Go Solo Project: 5 Reasons To Go Solo Camping

July 18, 2014

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You guys, you guys, you guys!

Remember how I was going to go camping all by myself for the first time ever and how I totally thought I was going to have my face eaten off by wolverines?

Well, I am happy to report that I still have 100% of my face. Yay!

Not only did I survive the weekend with my face still attached, I have to say, I actually, really enjoyed myself.

In fact, the night I got back from my trip, I booked two more solo camping trips for July and August. Because moderation is not exactly a thing that I do.

When I first announced on Facebook that I was going to go camping alone, a friend of mine responded with: “Why are you going by yourself!!!!” 

I’m not exactly sure what made her replace what should have been a question mark with all those exclamation marks. Was it surprise? Concern? Pity? Finger spasm? A combination of all four?

Sure, camping solo may not sound like all that much fun to a lot of people.

But I honestly think one of the reasons why I enjoyed myself so much while on my trip was because, well, I was by myself.

And because I made sure to pack plenty of carton-wine.

Carton-wine!

Carton-wine!

But mostly because I was by myself.

And before you all think I’m some weird, lonely, carton-wine-drinking, forest-dwelling hobo, I came up with a whole list of reasons why you should go solo camping, too.

5 Reasons To Go Solo Camping

1. You Will Have To Do All The Stuff All By Yourself. (Wait. I promise you this is a good thing.)
I’m lazy. I really am. Especially when it comes to doing hard stuff. If I can somehow coerce someone else into doing the hard stuff for me, I will totally do that.

Seeing as both setting up a tent and making a fire are considered Hard Stuff in my book, my plan was just to arrive at my campsite, flail around helplessly for a bit, and wait for some friendly, outdoorsy Michigander to offer to help me.

This did not happen.

Despite being surrounded by dozens of friendly, outdoorsy Michiganders, not a single one of them swooped in to save me from myself and the nylon flaps of doom that was my tent.

Umm, you guys? Anyone want to help me with this?

Umm, you guys? Anyone want to help me with this?

At first I was kind of surprised by this.

And then I realized something kind of shocking: these people actually think I know what I’m doing.

And, even more shocking, I realized I didn’t want anyone to help me.

I wanted to put my tent up all by myself. Even if that meant that I had to read the directions. You guys, have you ever tried to read tent directions? They’re full of words that are not even real words like “Qwik Up Hub.”

Don't ask me where the Qwik up hub is. I have no idea.

I did this! All by myself!

I wanted to make my own fire. Even if that meant sacrificing pages from my Oprah magazine because I forgot to bring a newspaper with me.

Sorry, Oprah!

I did this! All by myself! (Okay, with help from Oprah.)

There was something really empowering about being able to do all these things by myself — especially since I’d never really done any of these things with another person.

It made me feel like I could do anything.

Except, maybe, figure out what a Qwik Up Hub is.

2. No One Will Have To Know How Dirty/Smelly/Sweaty/Gross You Are.
I arrived at my campsite shortly after finishing my epically unplanned, four-hour hike of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
 
Don't let the smile fool you. I was dying. DYING!

Don’t let the smile fool you. I was dying. DYING!

I’m pretty sure I smelled something like a sleeping bear myself at that point. Come to think of it, that might be another reason why no one volunteered to help me set up camp.

I then spent a few hours wrestling with my tent, lugging firewood, making my fire and cooking dinner.

When I went to the bathroom that night, I looked in the mirror for the first time all day and discovered there was a splotchy sunburn on my neck and ears, there was dirt, soot and sand all over my clothes, and there was a huge smear of marshmallow on my right cheek.

If I had been camping with a boyfriend or significant other or someone with eyeballs and a nose, I probably would have been mortified by how completely disgusting I was.

But since I was all by myself, I totally didn’t care.

It’s possible I even attempted to lick the marshmallow off my cheek.

No shame, you guys. No shame.

 3. No Matter How Many People Your Tent Claims It Can Hold, Let’s Face It, It’s Really Only Big Enough for One Person.

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The tent I brought with me claimed to be a “three-person tent.”

I’m not entirely sure what the tent manufacturers meant by “person.” Maybe they consider hamsters to be people? Or possibly they meant “one person and two imaginary persons as long as those imaginary persons are of a dainty nature.”

All I know is that they could not have possibly meant three full-sized, human persons. Because between me and all my stuff, I took up pretty much every inch of that tent.

I can’t even imagine what would have happened if I had to share that tent with two other people.

Actually I can imagine it.

And it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Get out of my tent, bucko.

Get yer own tent!

4. You Will Have Time to Focus on Yourself.
A great thing about being all by yourself in the woods without any Internet or anyone else to talk to is that you have time to really focus on yourself.

You can think about who you’ve become. And who you want to be.

You can think about your life’s goals.

Or you can think about how to make the best s’mores ever.

Guess how I spent my time?

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I call this Double Trouble: double chocolate, double marshmallows, double awesome.

5. You Have No One To Go With. (Wait. I promise you this is a good thing.)
When my friend asked me on Facebook why I was going camping alone, my response was simple: because I wanted to go camping and I didn’t have anyone to go with.

This may sound kind of sad and lonely.

But I don’t feel sad and lonely about it at all.

In fact, there is something really empowering about just being able to go out and do the things I want to do — and not letting the fact that I don’t have anyone to do them with stand in my way.

There’s also something really empowering about never, ever having to share my marshmallows.

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All mine, you guys. All mine.

 Have you been solo camping? Any other reasons you think I should add to the list?
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I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On July 18, 2014 at 9:36 am Priya said:

    These are the type of skills you will need for the rest of your life. Your solo camping adventure is pretty impressive I would have started crying in the first five minutes.
    Priya recently posted..My Experience Living In A Hostel Staff Room

    • On July 19, 2014 at 9:14 am Sally said:

      It was actually all surprisingly easy. It helped that I stayed at a state park campground. So there was electricity and a bathroom and a camp store, where I could buy firewood, and I was surrounded by people. In fact, it kind of felt like staying in a hostel, except my room was made out of nylon.

