Have you ever wanted to go hiking but none of your friends could make it? Don’t let your fear of hiking solo keep you indoors; here are some tips for women hiking alone.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped out on hiking plans because I didn’t want to go alone. By nature, I consider myself a pretty social person. I’m an ambivert, while I do enjoy some alone time, I also thrive in group activities. If something’s fun, I want to share it with someone. That and my parent’s age-old “You should never…” idioms crept in. Well, I’m happy to tell you I overcame my fear of hiking solo and you can too. Just be smart about it. Here are my top tips for women hiking alone.
Here Are My Tips for Women Hiking Alone
I’ll spare you my solo story. While I’d like to tell you that my first solo hike was one for the books, that I conquered the Narrows in Zion National Park, I didn’t. But that doesn’t make me less proud of my accomplishment. I hope you will be too.
1. Pick a Popular, Well-Marked Trail
This should go without saying but choose a well-traveled trail that’s easy to follow. This way, you aren’t truly alone and you won’t get lost along the way. You’d be surprised at how friendly fellow hikers are. Who knows? You might even meet someone new. If you’d like, you can even pick somewhere you’ve been before and stay on the trail. Furthermore, keep your eyes open for trail markers and take pictures of any specific standout sights or junctions to help you find your way back.
2. Tell Someone Where You Are Going In Advance
Before you embark on your first (or next) solo hike, let some friends or family know where you are going in advance or when. Tell them how long you expect to be gone. Call them when you get back. If you want to be extra safe, you can get yourself a SPOT Transponder. ‘What the heck is that?’ you ask. Well, it’s a satellite GPS messenger that allows you to send pre-determined messages to your loved ones. If something goes wrong, you can send a help signal to your direct location to emergency responders.
3. Don’t Push Yourself Too Far
This statement could be applied physically, mentally, or geographically. Go ahead. Challenge yourself. Make yourself proud. Just make sure you know your limits. Don’t attempt to complete a marathon-length trek for your first solo hike. When you’re too tired, mistakes happen more often. There’s no need to push yourself way past your comfort level in one hike.
4. Come Prepared
Make sure you have more than enough food and water. Stay hydrated. It’s also a good idea to wear sunscreen, bring sunglasses, a headlamp, and an extra layer of clothing in case the weather should change. We highly recommend bringing a good hydration pack for your travels.
5. Trust Your Instincts
If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut instincts; they’re usually right. Do you think it’s too late to keep going? Then turn around. You don’t want to be hiking in the dark alone. It’s harder to find your way back on the trail and more often than not, there’s no guard rail on a high up trail.
Do you feel nervous about a suspicious individual who gave you some weird looks? Then be on the defensive. Never doubt your intuition. Solo hiking isn’t the time to take these types of risks; use your judgment. There is a really great quote that says: “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. It’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
6. Plan Your women hiking
Make sure to plan your hike in advance so you know what lies ahead of you. This way, you’ll have an idea of what’s around you, where to go, and what landmarks to look for along the way. Know how long the hike should take you, what you should take on your journey, and what the terrain will look like. Print out maps and download them on your phone as well. Furthermore, there are also offline navigation tools you can use. Charge your phone all the way and bring a charging phone case or external phone charging pack.
7. Dress Appropriately
We highly recommend dressing in layers. Wear tank tops under a light flannel or jacket, athletic leggings, and socks that will prevent your shoes from rubbing. It’s also a good idea to wear hiking shoes that have already been broken in. Take your shoes and wear them on a weekend or a quick day trip at least to make them more comfortable before your big trip. You can thank us later.
8. Test out Your Equipment at Least a Week in Advance
This advice goes hand in hand with the tip we just gave. Break all of your gear in before you go on your solo hike. When you are hiking alone, your gear should be as ready as you are. Here are just a few examples: Gear should be free of rust, every fastener on your packs should work well, clothes and shoes should be free of holes, make sure all your gadgets work.
9. Always Check the Weather Reports
Don’t trust the app on your phone. Websites like AccuWeather are much more accurate. When choosing places to travel solo, always make sure to investigate several weather reports. AccuWeather predicts accurate temperatures, weather pressure systems, and other important atmospheric conditions. Another great site to use is Mountain Forecast. This predicts the weather on many mountain peaks around the USA. The forecasts can even be filtered by altitude. For every 1,000 feet you climb in elevation, the temperature and forecast changes.
10. Visit Every Ranger Station
This is one of the best tips for women hiking alone. Mark your route to the nearest ranger stations. Make sure to tell them what your name is, how long you plan on hiking, and what time and day you think you will be back. Give them the phone number of your emergency contact in case you don’t return on time.
This way, someone will be sure to notice if you get too far off track. Rangers are also a wealth of information. They can inform you of the safest places for single female travelers, warn you about wildlife, or any dangerous hiking routes.
11. Build Out Your First Aid Kit Carefully
This should be obvious. Bring a first aid kit with you. Make sure it’s well-stocked with anything you might need. Bandages, gauze, Neosporin, and disinfectants should be in at a minimum. Tools for a splint are very useful too. Women hiking alone should prepare this kit more carefully than those traveling in a group. According to WEM Journal, the most common injuries during climbing are to the ankles and thighs.
Why is a first aid kit so important? Think about it. When you’re hiking solo, you can’t rely on anyone else. In the event you became sick or injured, you need to have everything within reach. It’s important to bring all the emergency items you think you may need.
12. Never Listen to Loud Music During A Hike
Don’t wear headphones. Make sure your music isn’t loud. Wearing earbuds during a hike can be extremely dangerous. Even during day hikes, you need to be aware of everything around you. When you’re listening to music, you can’t hear the wolf howling nearby, the tree cracking before falling, or rattlesnake giving off a warning. You’re also missing out on one of the best parts of the hike – simply tuning into nature.
13. Keep Your Cell Phone Charged
We mentioned this briefly earlier, but it’s worth elaborating on. For women hiking alone, it’s important to have a backup plan. We advise you not to rely on your electronics too much. However, it is still very important to take your smartphone with you. Is hiking your passion? You can even buy a specific brand. Snopow and Blackview are great for those who spend a lot of their time out in the wild. These brands are known for having a great battery life, water and dust protection, and shock-proof bodies.
14. Know How to Transmit an Emergency Signal
This is another critical tip for women hiking alone. Never embark on a trip without knowing how to call for help. There are many ways to transmit an emergency signal. One of them is through a GPS messenger. This is even better to have with you than an expensive smartphone. These tools save so many lives every year. Many GPS messengers have two main functions. First, inform your friends and relatives you need assistance. Second, you can use it to contact 911 in the case of an emergency.
In fact, if you have a GPS messenger, you don’t need to bring your smartphone. It can never hurt to be a little overprepared though. These location trackers are conveniently pocket-sized, stay connected wherever you roam, and have a very long battery life. They are a perfect choice for beginning hikers, intermediates, and experts alike.
Another good thing to do is learn how to use emergency flares and signal mirrors. These are easy to transport and can save your life. They are especially necessary for dangerous areas like wild animals’ natural habitats or mountain trails. Last but certainly not least, you should also know how to transmit SOS signals with fire and flashlights.
Stay Safe Out There. Take Advantage of These Tips for Women Hiking Alone
We hope you learned some good tips from this article. Your safety is so important. For women hiking alone, you can never be too prepared or too cautious. Let us know about your solo hiking stories below.
Related Article: Best Hiking Sandals For Your Adventures