Benefits of Camping For Solos

This month’s solo insight is sparked by an interview where I was asked about camping solo and whether I thought it was a good idea to do something outside of your comfort zone. The answer was a resounding ‘yes!’ Pushing your limits and doing activities that stretch your mind and body is so beneficial. And as for camping, if I can camp solo, anyone can. 

As a backpacker, I’m used to roughing it around the world but when it comes to camping, I’m pretty clueless, to be honest. But even as a novice, I have camped at a festival in Panama, camped in the UK, wild camped in Albania, in front on a sand dune in the Sahara Desert and camped my way around both West Africa and East Africa on two separate overlanding trips. So for this month’s insight, I’m sharing my tips on camping for beginners. 

Camping is something that you may have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand, you get to enjoy the beauty of nature and sleep under the stars; on the other hand, you are often forced to deal with insects, bad weather, and lack of comfort. One thing is for sure, camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. It can be a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

N.b. If you're ready to plan your solo trip but are unsure how to do it, read my how to plan a solo trip article. 

Camping For Beginners

First-Time Camping

Camping provides many benefits such as no distractions, reconnecting with nature like never before and recharging your batteries with plenty of fresh air and hiking. I’ve had some of my best night’s sleep in a tent. There’s something about the fresh air and the sounds of nature that just lulled me into a deep night’s sleep. 

You don’t have to go all the way to West Africa to experience camping. If you’re intrepid about travelling alone, you could just try a night somewhere local to give you a taster. Look for local campsites and check if they are just one big field where you may feel more isolated and awake half the night worrying about being there alone.

Or choose one which has facilities and is more touristy so that you have showers, toilets and company available if you need it. You’ll also have people around you if you struggle to put your tent up (which happened to me the first time).

* Read: Benefits of Camping For Solos

Camping for beginners

Tent 

If you’re travelling abroad, some places already have tents set up that you can just rent for the night so you don’t need to take any gear with you. But if you do need a tent, you can find my recommendations here. 

When you’re looking for a tent, a one-man tent may be enough if you don’t need much space but a two-man tent will give you more room and maybe more comfortable. You may even want to opt for an extended porch design!

You’ll want to choose a quality tent that is weatherproof especially if the weather is unpredictable where you are planning on travelling to. Try looking for some on the more expensive side, because they will last at least several years without ripping or losing quality. I slept in a one-man tent which was easy to assemble and had just enough room to sleep.

I did prefer my two-man tent as it had more room for my backpack and I felt more comfortable spending time in my tent, reading before I fell asleep. Make sure there’s a flysheet that you can put on top. It gives you extra protection from the elements. 

Camping For Beginners

Camping in West Africa

Sleeping Bag

I recommend taking a sleeping bag or just a sleeping liner if it’s too hot. My sleeping bag opens up like a duvet so I feel as though I’m in a bed (just laying on the floor) instead of cocooned and more restricted in a mummy-style sleeping bag. 

If it does get cold in the evenings, a down sleeping bag means that you’ll stay warm and cosy during the night. Down insulation for clothes and sleeping bags is recommended as it is lightweight and does not take up too much space in your bag. Down makes for a warmer and way more comfortable sleeping bag to avoid back pain while you stay warm during the nights. 

You may want to pack an inflatable camping mattress to make sleeping on the ground more comfortable. Some of these roll up so they carry just like a yoga mat. Don’t forget to take a pillow too, whether it’s a blow-up one or your normal one from your bed. 

Camping For Beginners

Backpack

The right backpack can be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker. You wouldn’t want to take a backpack that you’d normally carry books in for example, as it wouldn’t be too comfortable on your back and shoulders. You might want to invest in a hiking backpack since they are made from high-quality materials and are really durable.

Also, the backpack should be big enough to fit all your stuff. Look for a backpack that has foamy places on the parts where it lays directly on your back and shoulders. It will make moving around easier, especially if you’re packing your things into it during the day and exploring the area before returning at night. 

I also took a combination padlock which I used to fasten the tent when I wasn’t there. Although others seemed to think this was a strange idea, it stopped the baboons from entering my tent in Ghana because they couldn’t unzip the tent! 

Take a good book or a Kindle and your diary. Camping gives you plenty of reflection time and most importantly, ‘you time' (if you’re going solo). Even if you’re with others, you still have your tent that you can retreat to when you need some alone time.

* Read: The Best Travel Backpacks For Women

Camping for beginners

Clothes and Shoes 

If you’re not sure what to pack for your camping trip, one tip is to pack the right clothes and shoes. You could take some flip flops for walking around the campsite too. You definitely won’t need your little black dress and heels for this one!

You want the clothes you are wearing while outside on your camping trip to be comfortable and durable. The last thing you need is a brand new top getting ruined after one day of wear. Patagonia women's clothing are great for the outdoors. 

Try wearing long sleeve shirts with pockets, wool socks, hiking boots or shoes (I recommend my Loom shoes that are waterproof and super comfy), sunglasses (especially if they have UV protection), a hat, gloves, sunscreen (I use P20), and bug spray. Long sleeves help to keep away the mosquitos, especially if you’re camping near the water. You can even take some anti-mosquito pyjamas with you too!

Make sure to have extra clothes or layers in your backpack too. You never know when it might get freezing cold or rainy. 