      • On August 2, 2015 at 9:23 pm Heidi said:

        You should try solo camping away from a campsite. That is the real deal. I actually feel safer and more liberated away from other people. Really get away from any civilization. Just be sure to bring a cellphone and reserve battery, just in case.

        • On August 2, 2015 at 10:22 pm Sally said:

          I would like to try camping away from a campsite, but in order to do that I would need to invest in a lot of lighter equipment, and, frankly, I don’t have the money for that at the moment. All the stuff I have now is way too big and heavy to take backpack camping but it was free because I borrowed it from my brother. I’m hoping I might be able to pick up some stuff on sale at the end of the season, so I can start doing some backpack camping next year. We’ll see!

  2. On July 18, 2014 at 9:43 am Nikita said:

    I love solo camping! No one to get between me and the forest (and my s’mores). And it’s great to not need people to go do stuff with you… Mainly because a lot of people are super unreliable and I’m super impatient.
    Also, it’s a pretty good life skill to be able to make a fire on your own… If disaster strikes, your survival chances are just THAT much better!
    Nikita recently posted..Ode to Puerto Lopez

  3. On July 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm Michelle said:

    Love this! I have never done solo camping, but we did just get back from a 2 week camping trip and we met many people who were camping by themselves. They were having a great time!
    Michelle recently posted..How to Pay Off Your Overdraft Without Even Noticing

    • On July 19, 2014 at 9:12 am Sally said:

      Really? I’m curious as to where you went camping that you saw so many solo campers? I walked around the campground where I was staying, and I only saw one other solo camper. And this dude was HARDCORE. He didn’t even have a tent — just a cot and a sleeping bag. He is totally my new hero.

  4. On July 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm Camille said:

    You are BRAVE. I have never camped alone and I’m not sure I’d have the guts too. I’ve always been significantly more terrified in nature than I have in big cities…

    Also, camping alone in Alaska is usually frowned upon because of bear/moose/no-cell-service/cliffs/etc.

    Kudos to you, girl! Maybe one day!

    • On July 19, 2014 at 9:11 am Sally said:

      Well, I was camping in a state park campground on a holiday weekend, so the place was PACKED. I saw a lot more people than I did wildlife. And I’m cool with that.

  5. On July 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm Sara @ The Let's Go Ladies said:

    Yessss! I love camping and, while I’ve never done it, I would LOVE to try it solo. I’d totally have to bring a smaller tent though. My BF and I have a tent that we and everyone who’s seen it call “The Mansion”. While roomy and quite a good fall-back if we ever find ourselves needing to live out in the wilderness full time (stranger things have happened), it’s WAY too much for one person.

    But, anyway: Yay for solo camping!
    Sara @ The Let’s Go Ladies recently posted..YOU SHOULD READ THIS Link Round-Up for July 18

  6. On July 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm Heather N said:

    I would share some marshmallows. But to me it’s very important that I don’t have to share the wine. Very, very important indeed. Yay, solo camping! I’m glad you had such a good time.

  7. On July 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm hotmamatravel said:

    Wow! Glad you did it! I never have time to focus on myself. I think that’s why a take so many pictures. I can relive the trip later when the kids are sleeping. Haha!

    • On July 19, 2014 at 9:07 am Sally said:

      Maybe it’s time to book your own solo camping trip! You can just leave a food and water dispenser at home for the kids, like I did for my cat! 🙂

  8. On July 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm Creative Illusion said:

    I am so happy to read this! For years now I have been wanting to go camping, and my friends are simply NOT interested. This blog post gives me courage to go all by myself! I’ve been to Mexico, Costa Rica, France, Bahrain, and Dominican Republic all by myself and camping shouldn’t terrify me either.=) Thanks

    • On July 19, 2014 at 9:04 am Sally said:

      DO IT! I’d suggest at least for your first time camping at a state or national park campground, which is what I did. It wasn’t particularly outdoorsy feeling since I had electricity and access to water and plumbing. But I was surrounded by people, which made me feel a lot safer than if I was stuck in the woods by myself. Everyone was really friendly and I ended up talking to my camping neighbors more than my actual real-life neighbors. And they were all mostly families or older couples, so I didn’t feel like any of them were going to attack me in my sleep or anything. (No forest ax murderers from what I could tell.)

  9. On July 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm Charlie said:

    There are not enough numbers for all the good reasons for solo camping – even though there are lots of numbers, even ones that end in -illions. It is the best thing . Ever. I am so, so, so proud of you. Empowering, entertaining (do you actually know anyone more entertaining than yourself?), strengthening, fortifying ( and not just in a physical sense from all the nutrients in a s’more), and many more positive adjectives.
    Charlie recently posted..Day 345: Keeping Me Busy

  10. On July 19, 2014 at 12:36 am Ed said:

    New rule…be sure to camp well outside any town or city…otherwise they’ll just pick you up as a homeless person…

  11. On July 19, 2014 at 7:19 am Aurora said:

    Yes! I love this! Always good to head out into the woods solo — hiking, camping, backpacking! I love having the time to myself – and feeling strong and empowered! I always feel proud of myself when I realize I can do all those things and be self-sufficient. Nice work you!
    Aurora recently posted..These moments (or, how I fell in love with soccer)

  12. On July 19, 2014 at 9:55 am Audra said:

    I an a geocacher, so I camp all the time with friends and hundreds of other people I don’t know but are also Geocachers! But 2 years ago I started booking a rustic cabin at Seneca Lake. How rustic? You can ope your arms as wide as you can and touch both walls. It’s basically a wooden tent. Except the tent sites there HAVE electricity…the cabins do not! The firstcyear I went alone because no one was interested in going with me. Aside from my car breaking down, I had a great time. Actually it contributed to me having a great time. I had to walk or bike anywhere I needed to go. I was pretty much stuck in the park so now tourist adventures for me! But I went swimming every day and geocaching, hiking, biking. Had an awesome fire every night. Someone in the park set up those Japanese lanterns everynight and I would watch them sail across the lake. The bonus was fireworks across the lake! Last year I intentionally went alone and with a functioning car, had an even better time. Wineries and Watkins Glen! And that sweet bike trail near the Glen. I am booked again for this year, and it will be a yearly tradition!

