How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe?

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? – 5 Safety Tips for Women who Hike Alone

Hiking with family and friends provides a peaceful environment in which you can spend some quality time with each other and understand your loved one’s strengths and weaknesses a bit better. However, for women who hike alone venturing out into the outdoors solo offers its own benefits. These numerous benefits include such attributes as solitude, time to clear your mind and the ability think more clearly. Solo hiking allows you to move at your own pace, without feeling the pressure of keeping up with, or waiting back for others. You also get an opportunity to know yourself better through quiet reflection while enjoying the outdoors.

Many women who hike alone do it to get a sense of self-sufficiency. It makes them feel confident about their own abilities to handle challenges without anyone else’s support. However, being a woman and hitting the trails without the required forethought, preparation and safety measures could put you at severe risk.

The fact that women who hike alone don’t feel safe on the trails is a sad reflection of our society, but unfortunately, that’s how it is for the foreseeable future, so it’s probably better that we manage our hikes safely. To that end, here are some helpful safety tips so that female hikers stay safe.

If you are hiking alone, try to refrain from heading off into the most secluded trails in your area. Instead, why not hike a slightly more popular trail that is marked well and has at least a few people who will pass you on the way out and back.

This creates a positive atmosphere of relative safety and gives you the confidence to follow your plans without too much worry. Even if those on the trail do not know you, they will more than likely help you if you are in need of it, or at the very least they will be aware that there is a female hiking the trail alone. They are also likely to be someone that you could approach if you felt threatened, or if felt you needed any help with anything. When hiking on trails with fellow hikers on it, there is also the chance that you could meet and chat with another solo hiker, who could end up becoming a hiking partner or maybe even friend for life.

When you keep meeting people along the trail, even the longer hikes seem to be easier and manageable. You may also meet the same people at different points of the trail, giving you a feeling that you are not alone out there. A simple smile or ‘Hello’ may turn your solo hike into an awesome experience.

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? – Research a Trail prior to Hiking it

Women who Hike alone should learn the area

Before hitting the trail, walk around a nearby town if there is one first, and get advice from the locals or Trail Signposts or Billboards. You will often see a board with the whole trail mapped out to scale and including check points and landmarks at the start of an officially marked hike. If you can, also speak to the rangers or park wardens if they are around and ask them about the trail conditions and even obtain some trail maps from them.

Since you are planning on hiking alone and probably don’t know the area that you are going to be hiking in, and if you are unable to speak with anyone local, do some research online first and get to know the trail conditions so that you can prepare accordingly. Remember, Google is such a useful research tool. You should also check the weather conditions and forecasts and pack any gear suitable for the forecast.

Other places that could inform you about the hiking trail include:

  • Search a local tourism site
  • Speak to someone who has already completed the trek recently if you know someone
  • Join an online group where people have shared or posted their experience of the hike
  • Research what the weather conditions have been during your planned hike’s month over the last few years

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? – Always carry the Appropriate Gear

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? Carry the right gear

Now that you are sure about the trail, pack your bag with the right gear and head off. Include mainly items that can keep you safe and comfortable, such as hand warmers, bug repellent, sunscreen a knife or multi tool, etc. Don’t forget a first-aid kit and a way to stay connected with the outside world (a Mobile Phone and back up charger). Some other items that women who hike alone must take along include:

Backpack: The backpack or rucksack that you choose to take should be big enough to accommodate all of your essentials, but still small enough to feel comfortable to carry and not become a burden during the hike.

Food and Water: It’s important to keep your body adequately fuelled on the trail. So ensure that you stay hydrated and keep snacking on something such as trail mix every 60-90 minutes.

Extra Clothes: As the trail conditions change, the weather may turn too hot, too cold, rainy, or snowy without warning. So, it’s best to bring a rain jacket, rain pants, a hat and a warm jacket to stay functional and comfortable.

Hiking Boots: Since you will probably be on your feet most of the hike, the size and fitting of your hiking boots matter the most. Ensure that your Hiking Boots are broken in if they are new, and that they fit well so as to avoid the dreaded blisters.

Socks: Apart from the boots, your socks also keep your feet protected and comfortable during a hike. Avoid cotton, as it may hold the moisture in and cause blisters. The best hiking socks are made up of merino wool that regulate the temperature and keeps your feet cool.

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? – Avoid Wearing Headphones

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? - Women who Hike alone should not wear headphones

If you love music, you could very well be considering enjoying your hike with a soundtrack. However, if you are going to be on the hike alone, you need to stay completely aware of what’s going around you, including the presence of other hikers, animals, or weather changes. It’s going to be safer and wiser for you to leave your headphones in the car and enjoy the sounds of nature if you are hiking alone. This way, you won’t suddenly get spooked if you catch the sight of an animal rustling behind the bushes, or if a hiker, mountain biker or a horse rider comes up suddenly behind you.

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? – Trust Your Gut Feelings

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? - Trust your Gut Feelings

A gut feeling is something primal in us, we all have them, and generally they turn out to be right. It is thought that gut feelings date back to the pre historic times, before we could communicate well with each other. They are also thought to be there to help us to stay safe. If you suddenly get a gut feeling that something doesn’t feel right, it is probably for some reason that you aren’t yet aware of. If this type of uncomfortable gut feeling occurs, then you should become alert and head for safety ASAP. Our bodies are far more intuitive than modern science can explain, and it is far better to be safe than sorry.

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? – Be Confident and Stay Determined

How Do Female Hikers Stay Safe? - Women who Hike alone should be Confident and Stay Determined

While you are hiking solo and if the trail that you are on suddenly becomes far more difficult and demanding than you thought it would be, you are going to have to draw on all your reserves of strength and determination, as there will be no one there to help you. It’s easy to give up and lose hope, but then what if you are out there alone.

You should be confident in the thought that you planned properly and researched the right information, packed the appropriate gear, and have sufficient drive and determination to get through this. If you hit any trail with the right plan and you are physically strong enough through proper training, you will be able to crush most trails safely with confidence.

With the right preparations and by following the safety tips mentioned above, women who hike alone should be able to enjoy the trails in relative safety. Just make sure you have informed your family or friends about your solo hike before leaving and also tell them the date and rough time by which you expect to return.