The outdoors is a hugely empowering place, and that should be felt by everyone, regardless of individual differences. Camping outdoors is a great way to find independence and fun new challenges. Enjoying a wild camping adventure is mostly about preparation and safety. A study conducted by Outside Magazine found that 66% of women were concerned about their safety when recreating in the outdoors. With this in mind, we spoke to Tina, our friend at TentLife.co.uk who is a passionate camper, to give you her take on how women can feel safe when wild camping alone.
Tina’s Wild Camping Tips
‘Is it safe to camp alone?’ That’s a question that is asked often by women across the UK. Although I’m happy and unfazed by camping solo, that doesn’t mean I can’t empathise with the question. Daily, we hear about the scary things that go on in the world and so it is completely understandable that some women may have reservations about venturing off alone with a tent, away from people and in isolation. I hope that in sharing my experiences and top tips, you will feel reassured and maybe more confident in trying it out.
Tell Someone Your Plan
Always tell someone where you plan on going and returning, that way someone will know your whereabouts. Remember that some places have poor phone reception so always have a backup plan. If possible, you should message the friend or family member you told when you can to let them know you’re safe. ‘OS Locate App’ and ‘what3words’ are available for free on the App stores and are both great for pinpointing your location, should you need it. I can’t recommend enough that you should take some time to gain some knowledge of map reading, as paper maps don’t lose signal or battery.
You can walk in the fells for hours and never see another person and this might seem worrying, however it should be reassuring. When feeling anxious that you may be disturbed in the night, remember that you’ve seen hardly anyone and so you should find comfort that you are alone and isolated.
Choosing a Location
I like to look at an OS map when trying to decide on a location, find somewhere with water nearby, as this saves having to carry it. Once I’ve decided on a route, if I don’t know the area I like to do a practice hike beforehand to scout out the best places to camp. That way I also know what to expect, and what gear to take. I can use this time to find somewhere to park and see how long it will take to get the spot I want to camp in.
These things make timings more accurate, meaning that I know I won’t run out of light. It is common with wild campers to arrive late and leave early. That said, you can go on a lovely day long hike with your pack to make the most of the day if you wish. I’d also recommend doing a practice hike with your pack at full weight as this can make a real difference to the ground you can cover, your comfort level and how long it takes. You can even test your gear out on the hill before your main camp out to give you extra confidence.
You Don’t Have to go Solo
You don’t always have to go it alone. I enjoy wild camping solo but also I like to go with my daughter. It’s a wonderful way to spend some quality time together and we went to Easedale Tarn on our last outing. The notable thing about camping out overnight is that you can travel light. We took a 2-man lightweight tent, like the OEX Rakoon II, plus sleeping bags & mats, a stove and breakfast items which made the experience comfortable and fun.
I would recommend taking a water filter and planning a route where you will find fresh water. There are many types of filter available, and it saves you carrying the extra weight. On warm days this can be vital, allowing you to drink as much water as you need. Top tip: always check upstream, the water should be fast flowing.
When choosing a camping spot, select somewhere flat with wind protection if possible. A boulder or bush can also act as a screen to keep you hidden and help you feel safer. The adventure I had with my daughter at Easedale Tarn allowed us to enjoy a beautiful walk, a safe and snug night under the stars, with amazing views in the morning. Even the Easedale ducks came to join us as we ate breakfast. Remember when packing away to always leave a site as though you haven’t been there.
When it comes to wild camping alone or with another, Tina is proof that women can enjoy great experiences outdoors safely. Just remember these top tips:
Pre-plan your route
Tell someone where you are going
Don't just rely on phones and technology
Build your confidence with a practice hike
Check the forecast and prepare for changes in weather/temperature
Are you a solo female camper? Why not share your experiences and top tips to inspire other women to wild camp outdoors.