Travelling is known to have a positive impact on one’s mental and physical health. Camping helps relieve anxiety and escape the noise of the city that surrounds you. It can also be a great way to strengthen relationships with family and friends. Sometimes, however, it also tests relationships as it tends to be a bit stressful. When camping with friends, especially when hiking, it is important to adjust to everyone’s pace. The slowest person in the group is normally put in front of the line so that he or she will be the one to set the speed. Whilst it is a generous consideration for slow-paced hikers, it can also be challenging for those who climb fast.
The good thing about camping alone is that it allows you to set your own pace. You won’t have to adjust to anyone but your own. Doing a solo camp will also allow you to be truly one with nature. Whilst socialisation makes for a fun adventure, it can also be a distraction for those who want to enjoy the serene atmosphere in the mountain. Solo camping, however, is riskier than traveling with friends or family, as there would be no one to accompany you or assist you when you get injured or incur an illness. Nevertheless, if you go well prepared and travel cautiously, you will reap more benefits from it. Essentially, these are the items that will help make the great outdoors less risky for solo travellers.
1. Navigation tools
It is important that you bring tools that will help you navigate the area. Anything can happen, even in an established campsite. You might get lost in the wilderness, and a navigation tool can be a life saver. A fellow camper may ask for help in finding his or her loved one. Whatever situation you’d have to face, bringing any or all of these tools will help you find your way: Global Positioning System (GPS) device If you don’t have a handheld GPS receiver, you can use your own phone to track your location. Digital maps, such as Google Maps, allow you to download a map so you can use it even when you’re offline. Unlike handheld GPS devices, smartphones are fragile and not made for outdoor travel. Proper casing would be needed to protect it against the rain or wet surfaces and to reduce the impact of falls.
Bringing a topographic map can help you understand the terrain that you will be exploring. It is important especially if your smartphone or GPS device runs out of power. Sadly, it is useless if you don’t know how to read or interpret it. You also have to be equipped with the right skills when using this map. Compass Smartphones and GPS devices are extremely useful, but they rely on batteries. Having a compass as a backup navigation tool will help you survive any unexpected incident. There are some compasses equipped with a sighting mirror that you can use during a rescue operation. Always keep in mind that you will be venturing on your own. No one will be there to help you if anything happens, so plan for your safety and bring emergency equipment.
This is a common device for hikers. People who love climbing invest on altimeter watches, as these devices give them the information they need such as time, air pressure, pace, and distance covered. They also have GPS, making them another essential backup tool in case your GPS device and other navigation tools give up on you.
Some like the idea of camping with a hammock, whilst others prefer camping with a tent. Whatever your preference is, it is important that you bring equipment to protect you from the cold wind and rain. If you’re bringing a tent, buy one that is waterproof or water-resistant. If you’re doing hammock camping, don’t forget to pack a tarp that you can use as a cover in case it rains.
3. Sleeping gear
Sometimes, a tent is not enough to keep you warm. Evenings can be really chilly, and the cold ground can get past your tent. Make sure that you have your camping mattress with you. If you’re traveling with a camper van or your car, you might want to bring an air bed instead. An air bed tends to be warmer compared to a camping mattress. Always bring an emergency blanket with you just in case it gets extremely cold.
4. Survival kit
A responsible traveller always plans ahead and is always equipped with the right skills and gear. It is important that you bring along things that will help you survive an unfortunate incident:
An emergency shelter includes a bivy sack, ultralight tarp, and an emergency blanket. Bringing a tent or a hammock may not be sufficient at times, especially when you run into an accident. In case your tent or hammock gets damaged, your emergency shelter will protect you from the cold breeze and rain.
Flashlights and headlamps
Flashlights are not only a source of light but also a tool that you can use when sending signals to rescuers. In case you get lost at night, your flashlight will help you send messages to your fellow campers or emergency personnel. Headlamps are also essential and a preferred light source of outdoor travellers, as they can keep your hands free for other tasks such as cooking or setting up your tent.
Whistle or sighting mirror
A whistle is extremely light and doesn’t need batteries, making it another essential backup tool. A sighting mirror should also be a part of your survival kit. You can use it to flash the sunlight to a helicopter or a rescuer for them to easily spot you in case you get lost or run into trouble. It can also be a weapon against an animal or a person about to attack you. Direct the sunlight to the predator’s eye and run as fast as you can whilst it tries to recover its sight.
