When it comes to camping, few of us may enjoy the prospect of doing it alone. Huddling around a campfire with friends and watching the stars twinkle in the night sky, or waking up to a delicious pot of early morning coffee over the fire simply don’t seem the same when you go it alone. And if you’re not an experienced camper, heading out into the wilderness, solo, can offer a few challenges and intimidations of its own.
But there’s something inherently special about doing this alone; you’re almost forced to face your fears, try new things, take on new experiences and learn something new about yourself. It may be scary, nerve-wracking, or the most thrilling thing you’ll do all week. Whether you’re a camping pro who enjoys a weekend out in the wilderness, or have never before gone camping alone, there’s a few stellar reasons to pack your bags and head out for some solo camping.
The Peace and Quiet of Nature
Sure, camping with friends and family is fun, but there’s often a flurry of activity and “things to do” that keep you occupied during the day and tuckered out at night. Apart from sleeping, there’s usually very little time to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, but when you camp alone, you experience the stillness and serenity of the outdoors free from the interruption of others’ laughter, screams of delight or chattering. There’s no one to complain to about the swirling of mosquitoes around your campfire, or the dirt stuck in their shoes. On your own, you’re able to experience the subtle sounds of nature, the beautiful vistas and the wilds laid out before you. You’ll realize it’s an entirely different kind of quiet when you’re outdoors with only the company of yourself and the wind through the trees.
Photo by Anita Yung, Three G Familia Farm
Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned
One thing you’ll recognize very quickly when camping alone is just what you’re capable of and what you never thought you’d need to know how to do. This is the phase of solo camping where you constantly test yourself (and your skills), proving yourself both right and wrong about things you thought you knew how to do, and skills you may need to practice more before your next solo camping trip. You’ll likely make a few mistakes (how did people ever build fires without matches?) and learn a few lessons (so catching fish isn’t that easy), but every mistake made and lesson learned is a valuable one. What you didn’t know how to do when you first headed out into the wilderness, you’ll learn by trial and error and become more self-sufficient.
Slow Living at Your Own Pace
You may have your own reasons for wanting to embark on a solo camping excursion, but regardless of your desires for getting outdoors on your own, you’ll be able to do more at your own pace. If you’ve ever camped with friends, family, or young children, being able to enjoy the outdoors, do the activities you want to do and see the sights you want to see is easier said than done. But not when you’re on your own. Solo camping affords you the rare opportunity to immerse yourself in nature at your own pace, living slowly (even if it is just for a few fleeting days), taking in the scenery around you, and worrying only about yourself. There’s no rush we typically feel to do things when we’re back in the city surrounded by friends or hitting the trails with a group of fellow outdoors enthusiasts. It’s just you, nature, and your own unique take on time.
Photo by Ezekiel Gonzalez, Desert Mountain Majesty
Shatter Your Own Limitations
Solo camping may not seem, at first glance, like a testing activity which allows you to push and bend your own boundaries, but once you’re confronted with the realization that no one is there to help you carry that heavy canoe, set up camp, or spend the day hiking a kilometers-long pass with you, you’ll quickly realize what your limitations are, and you’ll probably break them, too. Camping, hiking, or portaging alone (activities often synonymous with one another on a solo camping trip) really test your ability to do tough stuff on your own, relying on your strength, intelligence, savvy and multi-tasking capabilities to get things done. By the time the conclusion of your trip rolls around, you’ll look back at all of the things you accomplished on your own and recognize that you were able to push past your limitations. That’s a pretty sweet realization to come to, and will help build your confidence for future solo trips.
Leaving Worries Behind
Just about every outdoors enthusiast or adventurer will tell you that being outside in nature, undisturbed, offers a pretty unique opportunity to literally leave all of your worries behind. Most of us escape into nature to escape something else, like a grueling work week or the stress of exams. Camping under the stars, waking up to a calm mist settling gently over a lake, the soft call of distant birds, makes all of the complicated “life stuff” seem a little farther away, and a tad less important. You can shake off the shackles of the 9-5 for a sleeping bag, tent, and a campfire. The most stressful part of your day may be deciding when you want to go for a dip in the lake or fish for dinner. Solo camping leaves you feeling rested and renewed, and might even help you destress and learn new ways of dealing with stress or anxiety in everyday life. Out in nature, there are no conventional worries; just beautiful scenery, the smell of fresh air and the warmth of a campfire.
Photo by Ezekiel Gonzalez, Jug Handle Creek Farmhouse and Cabins