Advice for first time "solo camper"

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Terrapin, Oct 20, 2017.

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Do you prefer...

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  3. Backpacking

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  1. Primordial

    Primordial Supporter Supporter

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    A lot of solid advice above. Reality will set in as you sit solo around your fire. It's at this point you should let you mind take it's own solo trip. As you gaze into the flames while being engulfed by the darkness, you might be amazed at where your thoughts will lead you when you have no one else to converse with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  2. THRsucks

    THRsucks Scout

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    Congrats on making the leap! Solo stuff...wow! Lots of time to think and reflect. Early nights and early mornings can be an adjustment. :)

    Good call on leaving the hatchet I think.
    The saw is far quieter too, and in what can seem like dead silence a hatchet can sound like a gun to your ear as you acclimate to the instant reduction in noise pollution, lol.

    I think the advice of "dont over think It" like another member said was very honest advice. It isn't frightening or scary, in fact, it's probably safer than your home in some respects. Just enjoy yourself, and be safe.
     
  3. jswi2374

    jswi2374 Scout Bushclass I

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    I got this lantern for $6 at WalMart. Fueled, it weighs less than one pound. I find it to be very comforting to have a light burning all night, just to mark my camp. No need to get lost while answering natures call in the middle of the night!
    022017.jpg
     
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  4. Primordial

    Primordial Supporter Supporter

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    A trick that I do for what you just mentioned is this. I buy a pack a of those chem lights. I just snap a light stick in the evening and hang it at camp. They glow for about 6 hours and will last you all night long. Plus they weigh almost nothing and take up almost no space.
     
  5. 138zacvining

    138zacvining Feral bearded man Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm the same way
     
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  6. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    One of my tarp tie-outs is reflective, and I often put a piece on my pack zippers (or they have it already sewn in somewhere) and sleeping bag zippers. Quick shot with the light steers me right back if I'm that disoriented.
     
  7. Buck Filbey

    Buck Filbey Tinder Gatherer

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    I used to backpack the north Georgia mountains and up into North Carolina in the winter. My heavy pack weighed 40 lbs. I was hardly a minimalist. I sleep in a down mummy bag on a foam pad in a bivi sack. My tent is a free standing three person dome. I have an old aluminum coffee pot, a Svea stove, 1 qt fuel flask, a small repair kit, hygiene kit, a small first aid kit, extra socks and enough clothes to sleep warm with everything on in the sleeping bag. I boil water and prepare food in the coffee pot.

    If I understand correctly we are talking about an overnight. How much entertainment do you need? Axe?, Hammock? Four Poster bed? Suspension Bridge? Oh heck no! You are moving through the woods and enjoying nature not homesteading. (I have no problem with homesteading) but id you try and build a lean to, chairs, stone fireplace in a national forest or park and the rangers will have something to say to you. With a stove you are not loosing our night vision. Organize your gear at home and get it out and repack it several times at home so you are familiar with it and where it is.

    A big cup is also handy.

    cheers!
     
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  8. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    As a long time and long term solo walker and ski-tourer the only advice I can give you [ I mean you don't need to be told about gear or clothing after all] is to be just a little more cautious and just a little slower and triple check rather than simply double check
    Also do not skimp on the comfort and I agree with Buck in the post above, I always take a big cup
     
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  9. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    Wife and were speaking about this a few weeks back, She mentioned if I wanted to start camping solo I should start by trying a night in our yard. I know, (Pictures to prove it) we've had Mt. lions in my yard, coyotes, possums skunks, raccoons, neighbors dog, and of course our cats all in my yard. Everything smaller than the Mt Lion, I'm not worried about. However, as comfortable as my sleeping bag is, having my bed 40 yards away would be too much to deal with so I haven't camped in my yard it.
     
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  10. Desert_bushcraft

    Desert_bushcraft Tracker

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    Personally, I bring a pair of ear buds/headphones so I can drown out those things that go bump in the night. Get a app on your phone to play white noise or download some soothing music, whatever will help you sleep. One thing to keep in mind is that most animals will stay away as long is there is no food or enticing aromas and fire is the number one deterrent.
     
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  11. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    I am following your logic and I think that (for most people) spending a night in the back yard would be a good idea... Not for me. I live just outside of Chicago and the idea of sleeping in my back yard seems much more dangerous than any other place I can think of. The four legged creatures are not my concern... Just the two legged ones. Thanks, Aaron
     
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  12. Rikvanwinkle

    Rikvanwinkle Tracker

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    I’m terrible at solo. I️ am so much better with friends or the dog but solo is so hard for me! No one to keep me pushing no one to know your struggle. Solo is not as fun for me . It will test you way more mental than physical hands down!
     
  13. Phisikos

    Phisikos Scout

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    Did a 14mi loop in 2 leisurely nights for my first solo trip. I knew going into it that maybe this wouldn't be for me but I had to try it. I fell in love with it! Having nobody else there to worry about allowed me to enjoy just doing my own thing. I ended up making great time and setting up my camps really early so as not to finish the whole loop in 1 night.

    This extra free time definitely had me a little bored but the first night I used that time to make an awesome chair out of sticks and some Paracord, and the second night saw me with time to kill before dark... I was at a premade site so fire wood was limited so I just sat by a creek silently for I think about an hour but it may have well been somewhere between 15 min and 5 hours lol. It was a kind of peace I hadn't ever felt, made me understand hunters better.

