Ease into the Experience
Solo camping can be inspiring and refreshing, but it can also be a little bit of a shock. Taking a step back from your daily immersion in technology and constant stimulation from friends and family can be disorientating. The sudden loss of interaction, conversation and connectivity can cause jittery unease at first. But this feeling goes away over time as you find peace with your thoughts and learn to enjoy the experience of being alone with nature. After all, there's a huge difference between loneliness and solitude [source: Marano].
To help ease into it, it's helpful to make short solo day trips first. Then go for longer treks as you become more experienced. Conditioning your body for the physical exertion of a solo camping trip by making successively deeper forays into the wilderness will build your confidence and broaden your survival experience. Every day out will present new learning opportunities and challenges, and you'll return to civilization with a calm mind and lasting memories of your time on the trails [source: The Beginner Backpacker].
- American Hiking Society. "How To's and Hiking Information." (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.americanhiking.org/Resources/How-Tos/
- The Beginner Backpacker. "Backpacking and Hiking Guide for Beginners." (Jan. 22, 2012) http://www.backpacking.net/beginner.html#conditioning
- Falk, Erik C. "Learn How to read a Topo Map." Wilderness Backpacking. 2011. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.wilderness-backpacking.com/how-to-read-a-topo-map.html
- Hike New England. "Hiking Time Calculator." 2011. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.hikenewengland.com/LegendTimeCalc.html
- Marano, Hara. "What is Solitude?" Psychology Today. July 1, 2003. (Jan. 23, 2012) http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/what-is-solitude
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "The Importance of Understanding Clouds." 2005. (Feb. 2, 2012) www.nasa.gov/pdf/135641main_clouds_trifold21.pdf
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "National Weather Service." July 27, 2011 (Jan. 23, 2012) http://www.weather.gov/
- Owings, Rich. "SPOT gets some competition." GPS Tracklog.com. Feb. 11, 2010. (Dec. 27, 2012) http://gpstracklog.com/2010/02/spot-gets-some-competition.html
- Sierra Club. "Hiking Toolkit; How to Host a Family Hiking Event." (Jan. 23, 2012) http://trails.sierraclub.org/know-how/before-you-go/Family_Hike_Planning_Guide.PDF
HowStuffWorks looks at the popularity of hiking in the U.S.