  13. On July 19, 2014 at 11:47 am Rebekah said:

    I went backpacking alone last year for the sole goal of being alone. I had a BF at the time but I want to know I could walk into the woods, set up a tent, cook some food, and survive the night. Its important to occasionally remind oneself that you can do things and that being alone is not bad.
    Rebekah recently posted..Suining: A little town with a lot

  14. On July 20, 2014 at 10:27 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    You know, I’ve never been solo camping. But I’ve been wanting to go camping recently. I’m not quite sure why, though…anyway, first I’d need to do things like find out where I can go camping. And where I can buy a tent in Taipei. And where I can buy marshmallows other than CostCo, where I’m always in fear of being run down by middle-aged ladies stampeding towards free samples.

    Carton wine sounds good though. I’m pretty sure I’d just drink too much and unintentionally burn down the campsite while drunk twerking to Nicki Minaj songs, though.

    Maybe I should start small and camp out in my apartment first.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Getting Into A Healthy Groove: What I’ve Been Eating Lately

    • On July 21, 2014 at 10:42 am Sally said:

      When I was in Japan, I went camping with some friends who were all part of some international camping group. It was all very cushy — everyone brought tons of food and we even had a cabin and everything. The most difficult thing was trying to stuff all the food in my face. Maybe you can find a group like that in Taiwan?

  15. On July 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm Ailsa Ross said:

    Nice! Solo camping is the best… except when all you have to lie on is a $10 yoga mat and your ‘sleeping bag’ consists of a cardigan. Don’t even ask how I made a pillow.
    Ailsa Ross recently posted..Why I love Isabelle Eberhardt: Reason #1

  16. On July 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm sine said:

    I have to admit I’ve never gone solo camping. And the last time I went camping, even though it wasn’t solo, was like a hundred years ago. But I do like the idea of doing whatever the hell you want without consulting with anyone.

    Have you read “Wild”? If not, you really should. If you can go solo camping for just one weekend, maybe you could do the Pacific Crest trail too. And then you could write a book about. You’d just have to throw in a bunch of drugs and cheating on your husband and such, and bingo, you’d have a story.
    sine recently posted..You Know You’ve Been Away from Germany for Too Long When…

    • On July 21, 2014 at 10:41 am Sally said:

      I did read Wild. And as I read it, I would think, “Hey! I should do this!” (the hiking part — not the drugs and cheating on the husband thing), and as soon as I would think that I would start to hyperventilate. I don’t think I’d be able to cope out in the woods all by myself for that long. I’ll take my overcrowded state camping ground over that, thankyouverymuch.

  17. On July 22, 2014 at 6:57 am Nguyen said:

    Yeah I like travelling solo as well. I like to take time to get lost and find my way. Great feeling. 🙂

  18. On July 23, 2014 at 10:45 am Choi Kum Fook said:

    I had done so many camping when I was a scout boy in school, but never solo, two persons allowed, because we camped inside the jungle. We had done at least three times of camping and went through a lot hard works, like building up a hut instead of camp, made your own diet, fire etc, before you could qualify the camping BADGE! Miss Sally, you are considered a brave girl and a modern camper. Ha!Ha! Good trial!

  19. On July 23, 2014 at 11:45 pm Carey said:

    Yeah! Just go out and do the things we want to do!

    It’s sad to think of all the women (and men, too?) who don’t go to restaurants, go camping, go to ball games …. because they’re by themselves.

    • On July 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm Sally said:

      I definitely think this is something both men and women do. I dine out and travel and go to festivals a lot alone and I hardly ever see anyone — male or female — by themselves. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in the universe who doesn’t always have someone to hang out and do stuff with.

  20. On August 1, 2014 at 11:46 pm Jim said:

    Your article was very timely. I’ve owned a tent for about 10 years but I didn’t get around to using it until last week. I’m 51 years old and never camped before. I’ve been unemployed for a little while and have been watching my money. I didn’t want a lack of funds to affect my love of travel so I thought camping was the best option to conserve money and explore someplace new. I decided since I love small towns that I would take a small town tour of the upper Chesapeake Bay. At home I had been having trouble sleeping at night and I thought the first night camping might be a little rough. Well I stayed at Tuckahoe State Park in Maryland located near a lake. The sound of frogs outside my tent lulled me into a beautiful sleep. Great first night. Next day I stopped at one of the hundreds of roadside produce stand and got tomatoes, corn and cantaloupe. That night I made a fire and cooked the corn at the fire and had a great meal. By day I investigated some small, historic, neat towns. Onacock, VA, Easton, MD, St Michaels, MD, Chestertown, MD and ended with a stop to see the wild horses at Asseteague Island, MD. It was a great trip and cheap to.

    • On August 2, 2014 at 8:29 am Sally said:

      This sounds like an AMAZING trip, Jim. So glad you enjoyed yourself! And, yes, I agree, one huge perk of camping is that it’s so cheap. I would have never been able to afford a hotel room near Traverse City for the holiday weekend — especially on my own. But I was able to get two nights at a campsite for way less than I would have spent on one night in a hotel room. Plus, I got to make my own food rather than eat out all the time. It’s a great way to save money but still be able to travel.

