We’ve all heard the jokes if you don’t want to get eaten by a bear hike with a slower buddy then you!! But all kidding aside, what if you’re a solo adventurer and head out alone? Almost anywhere I go or anything I do is done solo. There’s occasions my kids come with me on shorter hikes or I bring my dog even, but other than that my hiking trips or hunting excursions are done mostly on my own. I do believe no matter what the activity is; there are certain precautions any runner, biker, hiker, or hunter should follow. Here’s a few I’ve picked up on from mostly firsthand experience.
I’m going to start off with something I carry anywhere I go. From the grocery store, to an evening run, or biking a trail. It is my pistol. I carry a LC9 Ruger 9mm.
Which in my belief is ideal for women. It is smaller sized and super thin. You hardly know it’s there.
Some people are uncomfortable with guns or don’t believe in them or maybe even fear them. If your uncomfortable or fear them, start doing your research! Maybe go to a gun range or have a trusted friend knowledgeable about guns help you out. Even target shooting or skeet shooting can truly be a fun-filled day. In my eyes anything can be a weapon in the wrong hands. The less you fear and the more you know about guns, they can become a truly rewarding part of your life and also if it came down to it, save the life of you or a loved one.
If you decided after all, carrying a gun just isn’t for you; there are also small hand-held pepper sprays. I used to carry on my runs. I have heard these are ineffective on dogs, especially police k9 dogs as they are trained to where they can withstand the spray. I have used it on one occasion..here’s my experience with it; my youngest daughter and I were walking with our new puppy through a neighborhood and we were charged by two big dogs. My daughter stayed behind me with the puppy. I’m not sure if it was my puppy they were after or just super aggressive dogs by nature but throwing my arms up and yelling at them did not help. We did not run from them, we stopped and faced them hoping I could scare them off. The black dog kept approaching and showed no signs of backing off. So I sprayed him in his face. Maybe I got him just right or in his eyes, I don’t know but he took off the second it made contact with him. Thankfully it worked on this dog. It definitely wouldn’t hurt carrying something like this to aid against an attacker either human or animal.
Now if it’s hunting you’re doing, the little hand-held pepper spray is definitely not going to work on anything except a human attacker. For this task I would recommend bear spray. I’ve heard it’s more effective even then trying to shoot a charging bear. And given the fact that my pistol is of smaller size and caliber it’s highly unlikely it’d even do anything to the bear as well. However, bear spray is said to work on most any animal. When I’m in the woods I carry both my pistol and spray! To me you can never be too sure. I try to always be ready for the unexpected and always being alone I try to be as prepared as possible to make sure I return home safely to my kids.
On my runs I don’t usually carry a pack, but I do carry a camel pack biking or hiking and hunting I even carry a different pack. I have switched things out from pack to pack and that has made me forget things or leave them behind on accident so it wouldn’t hurt to just get two of everything and slowly set up both packs if you have multiple outdoors activities. Some important things needed or things I carry may be;
- Matches! I always make sure to have those on me until I switched out packs and forgot them. It would hurt to put a small box in a first aid kit as well as I’ve mentioned in a prior article.
- Head lamps or flashlights! I hiked with my kids one time later in the evening and left my pack in the truck thinking we weren’t going to go that far. I didn’t consider the stops and kids just wanting to rest or play and it got dark before we knew it. The hike we were on you had to follow white dots on the rocks and we could hardly see the darker it got. A stupid mistake on my end to leave a pack when it never hurts to carry it. A flashlight would have prevented the kids from panicking and probably back to the truck 30 minutes earlier.
- Extra batteries! When my daughter and I left for Havasu falls we slept in our truck the night before at the trail head. Her head lamp had gotten bumped in my pack and turned on inside the pack all night. She didn’t have enough juice for the walk out. We managed okay with just mine, but spare batteries wouldn’t hurt!
- Spare bike tube, pump, and tools to change the tires. I have to admit, I’m still learning on these. I got a flat once and walked back with my bike five miles. Now I carry everything needed, I just need to YouTube how to use it all and maintenance my bike the way it needs. Worst case scenario if I’m stranded, I’ll have plenty of time to sit and figure it out on my own or maybe a passerby would offer help and at least I’d be prepared with the proper equipment.
- I also carry vitamin c packs, chapstick, and extra cell phone portable charger, wrapped up poncho, filtered water bottle (a must for longer backpacking trips) napkins/toilet paper, even a spare pair of gloves especially in the winter or when it’s cold. I’d also like to get one of those small wrapped up emergency blankets just to toss in as well.
- Snacky stuff. Protein or granola bars. Maybe tail mix or nuts. Always good to have a little bit of food on hand!
Hunting packs will require more as well back packing trips. This is just a start of what I’d carry in a hunter’s pack-but for hiking, biking, running or just being outdoors this is a pretty good start. These are all things I’ve learned to carry either because I needed it and didn’t have it, or read about or made me feel safer.
One last note of importance and I still don’t even have one yet myself; but I highly recommend a good gps. I use apps on my phone such as map my run or alltrails but if I’m in a remote area with no service they won’t track me. I get turned around very easily and have been extremely lucky so far with not getting horribly lost. Even on fairly marked trails it’s easy to get turned around. I’ve hiked at night and sometimes even just in the woods it’s hard to gather your wits and realize what direction you’re going in. It feels like the truck could be one way and it could very easily be in the complete opposite direction! A gps in my opinion would be a very wise and valuable investment and one I need to my own advise on and purchase soon.
In closing; before you venture out solo something’s I’d take into consideration:
- Let someone know where you’re going!
- Check weather and prepare for it accordingly!
- Have plenty of food, water, and means of protection!
- If you’re running, I’d advice running against traffic. I was almost hit by a car one evening and the only thing that saved my life is I saw it coming at me ahead of time and had room to dodge it. If I had my back turned to it, I’d have been hit and probably killed instantly. Biking they say to ride with traffic, which still makes me nervous so I try to stick to trails and less trafficked areas.
- Be wise, be aware or your surroundings and ALWAYS follow your gut instincts! The more I listen to my gut I’ve noticed the stronger a feeling gets. Trust it always no matter what! It could save your life one day!
There have been a lot of times I’ve been extremely uneasy in the outdoors. I’ve noticed the more I get out though and the more prepared I keep myself, the better and better l feel about it and more enjoyable experience I get out of it. I almost consider it therapy and a peace of mind to be away from the world and in the middle of nowhere!