Safety and the Outdoors. I dug myself into a black hole with this topic, but it is a good one! I will break it down into a mini-series according to the five essential tips.
On my IG story (small sample), 76% claimed this is a conversation they have with loved ones. 50% of 24% are females. Therefore less than 20% can comfortably have an adventure without having a conversation about safety. Hiking alone is apart of that conversation.
Those who are apart of the 80%+, I hope this makes you feel normal and excited about this topic since the majority of us can relate.
It’s frustrating when you see hiking popularized and there is not one mention of any fear or challenges. So here are the basic tips and if you scroll down you will find insights, tips, and recommendations from experienced hikers.
Lastly, I want to conduct an online survey with a larger sample size to have accurate feedback on how people feel about this topic and its relation to gender, age, ethnicity, and home town. I’m sure there is a correlation between all those factors, and I would love to get any insight, along with more tips.
Outdoor Safety Tips:
1.💥 Plan your hike, and know exactly where you are going. If you are hiking alone, start somewhere local, make it easier on yourself, and keep yourself accountable to do it. Don’t let fear drive you to prevent you to do something you live.
2. 💥 Plot it on a map, study the route, and how long it will take you to finish the hike (2MPH is average). Print the map or download it. Have a copy.
3. 💥 Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. (example: 2-3 hours)
4. 💥 Carry a device to reach people in case of an emergancy.
A cell phone is handy. Research if the area has a cell phone signal. It will provide you relief to know you can reach someone. If you are going somewhere that has no signal, and if you & and your loved ones are paranoid, consider a satellite 2-way communicator. I will write a seperate post discussing the various options. It’s pricey but it provides a mental relief for yourself and loved ones.
5. 💥 Bring a form of protection, something that can make noise to scare away animals like a bear, and basic first aid
Note: We did not carry a weapon or mace on the Pacific Crest Trail because it adds extra weight. We were ok for 2300+ miles.
What did we carry? Our trekking poles, whistle attached to our backpack, satellite 2-way communicator, and a knife.
We used it to scare a bear when we saw one.
We had one knife between the two of us, and our primary use was for basic survival, and cutting a salami stick and the cheese block. Safety was a plus despite we never had to use it.
We realized our trekking poles were the most convenient & best tool. We used it to wrangle rattlesnakes, and help it slither to the other side of the trail. We used it to make noises for bears since loud noises scared them. I felt more secure having them to protect me. And it helped me not eat dirt when I had tripped several times. Preventing injuries is a part of outdoor safety. I can hardly count the numerous times I had almost ate dirt.
Additionally, when we are camping, I set up my trekking poles in a certain way near our tent like a booby trap. If a critter comes nearby, it will cause it to fall and make a loud noise. It is how we discovered either a bear or deer ran through our
Now for the most important section!
Testimonials, Comments, Recommendations, and Insights from fellow experience hikers.
If you are new, you are not alone if there is any fear. We are all human, and we do think about how can we protect ourself and be safe. Hopefully this will guide you because sometimes there are certain stories that stick out to certain people the most.
Please let me know if you have any other insights or recommendations. I’ll add this to the list.
jenmramos: I never get scared, except the first night of solo camping where I’m not used to the animal sounds yet, and people have put ideas in my head about murderers. Then the second night, I’m so tired from the first nights, that sleep is not a problem!
joyfulbio I’m a wildlife biologist and love out of my truck during the busy season (a couple months at a time), I’ve been doing this for four years and my mom still questions if I like it or if I’m happy and she says I should get an office job (which I can’t imagine doing). I also try to keep in contact with her when I can so she knows I’m okay. I don’t know what else I could do. The fear is deeply ingrained in her (and definitely not absolutely gone from me all the time)
mona_lisa_hiker2020: I love hiking by myself, clears the mechanism and as a woman makes me feel empowered that I don’t need a man to go where I want and when I want although I do love going with my guy too because he appreciates the outdoors as much as I do and us a healthy outlet for us to do together.
I do think an important thing when hiking is to pay attention to your surroundings for landmarks and have a compass and know which way you took off so you can find your way back, I once got disoriented finding my way back and it was getting dark, thankfully I was able to calm myself and look for those landmarks to find my way back.
laurenflower: words of wisdom for people with fear, I think it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings (no headphones with music on, etc) and listen to your gut/intuition. If part of the trail looks sketchy or unsafe, listen to what ur gut says and do what feels safe. I try to never go against my gut. As far as parents – like ur dad giving u mace, those precautions tend to put my parents at ease. Haha. I do carry pepper spray with me, nd I tend to have RBF so I think that helps keep ppl away from me too. 🤣 Thanks for sharing though, I’d like to know how to make solo female hiking less of a stigma.
westcoastcampfires Here some words of wisdom from a vintage hiker and camper. I still get nervous after years of hiking alone, that’s instinct, it’s how we survive. First, try never to get so worn out that you can’t run. Carry bear spray it is better then the little cans of mace or pepper spray. Never let anyone get close enough to you to grab you. If someone try’s to get close to you tell them loudly to get back. If they don’t start running while getting out your bear spray, once it’s ready stop turn spray and run again. If you do get grabbed fight, go for the eyes every chance you get. Fingers in the eye hurts. your goal is to get your finger as far in the eye as you can. You want to blind the person if you can. Scratch, bite and kick. Animals are different,, you don’t want to run because their predator instincts kick in and I don’t know any humans who can outrun an animal. Make yourself big make a lot of noise. I’ve never been bothered on the trails, but I have passed groups of people that had me hearing banjo music. Best advice, be aware, be alert, be ready to survive.
vanessaveronica__ I read somewhere that fear is a good passenger, not a good driver (or something like that). Fear is good, it keeps us alive and if a person or situation makes us uncomfortable we need to listen to our instincts. I do a lot of things by myself not just outdoors but road trips and vacations. It’s mostly the women in my family who have a lot of concerns about me being out in the world alone, and sometimes their fears get into my head a little bit. I think the only thing that can really ease their concern is preparation. Having a detailed plan of where I’m going, when, my planned route and when I plan on being back into cell service to call someone. I know this is going a little far, but I also have a “if I go missing” file that has all my passwords and information my mom would need if something did happen. My dad also taught me how to box when I was young so I feel confident in my ability to protect myself. I also carry a knife and mace. My dad also taught me basic maintenance on my car, like how to change a tire and I’m always prepared if I have to spend the night in my cat if I need to so I won’t be looking for help in the middle of the night. It’s been a journey but the more things I do the more my family eases up. I think I can even start to hear a sense of pride in my grandma’s voice when she talks about her “crazy granddaughter” out there doing things by myself.
happyhikerhanna I carry pepper spray but it never feels like enough!
hiker_moments I bring a knife…that’s about it. 😂😂😂
patriciacameronco I have those same trekking poles! (They doubles as weapons btw)