  21. On August 2, 2014 at 8:20 am Gabriel said:

    I’ll be going solo camping very soon here in the DR. It’s a little different from camping in the US as in I have to hike a ways in to the forest before I can pitch up to avoid problems. It should be interesting =D
    Gabriel recently posted..Wallpaper Wednesday – July 30th – Blue Stripes

  22. On August 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm Terry said:

    I have your application for Naked and Afraid all ready to go.

  23. On November 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm Frank said:

    I go hiking and camping by myself all the time, alone. Sure-I have a hard time finding anyone to to deep into the forest, I mean really deep, but I don’t really care; I go at my own pace, take pictures at a slow pace, take a nap on a rock, gander at the sky or a pool of water or a army line of ants, think about an old lover, eat peanut butter with my fingers, dip naked in a stream (yup!), hum, listen to bee wings humming, meditate, fall down correctly, smell an alien flower, happen upon an angry bird, have a spooked lizard jump on my head, not have to have a banal conversation with someone who hates the poor, nature, sharing…the list goes on. Finally, hiking and camping alone will allow you to get to know yourself better, and you will probably find you are a lot nicer and more interesting, and braver, than you thought. Just make sure to leave a map to find your remains, and check of a real check list for basic survival. Make sure that list includes lots of water, medicine and rain protection.

    • On November 17, 2014 at 7:41 am Sally said:

      So far my solo hiking/camping trips have been pretty tame — I never go TOO far from civilization. I’m a bit too much of a scaredy cat to go strike off on my own into the deep woods… because BEARS. But maybe one day!

  24. On February 6, 2015 at 1:52 am Kathryn Leahy said:

    I am going in my first solo camping trip this weekend and I’m also scared my face will be eaten off my wolverines! But you have set my mind at ease and I’m going to just take a deep breath and go for it!!!

  25. On February 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm Kendra said:

    This is HILARIOUS and also very helpful. I am a scaredy cat myself and am planning a solo camping trip for this summer. I’m sure I could find someone to join me, but I’d rather try it on my own! Thanks for the post and letting me know that it can be done 😉

  26. On March 2, 2015 at 2:33 am Ceri said:

    Good for you, girl. I’ve never been camping before. I kind of stayed in the jungle for a few nights in a little hut but after 3 days, I could have cried from happiness over getting the hell out of there – Way too many creepy crawlies that I just couldn’t deal with.

    If my tent could be bug proof and there were no bears within a 10,000 mile radius, I’d give it a go. 😀 You’re super brave.
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in February

  27. On March 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm Emily said:

    You are very inspiring. Thank you for this.

  28. On March 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm m said:

    I know I am WAY late on commenting on this post (as it is now 8 months after you’ve posted), I just wanted to say that I am super pumped to have come across your post. I’m currently planning a solo roadtrip across/around the US. Even though my planning is getting pretty deep in the details, I am growing more and more nervous as the trip comes near. Thanks for posting!! 🙂

  29. On April 23, 2015 at 9:19 pm Allie said:

    I totally understand. My family of five think I’m insane, but I love it. I go camping in a tent. I don’t care where it is, just to go. It’s so peaceful. Yes, I have ice issues, but I will be experimenting with a mini-fridge in May for my 50th birthday (5 nights).
    Allie recently posted..That Time I Was Tricked into being a Ghostbuster in San Antonio

  30. On May 2, 2015 at 3:25 am Susan said:

    Oh my! Very inspiring!!! I was on on the verge of purchasing a Westfalia…but was not in love with it…maybe in like…I think , maybe, I am going to try a night or two on my own….in a tent… i am also unbrave, but definitely inspired….

  31. On May 6, 2015 at 10:33 am Hannah said:

    Just wanted to say, thanks for sharing this with the world! It’s amazing how when I type in specific Google searches (e.g. “women camping solo”), I’m rarely disappointed with the results… have been thinking about going off on a solo adventure – reading up on your experience has been reassuring!

  32. On May 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm Allie said:

    I love camping alone. It’s my “me” time. My next trip will be with my Boston Terrier, Piglet. He loves the outside, I just have to take him before it gets too hot. Yes, my family thinks I’m nuts, but it’s heaven for me.
    Allie recently posted..Random Stuff List

  33. On May 11, 2015 at 7:48 am Flora Baker said:

    I opened up this article thinking, ‘yeah… SHE can camp solo but clearly I could never manage it..” but by the end I was trying to work out if I have any friends willing to lend me a tent!

    I think it’s great to challenge yourself with outdoor pursuits you’d usually relegate to ‘Other People’s Vaguely Enviable Skills’. More of us should do it.
    Flora Baker recently posted..On Board the Blue Train: Travelling in South African Luxury

    • On May 11, 2015 at 5:32 pm Sally said:

      Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can! I think the trick is to start out easy. Go to a state or national campground on a weekend when there’s lots of people around. It won’t exactly be naturey or peaceful, but you’ll have camping-neighbors around who can help you if you can’t figure out how to put up your tent or how to start a fire (not that I’m saying you wouldn’t know how to do these things… just in case). Plus, there are park rangers to ask for help or directions or whatever.

  34. On May 15, 2015 at 10:48 am Allyson Stone said:

    I’m going camping for the first time tonight by myself! Can’t wait! It’s a public campground but I’m ready to brave it–it will be nice to get away! Thanks for the nice article! 🙂

    • On May 17, 2015 at 10:08 am Sally said:

      Good luck! You’ll do awesome! (And I always camp at public campgrounds. You’re roughing it but not TOO much. Plus I find it comforting to have other people and park rangers around.)

  35. On May 21, 2015 at 11:37 pm Jen said:

    What brand and style is this tent? I love the colors! cause it you’re going to own at tent it might as well look cool and be functional.

