There can be a lot of looming fears when camping for the first time by yourself. There’s no one to lend you the toothpaste you forgot or assure you that the growling sound during the night was a nearby camper and not a bear.
My number one tip for preparing for a solo, weekend camping trip starts before you leave your air-conditioned house: don’t over pack. There’s a lot of stuff that you already have to bring like a tent, sleeping bag, pillow, backpack and all the gadgets. You don’t need three pairs of jeans for camping in the summer and you don’t need eight hot dogs (why don’t they come in lesser quantity?).
Camping is all about going back to basics, or in this case Asics. If you’re looking at your wardrobe and realize you simply need a pair of gym shorts, a breathable tank top and a zip up jacket that will do its job, Asics is king. It’s an affordable brand that makes quality clothes for the people that aren’t so flashy. It makes for great hiking clothes that are easy to wash and go right back on for the next adventure.
Another thing you can’t go camping without: A flashlight. The 1TAC Tactical Flashlight was not only a saving grace for late night bathroom breaks but also for providing peace of mind. If I got lost I could adjust the power of the light or use the strobe feature to harness attention. While it was mostly used to see my gourmet chef skills at making S'mores for one (the secret is to use a Reeses peanut butter cup) I liked knowing I’d be able to find help even if I was hiking alone.
The next essential? A LifeStraw Portable Water Filter. It’s easy to waste your water supply on cleaning your hands, dishes or soaking a bandana to feel the cooling breeze when you tie it on. The best part about LifeStraw is it makes any freshwater safe to drink. I used it in the waterfall I hiked to the top of and in the river the waterfall turned into at the bottom. Most passerby thought I was Bear Grylls and were very jealous that I could make nature a portable water bottle.
My last tip is to simply embrace the benefits of camping by yourself. There are obvious positives up front like not sharing food and taking a nap in the middle of the day because no one’s dragging you to the next spot. But being in nature with just yourself to rely on is freeing and brings a great sense of accomplishment. You’re able to not care what strangers might think about the only adult jumping off the dock like a child or using a selfie stick to prove you made it to the top of the mountain. You’re allowed to make every choice based on what you want to get out of the experience, and who couldn’t use more of that?