Hiking can be a fun way to exercise or just get out of the house for a few hours. Sometimes, it can be tough to find other people that will join you on a hike which is why solo hiking is a popular activity. It can be a scary thought to go alone and a lot of people are worried about safety risks while on the trail. That’s why today we’ll take a look at what it means to go hiking without anyone else and whether or not it’s a good idea.
Is it weird to hike alone?
Hiking by yourself is a great way to get exercise and focus on your mental well-being. There are some safety concerns when hiking alone so you should be prepared and aware of any potential risks that could occur. Always have the proper hiking gear and let a friend know where you’ll be hiking before heading off.
Now we know that solo hiking isn’t a strange or weird activity, let’s find out why it’s a rewarding and fun experience and look into the essentials needed when hiking by yourself.
Why Would it be Weird to Hike Alone?
For a lot of people, there is a negative stigma about doing events or activities by yourself. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this mindset a few times related to hiking as well.
Even though hiking with others can generally be a more fun experience, I’ve never found anything weird about going hiking alone. There is a great feeling when you can be outside walking and hiking around a beautiful area with no distractions. When you go for a solo hike you can fully appreciate and focus on each view and feeling that you experience during a hike.
If you’re nervous about how others will view you for hiking alone or worried that you’ll be viewed as weird, you could start by taking a very quick hike to see how it feels. Strange as it may seem, once you experience short walks alone it helps normalize going alone.
It’s worth it for anyone interested or experienced in hiking to give it a shot at least once!
Benefits Of Hiking Alone
Hiking with friends and family can be an exciting way to bond and share a similar experience and hobby. When you go out hiking alone you lose the fun of having someone to talk to and explore nature with.
That doesn’t mean you should never hike alone, what it means is there are some differences between hiking by yourself and hiking with others. There are plenty of reasons to hike whether it’s with others or without.
Here are a few of the best benefits that you’ll experience once you decide to explore hiking alone.
Move at your own pace: Even though I enjoy hiking with people of all experience, it can be a nice change when you fully control your own hiking pace. Maybe one day you feel like pushing yourself or slowing it down for certain parts on the trail. You won’t have to feel bad about moving too quickly or holding others up, because it’s just you out there!
Choose location and distance: Being in complete control over where you go hiking and for how long is a liberating experience. If you’re with others it’s difficult to hike for shorter or longer than the agreed distance. By yourself, you can cut the hike short or push yourself farther without feeling bad for the people you’re with.
Experience nature alone: There is something special about walking and exploring nature by yourself. The feeling for me and many others is relaxation and a belonging sense when I’m out there hiking alone.
Solo Hiking Essentials
Since you may not have others around while hiking there are certain items that will make your solo hike much safer. An empty backpack doesn’t weigh much, so you should be able to fit everything you need in your backpack.
Plenty of water: The last thing you want is to worry about dehydration while out hiking alone. Pack enough water to be comfortable throughout the entire day and hike.
First-aid supplies: Useful for blisters, cuts, emergency situations, or even new tattoos! Having a small kit inside your pack is always recommended when hiking.
Knife or multi-tool: There are certain times where a knife may be useful. At the very least it helps add some protection against wildlife that could be on the trails.
Extra food: It can be hard to judge how much food you’ll need on a trip so I always bring more than I think I need. A few extra bars or snacks can help make the return trip feel much better.
Headlamp or flashlight: If the hike takes longer than expected for some reason having a light source is very important. It can make it much safer to continue along a path that would otherwise be dangerous in the dark.
Cellphone: For emergencies, it’s important to be able to reach others who can help. You should always bring your cell when hiking and let someone know where you’ll be if help is needed.
Summary – Hiking Alone
It isn’t weird to hike alone but it can be more dangerous without a partner out there with you. The most important thing to remember when solo hiking is to be fully prepared with everything you may need. Be sure to pack all of the essential items listed above; hiking gear, water, food.
Hiking alone can be a risky activity, which is why most people encourage doing it in areas where you feel comfortable to limit the negative risks. It’s also always a good idea to let somebody know where you will be hiking and what time you plan on returning.