    • On May 22, 2015 at 7:10 am Sally said:

      To be honest with you, I have no idea. I know it’s not a name brand like REI or anything. I think it’s one of those made in China brands that no one’s ever heard of. I got it free from my brother, so I’m obviously not picky!

  36. On June 3, 2015 at 2:02 am a dude said:

    This looks wonderful. I am going solo to the UP in a few weeks, and I’m curious to know which park this is.

    I have not camped by myself before.

    • On June 3, 2015 at 7:27 am Sally said:

      I haven’t camped in the UP yet (plans to do so this summer!). I’ve only camped in the Northern part of the Lower Peninsula — including Interlochen, Petoskey, Ludington and Leelanau. I highly recommend all these parks, but I think Leelanau was my fave so far as it was rustic which meant much quieter and mostly people camping in tents.

  37. On June 3, 2015 at 2:22 pm a dude said:

    Well, that’s what you get for reading late at night — I had sworn this was the UP!

    This is actually part of a greater roadtrip which will eventually take me to the western half of the Lower Peninsula, so I will certainly have the opportunity to take these places into consideration. Leelenau doesn’t seem far from Traverse City, which I’d like to make a point to visit.

    Thanks for both this post and the informative reply! I wish you an excellent time in your UP travels this summer.

    • On June 3, 2015 at 9:26 pm Sally said:

      Yep, Traverse City is just at the base of the Leelanau Peninsula, and the state park (in Northport) is at the tip. All in all, it’s about a 30 minute drive from one to the other. And, Traverse City is definitely a MUST. So much great food and art and fun things to do there!

      • On June 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm Maryann said:

        When I read your blog, it was funny how much it sounded like me writing it. I went on my first solo camping trip last year to Interlochen because either all the hotels were booked in Traverse City for Cherry Festival week or were way beyond my price range. I was a little nervous being alone at first, but soon forgot about it. I totally agree with you about the confidence boost that comes from pitching your own tent, building a fire, cooking all your meals over a camp stove/campfire, and just taking time to ponder who you are as a person. And I second your thought that tents are never really meant for more than one person! I will be going back to Interlochen this year for another solo trip and can’t wait!

  38. On June 6, 2015 at 6:58 pm Sindy said:

    I love, love, love solo camping!! Ever since my sons have grown into adults I go camping alone and love it. At first it was a bit scary because the camp sites were far apart and you really did not see to many other people. Especially scary the first night but then I just learned to love being alone. You are forced to do everything yourself but you find how easy it really is in the long run.
    I am going camping on my birthday weekend by myself, my boys “might” come, and I am looking forward to getting out in the woods.

    • On June 7, 2015 at 9:05 am Sally said:

      Yay, Sindy! So glad you’re enjoying solo camping. I just went on my first solo camping trip of the summer and loved it. Can’t wait to get out for more!

  39. On June 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm Aaron said:

    Oh my god! You are my new favorite superhero! Thank you for the inspiration. I’m going solo camping on Thursday for two nights.

  40. On June 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm June Rousey said:

    Good for you! I’m a 55 year old woman who is leaving on a solo trip out west. I’ll be camping solo part of the time, and hiking solo as well. I love how you say you had no one to go with, and made it a positive thing. I have friends, but schedules don’t always work out, and it’s actually empowering not to have to rely on anyone to do something you want to. You also made me laugh. Keep up the great adventures, and thanks for sharing.

  41. On June 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm kato said:

    What an enjoyable read and I was just saying “yes” on repeat the whole way through.

    I discovered solo camping in my late teens and I was hooked for life. In fact, I have turned down camping trips with others because it can never compare to camping alone. Currently planning a couple of months alone in Tasmania, if I can get the right sitter for my cat back home. My main occupation at the moment is that I study online, so I figured, why not ?

    I am a lil on the lazy side too and I love the forced self-maintenance that comes with solo camping. Maybe it will even influence my study/procrastination habits? 😉

  42. On July 10, 2015 at 11:23 am Elizabeth Powell said:

    I just went camping for the first time with my partner on our land in Maine. It’s wooded and remote but has an artesian spring. It was a great experience. You know … put up a six man tent (we got at a yardsale), hang hammocks, build fire. The weather was great. I slept on the ground without a pad and survived. We’re from the south so we made chicken and dumplings.

    Yeah nothing ate my face off but we were visited by a Buck in the middle of snorting and wheezing and I didn’t know what it was and I was genuinely scared. I hope he wasn’t disappointed we spurned his advances.

  43. On July 10, 2015 at 11:25 am Elizabeth Powell said:

    P.S. Oh and now I’m trying to work up the courage to go by myself …

  44. On July 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm Tamara Luz said:

    This is an inspiring tale. I have done other things alone or with young children. I can do this, and I don’t have to worry that my family is going begrudgingly.

  45. On August 2, 2015 at 4:12 am katie said:

    I stumbled across this when looking up going camping alone for the first time. I have been wanting to go all summer but no one else is interested. After reading, I feel much better about going by myself, though my main concern is serial killers not wolverines. I plan on taking my dogs with me so it will probably turn into a gigantic but fun mess. Wish me luck!

    • On August 2, 2015 at 11:36 am Sally said:

      I’m actually going to be addressing the whole serial/ax murderer issue (because I get asked that question a lot) in my next post about solo camping, but, trust me, I don’t think you need to worry about serial killers. Wolverines, on the other hand… that you might want to prepare for. 🙂

  46. On August 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm Faith Antion said:

    I am so happy I found this blog. I was searching for stories from any other woman who goes camping by herself and enjoys it. I starting solo camping 5 years ago and go at least a few times a year. Driving to the site, I always think about how excited I am to be camping, how happy I am to be doing my own thing, how proud I am of myself for doing something that still scares me no matter how much experience I have (I’ve gotten really good at setting up my tent but I’m still pretty bad at campfires.) Then I arrive and the rangers greet me with “Just you? You’re all by yourself? There’s no one with you? Are you going to be okay?” By the time I’ve restated my solo-ness and my ability to survive in the wild on my own 4 times, I’m thinking “wow, what a sad lonely loser I am.” I almost never see another solo camper, let alone a female solo camper so I’m so happy to find that there are others (I knew there had to be!) Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me why I love doing this.

