Welcome to American Backcountry’s Notes from the Trail. Here we share stories and thoughts from some of our favorite contributors. Each mountain is different and each trip has a different story – these are notes collected along the trail.
5 Tips If You Must Hike Alone
December 10, 2018
Adventure is awaiting at every turn, but sometimes we can’t find another adventurer to join. Should you stay home just because you can’t find anyone to join you? While we don’t recommend solo hiking, if you do go out alone just be prepared and always be ready for the worst-case scenario. Solo hiking can be extremely peaceful, providing a nice quite weekend away. Sometimes you just want to relax with the birds and the bees, right? Safety always comes first while on the trail so take a glance at these tips and must-have items before you hit the trail solo.
1) Satellite GPS Messenger
A hiker’s worst nightmare – missing person alert! Trails can be extremely tricky, we don’t know anyone that hasn’t gotten turned around on the trail at least once. Whether the signs are confusing or there are no signs at an intersection having a map and knowing your planned route is key. You can have all the maps in the world but sometimes trails are not always that easy to see and heading the wrong way can happen to anyone! The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger is a great option, lightweight and easily clips to your pack. This device delivers services like Track Progress, which transmits coordinates every 10 minutes, and beams a real-time location to Google Maps. Feel safe knowing you can be tracked by your friends and family at home! (Great idea for thru-hikes!)
2) Carry a Knife or Multi-Purpose Tool
While a knife has many purposes while on the trail, it never hurts to have it handy in case danger is nearby. Keeping a small knife by you when you sleep, and at your waist while you hike, makes the tool easily available and provides an extra level of confidence in the wilderness. In addition to protection the tool can also:
- Open packets (of food)
- Cut cord
- Make a spark (with a fire steel)
- Split wood, firesticks, preparing kindling
- Cut moleskin, blisters, cleaning nails
- Small and compact this should be an essential item in every camping bag.
3) First-Aid Kit
Ever trip down a flight of stairs, or stumble on some rocks? Image tripping with a 70lb pack on! A well-organized first-aid kit can be helpful in so many ways, such as a small flashlight, bear whistle, tweezers to get ticks off you or your furry friend, Band-aids, Vaseline and the ever so handy mole skin! Go through the essentials and don’t forget to re-stock after a couple adventures! Pack up these items on your own or head to your local outdoor store for a pre-packaged kit. Easy!
4) Tell a Friend
Easy enough right? We tell our social network what we are doing on the reg. why not include where you are headed! Tell a friend or family member where you are headed, where your car is parked and how long you plan to be gone. This way you have a back-up plan in case all other devices can’t get you home. If there is a Ranger Station in the vicinity of your hike take a minute to check in there as well. They are always happy to help and make sure you are equipped with everything you need for your hike.
5) Know your strength
Don’t overdo it! Planning a new trip or day hike can be fun and exciting but know your strength. Don’t plan a 13-mile day hike if the most you have ever completed is a 7-mile trek. Save those trips for group adventures instead of the solo-trekking. If you DO become lost on the trail just stop and think! Most of the time backtracking can get you right back to where you need to be. If you start to feel nervous stop and turn around the way you came.
Always be comfortable on the trail and dress accordingly. American Backcountry moisture wicking tees are a great option to stay cool on the trail and they work great as a base layer in the colder months. Grab a destination tee or a new 2019 design.
Be safe and adventure smart!!