Getting ready for your first solo adventure

Most of the time, enjoying nature is as easy as heading to the local park or finding an urban trail to explore. If you’re planning to solo-explore nature that’s more removed from civilization however, you’ll want to prepare. Make sure to plan for your solo adventure well in advance, especially if it’s your first time heading out on your own. Not sure where to start? Here are some things to consider.

Mind over matter

Often the biggest challenges in the great outdoors are less about physical endurance, and more about psychological grit. Developing the right mindset before setting out on your solo outdoor adventure can be even more important than physical training. If you’ve never been away from civilization or your family / friends for an extended period of time, it’s important to mentally prepare for solitude. Doing research on how to maintain positive mentality and psychological grit is essential, and reading about experiences that other explorers have had can be super helpful.

Prepare physically

Whether you’re hiking to a basecamp, canoeing in the Boundary Waters, or setting out on a thru hike, make sure to physically train for your adventure. Since many adventurers on your particular route have likely come before you, there’s probably a training guide out there for the experience you’re about to embark on. Research training programs related to your adventure, and make sure to start your program with plenty of buffer to finish in time for your trip. To make extra sure that you’re physically prepared, it’s not a bad idea to check in with a personal trainer and doctor before beginning training, and again before heading out on your solo route.

Research your gear

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of having gear that’s appropriate for your trek. Incredible adventures can quickly turn dangerous without the right gear and knowledge of how to use it properly. Think about what clothing you’ll bring, what emergency gear you’ll need, and consider following one of many gear checklists available on the internet for your type of adventure (for example, Raving Trends breaks down how to prepare a great kit). Pro tip: Try on all of your gear long before your solo adventure, and, when possible, try training while wearing as much of your gear as possible. 

Find similar environments for practice

Though you likely can’t replicate exact conditions, you can prepare for your solo trek by hiking in similar environments. Remember that even walking stairs with a weighted pack on can give you a feel for the type of physical activity you’ll endure on your journey. 

Preparing for a solo trek might take some work, but the rewards can be incredible. So get to work, get ready for the trip of a lifetime, and enjoy the great outdoors.

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