    • On August 7, 2015 at 8:47 am Sally said:

      Hi Faith,
      So glad you found my blog & I’m happy to hear from a solo camper, but I’m surprised by the reaction you’ve received from rangers. I’m curious — are you staying at state or national (or other) parks and if state, what state? Also curious if these rangers are mostly male or if you get the same reaction from female rangers? I have mostly stayed at state parks in Michigan, and I haven’t had rangers say really anything at all about my solo-ness. If anything, I feel like they’re encouraging — especially the female rangers. I did feel a bit out of place the one time I stayed at a private campground. It was definitely more of a “party” campsite (much to my chagrin). The girl who checked me in kept on saying “you guys,” assuming that I was camping with someone else. I never bothered to correct her, but I stayed there long enough that I’m sure she (and the whole campground) realized I was alone. I think they all thought I was crazy there.

  47. On August 28, 2015 at 2:26 am Irene said:

    I am off to my first solo camping in an hour’s time. Thanks for the encouragement! Will definitely share my experience with you 🙂

  48. On October 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm Aracely Coronado said:

    OMG! I just did my second solo camping trip to the Catskills. I live in Philly and wanted to trek around the Catskills. I too and single, not looking and love the outdoors. I can’t wait around for a SO to come along to do these things with me. So off I went in my new hatchback, had all my gear and can honestly say I love my own company.

    People think I am a strange woman for knowing how and doing these kinds of things on my own, but I just say I am very rare.

    I will now take the advice to try backpacking, no more than 90 minutes away on an overnight. I love the solitude and sounds of nature out there by myself. I work and have to engage with people alllll day long, so my time is my down time.

    I leave the woods refreshed, and feeling so lucky that I am able to do it alone. I love people, but friends have their own lives, their own families, and I can’t rely on planning a trip with them. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

    • On October 5, 2015 at 8:58 pm Sally said:

      Omigod. So get what you’re saying about having to work & engage with people all day long. I’m a teacher, so I have to be nice and social to at least 50 different students a day along with my coworkers, boss, student workers, etc. When I’m off of work, I just want to be by myself and be myself and not have to be “on” in front of anyone.

    • On January 22, 2016 at 9:37 am Jamie said:

      Hey Philly is close to me! Kinda, haha. I live in Monmouth County, NJ. I know exactly what you are saying with the SO thing. I use to do a lot with my dad, who camps/hungs/hikes/fish/everythings but sometimes it’s hard since none of my friends like any of this stuff. For so long I just didn’t do a lot of stuff. Then I was like, what am I waiting for?

      I recently joined a lot of Meetups and online groups to try to meet some people. There are actually quite a lot (not super close to me, still 1 hr or so away but hey).

      If you are interested (totally not trying to self-promote here but since you are sooo close), I’ve been trying to start a FB outdoorsy group. http://www.facebook.com/groups/runningwildfree

      It’s closed which means you have to request to join, and only members see posts (anyone can see the group itself, did this for people’s privacy).

      It’s super small and not really active yet, just hoping to get some cool people involved. Just helping each other out, sharing stories. Hope to maybe organize my own outings in the Tri-State area, if possible (and enough local peeps).
      Jamie recently posted..Wearable Review: Fitbit Charge HR

  49. On January 15, 2016 at 8:08 am Abdurrahman said:

    Tell me what did you take with you for camping and how much did it cost you, how is it like to contact only with nature and earth, is it possible for a teenager to go alone in winter? I’m having a big plan inside my mind..

    • On January 16, 2016 at 11:41 am Sally said:

      What to take and how much it costs really depends on where you’re camping and how much you want to rough it. I usually camp at state parks here in Michigan, which have a rental fee of about $20-$30/night (more for a cabin). I take quite a sufficient amount of gear: tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, cooking supplies (pots, pans, utensils, cups, plates, a small camp stove, grill for the fire, etc.), food, a pack chair, and other personal essentials (clothing, toiletries, towels, etc.) But I’ve seen people take a LOT more — in fact there are some people that seem to transport their whole house to the campsite! And I’ve seen people take a LOT less — once I saw a guy with only a camp cot (no tent). So, again, it’s totally up to you how much stuff you need to bring/not bring.
      As for whether or not a teenager can go alone in the winter, I’m sure you can, but again it really depends on where you’re camping and on you. Are you staying in a tent or cabin? Is where you’re staying going to be snowy (this can make setting up a fire and sleeping outside hard)? Do you have previous camping/outdoors experience?
      I’d suggest if you don’t have much camping experience, to wait until the spring or summer to go on your trip. Going in the warmer months also means you can also get away with bringing a lot less gear — no need for a big sub-zero sleeping bag, camp stove, etc. I’d also suggest checking out if your local outdoors store offers workshops or seminars on camping. I found a store in my area that has regular seminars on stuff like camp cooking and backpack camping and it’s been really informative.

    • On January 22, 2016 at 9:28 am Jamie said:

      Camping in winter is very serious, given the danger with the weather. You should check out LL Bean, they do free classes on camping in the winter in their stores. REI also does free info classes also! This would definitely help you.

      If you don’t have experience camping, definitely try first in warmer weather. IF you go in winter, make sure to buy the correct sleeping bag; something 15 degree at the highest rating. Hand warmers are your friend. So is wool. Again, a large part is buying the right gear, and knowing the right stuff.

