Hiking alone as a female can seem daunting at first, but it’s a truly empowering activity that will reconnect you to nature, as well as yourself.
Of course as a female we naturally have to take a few extra precautions. However they’re worth enforcing to ensure you have a straightforward and rewarding walking experience.
That’s why, with the help of some inspiring women, I have collated a list of awesome tips especially for solo female hikers. Whether you’re a beginner or more experienced at lone hiking, these personally recommended tips will help you to keep safe, ensure you are well prepared and will make you feel unstoppable on the trail!
From product recommendations to morale boosters, here are 21 solo female hiking tips from avid lone adventurers:
Recommended by Mary from Move to Vietnam
One of the most important things to do before you set out solo walking is to share your hiking itinerary from beginning to end with your family, friends, or a trusted person. Also let them know which company you are hiking with or the people who might be joining you.
That way your family know when to check in with you, when to worry and who to contact in case they don’t hear any updates from you.
You can also share your real-time geo-location via Google maps. This requires internet access, but in case you can’t get in touch with your family as soon as you finished hiking or in the middle of it, they can track your movement every time your phone connects to a signal. I did this often during my hikes around Vietnam.
Prepare your fitness
Recommended by Paula from Paula Pins the Planet
While preparing for a trip is super exciting, getting ready for hiking during your next vacation is even better. As a solo female traveler who loves to go hiking in different parts of the world, one of the top tips I have is to make sure you have a fitness preparation plan, especially if you are going on a multi-day or doing a challenging hike.
It is so important to make sure you are physically prepared to make the most of your adventure, and protect yourself from fatigue injuries during your adventure. Make sure you plan and prepare accordingly. Add some training sessions, followed by a healthy diet, and incorporate some stretching and/or yoga to improve your stability and range of motion.
Carry a personal locator beacon
Recommended by Jennifer from Backyard Travel Family
It’s absolutely imperative that solo female hikers take a personal locator beacon with them while hiking. Whether it is on a day hike, or multi day hike, keeping yourself safe is of utmost importance.
Not only will it be your backup option if you get lost, if you are travelling by yourself and get injured, then you will also be out of luck.
I remember hiking by myself in Queenstown, New Zealand, and within 20 minutes, the cloud rushed in fast, the temperature dropped and visibility was low. Situations can change so quickly, so keep yourself safe by hiring or purchasing your own PLB.
Prepare a badass playlist
There’s nothing quite like hiking to a killer soundtrack, so my tip is to always have an awesome playlist or two downloaded ahead of your hike!
If you’re into rock and roll, check out this rock playlist for solo female travel. 70% of the artists are female and the manic riffs and feminist theme will get you well and truly pumped for your solo adventure. It’s always good to have something prepared to lift your spirits when you get weary.
If more gentle and uplifting folk/indie is more your thing, take a look at this folk playlist for hiking.
I’d always recommend bringing a separate music player when you’re hiking such as an ipod. That way you won’t drain your mobile phone battery, on the off change that you may need it for an emergency.
Pitch your tent out of sight
Recommended by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker
For the best sleep, my solo hiking tip is to pitch your tent a little farther away from the trail whenever possible (and allowed). Knowing that random passersby won’t be able to see your tent and bother you, helps with peace of mind.
Think of finding a spot away from light sources, behind some trees, or on higher ground. If you know your tent’s height, you can approximate how far you need to go to have your privacy.
You can also take down the reflective guylines and invest in a tent that blends with your natural surroundings. Invisibility will make your free camping experience much more private – with just you and mother nature.
Wear a great sports bra
Recommended by Petra from Erratic Engineeress
When it comes to hiking tips, everyone always talks about the importance of having proper shoes and gear, which is, of course, very true. However, one thing that is particularly important for women and often gets neglected, is wearing a good sports bra.
While you’re out there on a solo hike, the last thing you need is an itchy, uncomfortable bra with a poor fit spoiling the moment. You want your bra to comfortably support and hold everything in place. It’s well worth investing a bit more for a great fit.
Make sure you also pay attention to the fabric, which should be breathable and wickable, so you’ll feel like an adventure queen instead of a sweaty mess.
Carry a paper map
Recommended by Jenny from Peak District Kids
My weekly solo hike in the hills is my time to reconnect with nature, switch off from the ‘to do list’ and allow my mind to wander.
I always ensure I take a paper map (Ordnance Survey, as I’m in the UK) in a waterproof case to follow my route. This means I don’t have to rely on a mapping app on my phone – my phone battery could drain, I could have no GPS reception or the weather may be too wet to have my phone out.
Plus, if I had to check my route on my phone I know I’d be tempted to check my emails! So instead, I completely switch it off, and wander the hills with my paper map in hand.
