunburned, or frostbitten is minimized.
Find a Busy Trail and Stick to It
Even if you want to hike by yourself, you should choose a trail where other people go. This will ensure your safety while hiking. You don’t have to strike up conversations with people around you. But they can help a lot if you get injured. It is always good if there is someone on the same trail to give you a hand in a critical situation.
Also, it would be best if you always stuck to the trail you choose. It is very easy to get disoriented and lost when you hike cross country. If your map reading skills are not impeccable, it’s better not to take a risk and stay on a proven route.
Don’t Go for Beautiful Clothes, But Comfortable Ones
Very often, while starting a new adventure, people want to take beautiful pictures for their Instagram. There is nothing wrong with that. But the clothes you wear should not be Instagramable; they should be comfortable. Don’t wear an outfit that will look nice in your selfies, but choose one that will protect you from the heat, excessive sweating, or insects.
Many people make the mistake of not taking long-sleeve T-shirts when they hike on a hot day. But a light cotton shirt or T-shirt that covers your arms will protect you from sunburns, mosquito bites, scratches, and even injuries.
Not all of us like hats. Some people believe they don’t look nice wearing them. Don’t think about beauty when you go hiking. A cap or a bandana will protect you from heat exhaustion. It will also not let the sweat drip into your eyes.
Don’t feel ashamed while wearing a lot of clothes when you go hiking in winter. Remember to take thermal underwear, socks, and gloves. It will prevent you from getting frostbitten.
Hiking alone can be an excellent adventure. But you should plan it very carefully. There are many things that you have to include in your plan: the weather, the clothes you wear, the area where you go, and the trail you choose. Don’t hesitate to contact an expert if the place where you plan to hike alone is unfamiliar to you. Make your solo hiking as pleasant and as safe as possible!
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