You'll be ready for that big backcountry camping trip once you've covered these things.
My daddy always said that being in the deep, open wilderness was much safer than walking down any city street. While that may be true, there are still inherent risks to consider.
Being all alone in remote areas can be overwhelming, and frankly, dangerous for the ill-prepared. Women, in particular, must be prepared before embarking on solo adventures.
The following tips will help females planning their very first (so exciting!) solo backcountry camping trip.
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Channel Your Inner Girl Scout
The Girl Scout's mantra - Be prepared - serves grown up ladies, too. Solid preparation makes or breaks any backcountry trip.
Research the area before heading out. What kind of pests will you potentially encounter? What type of terrain will you be camping on? What is the climate like during that season? Knowing what to expect helps to utilize the limited amount of space in your pack.
Hot tip: Even if the forecast calls for perfect weather, pack for rain. In many parts of the country, the weather can change in an instant. Not having proper gear for extreme weather can turn an uncomfortable situation into a dangerous one pretty quickly.
Keep Up With Aunt Flo
While camping during a menstrual cycle may be uncomfortable, it is not more inherently dangerous than camping during any other time of the month. It has long been rumored that bears are attracted to menstrual blood, but that myth has been debunked. A study published by the National Park Service in 2016 found that no substantial evidence exists that black bears or grizzly bears are attracted to menstrual blood more than any other smells.
That being said, camping during a period will create some extra work. Used sanitary products will need to be carried out with you. Bring along some heavy duty zip-seal bags, such as Ziploc, to transport waste. This could be a good time to utilize period underwear, such as Thinx, as it creates less waste and can be worn for a longer duration than tampons or sanitary pads can be used. All in all, don't let a menstrual period cramp your style during a planned backcountry trip. Just adjust, prepare, and forge ahead!
Use Common Sense
It is probably not a great idea for a female's first solo backcountry camping trip should not be her first backcountry camping trip ever. Take a few excursions with friends first. Gain some experience before trekking out entirely on your own. Enthusiasm and feminist energy go a long way, but knowledge is power. Being inexperienced and completely alone could be a recipe for disaster.
Let Someone Know
Always, always, always let someone know where you will be going and when you are expected to return. It could be a spouse, a trusted friend, a family member; just make sure it is someone reliable who will call for help if you do not arrive back home in a timely manner.
Also, know the area where you will be camping. Map out a general trip plan ahead of time. Know where cell phone service will be good and where it will be spotty. It would not hurt to invest in a GPS locater device to carry just in case. On the same note, learn to read an old-fashioned paper map. It is not as easy as just pulling it out and following the dotted line, it is an entire skill set. There are symbols to learn and directional cues to comprehend. Learn the skills and carry along a map.
Trust Your Gut
Predators are everywhere, even in the backcountry. If something is raising the hair on the back of your neck or creating a pit in the stomach, listen to your instincts and move. If a stranger blatantly asks if you are alone, know how to respond. Never tell someone you do not know and trust that you are in a vulnerable position, and don't mention being alone. Some responses could be that you are meeting a friend at a certain location, or you are accompanied by someone that is either just behind or just ahead, depending on orientation. Never reveal your plans or where you will be sleeping. Carry bear spray, too. It works on more than just bears.
There is a lot to consider as a first time solo backpacker, especially as a female. After all that preparation, reward yourself with the gift of being in the present moment. It is earned!
READ MORE: MORE WOMEN SHOULD GET INTO FUR TRAPPING
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