June 15, 2020

Women Hikers Guide: Safety Tips for Hiking Alone

June 15, 2020

Women Hikers Guide: Safety Tips for Hiking Alone

Solo hiking is one of the greatest adventures anyone can partake on. However, things are a little different for women and we must be mindful of the potential dangers. Before any woman starts to ascend, she has to make the necessary preparations to complete the trip safely. 

Safety Tips For A Woman Hiking Solo

1. Pick An Easy Route

If you are a first-timer, it is essential that you don't push yourself too much. Hiking is an enjoyable excursion, but it is also exhausting at the same time.

You need to understand that these baby steps are still a huge leap. Sooner or later, you will be able to traverse challenging terrains once you have enough experience and skills in hiking.

Again, don't go overboard. Find a beginner-friendly route. I am pretty sure your area and neighboring regions have a lot of that.

2. Train, Train, and Train Some More

I mentioned earlier that women are physically fit to do strenuous and vigorous activities like hiking. But then again, this doesn't come automatically--just like other things.

You don't wake up one day, and suddenly you have a body and vitality that are fully capable of taking extensive outdoor jaunts. Most of the experienced hikers out there have been continuously training to ensure that their system is fit and conditioned before any given hike.

Women should not ignore this, especially if they are making a solo trip. Bear in mind that a solo hike requires you to be fully equipped--physically and mentally. Your gears have to be complete, too. Push comes to shove, finding help would really be difficult.

To avoid muscle injuries and sprains, you need your body to be toned and rigid enough. There is a myriad of exercise regimens for hiking that you can do out there. Don't hesitate to train regularly.

What exercises you can do:

  • Cardio workouts (cycling, running, and elliptical training)
  • Resistance workouts for strength and stamina
  • Hike training

3. Learn How To Navigate

Navigation is one of the crucial skills that a hiker should learn. Once off-the-grid, your modern location-tracking devices and GPS units may no longer function.

You might want to rely on your "directional" instinct, but that will not get you anywhere. Besides, a guessing game on a hike will leave you exhausted, confused, and anxious.

Fortunately, navigation is not really that complicated. Women have great intuition; hence, their sense of direction is quite great, too. Assisted by compass and maps, a female hiker will never get lost along the way.

Also, the art of navigation requires familiarization of the trail. It would really be best to ask some locals about the trail you are about to take. Seek for important information such as the number of paths to the camping site, alternative routes, and other landmarks that can help you once you get lost.

4. Wear the Right Clothing

A vital aspect of the hike is your gears. If your pack is incomplete, you might encounter a series of difficulties and discomforts during the trip.

Of course, it doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman. Securing your hiking gears must be mandatory before the day of your ascend.

Here are some of the items that you need to acquire:

  • Footwear - Pick footwear based on your terrain and weather condition. If the trail is easy to moderate, you can pick lightweight and breathable shoes. Rugged, full-grain shoes are great if the terrain is technical and filled with obstacles.Meanwhile, wear boots if you are expecting water and a frigid atmospheric condition. "Don't ever wear boots in a humid and temperate climate! When picking footwear, always be mindful of the fit. Look for ergonomic features that could support your gait and posture.
  • Clothing - Clad yourself based on the terrain and weather condition. Insulate yourself if the trail is snowy, windy, or rainy. But if it is warm, you can wear loose clothes. Avoid cotton-made clothing as they do not have excellent moisture-wicking properties. Polyester and nylon are still suitable choices here.Consider fleece, jackets, and soft shells for high-altitude hikes. Things get breezy and moist there, so you need an exterior layer that can mitigate the elements.Since we are talking about hiking, wearing a hiking skirt or "skort" is ideal. They can go side-by-side with yoga tights since they add extra warmth and comfort to cold conditions.Convertible pants are also a great choice, especially if the terrain features creeks and rivers. If the weather is hot, these pants are the best option, too.

5. Secure Your Items For Hygiene

Solo hiking requires the utmost comfort. Women, in particular, have more special needs than men. Of course, that's understandable, considering their physiology.

Just because you are going to an outdoor sprawl doesn't mean that you can disregard hygiene and other personal care routines. It is easier for you to move if you are comfortable. Such an aspect would play a vital role in your safety and survival.

The following items can help you achieve that:

  • Menstrual supplies - Female backpackers often prefer menstrual cups than tampons because they are lighter and easy to manage. Furthermore, you can also bring a "go kit" that contains all the essential supplies for dealing with your period.
  • Pee funnel - If the hike is suddenly met by precipitation, a pee funnel might come useful. This particular funnel has a special design that enables you to pee while standing up. With constant practice, you will be able to pee on it toward a bottle. As a result, you don't have to go to your tent any more.
  • Cotton bandana - A cotton bandana is a great substitute for toilet papers whenever you pee. Drying them is easy as you just have to hang them outside once the sun is up.

