Solo adventures in the backcountry

The idea of going on a solo hike in the backcountry can be an intimidating thought but with proper planning and experience, you’ll soon find yourself at peace in nature! In this era of social distancing, solo hiking can provide many benefits like safe distancing, time to introspect and the flexibility to relax and move at your own pace. Plus major points for being self-sufficient and honing in on your outdoor skills. 

When you choose to hike alone during a pandemic, all the safety measures and preparedness get more vital. Hence, we made a list of some of the most valuable tips to follow when hiking alone during a pandemic:


1. Respect social distancing

It’s important to remember proper social distancing protocols and remain 6 feet away from other hikers on the trail. Not only does this ensure your health and safety but it also ensures that the trails remain open for recreational purposes. Also keep in mind that many restrooms, campgrounds and food areas may be closed during this period so be aware and plan for such closures!

2. Do research and plan your trip cautiously

Be prepared, have a good night sleep and eat a healthy breakfast. Study the landscape and the trail and get to know the area with the help of a topographic map. Consider taking a wilderness first aid course. Make sure to find out about the latest condition of the trail and the road to the trailhead by reading local trail reports and websites. Finally, make sure that your ride to and fro the hike is in good condition. 

3. Check the weather forecast

Consider rescheduling if there is a risk of bad weather or a storm.

4. Explore within your limits 

Know your physical limits and choose your route accordingly. Start off slowly and pick easier trails than what you are used to when you are going alone for the first time.

5. Be prepared for wildlife encounters

Hiking alone makes you a more vulnerable target to wild animals like bears and cougars. Thus, make some noise as you hike and consider carrying a bear bell. Learn about animal safety, take a bear spray and be mindful of what to do in case of a wildlife encounter.

6. Be over prepared

Make sure that you have nutritious and sufficient meals and plenty of water with you. In addition, make sure to carry your first-aid kid, flashlight, matches and a warm jacket. Wear a pair of good and sturdy hiking boots and don’t leave your hiking poles behind. 

7. Stay present on the trail

Depending on the terrain, try to watch the ground and where you place your feet. Stop when looking at the scenery or clicking pictures for Instagram. It is easy to slip on steep mountain trails!

8. Tell a close family member or friend 

Inform a close family member or a friend about your plan, your route and when you expect to be back. Use a tracking device that tells people back home where you are and lets you send check-in or help messages.

9. Stay calm

Most importantly, in times of difficulty do not panic and stay calm, as a clear mind will help you tackle the situation better. Be prepared to stay out overnight in case of a survival situation.

We hope that these tips help you be safe and come prepared for your solo hike, as this will give you a chance to rejuvenate amidst breathtaking views in the backcountry. Let us know in the comments section if you have any other tips for solo backcountry adventuring.

Ruya Rangara 
Marketing @ Backcountry Wok

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