And on that note…
Recommended by Kathi from Watch Me See
Being able to read a map and navigate with map and compass is essential to plan your route and stay safe on your solo hike. Bad conditions can make even the clearest hiking trail disappear in fog or clouds. It is important to always know where you are and being able to identify what’s what on a map.
Instead of learning from YouTube videos, I recommend booking a navigation course to learn the basics and get practising before heading out on your own. I attended a women-only course in the Scottish Highlands and loved learning from experienced mountain women. I gained lots of confidence for my first big solo hike and learnt a skill to keep me safe and independent.
Wear a safety bracelet
Recommended by Lara from Both Feet on the Road
Hiking as a solo female traveller is definitely doable if you take the necessary precautions and the essential travel safety gadgets. One of those gadgets is a safety bracelet or necklace.
A safety bracelet is a small accessory on which your medical information is written or engraved, such as your blood type, allergies, and more important medical information. So when case an emergency happens while you’re hiking alone, and you can’t communicate anymore, people who want to help you will still have all the information they need.
It may sound a bit extreme, but it’s better to be prepared for the worst than hike unprepared. Plus, a safety necklace, such as on this picture, can be a cute accessory from afar.
Carabiner your camera
Recommended by Beth from Frugal Female Abroad
Carrying a camera when hiking can be cumbersome! A big camera can be heavy around your neck and cause pain. Often, the camera gets put away in your backpack and you content yourself with quick phone photos.
To alleviate this issue, attach carabiners to the shoulder straps of your backpack and attach your camera strap to the carabiners. This distributes the weight to your shoulders and takes it off your neck. It also means that your camera is always in reach.
Solo travelling can sometimes make you feel unsafe. However this tip can be used when travelling to prevent your camera getting snatched or lost.
Pack the necessary equipment
Recommended by Kristen from Adventures with Ensuite
A first aid kit should include plasters, medical tape (this also works wonders in preventing blisters), pain killers, antiseptic wipes, tweezers and safety pins.
Not being prepared can ruin the rest of your trip. Whilst hiking Mestia to Ushguli in Georgia, the couple in the next room had so blisters so bad, they had to abandon their trek and rearrange their holiday.
Nobody wants the worst to happen, but being prepared can mean the difference between a good story and a serious incident.
Carry a filter water bottle
Recommended by Sarah from A Social Nomad
Being able to hydrate no matter what the water source is an imperative health element of solo hiking. Carrying a filter water bottle allows solo hikers to restock their water supply in a safe and healthy fashion at any time.
Filter water bottles such as a LifeStraw Go allows you to filter out bad tastes as well as bacteria and germs that could make you sick while hiking. These bottles not only provide clean safe water but they save on unnecessary single-use plastic bottles as well as a whole lot of expenditure when it comes to buying bottled water.
Bring a fire starter
Recommended by Michelle from the Wandering Queen
One of the smartest things to bring on a solo hike is a fire starter. Bringing matches, a flint sparker or a lighter is one of the essentials for safety while hiking. This is in case it gets cold, and you need to warm yourself up for safety or use fire as a beacon.
Some stores sell sturdy lighters that are storm proof which can significantly increase your safety in case there is a crazy storm that soaks your backpack.
Matches, flint strikers and lighters weigh almost nothing, and just throwing it in your bag is a brilliant idea and an excellent way for a solo female hiker to take precautions.
Leave the valuables at Home
Recommended by Samantha from the Wandering Wanderluster
Packing your backpack for a long distance hike can be stressful. What to take and what to leave behind; you’ll find yourself questioning almost every single item numerous times. One thing you can certainly leave behind is any jewellery.
While most hikes are perfectly safe for female hikers, removing jewellery, especially expensive engagement or wedding rings can lower your chances of being a target for theft or unwanted attention. You also won’t want to risk them getting damaged or lost.
Other items you may want to consider leaving behind are expensive cameras or drones. Not only do they add unnecessary weight to your backpack (which if you’re hiking multiple days, essential items should make up no more than 10% of your body weight) you also risk damaging them should you take a tumble on rocks.
Take a Garmin InReach
Recommended by Jenny from Limitless Hiker
I always bring a Garmin InReach Explorer + with me when hiking. As I started extending my hikes further away from home and started doing backpacking trips and thru-hikes, I invested in the InReach.
With the Garmin InReach, I can text family and friends through a satellite connection, even without cell reception. It also has SOS features so if I’m ever in a pickle and need help, it sends my exact coordinates to a call center that walks me through the situation and dispatches Search and Rescue.
The InReach also has built-in GPS so you can see your location on the map and navigate back to the trail if needed. For more tips on hiking and backpacking, read through my blog.
Download a GPS tracking app
Recommended by Paulina from Paulina on the Road
Solo-hiking for a day or several days with overnight camping, especially being a woman, can be a life-changing experience. But in case, if you’re worried about having an unpleasant solo-hiking encounter, let the Komoot App guide you.
