Stay Safe While Hiking Solo: Important Safety Tips October 12, 2022

Hiking solo is an outdoor activity that many people enjoy and find it healing due to the peace it brings. Some travelers think they can trek out into the scrub without adequate preparation, but this is always a huge mistake. To stay safe while hiking solo you need to have a plan designed and establish safety measures.

Some of the benefits of this outdoor activity are the connection to the present and the tension released. There is nothing better than relying on your own two feet, choosing your own itinerary and your own pace, and the satisfaction you have from achieving your goal.

To enjoy all of that, you need to have adequately prepared before setting off for a hike, otherwise, it can all turn a pleasant day’s hike into a survival situation. Continue reading and discover key tips to stay safe as you start your hiking solo journey.

Solo Hiking Safety Tips you need to know

1. Know before you go

The more you know about what to expect on your hike, the better you can prepare. And the more prepared you are, the more you’ll minimize the risk of injuries and mishaps. Here are a few things you’ll want to figure out before you hike.

  • The weather: Is essential to check the weather before your hike if it's going to be hot or cold. This will define three things: the type of clothing, the accessories to bring ( e.g. rain jacket or any other rain gear), and the timing of your hike.

  • Your route: For beginner solo hikers, to stay safe while hiking alone, is recommended to pick the more popular trails that are well maintained and well marked. Avoid the less remote and start with the easiest one, then go increasing the difficulty. In this order, you'll be building up your confidence in hiking alone.

Extra safety tip: Make sure to pack the trail map (or take a picture of it on your phone) to help you navigate during your hike.

  • Know the kind of wildlife in the area

Animals are everywhere. Some are harmless, while others can be hazardous to humans. Take time to know the kind of wildlife in the area, and always take precautions when hiking alone. Choose trails animals don’t frequent and be alert. If you are in an area frequented by bears, carry bear spray but most importantly, avoid such places or join a group.

  • Pack Food & Water

Based on the information you know about weather conditions and trail intensity, you have a better idea of how much food and water you’ll need for your hike.

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2. Bring the right equipment but not too much equipment

You don’t want to overload yourself on a hike, but there are ten essentials to pack before you go for a wilderness walk, no matter the length of the path, always carry:

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Water
  • Food (High-energy)
  • Wet weather gear
  • Firestarter
  • Whistle
  • First aid kit
  • Knife (or leatherman/Swiss army knife)
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Power bank

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Once you have your essentials, is time to check what other items you must need for the hike you choose. First thing, a good pack is vital to stay safe while hiking solo, but it is also a question of equipment versus mobility. You want a pack that will suit your requirements, but also makes sure you aren't too weighed down by your backpack so you are free to move and walk without hurting yourself.

You also can read: Essential tips on how to run alone safely

Second, you should base how much food and water you bring on how long the trail is. In third place, when you already know how is going to be the weather, prepare the gears you need in case of a sunny or rainy day. That means sun protection such as a cap and sunscreen, as well as rain gear.

And lastly, there are a few things you should include like an extra sock, try to buy wool socks. You should carry high-grade tape in case your shoes fall apart, believe it, it can happen if you are traveling for long distances and aren't wearing rugged hiking boots.

Sometimes you will need a little bit of extra help to walk on slopes, the trekking poles will be your besties, they will bring support and confidence when walking. Please don't forget insect repellent, mosquitos can be hard on you.

3. Let your close ones know where you are going

Another essential tip to stay safe while hiking alone is sharing your route whit trusted people. Before hitting the trails, short or long, let them know a rough plan of your journey, where your key stops are, and when you plan to return.

If you do this and don't return when planned, it can be a signal to your loved ones that you probably are in an emergency and need help. That's why is essential to share your plans, so your family and friends can act immediately and do all necessary to find you well.

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Also, this is another scenario where you can take advantage of HelpYouFind.Me, our end-to-end encrypted vault, where you can save and share private data with your close ones for use in emergencies.

One of the HYF.M features is the option to upload photos. In this order, you can take a pic of the map whit the route you are taking and upload it to your account. This will be accessible only by you and the people you choose to share it with.

Remember to stick to what you set out to do when hiking alone, improvising routes is not recommended. And when you are done with your hike don't forget to tell your family you are safe.

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4. know your limits before you hiking

Another essential tip to stay safe while hiking solo is to know and accept your capacity. Always be realistic about the journey you want to do. If you are fantastically fit, of course, you may have a better chance of achieving a two-week trek than someone who is out of shape. Don't reach beyond realistic capacity.

Consider an exercise routine to prepare your body for the intense activity ahead, you should start going on smaller walks. You’ll build muscles and strength so your body can perform better. You’ll not tire quickly and can conquer hiking challenges without straining.

You may want to read: 5 steps to take when a loved one goes missing

Also, is important you know the conditions of where you are going to trek: weather, terrain, geography, and topography. You can find this data on the internet, another way is by asking people that have done the journey, so you understand better how is going to be and receive essential tips to dominate your route better.

If during your hiking you don't feel prepared for the terrain, or the weather changes, don’t push yourself. You can always try to achieve your goals another time rather than risk getting trapped in bad weather, falling sick, or getting lost.

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5. Trust your guts

Your instincts always know best, so trust them. Being in a situation where you are alone and feel unsure or unsafe is never good, so always make the best decision for yourself, putting safety first.

Don't forget that there is always the choice to turn around, don't feel shame about that. You are brave enough by doing this activity on your own. Always do what feels right when you feel threatened or are in danger.

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Enjoy your next adventure and feel free to share more essential tips to stay safe while hiking solo.

Written by
Vanessa Martínez

Vanessa Martínez

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