Last Updated: February 7th, 2020
What that rustling outside? Should I go out? Is it that bear everyone was talking about?
Oh, why did I come alone? Will my FRONTIERSMAN Bear Spray work?
Hold on my friend. We know there are a lot of dangers of hiking alone. This entire post will walk you through each one of them and how to tackle.
So keep calm and enjoy…
Benefits Of Solo Hiking
Hiking solo is an exhilarating experience. It will
- Improve your spiritual health
- Sharpen your outdoor skills like reading a compass
- Let you do the hike on your own pace
- Your mind will get seasoned with a new challenge
- You will come face to face with your own fears
- An 1 on 1 with Mother Nature herself
- You can say – “I did it alone and without any help” (A very proud moment)
Dangers Of Hiking Alone
You will face mainly two types of problem with yourself
The First one is emotional and the second one is physical.
Nagging Feeling of Being Alone
When you travel in a group or with a partner, you can share
Whether you are happy, sad or overwhelmed, there is always someone you can turn to.
However, when you are
So, no matter
This can be a daunting feeling as this can lead to anxiety and stress.
Just don’t find this out the hard way. I would suggest that you go for a very short day-hike.
If you enjoy that, then gradually try to increase the duration.
Stress and Anxiety
Whether you are a PRO or a beginner, the trails have a weird way of getting to you.
With a small rustling in the nearby bush, you can become extremely stressed, only to find a small squirrel pass by.
When you are stressed, you will make mistakes, which you may not have made otherwise.
If you start getting stressed, just take a couple of deep breaths until you calm down.
You are the only one who is carrying your hiking backback.
It will have at-least some kind of shelter, some kitchenware, hiking gears, first aid and navigation kit.
This can be a lot of load if you are carrying it for a long time.
With a partner around, you can share your load, but since you are alone, you will not be able to do that.
And you will getting exhausted carrying the load around.
Over Relying On Technology
Technology is a boon and a curse to the modern world.
It has simplified our life in a lot of ways but has made us less self-reliant.
If we face any problem, we head straight to Google, without giving much of a thought.
Every problem of ours has an app in our mobile.
But in the wild, you will not have access to Google and your mobile phone may not work.
What will you do?
Figure out a way to deal with your problems without technology
Learn to read a physical map and a compass.
Try to anticipate the problems that you may face and devise a plan to tackle them.
When hiking alone, you will have no one to consult with. Getting lost is a common problem among hikers.
As per the news, every year many
But don’t let this deter you. Carry a good GPS system with you. Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator is one of the best in the market today.
It comes with support for multiple types of map and a pretty accurate compass.
Don’t only rely on your GPS. Learn to navigate yourself as-well.
Learn to read some basic gadgets like maps and a compass like Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Army Aluminum Alloy Compass.
They are inexpensive and can be a life saver. Compass Dude does a very good job in this matter.
The information is targeted towards the beginners and the best part it, it is FREE!
S – Stop
T – Think
O – Observe
P – Plan
Only thing is, don’t lose your nerve. That will cause
With the above preparations, you will be equipped to handle any situation. So, have faith in yourself.
Forgetting To Carry The Essentials
This is where proper planning comes into play.
You must plan your trip well in advance.
Prepare a checklist of the items that you need
Loan or Purchase them. Match them repeatedly with your checklist.
Be sure that you are carrying everything before you start on the trip.
Human attacks are a potential threat to hikers and more so if you are a solo hiker.
This is more
Be polite to people but not friendly.
Also, don’t tell anyone you are
Carrying a pepper
Here are the types of human problems that you can face:
- People acting Wierd
- Verbal Abuse
- Not following Trail etiquette
Animal attacks are
However, they rarely attack without any reason.
They will do so if they are protecting themselves, their young or their food.
There are three big ones to look out for:
- Cougars or Mountain Lions
The best thing you can do is to educate yourself about them
Where they live? How they function and how they react?
These animals have a strong sense of smell and are attracted to food in general.
