Why is camping alone scary and should you be afraid of the nighttime terrors that are waiting for you as the sun goes down just over the horizon?
Well my good friends, I’ll be talking about my first time experiences, what you need to know, and how to camp alone WITHOUT being scared for your life while you are out in the wilderness – alone and afraid.
Keep reading to see if you should be scared or not, and what you need to do to get rid of that fear once and for all!
My First Solo Camping Trip
I was 19 years old when I embarked on my first solo mission into the wilderness, and I was by no means a great camper either.
But since I had been camping with my father (and sometimes family) a few times, I thought I wouldn’t be scared and it’ll just be a time to relax, and I could just have it all to myself – exactly how it use to feel when I would go with my family, but with nobody else there.
It was daytime and it was amazing. When it got closer to nighttime, I started the fire and began cooking dinner.
But then the the sun went down, and all of a sudden, it got VERY LONELY. Like, it wasn’t a small loneliness feeling either.
It’s like I just realized that I was completely isolated from civilization and there was absolutely no one there with me, and if something went wrong, I’d have to fend for myself.
These negative thoughts made me feel anxious and REALLY uneasy.
It took me a long time to get to sleep. But the next day, as soon as the sun came up, I was out of there – instantly. Until this day, that first solo trip gives me the chills just from thinking about it.
But you have to remember, not everyone’s exactly the same, and everyone’s first solo camping trip is going to be different.
It Wasn’t Long Before I Realized Something
I soon realized that nighttime is a completely different environment than what daytime is.
So what does this mean?
In the daytime, you feel safe because you can see everything, the environment is calm, it’s relaxing, and you just know nothings going to happen to you.
However, at nighttime, it is a COMPLETELY different story.
And guess what?
Your mind is guaranteed to play tricks on you, no doubt about it.
This is exactly why I suddenly felt out of place and extremely scared/isolated from friends and family…well the whole of civilization for that matter.
I’m use to camping with other people, with at least one other person as company.
But when you’re alone, it offers an entirely different feel (aka extreme loneliness and scared for your life if you hear a noise).
It WILL Pass
After a few solo nights out in the wilderness, completely isolated from civilization, it didn’t take long before the heebie-jeebies went away.
That’s correct. The feelings of uneasiness and anxiety do eventually go away. It’s just a matter of sticking it out at fighting the good fight until you can finally relax in the harsh nighttime environment without being scared anymore.
So if you think it’s just you, it isn’t.
Almost everyone that tries to camp by themselves will get the same feelings that I did and they’ll have to keep camping alone if they want it to go away.
Of course, there ARE some ways to make it easier for you until those feelings go away for good.
So in the meantime, do some of the techniques outlined below and learn how to get over these scared/uneasy feelings much easier AND quicker.
So How Do We Stop Being Afraid?
Change Your Mindset
I decided to give it another try and see how it went. But I changed my mindset.
When it went nighttime I just kept reminding myself that it is EXACTLY like it is during the day. The only difference – there’s less light and it’s much colder.
You have the same animals, the same trees, insects, rocks, sticks, it’s all still there – only you can not see it. There’s a lack of light – so as long as you keep reminding yourself this, you feel so much better.
Do Activities At Night
You can calm yourself down by keeping your mind busy on other things, such as activities! The less you think about the bad stuff that can happen, the easier it is to get through the night.
- Read a book by the fire or in your sleeping bag
- Smoke a pipe!
- Carve a piece of wood using your knife
Camp Close To Civilization
You could also consider camping near a town/city, just somewhere that’s close to civilization. It will make your mind feel more at ease since you’ll know humans aren’t THAT far away from you.
Even a public campground works like a charm! Yes, you’ll still be camping alone, but at least there’s other people around.
You can do this until it gets easier for you, then you’ll be able to start venturing out into the wilderness by yourself.
Bring A Gun
Of course, this all depends on the gun laws in your country. But if you know how to handle one and use it properly, then this could definitely work in your favor.
It will help you feel a lot more confident and less afraid.
Even if the law allows you to carry one, it is still best to check with your local law to see if they will allow you to carry it or not.
Take Plenty Of Flashlights (Or 2 At The Very Least)
Since you can’t see in the dark, flashlights give you a peace of mind.
Now what happens when your one and only flashlight falls into the water and you lose it or it breaks, or something else happens to your ONE flashlight? You’re left in pitch black, and even more afraid than before.
Having 2 flashlights is going to ensure you will at least have a backup. 2 is always better than 1!
And even though 2 is good, I usually take 4 anyway (2 LED and 2 Incandescent). These help a lot!
Blend In With Your Surroundings
If you’re afraid of being spotted by other people, try and camouflage yourself in with your surroundings.
So if you’re in a forest, don’t use a bright-orange tent!
Instead, use a dark-colored green one. You’ll have a much higher chance of being left alone since you won’t be seen from a mile away!
You could also use a tent that has a camouflage pattern on the rain fly. These are my favorite. Otherwise a dark-green tent still does the trick really well.
Use A Hammock
Afraid of being attacked during the night, while you’re asleep? A hammock is your new best friend.
These offer even more peace of mind than a tent, knowing no ground animals can get to you.
No axe murderers will be able to climb into your tent at night either! Although this ONLY happens in movies anyway.
Avoid Watching Horror/Thriller Films
This should come as no surprise.
But if you watch these types of shows or films and you have an overactive imagination, you’re going to be even more scared when you are out in the wilderness than if you DIDN’T watch them at all.
Go Off The Trail
Camping off the trail will give you extra security AND privacy. Knowing you won’t be spotted by passerby will make you feel so much more at ease and comfortable.
Take A Dog!
What’s scarier than hearing something go bump in the night? Your dog barking at someone! (scary for the other person I mean).
Even though this isn’t completely “solo”, it’s still a great way to ease yourself into solo camping if you ever want to try it out.
Having a dog with me ALWAYS makes me feel safe when I’m camping alone, which is why it’s my preferred choice for camping.
At least some company is better than none at all.
But Most Of All – Keep At It
Trust me – the more you camp alone, the easier it gets.
You’ll become more confident out in the wild, as you’ll realize you can actually handle situations if it ever gets to a violent/dangerous point.
Always carry a hatchet or small knife and a flashlight with you, and remember to take them to bed as well.
Even though these won’t do much (well the hatchet does), it will make you feel more comfortable, as you have at least SOMETHING there to protect yourself with.
However, being relaxed, confident and comfortable in nature is really the biggest secret to all of this.
The more you expose yourself to the wondrous environments that mother nature offers, the more confident you’ll become while you are in it, and this includes at nighttime as well.
Remember, the most scariest thing out there is almost certainly you. Ponder on that for a while, let it sink, because at the end of the day, it is so true!
A man and his wife walking through the bush is likely to be startled by you if they see you out camping alone.
Animals don’t enjoy human contact either, so they’ll try to avoid you as much as possible.
Furthermore, you can be loud and scary just like anyone else you come across in the wild.
The fight or flight response is a wonderful ability.
It has been known (many times) to turn frightened, small people into raging, ultra-scary human beings that can make anyone run in the opposite direction.
Have you ever tried camping alone? How was your experience and will you consider going by yourself again? Leave a comment below!
Otherwise, thanks for reading my article.
I hope you found the answers you were looking for 😀
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