Planning your first solo camping trip but wondering what you need to pack for your adventure?
We’ve got you covered.
Your first camping trip on your own can seem daunting at first, but we’re here to help you prepare for your outing.
When it comes to camping on your own, it’s essential that you bring the right gear on hand to handle whatever situations might arise. So, we’ve created this solo camping checklist to ensure just that.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the most important items to pack on your next solo outdoor adventure. From tents to headlamps, here are some essential pieces of gear you shouldn’t leave home without on your next solo trip in the great outdoors.
1. Backpacking tent
Any good outdoor trip starts with having the right shelter for the job, and solo camping trips are no exception.
For solo camping trips, most folks pack a tent to keep them warm and dry at night. However, while you might automatically think that a one-person tent is best for solo camping, most folks actually find that a two-person tent is more appropriate.
Why, you might ask?
Well, most one-person tents are really small, so they don’t offer much in terms of comfort or gear storage. So, opting for a two-person tent can go a long way toward enhancing your comfort at night.
Alternatively, for solo adventures below treeline, like in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you could consider packing a hammock, instead. If you do choose to sleep in a hammock, though, don’t forget to pack your other hammocking accessories, like your hammock bug net and hammock tarp to help you catch some Zzzs at night.
Read More : How to Get A Good Night Sleep while Camping
2. Backpacking chair
If you’re going on a solo camping adventure, you ought to be comfortable while hanging out in camp. So, packing a quality backpacking chair is a solid choice.
Since solo campers tend to have a lot of free time to themselves while in camp, having a portable chair in your gear list can provide a comfy place to sit in the evenings.
That way, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy writing in your journal or reading a book after a long day of hiking on your solo trek.
3. Survival gears
Anyone that heads into the woods on their own needs to be prepared for whatever life might throw their way. As a result, it’s important to always have survival gear in your pack when venturing into the mountains on your own.
Although we hope you never have to use them, having the right survival gear with you can make a major difference if you find yourself in a sticky situation while on the trail in a remote place like Rocky Mountain National Park.
Alternatively, if you stumble across someone else that’s in distress while you hike, the survival gear that you have with you could help them out, too.
Moral of the story?
Don’t head into the woods alone without your survival gear. If you ever have to use it, you’ll be happy you tossed it into your pack.
4. Knives & multitools
In addition to survival gear, there’s another piece of equipment you should never head into the backcountry without; knives and multitools.
Knives and multitools are some of the most versatile pieces of gear on the planet. Whether you need to fix a broken tent pole or make some kindling for your fire, having the right knife or multitool in your pocket can be the difference between a fun camping trip and an outing you’d rather forget.
Plus, as we’ve mentioned, when you’re camping on your own, having the right gear to help you handle any issues is important. Knives and multitools can help you become self-sufficient so you can handle whatever situations you encounter.
5. Camping meals
If you’re camping solo, cooking up a 3-course meal at the end of a long day of hiking can be a bit of a chore. In these situations, pre-packed camping meals might just be what you need.
With the right camping meals, you can roll into your campsite, pitch your tent, turn on your stove, and boil water to rehydrate your food. Then, you can grab your utensils and dig right in for a quick 1 person meal with minimal hassle.
The best part?
Packing camping meals means you don’t really have to do any dishes, which is ideal if you’re adventuring on your own.
6. First aid kits
We’ve already talked quite a bit about the importance of having survival gear, knives, and multi-tools on the trail when you’re camping solo. But, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention that you should bring a first aid kit, too.
Of course, everyone should pack a first aid kit when camping, regardless of if you’re going outside on your own. But, solo campers need to be extra prepared because there might not be anyone else around to help them if something were to happen.
So, be sure to pack your first aid kit whenever you head outside, especially when you head into the mountains by yourself.
There are few better ways to spend a night in the backcountry in a place like Yosemite National Park than with a roaring campfire to enjoy. Since building a campfire can be a tricky process, though, it’s best to bring a bunch of firestarters with you when camping solo.
Packing firestarters and other useful tools, like lighters and kindling, can make your fire-building experience as seamless as possible.
In fact, when you’re camping solo, every minute you spend tending to your fire is one fewer minute that you’re not spending on enjoying it. Therefore, having firestarters and other similarly nifty equipment allows you to make the most of your solo adventure.
8. Hiking backpacks
Camping on your own is all about being self-sufficient. However, being self-sufficient requires having a lot of gear with you at all times, even when you venture away from camp. So, if you’re heading on a solo trip, you’ll need to have a quality hiking backpack with you for carrying all your gear.
The ideal solo camper backpack is comfortable and functional. For solo campers, this means having a model that you can easily put on and take off on your own, even if it’s fully loaded. It also means having enough space to carry all your gear as you don’t have anyone else you can rely on if your pack is over-stuffed.
So, as you search for the right backpack for your adventures, think long and hard about whether it can really accommodate all your gear. If not, it might be worth investing in a larger model.
Read More : How to Pack Light for Your Next Camping Trip
As we’ve mentioned, camping on your own often involves spending a lot of free time in camp in the evenings. For many solo campers, this free time is a great opportunity to relax by journaling, reading, knitting, or just reflecting on your experiences.
Since most of us tend to stay up later than sunset, though, having a headlamp while solo camping is critical for an enjoyable adventure experience. Plus, in addition to illuminating your tent for nighttime reading, having a headlamp is a must for general, all-around activities in camp at night.
10. Extra hiking clothes
Finally, it’s particularly important that all campers come prepared with plenty of extra hiking clothes when camping on their own. Although we recommend plenty of extra hiking clothes at all times when venturing into the great outdoors, doing so is especially vital when adventuring solo.
Indeed, since you won’t have friends and fellow hikers to rely on for spare gear while solo camping, it’s imperative that you have spare clothing to keep you warm and dry.
As a general rule, we recommend packing at least an extra pair or two of hiking socks, an extra set of hiking shorts or hiking pants, and plenty of warm clothing. Other items that you’ll definitely want to have includes a rain jacket and rain pants to help you stay dry in foul weather.
Oh, and if you expect it to be particularly cold at night while you solo camp, packing heated gear, like heated socks, heated gloves, and the like can also make a huge difference in your comfort levels.
Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.