      I also suggest a battery pack, especially in winter, so you can recharge your phone if you need to. There are at least two out there that also have a light on them; one is from Biolite (kinda expensive), the other I honestly forgot, but feel free to email me, and I’ll check it for you. I got it from an outdoor subscription box. It’s really cool to have in case of an emergency.

      I also always wear Road ID, running, camping, hiking alone especially I feel it’s worth it. It helps people identify you and hopefully get you the help you need if someone were to find you, as well as contact your family who can also give any needed info.

      There are also devices you can buy which are for safety, when you go camping. Keeps track of where you are and let’s people find you or let’s you send a ping if you need help. They usually do have like a subscription plan with them, though.
      Jamie recently posted..Wearable Review: Fitbit Charge HR

  50. On January 22, 2016 at 9:19 am Jamie said:

    Great post! Tents actually claim person amount assuming by not taking in comfort, but only who can fit in there. 3 people can *technically* fit, without room for gear. Just 3 sleeping bags, with humans inside. This is assuming they are “average” build, height, etc.

    Most people size up 1 to be able to fit gear. A 3 person tent is usually reasonable for 2 people and a little gear, but another way to go is to get a tent with vestibules; they allow you to store gear away from rain, etc., but not take up space in the tent.

    Going by myself and having to do all the stuff myself isn’t the scariest thing to me. Neither are the animals. What scares me as a girl, is getting attacked by someone *cough* guy *cough*. Did that not worry you this trip? I’m researching a bit to see how other girls handle it as I’m signed up for The North Face Endurance Challenge in May, and would love to camp out before the race instead of do a hotel.
    Jamie recently posted..Wearable Review: Fitbit Charge HR

    • On January 24, 2016 at 10:28 am Sally said:

      The whole idea of getting attacked did cross my mind a bit. But I usually stay at state park campgrounds, which tend to be pretty family-oriented. In fact, I am usually the ONLY solo camper in these sites. I figure some guy’s not going to attack me if his spouse/girlfriend/family is in the tent next door. Plus, if someone does attack me, there are tons of people around to hear me scream.

  51. On February 8, 2016 at 9:15 pm Allie said:

    Go all the time by myself. My family and co-workers think I’m a little nuts, but I love it. I always go to state parks, so I feel safe. So peaceful.

  52. On April 7, 2016 at 1:36 pm Lori said:

    I just came across this. Recently single and having just invested in camping gear, thank you. Because I’m going camping. (Picks up an Oprah magazine).

  53. On April 22, 2016 at 9:45 am Rita said:

    I love your story. I plan on going camping on my own this summer. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  54. On June 12, 2016 at 8:51 pm Rabs said:

    I’m contemplating going solo camping up in Rocky Mountain National Park. Planning to stay at the campgrounds. My question is, did you ever feel unsafe? I’m less worried about wildlife and more about people.

    My fear is that I won’t be able to sleep at night. But it sounds silly, I know.

    • On June 12, 2016 at 9:25 pm Sally said:

      I’m not going to lie and say I never felt unsafe — both when it came to people and animals (BEARS). Sure, thoughts of being assaulted/mauled/whatever have crossed my mind. But, so far, I’ve only ever stayed at established campgrounds and it’s usually been pretty busy there — lots of families and park rangers around. Not exactly the kind of places someone could get away with assault/murder of a random solo camper lady without being detected — especially given the fact that I was staying in a tent with no sound insulation. If I had screamed, someone would have definitely heard me. If you’re staying at a national park, you should be good. But if it makes you feel safer, maybe bring some bear mace with you — good for deterring both bears and people.
      I hope you go and have a great time!

  55. On June 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm Tommy said:

    I have been tent camping by myself for about 3 years now. I used to go with a bunch of friends and that was OK, but when you go alone(not entirely) I bring my little girl, my 15lb Boston Terrier, who loves to camp with me.I do not go to public or pay camp sites as I used to, but now go way off road in my 4×4, to find the most remote and secluded spots on the mountain, this I feel is an awesome experience, and really puts me in touch with God and His wonderful creation.

    I guess I am kind of a loner, by choice, never been married,and like the fact I can just go out and camp from my truck whenever I get some time off from my job.

    I have a GPS track finder in case I get in real serious trouble, and come prepared for all kinds of emergencies and rough weather, I know it would be fun with others to share, but as to my spiritual beliefs, convictions, etc, its difficult to find others who share my convictions, its quiet, peaceful, a bit scary at night, but again brings me closer to God, my heart, and a feeling of accomplishment when I finally set up my elaborate campsite build a fire and take a nap under the pine tree!

    • On June 29, 2016 at 9:18 am Sally said:

      Tommy, that’s great that you’ve found solo camping works for you. How do you figure out where to camp if you’re not camping in campsites? I’ve heard there are some apps that can help you find public land to camp on. I’d be worried I’d be camping in someone’s field and they’d have me arrested for trespassing!

  56. On June 28, 2016 at 8:33 pm Liz said:

    That is amazing! You have inspired me.

  57. On July 8, 2016 at 11:08 am Sherry said:

    Just at the point of caving and canceling my reservation at a state park for my first solo camping trip, I read your blog and instantly found determination and inspiration. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Solo camping was everything I thought it would be and more. In fact, it was pretty much everything I did when camping with family with planning, preparations, and packing as well as camp site duties, I didn’t have any reservations with all that. It was more the idea of being alone that gave me second thoughts. I have mace, I have flashlight, I have a barking dog. How hard could it be? It wasn’t difficult at all. And the camp hosts didn’t balk and ask questions with a baffled look on their face while I explained being alone camping is not that unusual, as I had imagined our conversation would be. Everything went smooth without a hitch, except my make-shift urinal cut out of a plastic milk gallon jug failed and I pretty much peed my bedding. I’ve read many books by Rick Bass and always marveled at his ability to trek out and camp solo, and I’d always wished I could do that too. A state park is just the start and this blog had given me that boost I needed to go for it.