    Now don't get me wrong, I love having a friend and generally prefer company, but I intend to get it solo at least once a summer. This first solo trip was my second ever... That first trip brought some painful lessons with it, so this time I knew what I was getting into, had a nice pack, and a much much lighter set of gear.

    My first solo trip was when I really fell in love with backpacking. Don't get nervous about being alone... Get excited, whatever happens and whatever you see/experience will be just for you!

    But go easy on the whiskey!
     
  14. NYWanderer

    NYWanderer Supporter Supporter

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    +1 knowing when to bail is key. Just did itmyself last week.

    Also keep keep knife and ax play to a minimum, particularly when tired.

    Batoning is your friend.

    I almost always go solo.

    Never overdo it, always err on the side of caution.

    Go slow on the descents.

    Being alone you experience things differently.

    I find a solo overnight better then church for recharging my spirit.
     
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  15. redcanoe

    redcanoe Tracker

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    I love solo trips. Somehow we've gotten to this weird place culturally where being silent or quiet or alone gets perceived as frightening and threatening. I think you'll find it rewarding and healing.

    If it was me I'd embrace the solitude and not bring a bunch of distractions...books, music, phones, electronics. Hopefully where you travel you can get out of cell range. All That Stuff has such hooks in us...this is the chance to leave it behind and see what else there is. Set it up so you don't fill your time with being 'busy' either..it's just another way of avoiding being with yourself.

    If you can set up a longer trip someday do it, for me it takes a good week or ten days to just unpack all the noise and clutter in my head. That's sort of when a good trip starts, but I know it's hard scraping together that kind of time.

    And while it's mostly a friendly world, it is unforgiving of mistakes. So take your time. You've got lots of time. Think things through and be methodical and mindful in your movement and actions. Being safe is sort of meditative actually, just being present in the moment is I think about 90 percent of it. What's the weather like down there? Don't let yourself get too cold.

    It was interesting seeing your gear list. For me, I'd have ditched the stove and fuel canister and taken the emberlit, I love mine. That's if I was somewhere where it was appropriate to use twig fuel. I'd probably skip the tent and take the tarp and just take the beater Mora.

    Have so much fun.
     
  16. hunter63

    hunter63 Bushmaster

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    So....Lots of planning....Did you go out yet?
     
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  17. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Tracker

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    I started out camping in the boy scouts but in adulthood most of my camping trips have been solo.
    I really like camping alone, it tests your skills. I'm about to talk about all the dangers of backpacking alone, but its not really that dangerous.

    Being alone with the things that go bump in the night really isn't a big deal. If you make enough noise the wildlife will know you are there and leave you alone.

    There are a few places to avoid when camping alone. swampy river banks and the thick brush near creeks are places where you can surprise and bump into wild hog, bears and alligators and heavy mosquito swarms. Fortunately alligators and bears are not often in the same country.
    Bears will usually leave you alone if they know you are there. bumping into them and scaring them in thick bushes is much more dangerous than just being in the woods with them.
    Alligators are far more dangerous than bears because they don't have a instinctive fear of man as a specific predator like bears do, you're just a really big animal to them. But they don't like to go far from the riverbanks. if you make camp 20 ft about the river, you shouldn't see alligators in camp. Mosquitoes are a lot worse in the river bottoms too.
    Don't sleep next to where you cook and eat if you are worried about bears or hogs entering your campsite at night
    When hiking alone, you really have to look out for snakes. Generally a snake wont try to bite you unless you corner it and try to kill it or if you step on it.
    So that's how to deal with wildlife.

    As for the rest of safety goes, leaving the hatchet at home is a good idea. heavy wood processing with hatchets and axes can cause bad injuries.

    You also need to be a little more careful when hiking. You have to make sure you don't twist your ankle in a place where no one will ever find you. Yeah, there are some rough terrains that I just wont attempt when I'm alone. A twisted ankle is the biggest danger you can face alone in the woods.

    Hiking alone also requires solid navigational skills if you get lost you wont have anyone else to grab the map and figure out where you are.

    When backpacking alone, you need a solid fire kit, and plenty of insulation. You need to have a sleeping bag and/or pair of dry clothes that are completely waterproofed in your pack in case you get completely wet in the cold. If that happens when you're alone no one will make you a fire and no one will have a blanket for you. Making a flint and steel or friction fire is cool, but have a cigarette lighter as well just in case.

    There are some dangers to backpacking alone but it can be done safely if you have the skills and are willing to play it safe. Not taking unnecessary risks does not mean you don't have big balls, it just means you don't need a helicopter to come save you because you were a dumb ass.
     
  18. dirt7

    dirt7 Tracker

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    I take several solo trips every year, they are a great way to clear your mind without distractions.

    Be safe! I try to be aware of my surroundings, watch every step, and be especially careful when using anything sharp.

    Build a big fire, they have always made me feel comfortable and gathering wood is a great way to keep yourself busy.

    Pack in a beer or two.

    Bring a book, kindle, etc. I tend to get bored easily and it is a nice way to pass the time.

    Have fun!
     

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