7 tips for women hiking alone in the wild.
I hike alone. Honestly, sometimes, I got lost, fell, and bruised. I admit I was scared and confused. However, I always find myself back on the right track and go home safe and sound.
When I look back, I often say, it was a beautiful day. Well, I look forward to the next day. Why do I want to hike alone? I love the time spent alone when hiking. It helps me gather my thoughts, and organize them.
Nevertheless, never go hiking when you are not ready. Here are some tips that will be useful when you feel like hitting the trail alone:
Hiking alone is no joke. Especially that I am a woman, it is scary sometimes. I make sure that before I hit the trail, I know the weather forecast, test my hiking equipment, and bring enough provisions. I always remind myself to bring only what I can carry.
I choose my outfit well. I need to wear clothes and footwear that does not only protect me from the harsh weather but is also comfortable enough for me to run fast when needed. However, letting your friends know about your activity and giving them an idea of your route is a big help when you are in big trouble.
It is tough to hike alone without any idea of what to do in times of emergency. So, let me share with you some common survival skills when you are hiking alone.
- Learn how to build a fire
You will freeze out there if you don’t know how to warm yourself. If your clothes are not enough to keep you warm, and you’re stuck for the night, you should know how to build a fire. Make sure to bring a tool to cut down wood for tinder. Bringing a backpacking axe is useful for this purpose.
- Learn how to set-up your shelter
Knowing how to pitch a tent or hang a hammock is useful when you need shelter during your hike. At some point, you need to stop and camp especially for long distance hiking. Learning how to set-up your shelter will provide a nook for you to rest.
- Learn First Aid
Bringing a first aid kit is not enough to address an emergency. I took a hiking first aid training before I started hiking solo. I should know what to do in case I twist my ankle, bump my head, or poisoned.
Being a woman does not mean I can allow myself to be vulnerable to attacks. Look up ideas on what to bring that you can use to protect yourself. I do have these ready in my backpack just in case:
- pepper spray
- Taser or stun gun
Before I earned the confidence to hike alone, I also took a basic self-defense class just to familiarize myself with moves that can possibly save my life when attacked. Here is a video sample of a women’s self-defense class:
When hiking alone, as much as possible, I pay attention to what’s going on around me. I listen to sounds and observe what I see. I am in alert mode if you like it that way. I just couldn’t afford to ignore any sign of danger when I am alone.
Hence, I don’t use headphones when I am hiking alone. I try always to keep my presence of mind and use my common sense.
Although I make sure to fully charge my mobile and bring an extra battery pack when hiking alone, there are times that it is hopeless to use them. Once, I hiked deeper into the woods, I lost all the communications. It’s a good thing that I brought the radio as a backup communication when my mobile fails me.
The ranger in charge of the area where I had my trail suggested to bring it with me so he can easily talk to me when needed.
Bring Your Dog
Our dogs are loyal and protective. Besides the fact that you can bond with them while exercising, they are most helpful to keep you away from danger. My dog is not aggressive, but the fact that he is big makes a stranger think twice before going near me. Aside from that, he can detect danger from a distance.
Relax and Enjoy
The purpose of hiking is to have fun. It is important that you will not forget that. The only way to enjoy your trip is to relax.
It is excellent to be prepared and skilled when outdoors. That means there is less to worry about when you are on the trail. Do you know that when your body and mind is relaxed, the quicker you can react to tight situations? You can think straight and has a higher rate of solving a problem.
Know Your Limits
It is okay to say NO. Who knows your limits better than yourself? When you find yourself in a situation that you can no longer handle, it is time for you to decide.
- Call for help. Use your phone or other means of communication when you badly need help. If you know some signs or signals to reach people for help, do so.
- It is not always too late to go back. Weather forecast sometimes is not accurate, or some incidents happen that would make your trip risky. Know when to give up. Try it some other time.
- Learn to run as fast as you can!
I did not mention the above ideas to scare you. I just want you to keep in mind that it is necessary when you are hiking alone. I am the proactive type of adventurer. I love long distance hiking, but I promise myself to go home safe and sound.
Therefore, before I started doing so, I made sure that I am capable of protecting myself. Hence, if you hesitate to hike because you are scared, remember only you can make it happen. Prepare yourself, learn some defense moves and set a goal. Who knows, I will bump into you one day!