Women on the Trail - 5 Solo Hiking Tips
Hiking alone can be a rewarding experience for many – it offers the feeling of independence and confidence in yourself. Although it may seem intimidating at first, solo hiking can lead to gaining useful skills, feeling empowered, and certainty with setting your own goals.
Hiking alone demands more preparation and experience, especially regarding women hiking alone. Here at Staheekum, we care about your safety and want you to experience a successful solo hiking trip! Although these tips can be beneficial to anyone, women must consider specific situations that may occur when hiking alone, so here are several tips that every woman should know in order to feel prepared and confident before setting foot on the trail!
1. Prepare your Body
- Women tend to use more energy than normal during outdoor activities than men, so it’s important to keep your stamina high by eating abundantly. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time to ensure you have enough, and always bring more then you need. A little extra food can go a long way if you want to stay warm in unexpected cold weather, or share with another backpacker/hiker in need of food. When exercising more than usual, blood-sugar levels often decrease, leaving you feeling tired or even dizzy. Enjoying some dark chocolate can help prevent nausea, anxiety, and of course- lift your spirits!
- Along with taking plenty of food for the trip, it’s important to bring enough water. Make accurate calculations by learning how much you need, and what makes you drink more than usual. An average human should consume about 2 liters of water a day, but always take more then you need. A great way to make sure you’re drinking enough water is to carry a filter that strains out bacteria from lakes and rivers. Check out this post from REI to find out the best filter for you!
2. Prepare your Mind
- Start your solo hiking adventures with heavily trafficked trails you’ve already completed. This way you feel more confident for the longer, more secluded hikes.
- Practice walking around your city if you’re afraid of hiking alone. Being alone in a city environment will reassure your safety for solo hiking, and conquer the fear of the unknown.
- Do you have a pup that enjoys the outdoors just as much as you? Consider taking your four-legged friend on the trail to feel less alone, and to gain confidence. If you’re afraid of negative encounters on the trail, having a dog will provide a sense of safety.
3. Set Safety Rules
- Hiking alone means being more prepared for possible issues along the way. Since you won’t have others to depend on if you become sick or injured, it's important to test your equipment before the trip for possible rips in backpacks, holes in clothing, or malfunctions in gadgets. Bring along a first aid kit, and learn to read a paper map and compass just in case!
- As fun as it may be to share photos of the beautiful mountain range you’re calling home for the night, avoid geotagging your locations in real time. To give yourself confidence of safety, be mindful of sharing your location as others may be interested in joining you.
- Make sure a friend or family member has the locations and schedule of your trip and check in with them regularly. Try to be as traceable as possible without minimizing your feeling of freedom. Another method is to download the Carin App which allows you to share your location with live updates, see where others have received cell service, and view trail maps offline.
4. Be Mindful of your Environment
- The most important safety tip (and take-away from this list) is trusting your intuition in order to avoid possible events that are not in your best interest. Before deciding to venture off with a stranger you just met, let your intuition guide you in discerning the safety of the situation. Practice listening to your intuition and over time, it will become more and more automatic.
- Never have headphones in while alone on a hike. It’s true - walking alone can sometimes get lonely, but wearing headphones can deter you from hearing crucial sounds that warn you of danger. If you are plugged in, you may not hear the cracks from a decaying branch, rocks from a falling cliff, or footsteps from an unwelcome bear. Besides, sounds from the outdoors are just as lovely as music in your headphones!
5. Bring Correct Equipment
- Research the weather conditions before heading out and bring extra clothing to layer when it gets cold. Even if you expect 90 degrees and sunshine, bring a waterproof jacket because mother nature has a mind of her own!
- Let’s get right to the point ladies, peeing on the trail has never been ideal. There are usually only 2 options - carry toilet paper in your packs and go against Leave No Trace practices, or use the drip dry method which leads to potential unsanitary situations. It’s important to maintain good hygiene in a wilderness setting while being kind to the environment, which is why Kula Cloth was created for women on the trail! The Kula Cloth is the first ever anti-microbial pee cloth, designed specifically for outdoor women. Just use the absorbent side after you pee, and just snap to your backpack so the printed waterproof side shows. The reusable cloth can be hand washed after a few uses and hung to dry. You can purchase on our website here, or learn more about the Kula Cloth at kulacloth.com!
- There’s nothing like relaxing after a long day spent in nature. Staheekum shoes make an excellent addition to your pack, and help you relax and warm up after hiking for hours. Our shoes have slipper-like linings and thick outsoles to provide you with the most comfortable outdoor adventure. With plenty of styles to choose from, you’ll look forward to ending your day cuddled up to the fire in your Staheekum shoes. Check out our women’s styles here!