With its superior route-planning and navigation-tech, it makes it simpler to explore more of the greater outdoors. I love the Komoot app since it allows you to track your hiking trails and afterwards easily share it with friends. You can also make it visible to everyone so that people in the area can do the same trail. That means that you can also use Komoot app to discover trails closeby.
You only need to open the app, put in your location and it will show you all the trails that others have recorded. They are sorted by difficulty and length so that you can easily find the perfect one.
Pack plenty of snacks
Recommended by Lee-Ann from Be Free With Lee
One of my top tips for female hikers is to carry plenty of snacks. When you are hiking alone there is no one to “borrow” food off which means it is up to you to pack all the essentials!
In my opinion, women can be extremely hangry at times. The best way to curb the hanger is to have a limitless energy supply!
I always try to keep my snacks (usually trail mix or lollies) in an easy to reach pouch or pocket. This way I don’t have to stop and unload that often. Food is fuel especially when you are hiking alone!
Pack a Kindle or book
Recommended by Where Goes Rose
There often comes a moment when hiking when you simply need a break. Or you’re wanting something to do after you’ve set up camp. One of the perks of solo hiking is that you can do whatever for as long as you want, simply to take a bit of ‘me time’.
Since nothing says ‘me-time’ like a session with a good book, I would recommend bringing along a book or Kindle. If you bring a Kindle, remember to have a book ready downloaded as there won’t be any Wi-Fi up in the mountains!
If you’re bringing a book and camping overnight, remember a torch so you can read it, or invest in the Kindle Oasis which is backlit!
Why not read a book about solo travel like Wild by Cheryl Strayed to really foster that intrepid solo travel spirit?
Track your period
Recommended by Lucile from Lucile HR.com
When embarking on a hike, especially a multi-day one, make sure you track your period with the Flo app before and plan accordingly. The Flo app is one of the best wellness apps women should try. It not only helps you track your period but also your symptoms and compare them to various factors like your activity levels. This will help you understand when you feel your best and when you need that extra rest.
This app will also plan your period dates very accurately, which will help you bring adequate protection. While you’re at it, make sure you bring ecological, reusable products, to protect the natural environment you’ll be in!
Prepare for bad weather
Recommended by Cassie from Cassie the Hag
Since my first ever solo hike coincided with my second ever week as a solo female traveller, I wasn’t quite prepared for every eventuality. Even one of the most obvious – rain!
As I hiked along Japan’s Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, the sky turned into a perpetual storm cloud and the paths turned into literal waterfalls.
Since I didn’t bring a rain cover for my bag, everything got absolutely soaked. My passport got saved as I’d used a plastic wallet, but my feet were soggy as I’d declined to pay extra for the waterproofing spray for my boots. My rain jacket was also too light and cheap to withstand the heavy storm. Thankfully, my hostel came with a small private onsen (hot steam bath) and tumble dryer. I’d advise always being prepared for bad weather with quality gear!
Research & plan thoroughly
Recommended by Elisa from World in Paris
Good planning is a must before any hike, especially if it is a multi-day hike. Do your research and study the itinerary so you are sure you are ready for it.
For the research, your best friends are internet and travel blogs. For sure, somebody else did that hike before and shared his tips online, so take good note of them.
Then, it is important to study the itinerary. Some trail descriptions talk about the level of difficulty (hard, medium, easy) but this can be subjective. Key factors to understand the itinerary include length, minimum elevation, maximum elevation, and slope.
Finally, check if there are points of water along the path, the weather forecast, and shelters or huts in case of bad weather or for multi-day hikes.
Go with your gut
Last of all, (but what I think is an important tip), is to go with your gut feeling. Our ‘gut feeling’ is this wonderful way of our bodies making an assessment and communicating with us.
If a situation just doesn’t ‘feel right’, someone is making you feel comfortable or you don’t feel safe – say no, don’t do it or change the situation. It’s better to back out of a potentially dangerous situation before it happens, than to get stuck in it.
And if your gut feeling is telling you you need help whilst hiking alone, listen. You should call for help as soon as you can instead of seeing if you can improve a situation and risking your life. Only you know your capabilities. If you’re worried you’re in trouble – you probably are.
And remember – your gut feeling can work the other way too and lead to some absolutely incredible experiences!
Hiking alone as a solo female is one of the most empowering and rewarding activities. If you already do it, or are thinking about hiking solo, I would highly recommend you take note of these tips. They’ll help to keep you safe, be organised, inspire you and get your confidence up so you can hike your way around the world! Thanks for reading this list of solo female hiking tips!
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Visa: don’t forget to check the entry requirements for the passport you are travelling with
Inspiration: to kick-start your next adventure, how about Lonely Planet’s top 500 places to see… ranked?
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