Safe solo hiking as a female: my tips and tricks one year after my round-the-world journey
Let me start by saying that I think it’s pretty cool that you are reading this blog. Because hiking solo as a female requires a bit of guts and girlpower. But … you have made a big step in the right direction by reading this blog. I solo hike quite a lot and figured it was about time I’d share my tips and tricks with you. Ifn this blog you’ll find all my tips for safe solo hiking as a female. Enjoy!
1. Research the hike you are planning to make
When planning to hike a long(ish) track, it’s wise to figure out as much as you can about the trail. What the distance is, how to get to the start and end and what the current trail situation is. Many of these things can be found online nowadays and by doing some research beforehand you can avoid unpleasant surprises along the way. Such as not carrying enough drinking water or having to make a river crossing. But also there may be ferries that are not running on certain days or the bus service you may need could be limited on certain days. All these things can be found out well in advance.
2. Tell someone about your plans
It’s super cool that you are planning to hike solo, but remember that it may be smart to inform people about your whereabouts. When solo hiking in The Netherlands where I currently live I always tell my boyfriend where I plan on hiking and when I expect to be back. When hiking outside of the country I may also tell relatives where I am hiking. During the past year’s journeys I made a whatsapp group called ‘Where is Anto’ in which I’d share my hiking plans on a daily basis. I also told them when I expected to not have any signal for a few days if that was to be expected.
3. Carry a mobile phone and make sure it’s charged
When not hiking for We12travel I of course prefer to hike without it so I can enjoy nature and its silence as much as possible. However I always make sure to carry a fully charged phone in case I need it. Not just to be able to make a phone call when necessary but also to use Google Maps in case I may need it when lost (trust me: it happens more than I’d like), to keep an eye on the rain radar and of course to take pictures when I see something worth capturing. Did you know you can share your live location via Whatsapp? This may be useful to use when you are meeting somewhere along the way, you can exactly know where you are and the other person are. Super useful!
Also don’t forget to check your phone’s options to quickly dial the emergency services. With the newest iPhones for example you can press the side button and volume button at the same time to make a call. For older iPhones pressing the side button five times quickly starts calling emergency services. If you are afraid your battery will die along the way (mine always does) then carry a fully charged powerbank and a charging cable as well.
4. If does not feel good, it probably isn’t
This is like ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is’ but in reverse. In short: keep your eyes and ears open and trust your instincts when something feels odd. This doesn’t mean you should panic each time you run into a solo male hiker when solo hiking as a female, but keeping an eye out is always smart.
I’ll tell you about something that happened to me recently. I was about to capture the sunset on a location in The Netherlands and it wasn’t really a secluded place. When I arrived on the spot, I still noticed various hikers and cyclists. However the parking lot I needed to park my car, was a little in the dark and off the trail. At the entrance of the lot there was another car with a man waiting in it. The place I wanted to take pictures was a few minutes walking away from the car and while walking there, the car passed me with the window lowered. And then within the next few minutes, the car passed me again THREE more times. Luckily there were still some people there and after the third time I felt really uncomfortable and decided that once they left to walk back to my car behind them instead of waiting for the sunset to finalize. Better safe than sorry in this case.
5. Make sure you are not the last one on the trail
This is a tip for the ladies wishing to make longer hiker and multi-day hikes. Whenever I make those, I always make sure not to be the last hiker on the trail. Over the past years I hiked the Harding Icefield Trail in Alaska a couple of times, one time solo with an ankle injury. Hiking with an injury wasn’t the smartest thing but I had been dreaming of hiking this trail for many years and figured that if I’d push on a little, I’d be able to do it. Once at the end of the track at the ice fields I wish I could stay a little longer. But unfortunately, many people were already heading back and so I decided to follow them, making sure there would always be someone not far behind me, in case something would happen (pain, bears, things like that!).
I did something similar in New Zealand where I hiked several multi-day tracks. Basically everyone will hike the same trail and even though I prefer to hike solo, I always made sure not to leave the hut as the last person and stay ahead of others. This usually worked really well for me as I still felt like being all by myself, also because I carefully chose lesser known trails such as the Angelus Hut Track, the Hump Ridge Track and the Greenstone / Caples Track, rather than the Great Walks.
Want more inspiration for hitting the trail by yourself as a women? Then also read this inspiring post by Kathi about the power of hiking alone as a woman!
Those are my tips and tricks for safely solo hiking as a female. Got more suggestions? Questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments so fellow solo female hikers can benefit from them, too.
Want to read more? You may also enjoy the following posts:
– The Science Behind Packing for Hiking
– Safe and solo hiking as a female in bear country Alaska
– The most embarrassing moments when solo traveling as a female in South America
– Adventures and solo hiking in Landmannalaugar, Iceland
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Thanks for sharing!