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CAMPING | 7 Essential Solo Camping Tips For First Timers

 6-8 minute read

It really is no secret that I absolutely love solo camping. I’m happily married to a camping-loving partner, I have friends and family who also enjoy camping and whilst I like camping in a group, I love going solo that little bit more! Read on to find out why everyone should give solo camping a try, along with a solo camping checklist and some tips for getting started on your solo camping journey.

Solo camping checklist and tips

Camping isn’t the only thing I enjoy doing solo. Ever rocked up to a cinema on your own? A theme park? A restaurant? Travelled overseas on your own? Let me tell you, doing all of these things and more on your own can be an absolute joy.

At first, I used to worry that on seeing me alone, people would think I was sad or that I had no mates. The older I got though, the less I cared about what other people might think of me, and it’s the most liberating paradigm shift ever.

Once you start living for you and not second-guessing or caring what a random stranger might think of you, you step into your authentic, joyful self and that’s when amazing things happen.

I choose to camp alone a couple of times a year at least and for me, it’s actually trickier to get the opportunity to camp solo, than it is to arrange the many couples or friends camping trips I go on.

Man happy on a solo camping trip

It could be that your circumstances are somewhat opposite; you may be single or could have a partner or friends who aren’t into the outdoors, which means the only real option is to go alone.

It’s easy to use having no one to do things with as an excuse, but life is far too short to put barriers in our way, especially when it comes to something as simple as camping.

So stop waiting until you find a partner, the right friends or whatever, and just get on out there and do it, but before you head out, read on for some essential solo camping tips.

Getting Into Solo Camping

When I talk about solo camping, I should stress, that I’m adventurous to a point, but you typically won’t find me hiking up a mountain alone at dusk in order to wild camp.

I have the utmost respect for folks hardy enough to do that, and perhaps before I’d aged to the point where my back and bladder dictate a lot about what I can and can’t do in comfort, I’d have done it too, but honestly these days, I’m a cosy, comfort-seeking camper.

Solo camping tips

So what does that mean? Well, when I go solo camping, I’m not alone in the wilderness for starters, I always opt for a campsite.

A campsite doesn’t have to mean big, noisy and regimented pitches, on the contrary, some of my favourite campsites are what’s known here in the UK as ‘wild feel’ sites.

These are the campsites that are usually pretty quiet with minimal, if any, facilities. From vast stunning forest campsites where you might be one of only a handful of campers out of season, to tiny little sites that really are hidden gems, solo camping at a campsite, particularly for first-timers, is the way to go.

Reasons To Go Solo Camping

When you camp alone there’s no having to ask for the opinion of others, there’s no need to reach a consensus over when to eat or what to eat, what playlist to listen to and so on. Sounds a bit selfish right? Yup, and what’s wrong with putting our own needs first for once?

Camping alone at a campsite is far from a survival situation of course, but even so, when we’re used to the comfort of home and the reassurance of having friends and loved ones around us or a partner to defer to, we’re reminded that we’re perfectly capable of doing whatever we choose.

I’m sure for those lacking in confidence in general too, regardless of gender, that camping alone can be a great confidence booster in general.

One of the biggest reasons to love solo camping though, is the absence of distractions and noise. The lack of conversation means you can experience quiet, something we get very little of these days.

Slowing down and being quiet is an incredible way to nurture ourselves, our senses are given the space to tune out the hustle, bustle and worries or our daily lives and instead, we can tune into nature.

Camping is great for wellbeing anyway, but when I’m solo, I find that the positive benefits I feel from camping are far greater because I’m fully present in the moment, immersed in the here and now and grounded.

This allows frazzled nervous systems to step down a gear, calming our stress levels, and leading to a greater sense of wellbeing and even a better night’s sleep.

If you’ve been struggling to find the time to clear your mind, to rest or even just to finish a book, a solo camping trip is the perfect opportunity for you to do you.

Essential First-Time Solo Camping Tips

1. Choose a campsite with good facilities

If you’ve never camped before, then going solo can seem daunting, so for your first time, try a larger campsite with good facilities on site, that’s easy to get to and close to shops or other amenities.

Choosing a medium to larger sized campsite can also help remove any worries you might have about the safety aspects of being alone in a tent and on from a practical perspective, good facilities generally mean greater levels of comfort for you to enjoy.

