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Okay, full disclosure: I am not a woman. I don’t have any experiences from which to draw on for this article, which is why I turned to a few Facebook groups where this issue has come up several times over the past year. The main goal in asking is that the asker is looking for ways to stay safe in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people. In looking through the comments, a few themes kept repeating amongst the commenters. Fortunately, many of the commenters were women who do camp by themselves, and they provided some great tips for any woman who wants to camp but doesn’t have anyone to go with them. Read on for these themes and get ready to head out on your own with confidence!
Organize A Group Camp
This is an option that has been offered many times as a good alternative to camping solo. Essentially, rather than going camping alone, you try to find one or more people that you know to go camping with. The idea is that there are safety in numbers, plus you are able to go camping with people who share your interest in the activity. However, you may not know someone who likes to go camping. What do you do then? You could look at your local Facebook groups and ask to see if there are others who are looking for people to camp with. Maybe ask around at your church to see if there are campers who would like to camp with you. Perhaps ask at your work as well. There are many places where you might meet other campers who would camp with you. If you find a few people, start small and keep it local until you all learn how you camp together.
Tie Zippers Together
Another suggestion for when you camp alone is to tie together the zippers once you are inside your tent. There are several options for doing this, but a carabiner might be the easiest and fastest. Usually the zipper pulls in a tent have a hole in them, sometimes filled with a short piece of material that you can use to pull on the zipper. Use this hole with a small carabiner and run it through both zipper pulls so that no matter how the zipper is pulled, both are pulled and it will never unzip to allow someone in. This is a great way to help you sleep better at night knowing someone won’t be able to slip inside your tent.
Have A Handgun With You
This has been a very popular option for women who camp alone, to have a handgun of some type with them for self-defense. I personally think this is a great option for campers, whether you go alone or not, and not just to defend against other creepy, assaulting humans. Depending on where you go camping, you may need to fend off a wild animal with that gun. The big key for anyone who is thinking about getting a handgun is to find one that feels “right” when you hold it. Go to a range and try to test out as many different handguns that you can to find the one that you like. Once you have it, make plans regularly (at least a few times per year) to go to a range and fire the gun to keep proficient with it. And check ahead for where you go camping to make sure that they allow firearms to be in the campground.
Proof Of Another Person
This is an interesting idea, and only requires a little bit more gear. The idea is to present the notion that there are 2 (or more) people that are camping on your site. You would put out 2 camp chairs, not just 1. You might put a man’s jacket or long-sleeved shirt on the chair. If you have a drink, have a second cup on the table. Little things that, with a quick glance, would indicate that you are not camping alone. And move those items every once in a while so that it looks like they are being used. Several different women have suggested this and do this, and it makes them feel comfortable as well.
Join Sisters On The Fly
So earlier I wrote about finding a few people to go camping with so that you aren’t alone. Sisters On The Fly (www.sistersonthefly.com) is just such a group, but I separated them out because this is a membership site/organization that does a lot to help women get into the outdoors. As of this writing, a year membership is $70, and that allows you to participate in the online discussions, see the calendar of events all over the country, and more. This might be a great resource to find other women to learn from and go camping with.
This is an easy thing to keep right on your person 24 hours a day. If you’ve never had the pleasure of even being near where someone has discharged a pepper/bear spray device, you should. This stuff will overpower even the strongest of men, allowing you the chance to get away to safety. This is also a good idea if you go on hikes by yourself, especially in more remote locations. When you get one, do a test so you know what the device discharges like, and what that smell is like. Just be careful not to get any on yourself when testing it.
A possible alternative that was offered was using an air horn instead of pepper spray. It has the advantage of drawing attention to you from others, making a would-be attacker more likely to flee the scene. And most animals also don’t like loud noises either.
Having A Dog
Many of the women commenters noted that they take their dog with them. This is a great idea for several reasons. First, of course, it can be a deterrent to someone wanting to mess with you. Second, its nice to have a companion when camping. Third, you are providing a wonderful experience for your dog. Fourth, having your dog with will prompt you to take walks as well, so exercise is built in. Fifth, having a dog can be a great ice breaker to talk with other campers. Sixth, having a dog will discourage some animals from checking out your campsite at night (think raccoons). So there are many good reasons to bring your dog camping with you.
Just Get Out There
Sometimes you just have to face your fears and do it. Human nature is such that, when we have a lack of information about a scenario, we tend to imagine the very worst that our mind can conjure up. Fortunately, most of what we imagine never comes to pass. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared, but don’t let this fear stop you from enjoying all that the outdoors has to offer. Start small and close, even if its your backyard, to get comfortable with camping solo. Then start to branch out to other places, more nights out, etc. The more you do it, the more confident you’ll be that you can handle whatever might happen, even if its that you ran out of ketchup.
As you can see, there are many options that other tent campers have offered to help women go camping on their own. Before you go, make sure you understand your gear and how to set up your tent, and then decide which of these options work for you. Don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing your goals of enjoying the outdoors. And please share your experiences so that others can benefit!
Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!
Featured Image photo courtesy rawpixel.com, 2/18/2019. Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@rawpixel