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Backpacking solo
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Backpacking solo on 04/09/2014 20:25:40 MDT Print View

I think there are 3 kinds of people.

1) Those who, when they started backpacking, thought. "Wow, this is fun and would be more fun if I went alone." These folks might be like me. We are inclined to want to do things By ourselves. At work if I get assigned to a project to create a new product and it includes "collaboration" and a work group, I ask to be reassigned to a project I can do alone. It's my personality.

2) Those to are okay being alone or with a group. Sometimes they prefer to go it alone and other times with a group.

3) Those who are most comfortable in a group and really don't like to be isolated.

These are personality traits that perhaps we are born with.

Solo backpacking has nothing to do with bravery, courage, self-sufficiency, etc. Some people like it; others don't. Solo is not necessarily good or bad. For me it is my preference 99% of the time.

If you somehow want to go solo, but there is a lurking question whether it is safe, reasonable, etc.; it probably means that you may lack specific knowledge about a facet that has you sitting on the fence. Determine what it is that is stopping you (the "fear") and then research the subject.

Last year I wrote this article on my blog, which included...

"For some reason, I get the greatest criticism about hiking solo from other backpackers. This might infer that backpackers have greater knowledge about the dangers of solo walking than non-backpackers, or perhaps I come across as elitist. I couldn't disagree more. In my opinion, hiking alone is safer than hiking in a group."

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: Backpacking solo on 04/09/2014 20:42:47 MDT Print View

Well said, Nick!

I think I fall in category #2 . . .

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Backpacking solo on 04/10/2014 00:43:32 MDT Print View

#1 here. Have always been a loner, but would probably shade more towards #2 if my first group experience hadn't been negative. Then too, there is a difference between going with a friend or two you've vetted, and going on an arranged group trip with 4+ strangers or near-strangers.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking solo on 04/10/2014 04:46:00 MDT Print View

Number 2 for me.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Backpacking solo on 04/10/2014 06:53:44 MDT Print View

I've noticed for day trips, I seem to enjoy being with my friends. Most of my current friendships were developed through a shared love of the outdoors so it makes sense that we continue to have shared time together in the outdoors.

Backpacking trips? I've done them with people in the past (esp for logistic reasons), but I really do prefer solo for various reasons already articulated earlier.

Michael Gunderloy
(ffmike) - MLife
Re: Re: Backpacking solo on 04/10/2014 10:09:26 MDT Print View

I'm naturally inclined to solo (and introverted, probably not unrelated). This was confirmed by having to bail out early on a couple of trips recently due to new hiking partners not being as fit/prepared as they assured me that they were. Given the limited amount of time I have in the outdoors I'm loathe to not make the most of it.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Backpacking solo on 04/10/2014 11:23:21 MDT Print View

Wish I was in #2, but if being honest with myself, I'm firmly #1.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Backpacking solo" on 04/10/2014 12:04:47 MDT Print View

I'm a #3 trying to get the courage to be a #2. Right now I solely go out with others, but that's fear driven. I'm a woman so there's a bit of caution of "what if some creeper guy notices I'm camping alone?", and then I am in Alaska where we have bears and other predators which are more easily deterred by groups than a lone individual, and finally the fear that if something happened I would be completely alone with no help around.

On the flip side, I day hike alone all the time. All. The. Time. And the reality is, I'm just as alone and exposed on a day hike as I would be on a backpacking overnighter (or longer trip) but I guess I feel safer because I'm not spending the night? I don't know.

It's a fear I need to get over, because I want to backpack more than I currently do and I don't want to be so dependent on other people's schedules.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
solo on 04/11/2014 20:30:00 MDT Print View

I prefer hiking alone to staring at someone elses derriere all day. Of course, that could depend on the derriere.

I do like sharing awesome views, etc with others, as long as they dont spoil the moment.

And of course, I like chatting and socializing for a while in the evening, meeting new people. Before going off by myself to eat and camp.

You are more likely to see wildlife solo as well. Multiple hikers make too much noise.

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Solo on 04/13/2014 20:04:32 MDT Print View

Based off Nick's criteria, I'm mostly a #1. I will occasionally hike with another person or two as long as they can keep moving.

For instance, last year my ex, her brother, and I went on a 3-day, 2-night trip. She assured he could average 18 miles a day. Well...he certainly did not. To me, nothing detracts from a trip more than having to stop and take a break every 30 minutes. In reality, he did not belong on trail with us, at least for that trip.

However, dayhikes are different. I'm willing to go at others' pace. To some people, 10 miles is a big day. Heck, for some people, 6 miles is a big day. I can deal with that; I just have to be mentally prepared for a more leisurely stroll.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
3...2...1? on 04/15/2014 00:07:47 MDT Print View

Started out at #3, mostly #2 after a couple of years, edging toward #1 now. People change.

-- Rex

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Solo on 04/15/2014 08:06:43 MDT Print View

#1

I occasionally go with someone else, but solo, I don't have to wait for anyone or be waited for, have to do something I don't want to do just to be cooperative.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Solo on 04/15/2014 12:02:57 MDT Print View

#1 is like a trap as well - the more you go alone the less tolerant you can get adjusting for other people. Too fast. Too slow. Too loud. To much time to convince them to come along. Why bother? LOL

Bob .
(BCBob) - M

Locale: Vancouver Island
Re: solo on 04/15/2014 13:00:40 MDT Print View

For a very good read, some insight into preferring #1 (and feeling better about it), try Susan Cain's "Quiet".

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Solo on 04/15/2014 15:25:25 MDT Print View

"#1 is like a trap as well - the more you go alone the less tolerant you can get adjusting for other people. Too fast. Too slow. Too loud. To much time to convince them to come along. Why bother?"

That's the point :)

IVO KOSSEV
(joylesshusband) - M

Locale: PA lately
Re: Re: Re: Re: Solo on 04/15/2014 15:53:31 MDT Print View

"#1 is like a trap as well - the more you go alone the less tolerant you can get adjusting for other people. Too fast. Too slow. Too loud. To much time to convince them to come along. Why bother?

-- That's the point :)"


+1

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Solo on 04/15/2014 16:07:53 MDT Print View

Perhaps the word "trap" had the wrong connotation. Better: attractor with a very high energy barrier for "escape" to another way of doing things.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Backpacking solo" on 04/15/2014 18:34:32 MDT Print View

edit

Edited by book on 04/15/2014 22:57:25 MDT.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: Backpacking solo on 04/15/2014 18:57:16 MDT Print View

" Solo backpacking has nothing to do with bravery, courage, self-sufficiency, etc "


ohhh kaaayyyyy .....

v.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking solo on 04/15/2014 19:51:31 MDT Print View

A solo backpacker facing down a grizzly all alone in the Brooks range definitely has something to do with something....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtsI1DOlVow

If it was me I would be the one (not the bear) in need of some diapers I am afraid.