    • On July 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm Sally said:

      Sherry, Your comment made my WEEK! I’m so glad you went and had a great time. I can totally remember being completely terrified my first time solo camping. But it really isn’t scary once you do it that first time! I hope you have many awesome solo camping adventures ahead of you!

  58. On July 11, 2016 at 10:35 pm Dianne said:

    Hello,I am glad I found this website. I am a 68 year old widow My husband of over 30 yrs passed away two months ago, so I am going through challenging transitions and adjustments. I first thought about driving across Canada but maybe this is a bit more then I want to bite off right now. So I am starting to plan my first solo camping trip. I will have my 11 year old three legged dog — who is anything but aggressive–for company. I am nervous but will be staying at a provincial park so there is a sense of security. Gonna get a three or four man tent. I think a sanitary bucket for the middle of the night wake up calls. I need to push myself to do this. As my husband and I loved to RV camp so I am sure there will be a few tears shed by the campfire. And that is not a bad thing 🙂 The posts here have hit on my points of anxiety but are also inspiring me to take the plunge. GULP!!

  59. On July 24, 2016 at 8:09 pm Laura said:

    Two years later, this post is still gaining traction – at least traction with me. I can’t find anyone who wants to go camping either, and I totally said, “screw it,” I need to go see some redwood trees and not-find myself somewhere that has no internet service. I love this blog. It’s funny and totally true! Thank you. And I’m completely hugging Dianne in my imagination. (The last responder).

    • On July 24, 2016 at 9:00 pm Sally said:

      Wahoo! You go, Laura! Go get your redwood trees and internet service! You can do it! (And, yes, hugs for Dianne all around. I hope she checks back in and tells me how it went.)

  60. On September 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm Cori Mitchell said:

    I am so inspired by you. I have been wanting to do a solo camping trip for a while but every time I plan to do it, my courage fails me. Mainly because there a lot of nay-sayers around (my parents, my boyfriend, friends etc.) I am experienced backpacker and I would go to location I am most familiar with. Need advice on how to not let other’s fears be projected on me. I want to do it so badly.

    • On September 8, 2016 at 4:29 pm Sally said:

      Hi Cori!
      What a great question… and I’m not sure I have the answer for you, but I plan on posing it to the peeps on my FB page so maybe they’ll have some advice. I’m the kind of person that when the more people tell me I can’t do something, that’s when I really want to do something. And since my family & friends know that about me, they’ve just stopped telling me I can’t/shouldn’t do stuff! I’m also a little bit shocked that they’re saying all of this to you given all your backpacking experience. You’d think they’d trust you and your knowledge of surviving out in the wilderness!
      But, I guess, my suggestions would be to start small: do a quick overnight trip somewhere you’re familiar with. Also make sure you give all info (where you’re going to be, how long you’ll be there, etc) to someone close to you. And then work your way up from there. I also like to think about statistics to calm myself down… like, statistically, it’s more likely that I’ll get killed in a car crash than eaten by a bear, but I never freak out about driving my car, so I should stop freaking out about bears already. This (KIND OF) helps me calm myself down a bit. 🙂
      Good luck! I hope you go & have a great time!

  61. On September 8, 2016 at 11:57 pm Nette said:

    Sally, I told myself and my husband, “I am going to try camping alone while you are gone.” And today I got nervous and searched the internet for Is Camping Alone Fun? And here was your post. It is perfect timing and I am looking forward to exploring my strengths and Solo Muscles.

    Thank you for being Brave! (and vulnerable, which is the bravest)

  62. On September 9, 2016 at 5:37 pm Molly Lindquist said:

    So, so awesome. Thank you for sharing this experience and inspiring others. I love the idea of solo camping, what a wonderful way to experience the things you want and to get in touch with yourself.

    Would you recommend knowing the area/campground ahead of time? I’m visiting an area I know nothing about and that’s my biggest hesitation in booking a campsite.

    • On September 9, 2016 at 10:01 pm Sally said:

      Thanks, Molly! Glad you enjoyed the post. And good question! I’ve actually never stayed at the same campground twice — there are just too many campgrounds in Michigan to bother going back to the same one, I guess! So I don’t think you need to be familiar at all with the area. If you’re backpacking, I’d say read ahead about the trail. If you’re car camping, I always recommend checking out the site before you set up camp, and then if you want to change your campsite, drive around, see which sites are open & see if you can change your site. That happened the other week when I was put across the street from a huge group of partying college kids and I was like, “Uh, no thanks.” Luckily, there were plenty of much quieter sites for me to move to.
      Best of luck! I hope you go solo camping & love it! 🙂

  63. On September 17, 2016 at 12:55 am Ida said:

    Just wanted to say that I loved your post. I’m a novice camper really. I have always camped with other folks, and this month I camped on my own at a campground in Malibu for a surf contest. It was too much trouble for my whole fam to come up with me so I decided to go alone. My husband was worried about my going there alone and so I had a lot of misgivings for the reasons you stated but it turned out to be a fabulous experience…loved being so close to nature and seeing the stars in the sky as I fell asleep. Hopefully I can share that with my kids.

  64. On October 15, 2016 at 12:35 am Karen said:

    This is comforting to me. My 6 yr old talked the family into backyard camping but was such a pain that the 16 yo came back in and then an hour later we came in with the 6 yo against her will. My 12 yo daughter wanted to stay out there all by herself with no phone. So it is now after midnight and everyone is asleep but me because I’m wondering if I should go out there and see if she is freaking out or not. But after reading this I think she is happy to be alone and so now I can go to bed.

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