First aid kit
A first aid kit should never be out of your checklist. Traveling the great outdoors makes you prone to all kinds of danger–animal attacks, falls, wounds, bad weather, and others. If you don’t have the medical items to heal your wounds or illnesses, you might not make it out alive. Even if the future was laid, and you knew that nothing bad would happen to you, it is still important to bring a first aid kit. You might bump into a camper who needs medical attention. Without your first aid kit, it would be nearly impossible to treat an injured person.
Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger
A PLB can help you alert emergency personnel, in case you meet an accident or get injured. This will help them determine your position and can send messages via government or commercial satellites. PLBs work even in the most remote areas, so make sure that you have this inside your bag.
A knife can be used for a lot of things when you go camping. You can use it to slice food or cut ropes. It’s also a useful tool for repairing gear. Some knives have multiple tools, such as can openers, fold-out scissors, and bottle openers. Some pocket knives would have only a fold-out blade. If you simply need a tool to help you cut things, then a basic pocket knife would suffice, but if your needs are more complex, it is best to bring a multi-tool pocket knife.
5. Cooking tools
Of course, make sure you have your cooking tools to take care of your nutrition. Bring pots and pans. There are stores that sell collapsible pots, and they can be really good options as they give your bag more space for other solo camping essentials.
6. Drinking gear
Food is not your only source of energy. Water also gives you proper hydration. Electrolytes are lost when you sweat, and you will suffer the consequences if you don’t compensate for the loss. Dehydration will lead to muscle cramps and fatigue. Before you go on a trip, it is important that you know a number of the water sources available in your area such as a spring or river. This way, you will be able to decide how much water you can bring. A water filter will help you clean the water from natural sources. Of course, bring water storage with you to stock the liquid. Hydration reservoir is the most common water storage for hikers and backpackers. If you prefer to bring a water bottle, put it in a pocket that is accessible so that you won’t have a hard time hydrating.
7. Water purification device
Not all water sources are clean. Bringing a water purification device will make contaminated water safe to drink. It is important to stay hydrated, but don’t just go on drinking from any water source you see. Purify first, so as not to hurt your stomach.
8. Portable solar panel
A portable solar panel helps you generate power by tapping the sunlight. Whilst a power bank can help you charge some gadgets, it would be better to bring a portable solar panel with you, especially if you’re going to camp in remote places. By doing so, recharging gadgets wouldn’t be as stressful. You can also use a solar panel to power lighting devices and cooking tools which will make your stay in the campsite more convenient and safe. It is important to be equipped with the right gears when camping, but you don’t have to bring everything. Just pack the things according to your needs, mode of travel, and duration of the trip. If you’re a backpacker, choose camping gears that are light to carry. If you’re traveling with your car or campervan, you may bring along heavier equipment. For example, you can bring an air bed instead of a camping mattress. You don’t have to bring everything inside your home; just the right equipment that will help you survive your journey. When you go solo camping, you must be disposed to the uncertainties. The world beyond the city offers a magnificent view. It’s just that you need to be prepared on how to deal with the rugged nature. Camping gears and equipment will help you prepare for the challenges it presents. In solo camping, you will be dependent on no one but yourself, which is why it is important to be equipped with the right survival skills. Exploring the great outdoors is no doubt a rewarding experience, but it may end up becoming an uncomfortable one for those who don’t anticipate and prepare for the journey. Do a careful research before your camping trip. Inform yourself about your campsite, or read a guide about solo camping. When you finally head out for an adventure, always have a humble heart. Humility will help you survive the great outdoors, by acknowledging your weakness and the need to have the proper gear. Whilst it may be a huge achievement to get out of a dangerous trail, being a daredevil can also be detrimental. If a cyclone is about to hit your campsite, cancel your trip and wait for the storm to subside. Natural calamities favour no one. Even if you are a professional camper or hiker, it is still unlikely for you to safely get out of a place affected by cyclones, landslides, and other calamities. Think twice before traveling alone if you’re not equipped with basic survival skills. If you are still decided on camping solo, start with established campsites, and consider it your training ground for more challenging places. Take extra precaution. Do not give the impression that you are alone. Hang clothes of the opposite sex or set-up two camping chairs. Socialise with people if you want to, but be careful who to trust. Be alert at all times. If you’re getting ready for solo camping, check out the best gear available at Outbax
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