We’ve all seen the survival shows that pit man versus nature in a battle for survival. They face one precarious scenario after another and yet, with grit, wit and determination they somehow survive. It also likely helps that there’s a hefty camera crew and safety personnel with them at all times. You, as the average solo camper or hiker, will not be so lucky. In your case, the challenges are real and the outcome, should you fail to take proper precautions, could be permanent. That’s why we here at Broad Masters, Inc. are determined to ensure you are ready for the day you decide to hit the great American outdoors solo. Anyone can do it with the proper precautions and the rewards of experiencing nature’s finest unfiltered is worth the challenge. Not to mention the fact that having potential customers that are lost in the woods forever tends to be bad for business. So let’s get started and get you outdoors solo.
Proper Planning Wins the Day
With so much at stake, solo camping or hiking isn’t the sort of trip you take on a whim. Solo efforts require proper planning if it is to be successful. The planning phase could accurately be broken down into the following steps.
- Visualize your trip
- Acquire the proper skills
- Acquire the proper supplies
- Let a friend know where you are going
The purpose of visualizing the trip is that it allows you to anticipate the needs you may encounter. Start with examining the weather during your targeted season of the year. Do you visualize extreme colds? Is it the rainy season of the year? Could temperatures reach dangerous heights if unshaded or through extreme physical activity? Don’t forget to consider the changes in temperature and environment between day and night.
The next step in visualizing the trip would be to consider the terrain and any inherent dangers offered by mother nature herself. Is it easy to get lost in your targeted area due to dense forestation? Should your water run out, is there any local supply or streams that you can tap into if stranded for long periods of time? From snakes to bears, what are the potential wildlife threats you might encounter alone? Camping or hiking solo should be a fun experience and there is no reason why you can’t hope for the best experience possible. That is only so long as you plan for the worst. Visualize your trip before your step off and you’ll be well on your way to an amazing experience.
Acquire the Skills and Supplies to Survive
It’s makes absolutely no sense for you to pack a primitive fire bow drill kit like you’ve seen Bear Grylls use on TV if you have no idea how to use the darn thing. Before you go packing your supplies, you need to do an honest assessment of your skill set. Acquiring the proper skills before your trip can make the difference between life and death. So here’s a quick checklist and self assessment to see where you are at:
- Land Navigation - Can you if needed, determine North, South, East and West? While hiking, are you able to take note of natural landmarks as waypoints? Could you read a map and compass if needed? Do you know your natural pace count to determine distance travelled? Modern GPS does wonders, but part of being prepared for the worst is being able to travel on foot the good old fashioned way.
- Build Shelter - Most persons on a camping trip will pack some form of shelter, but if a solo hiking trip turns into an inadvertent camping trip because you got lost you might need this vital skill set. Take a look at the environment in which you are hiking and pre-plan for an emergency scenario where you can build a shelter using the natural vegetation.
- Man make fire! - Granted, making fire is a skill so easy that even a caveman can do it. However, this isn’t exactly a skill we’ve honed well in modern society. Fire is essential, so be sure you know your skills and bring the supplies to match. A set of waterproof matches tucked away in a rucksack can never do you wrong.
- Access clean water - You can survive a few weeks without food, but you’ll only make it a few days if you run out of water. It is one thing to carry enough water with you, but in a pinch or unexpected prolonged scenario, it is helpful to know if you can access clean water. This can be from identifying local sources or purifying otherwise contaminated sources of drinking water.
- Apply basic first aid - This is one of the biggest safety risks of camping or hiking solo. If you slip and break a leg, there is no one there to help you. If aid is to be given, it must come from yourself. Applying a proper bandage to stop the bleeding and splinting broken bones are some of the most common solo injuries. Ask yourself if you could apply enough self aid to get you back to a populated area or wait in place while help is on their way.
Tell a Buddy
Finally, we’ll wrap up by reminding you that camping solo isn’t about living life as a rugged individualist in isolation. It’s about challenging yourself and experiencing the best that nature has to offer. So if you don’t have a friend to tell that you are heading out solo, then make a friend quick and let them know where you are going and when you expect to be back.