So, as a precaution, have your meal a mile or two ahead of your camping site.
Store the smell-able items securely.
This should solve most of your problems.
Venomous snakes like
If you are venturing into their territory, be careful where you place your foot. Avoid rocks, logs or shrubs.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Before they strike, as a warning,
However, snakes are scared of human and big animals. They generally will hide, even before you notice them.
If you happen to meet one on the trails, give them a lot of space. Allow them to pass before continuing.
In case of Attack
Know the kind of snakes that are present in that hiking trail. Unfortunately, if you get bitten by a venomous one, you will still have
The place of
Take off any tight cloth covering that area and wash it properly with water and soap.
Keep the wound lower than your heart
Try to get medical attention within 30 min of the bite. If not, tie a piece of cloth
Don’t try to suck out the poison or make an incision. This will cause you more harm than good.
Insects bites are common when you are hiking. Being a little careful can prevent you from getting bitten
You should lookout for insects like:
You can deal effectively with Tick and mosquitoes using repellent containing 20-30% DEET.
Wear long sleeve clothes
Also, check yourself thoroughly frequently. Ticks generally prefer warmer areas of your body.
So check armpits, behind the knees, ears, waist
Also, be careful with Spiders. They seem to be non-harming and small.
However some of them like brown recluse and the black widow are very poisonous.
Avoid going near bright flowers or wearing bright clothes.
Also, avoid sweet smelling lotions or perfumes.
That way you will be able to avoid unwanted attention from bees and spiders.
In case of attack, follow
You may have prepared well and planned your hike during a calm and stable weather.
But mother nature can play spoil sport anytime.
She may test you with
- Falling Rocks
- Falling Trees
You can do very little when you face a natural disaster.
However, being prepared can make the impact lesser.
Setup camps in safer areas.
Avoid high places, open places, close to cliffs, under large tree branches, or close to creeks
Injuries are a part of the trails. No matter how careful you are, injuries are always a possibility.
If the trail is well groomed, chances of sustaining an injury is minimal but still it can happen anytime.
Severe Sun Burn
If you continuously forget to apply sunscreen you will end up with a bad sun burn.
Your skin will start getting blisters and you can get headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration.
Have lots of fluid, avoid sun and apply Aloe Vera gel. Also, take some medicine from the paracetamol family.
Bug Bites/Animal Attack
If needed get medical help immediately
The most frequent injury from hiking
Also, wear a properly fitted shoe and anti-blister socks like Balega Blister Resist No Show Socks
If you still get them, let them breathe as often as possible. Or, put some sort of band-aid or tape on it.
Avoid wearing cotton undergarments. Synthetic ones are fine.
Also, before you start your hike, apply some body glide like Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm.
It is a mixture of anti-antiperspirant and zinc oxide. This will help you avoid chafing.
Yes! they are a thing and you may get it if you are hiking above 8000 ft.
This is caused by less amount of oxygen in the air and reduced air pressure.
Symptoms include vomiting, headaches, insomnia, and a lack of coordination.
This way you will give a lot of time to your body to get adjusted to the change in atmosphere.
If your body cannot take it and the discomfort becomes unbearable, hike down to a lower altitude
You can get muscle cramps for a lot of reasons like lack of electrolytes in the muscle, dehydration or strain.
Take lot of fluids and fruits. Also, before starting the hike, do some stretching.
Tips For Safety
We have seen most of the dangers that you will face on a trail.
However, to maximize your safety, you need to follow these guidelines:
- Know the area
- Tell someone of your whereabouts
- Check in at the ranger station
- Read the weather report
- Choose a busy trail
- Know your limitations
- Stick to the path
- Bring supplies
- Make sure your vehicle is serviced and suitable for the trail
- Listen to that nagging voice in the back of your head
Solo Hiking can be a liberating experience. However, it brings with it, its own set of challenges.
Plan properly and stay safe. No matter what, enjoy the experience.
What is your experience with solo hiking?
What did we miss? Let us know in the comment section below.
And remember, sharing is caring.