Start small and camp somewhere fairly local for just one night. You can do this, by choosing campsites further away each time or choosing sites with more of a wild camping feel, or even wild camping if you’re inclined to do so!

A note of caution. If you are planning a solo wild camping trip, please stick to areas known for having mobile phone reception and always let someone know exactly where you’re going, and when to expect you back.

2. Create a camping checklist

Make a checklist before you go so you don’t forget anything and as you pack, studiously check each item off the list. If you’re car camping, it’s OK to pack some extras that you might need.

If you have the space, it’s perfectly acceptable to pack some additional things you may or may not end up needing! Personally, I find packing extra blankets, warm or wet weather layers and even additional snacks removes any anxiety I might have about not having what I need.

You can find out what this camping blogger takes on a solo camping trip with her here, where I share all the gear I take with me.

3. Choose a campsite that’s close to stuff

If you do still forget something, don’t stress! Choosing a campsite close to local shops or even with a campsite shop on site means you can easily pick up any forgotten essentials.

Choosing a less-isolated location can also help build your confidence if needed, and it can feel super reassuring knowing you’re only a short distance from home or your nearest shops.

4. Ask for help

On a camping trip a few years ago I was chilling outside my tent and a young family arrived on site. I could tell right away they had no idea what they were doing, and after leaving them to it for 20 minutes I could see they were still really struggling to get their little dome tent pitched. I wandered over and asked them if they wanted a hand. The relief on their faces as they stepped back and watched me get the tent up for them!

The point of this little anecdote isn’t self-congratulatory, it’s just one example of how helpful and friendly many campers are.

Conversely, setting up our tent late one evening a few weeks ago, attacked mercilessly by midges, I couldn’t bear it any longer and went and asked a group of campers if any of them had any repellent spray I could use. They were happy to oblige.

So whether you’re struggling to get an unfamiliar tent pitched, or you’ve forgotten your mallet, don’t be afraid to ask!

5. Take things to do

Thinking that you might get bored is natural and something I worried about too, but quickly realised that being on my own was the opposite of boring.

I got to indulge my every whim and could do exactly what I wanted, whenever I wanted. I take my Kindle, crochet, colouring books, journal, Tarot cards and I even take my little tablet with me, making sure I’ve got a few things downloaded just in case.

When I’m solo camping on a chilly, rainy evening and I’m tired, but not yet sleepy, getting into my warm and cosy bed and popping on a film or listening to an audiobook feels like such a happy little indulgence.

For some, watching the occasional film whilst camping might not be appealing, but the point is, it’s your camping trip and you can do whatever the heck you like!

6. Stay warm and dry

My number one camping tip for any camper is always to think about comfort, which starts and ends with ensuring you have enough warm clothing and camping gear to stay warm and dry.

Even in the height of summer here in the UK, the weather can turn in an instant, with a sunny July day turning into torrential rain, high winds and a drop in temperature that can make for surprisingly chilly evenings.

Extra blankets then are always a must for me, a fleece for evenings and even a hot water bottle (I take one camping year-round) can help ensure you are cosy and comfortable.

7. Eat well and plan your food (and snacks)

Remember me saying one of my camping pleasures is snuggling up and watching a movie on my tablet? Well, no film is complete without your favourite snackies!

As well as planning your meals, do make sure you take along some snacks and remember, if you want to scoff a box of Maltesers in one sitting, go for it.

Although I may not look like I care much about nutrition (I do, I just happen to enjoy snacky snacks too), when it comes to meal times when camping, my mantra is to keep it fresh and simple.

Since becoming a Pescetarian last year, this means meals like Halloumi and sweet chilli salad wraps, salmon and pesto pasta, vegetable kebabs, omelettes, veggie burgers and so on.

Of course, if you want to eat dried noodles, tinned beans or dehydrated food pouches go for it, but with a little planning, you can enjoy many of the meals you’d usually eat at home when you’re camping too.

Keeping the quality of my nutrition up, definitely helps me enjoy camping even more than if I was relying solely on junk food, which ultimately makes me feel gross.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and embrace the solo camping experience and please, let me know how you get on over on Instagram!

Where to next?

The post CAMPING | 7 Essential Solo Camping Tips For First Timers appeared first on Camping Blog Camping with Style | Travel, Outdoors & Glamping Blog.

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