6. Bring Safety Items

There are some items that you should bring during a solo hike. You need to defend yourself from wild animals and people as well.

Of course, I am not saying that hiking is a dangerous activity. Instead, it is just an emphasis that unexpected things can happen. If there's an SHTF situation, you need to be able to react to it.

  • Safety whistle - This one deters a myriad of threats. It is also a good way of calling for help.
  • Bear spray - A bear spray is a recommended outdoor amenity. Use it to fend off possible bear attacks. If the situation calls it, you can use the spray on humans as well.
  • Personal locator beacon - A personal locator beacon (PLB) is extremely useful for solo hikers. For women, it is a must-have. This item sends scheduled messages to another PLB device. It relies on a satellite signal so that it can work virtually anywhere. You can use the device as a means of sending "SOS" if you are stuck in an emergency.
  • Satellite phone - As I said earlier, ordinary devices might not work once you are off-the-grid. Hence, making communication a tricky task. The best way to overcome this is by having a satellite phone. Wherever you are, these satellite phones remain functional. They don't rely on internet connections, too.
  • First-aid kit - Needless to say, the basic first-aid kit is vital in any solo hike. Wounds and injuries can take place on the journey. Make sure that you can patch things up to ensure your safety and survival.
  • Survival knife - This one has a lot of purposes. It can be used for setting up your tent, finding provisions, and even defending yourself. Bring one every time you are hiking.

7. Learn First-Aid

First aid is more than just bringing the "kit." The effectiveness of a first-aid kit still depends on the user.

The basic first-aid is more than enough to keep your safety afloat while solo hiking. For instance, if you got wounded by a stray branch, you should know what to apply on it, and how to close it using bandages.  If you encounter a muscle sprain, you need to learn how to deal with it, as well.

The mastery over first-aid might take time. However, it is a valid investment, considering that you are a woman, and you want to hike alone.

8. Inform Others About Your Hike

Solo hiking doesn't mean that you have to keep the trip a secret. That's not advisable, even if you want to do soul-searching, and you don't want others to bother you.

Safety requires information and preventive measures. Others have to know your current whereabouts so that they can file a report if something untoward happens. You also need to disclose the date of your hike, time of departure and intended date of descent. All of these details are important so that the others on the ground can respond appropriately.

You don't need to tell everybody about your trip, though. It is enough that the information is within your family or trusted friends.

9. Avoid Dangerous Paths

Spotting possibly hazardous routes and areas are one compelling reason why you need to familiarize yourself with the trail. You have to identify which part of the trail you need to avoid. For instance, some areas are infested by dangerous plants and animals.

Other areas, on the other hand, might be too dangerous to tread because of the presence of cliffs, jagged, and slippery surfaces.

Also, pay attention to this reminder: do not camp or pass a game trail. You will not only deal with animals there; there's also a huge chance that you'll encounter hunters with guns and bows, too.

10. Don't Overextend

I know that women are capable individuals. They are on equal terms with men when it comes to that aspect.

However, this doesn't mean that you should push yourself too much. You have to learn your limits. Identify the things that you can do and separate them from the things that you cannot.

It would really be great if you will be able to set some ground rules for yourself before the hike. By doing this, you will be able to avoid potential injuries and harms.

You have nothing to prove on a hike. The mere fact that you are hiking alone is proof that you are a strong person. There's no need to do unnecessary stunts and activities that can put you in jeopardy.

11. Embrace Solitude

If you can't stand being alone, solo hiking might not be for you. You see, solo hiking is more about your mental preparedness. You need to be brave enough to complete the trip even if nobody is with you.

Courage and confidence are essential aspects of your safety. If there's no iota of bravery within you, you are susceptible to panic and worries. These things would prevent you from thinking properly. As a result, you won't be able to respond to emergencies right away.

Sure enough, being confident is part of the preparation, too. As long as you remain calm and composed, solo hiking would be a pleasure for you. You are confident enough that you got things under control.

And even the unexpected comes, you know that you can deal with them. You have a way out to every situation because your mind is wired for survival.

12. Trust Your Gut-Feeling

Women are very intuitive. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why it is easy for them to detect if there's something off about a person or situation.

While you are outdoors, you have to take advantage of your gut-feeling. It is handy, especially in dealing with uncertain situations.

An excellent example of this is when meeting strangers along the trail. We can sense that some people are cordial and friendly. However, other people can churn our stomachs. Do not ignore a creepy vibe, as that is a signal that you need to run or fight!

Conclusion

Overall, I do suggest that every lady hiker should abide by these tips. They will keep you safe and comfortable throughout the duration of your adventure.

Do you know other safety tips for a woman hiking solo? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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