Tips for Solo Backpacking As a Woman

Thinking of solo backpacking as a woman? Its daunting and a bit confusing on how to get there, I totally get it. I was there too. It might seem scary initially, but once you conquer your fears, you’ll discover it’s an incredibly empowering experience!

Why go solo backpacking as a woman?

Backpacking alone offers you complete control and independence. Every decision is entirely yours to make—you can start your trip when you choose, hike as many miles as you want, set up camp wherever moves you, eat when you are hungry, basically run the show. These seemingly small choices can and will make you feel liberated and empowered.

As a mother and wife, much of your life revolves around collaboration, and craving autonomy. Making all these decisions can give you a profound sense of freedom and agency. This in turn allows you to return home and fully engage with your family. This has been my experience.

I’ve noticed an increasing number of women venturing out solo on the trails these days. If solo backpacking is something you’re considering or already set on, know that you absolutely can do it. Like anything new, it takes time to adjust, but with each trip, your fears will diminish. To be candid, I still have my moments after the sun goes down. But you learn how to manage those fears.

A few tips to help you get used to being alone in the wilderness.

I tried all of these to acclimate being alone in the wilderness and can tell you from first-hand experience, they really do help. It’s a multi-step process on getting comfortable with being alone out in the woods or wilderness.

  • Go car camping by yourself. Spending the night by yourself in a tent with people around can be a great way to see how you feel and get your feet wet.
  • Hike Solo – I spent an entire summer day hiking solo from 5-25 miles in a day with a few of them ending in the dark. It helps establish self-confidence and security that you can rely on yourself.
  • Backpack with a friend but set up your camps independently. Find a buddy that you can backpack with but spend the evening/night on your own. Set up your tent, cook and sleep independently but have some comfort knowing there is a friend in the area if you really need them.
backpacking solo as a woman, north cascades national park, cascade pass sahale arm

Tips on Choosing a Hike for your first time solo:

  • Pick a popular Hike. The first time you head out by yourself I suggest you choose a backpacking trip that has a little higher traffic. One you can almost guarantee that you wont be alone. I have found it very difficult to be in the backcountry here in Washington and be alone.
  • Remember you aren’t sharing the weight of the gear with anyone. Make note of the distance and elevation and make sure it is something you feel comfortable doing given your pack weight. Your pack might be a little heavier than usual.
  • Pick a hike you are familiar with and know what to expect. If it is your first time out by yourself taking away the unknown of the landscape will make you just that more confident.

In Washington and looking for some epic backpacking trips to try it out, check out my favorites: 10 Best Backpacking Trips In Washington (

Is it Safe to Backpack Solo as a Woman?

Unfortunately there are some nay sayers when it comes to the subject of backpacking solo as a woman. I meet two types of people. There are the people who are shocked and there are the people who are completely in awe. If you know your limits and are aware of your surroundings I believe you should be fine. I can think of many other scenarios where you are probably more likely to find myself in an unsafe situation. If you have people in your life that put more fear in you than you would like, avoid talking about this with them. Find people who encourage you doing things that push you.

Overcoming Popular Fears

  • Wildlife – Bears, cougars, yep, I can see it. But they shouldn’t keep you from getting out. Just make sure to follow all the rules you do when you are with others. Use common sense, like not approaching wildlife, feeding wildlife and adhere to all requirements. (Carry a bear canister when it is required) You should make noise when you are hiking in the dark or dusk/twilight. This is especially important when you are alone. The last thing you want to do is scare an animal. They more often than not want nothing to do with you and will run if they hear you.
  • Stranger Danger – I personally have never encountered a situation where there was a someone creeping me out. I would just advise not oversharing your plans if you talk to people. And just like the wildlife, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Getting Injured – This is the one I fear the most. Accidents do happen no matter how careful or aware you are when you are out. In case of an emergency, you should know how to help yourself. And be able to reach out for help if need be. I always carry a Satellite Communicator like the Garmin InReach Mini whenever I head out alone.

Ways to Mentally Prepare Yourself to Backpack Solo

  • Be prepared. This is probably the most important. If you are prepared and have everything you need you drastically reduce the chance of running into trouble. Make lists and know you have packed everything you might need. You might want to consider taking a Wilderness First Aid Class to know how to help yourself if something goes wrong. Always carry the 10 essentials.
  • Carry a Compact Satellite Communicator such as the Garmin InReach Mini 2. (see more here) Being able to talk with family or at least know you can makes you feel less alone. For me being able to say good morning and good night to my kids was the best thing. And to receive inspiring messages from my husband didnt hurt either.
  • Have a distraction for when it gets dark. bring a book or something to listen to once you have settled into your sleeping bag for the night.
  • Leave a detailed Itinerary with someone at home. Its comforting to know someone is aware of where you are and when you should be back. Its good practice.


If backpacking solo is something you want to do, I truly hope you get out and try. Just remember, like all new things it takes time. If you have experience with this or have given it a try, I would love to hear how it went for you! Please feel free to drop a comment down below.


  • Planning Your First Backpacking Trip – The Trekking Mama

    July 1, 2024 at 1:14 pm

    […] The trick is to just get out. With the right preparation of course. Like anything, once you get out a few times, it just gets easier and easier. Eventually you might even want to backpack solo. Check out these tips: Tips for Solo Backpacking As a Woman – The Trekking Mama […]

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