Related articles:

 

Other Things To Pack

If you feel the cold or are travelling to cold climates, then how about a heated blanket? This battery operated heated blanket keeps you warm and cosy and it packs up up tightly too. It’s waterproof, lightweight (only 2 lbs when it’s folded) and machine washable. And as well as keeping your front or back warm, it’s portable too! * Check prices for heated blanket

Nights outside of the city can get pretty dark. The sky will light up a bit, but not enough for you to see clearly. That’s why you’ll need a small battery-powered lamp or a flashlight. I use a head torch that fits on my head and keeps my hand’s hand free.

I’ve also taken a pen torch and tied it to the top of my tent at night so it hangs down like a light bulb. You’ll definitely need some light if you need the toilet in the middle of the night too. 

Another item to pack in your backpack is a first aid kit. You never know when you might need it. Camping can be unpredictable. Even if it’s just for a small cut, a basic first aid kit may come in handy. Include plasters (in case you get blisters), rehydration formula, and antihistamines for any insect bites. 

You may not have access to electricity either so take a portable battery. I have a solar-powered one that kept me going in Africa as I used to charge it in the sun to be able to use it. Take a plug and handwashing lotion. You can just throw your clothes on the top of the tent to dry in the sun but you may want to take a washing line that you can tie to a tree instead. 

You may have facilities where you're going but if not, take a water filter too. Sawyer Europe is a great brand or you may prefer a Brita Filter bottle (I used to have a pink one!) During my camping trip in Africa, I took some flavoured water sachets to give the water a better taste. I would also stock up on breakfast bars and nuts. Or take some porridge bowls that you just need to add water to. 

Camping in the Sahara Desert

Benefits of Camping

Camping is perfect for the adventurer in us and puts us back in touch with Mother Nature. You have the freedom to hike new trails, cycle new routes and you can take your dog (if you have one). It doesn't cost a fortune either. Here are the benefits of camping for solos:

Nature

Camping alone in the great outdoors really helps us to get back in touch with nature. Spending a night under the stars, then snuggling into a sleeping bag with only the sound of nature surrounding us connects us with the countryside and helps us to slow down. The crisp country air will make you feel alive, and help you to sleep much better too.

You can walk through some of the area’s most beautiful landscapes, take a picnic to eat amongst the heather or find a country pub or cafe to enjoy some of the region’s cuisine whilst soaking up the atmosphere. Being in the great outdoors allow us to enjoy some quiet moments safely closeted away from the rest of the world.

Freedom

Camping by yourself also provides an incredible amount of freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, something that you don’t get when travelling with others. Whether this is going for a late night stroll, sleeping in and making the most of the sunny mornings.

Or joining your neighbours for a drink around the camp fire, you will love the great sense of independence and freedom that you find with camping. And you’ll be spending it with your favourite person; you, so you can design the days and evenings exactly how you want them. 

Camping For Beginners

My tent and campsite in Namibia

Life Skills

Solo travel definitely teaches us valuable life skills, and camping is no different. With a camping trip, you are in the great outdoors and must rely on yourself a lot more than you would with a typical holiday.

Getting around, setting up camp, cooking food and exploring the area solo are all experiences that will boost your confidence. Lighting your own fire and toasting marshmallows over it is more rewarding than checking into a hostel or hotel for the night.

Reflection

Camping can give you that well needed time out, and reflection time you may desperately need. It is nurturing, whether you choose to pitch your tent in the forested countryside or somewhere romantic by the sea and long stretches of coastline. It’s also inspiring and can also boost your creativity especially if you choose a spot such as Cornwall, which has inspired the muse of artists, poets, and writers throughout the ages.

You get back in touch with the beauty of the world, and the time that you get to spend by yourself allows plenty of thought and reflection. You may even have a valuable insight or get the clarity that you’ve been seeking (especially if you decide to have a digital detox and unplug from the world too).

Social Side

Depending on where you choose to camp. campsites can be extremely social, fun and relaxed places to be where it is very easy to meet new people. Resort campsites often have swimming pools, sports facilities, classes and evening entertainment (if it’s available), with a choice of activities allowing you to have fun and try new things in a different setting.

Even if the campsite doesn’t have any activities, you can still meet others as you sit outside of your tent and chat to others doing the same. You don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to, but if it is peace and quiet that you need, choose a quieter campsite or wild camp – where you can camp anywhere – if it’s permitted in your country.

Solo travel and camping definitely go hand-in-hand, whether you choose to explore dunes and cliffside villages, or even just camp in your nearest park. Below are recommended tents for solos. I've chosen 2 man tents as they provide more room for all your camping gear and luggage. * You can find recommended one man tents and others on Amazon here

Benefits of camping

Best 2 Man Tents For Solos

Coleman Sundome Tent

A weatherproof tent, wind and rain tested. The rainfly offers extra weather protection and the large windows allow for enhanced airflow so your tent stays well ventilated.

* Check price, details and availability

 

 

Hillman 2 person 4 season camping hiking tent

This 2 man tent is quick is easy to set up. You can easily set up the tent with the flysheet in 10 minutes or less. The large mesh sections allow for ventilation throughout the tent, keeping you cool.

* Check price, details and availability 

Useful Website

Pitchup – Book and review more than 3000-holiday parks and campsites in the UK, Europe and the Americas

Benefits of camping

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *