Home Lifestyle Tourism Planning a winter camping trip? Here’s a case for going solo

Planning a winter camping trip? Here’s a case for going solo

For most, the benefits of travelling solo far exceed the worry of something going wrong.

The benefits of solo travel start with the simple fact that a trip shared with others has to be more deliberate and arranged. Going alone is easier. You can eat what you want and when you want, and travel wherever you want and for long as you like. But it’s also a time when your senses are more alive and you find yourself studying the complexities of nature more than ever before. Travelling solo is definitely a life-altering experience. Before you go it alone, however, there are a few key points to consider.

Solo tripping in the winter is a lot more work. Consider that before you go, and where you’re going. Hauling gear, pitching the tent, gathering wood, fetching water — it all takes double the time and energy, and you have limited daylight to do it in.

Make sure you are skilled in navigation, wilderness first aid, weather forecasting and survival. Mistakes that occur within a group situation are often manageable. A simple blooper when solo can be deadly.

Most first-time solo trippers attempt a single night. That’s one of the biggest mistakes.

At first, you’re going to be phobic of the unfamiliar and you’ll be spooked while sleeping in your tent at night. After day two or three, you’ll be so exhausted from not sleeping that you’ll start to relax a little. After day five, most of the phobias will go away.

By day seven, you are at peace and the real hazard becomes the desire to stay outside and live life as a hermit.

Here are a few tips for travelling alone:

Pack lightly. Having no one to help share the load is a problem — that’s why packing light should become an obsession. Be prudent about your food intake.

Bring a good book. You’ll have a lot of spare time on your hands, especially if the weather turns foul. To keep your mind active and morale lifted, pack something to read. Some favourites for solo travellers are Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael,” Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire,” John Muir’s “A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf” and Kenneth Brown’s “The Starship and the Canoe.” My personal pick is Sigurd Olson’s “The Lonely Land.”

Tell someone back home your plans for each day. It’s even more crucial that you keep to those plans or let someone know of any changes.

Buy, rent or borrow a satellite phone and/or SPOT Personal Locator Beacon. Also, wear a pealess whistle at all times.

If you don’t bring these emergency devices, then you’re playing silly games and giving friends and family back home unnecessary anxiety.

Always consider the worst-case scenario and devise a contingency plan. You might have to pull the plug on your trip at any time. Don’t just pack a map of the trip route — add information about the surrounding area as well.

Keep a journal. You’ll have moments of deep thought out there.

Take advantage of them — jot everything down. Great things have come out of others doing the same: Henry David Thoreau, Noah John Rondeau, Paul Gauguin.

Get a full physical prior to the trip. You don’t want any surprises out there. It’s not a good time to pass a kidney stone or suffer a heart attack.



Besides, your family doctor can help you plan for the trip. My first-aid kit is top-notch thanks to my family physician.

Never listen to people who criticize solo campers for being anti-social misanthropes. Some are, of course. But most are well-rounded, highly intelligent, heartwarming individuals who feel it a privilege to be able to break away from the norm every once in a while.

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