Last Monday we talked about where to find other people to explore with so it’s only fair that today we discuss solo exploration and whether or not it is safe, feasible and practical to hike alone.
Al and I tend to hike alone quite frequently, in fact Al still hikes alone 95% of the time. There’s something we love about the solitude and peace that is found on a solo adventure but there’s also added risk.
So, what if you’re one of those people who likes to hike, ski or mountain bike alone? What do you do to minimize risk and maximize safety?
We’ve blogged about hiking solo before and talked about the importance of having a plan and communicating that plan to someone who isn’t exploring with you. As well as being prepared for emergencies that can happen on the trails or even at the trailhead.
But, what if that’s not enough? What if you want to hike solo but you need a few more safety measures in place before you’re ready to venture off into the wilderness?
We recommend two things. A SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and the site iNeverSolo.
This past summer we took the plunge and purchased a SPOT. As far as peace of mind goes, it is the by far the most valuable piece of equipment we own. From my desktop, iPad or iPhone I can look at a map and see where Al is hiking. I can see his progress, when he stops, even where he parks his truck and get updated messages from him. This is especially valuable if I’m dropping him off at one trailhead and picking him up and another. If something bad happens and I don’t see his icon moving for several hours I can tell Search & Rescue his exact location. This technology makes it much safer to hike alone.
We recently discovered iNeverSolo. I wish this website would have been around when I was in college, it’s seriously awesome, especially if you don’t have roommates or a spouse at home. Basically you set up a free account, add some contacts and then before a hike you fill out a trip plan online and if you’re not back in a certain amount of time your contacts are automatically notified and can start looking for you. Once again, using technology to aid the solo explorer.
Venturing into the wilderness alone is risky but so is walking through the parking lot of the Laramie Safeway at 5 pm on a Friday! I’m convinced that some planning, communicating and the use of technology can help make it safer for solo hikers so if one of your barriers to outdoor recreation is that you like hiking alone but are scared of the risks, take a few extra safety precautions and just go out and do it!
What safety tips do you have for hiking alone?
*We don’t get paid to say nice things about our SPOT or iNeverSolo.