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5 Tips for Preparing a Solo Camping Trip


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Pack Light
Make sure you're comfortable using your equipment (and eating the types of food you're bringing) before you embark on a solo trip -- you won't have easy access to backup assistance or supplies.
Make sure you're comfortable using your equipment (and eating the types of food you're bringing) before you embark on a solo trip -- you won't have easy access to backup assistance or supplies.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Even a simple car-camping trip, in which you simply park at a designated campsite and camp a short walk from your vehicle, is more fun if you minimize the time spent lugging gear from one place to the next. Every extra ounce of gear you carry slows down your pace and lengthens your time on the trail. Traveling light also means you'll have less refuse to carry back out. Many groups, like the American Hiking Society, advocate leaving a pristine, untouched environment for others to enjoy in the future [source: American Hiking Society]. Wouldn't you want the last camper who blazed your trail to do the same for you?

A solo camper requires fewer provisions than a larger group. The essentials like food and water -- and the smaller, lighter campsite equipment used when cooking for one -- will be considerably easier to carry over rough terrain. If you're hiking or canoeing, there are lots of ultralight tents, packs and other gear on the market that take up little space and make travel easy. Lighten up your load and you'll cover a larger area, allowing you to spend more of your time observing and interacting with nature.

But don't take the pack light mentality too far. Bring proper gear for any weather changes you're likely to encounter, and don't leave out essentials like a map and compass, first-aid kit, matches, knife, flashlight and enough food and water to last the length of the trip. If you're planning a more ambitious hike, consider packing a small amount of emergency food, such as energy bars or military MREs -- meals ready to eat, sealed in vacuum pouches. The extra bit of food won't weigh much, and could keep you much more comfortable if you end up staying out longer than planned [source: Sierra Club].


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