The world is feeling very restricted with the pandemic raging all around, and our social habits being suppressed to save lives. Now more than ever, solo hiking is becoming an essential way to get outdoors.
Solo hiking is hugely rewarding. Planning a route, and completing it safely gives an overwhelming sense of independence and accomplishment. I have been for multi day hikes on my own in all weather and over challenging terrain. The satisfaction of completing a long-distance hike over many days is phenomenal.
The aim of this post is not to explain what I pack for a multi day hike or how I plan my adventures, that will come later. This aims to highlight simple things to do before you go for a hike that could get you out of trouble.
Plan the route
It sounds obvious but planning a route is important. Think about where you want to go, how far and how long? Get a map out and see where there are good walking paths that could be enjoyed. Look at the weather forecast, is it going to be raining, cold or sunny? If the weather does not look good, today is not the day to climb Crib Goch and complete the Snowdon Horseshoe for the first time. Be realistic and take less risk by stay on the lower & safer paths.
It is worth identifying about points on your hike that you can easily escape. If the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worst, how can you cut the route short to get back to safety faster?
You do not want to be the person to call out the mountain rescue because you got lost on your own?
Once you have planned your route, tell a friend or family member. Provide the important details such as where you are going and how long it will take. If you do run into trouble and do not check in at the expected time, at least some one knows where you are and will be able to raise the alarm.
Charge you phone
It sounds like a no brainer, but you would be surprised. If you are planning to use your phone for GPS tracking, take a battery pack. These apps drain batteries quickly. So does cold weather, a phone lasts much less in winter than it does in summer. Do not get caught out, plan ahead.
You are walking on your own, if the weather turns and you forgot to bring gloves, you cannot borrow a friends. You will get cold, so pack your bag and make sure you have not forgot anything. Spare socks are an essential item which everyone should pack. They can keep both your hands and feet warm if required. Take waterproofs and a spare warm layer or 2 preferably in a waterproof cover in your bag.
Pack an emergency blanket, you will probably never use it, but it is better to have one and not need it, than need it and not have it? I was on a solo hike earlier a while ago and I managed to lose my waterproof jacket. Fortunately, I had an emergency blanket so when it rained, I wrapped myself up in it. I would have had an even worse time following the loss of the jacket without a waterproof cover. They are not expensive, light and tuck easily into a rucksack. Follow the link to get an idea of what I mean here.
There is no such thing as too many snacks. If you get hungry, you will feel colder, more fatigued and will not enjoy your adventure. You must rely on yourself so pack some extra snacks: sandwiches, nuts, chocolate, and fruit. Your future self will thank you.
This post has given small snippets of information with an aim to start you thinking about what to do before you go solo hiking. If you have any questions about what I do, please contact me via the contact me page, linked here, I am happy to help. Plan well, pack appropriately, get adventuring, and stay safe. See you on the hills.