Hiking can be done in different ways. And every option is unique and gives you a different experience. Where some hikers who are more invited in hiking are team hikers, who have large teams and they do long treks together. On the other hand, there are some people who do hiking occasionally and don’t have any team or people around them of the same interest and they left with the only option which is solo hiking. It is not that this always the circumstances but sometimes it’s someone’s personal choice or they want to try something different. In the early days when there were fewer facilities and resources for hikers, they prefer to hike in a group that includes experience hikers or guides. But, today solo hiking is in trend because of the easy to available resources and navigation devices. Today you can see a lot of hikers on social media who conquer hikes solo. But is it totally became ok or safe to hike solo. Well, that’s what this article is all about. Today I will answer one of the most asked question on the internet among new hikers which is “is it weird to hike alone?. I will also discuss the pros and cons of hiking solo.
Is it weird to hike alone?
No, it’s not weird to hike alone, in fact, hiking alone can teach you a lot, and gain you experience with great memories. But hiking alone is not ok or always a good option, especially on long or multi-day hikes. There are some risks involved with hiking alone and one should always consider them before making any decision.
There are some pros and cons of hiking alone. But hiking alone is not weird and nobody will judge you if you do so. In fact, most of the hikers today prefer to hike solo or in short teams that have two or three members.
Why you should hike alone
You don’t have to listen to other orders
The problem or irritating habit of other people in your group can ruin your trip. Some group’s minds don’t match and you can see some groups where people fight for every decision making. Tough this is bad team management but it happens when there are either too many experienced hikers or hikers who have an attitude of making their own decisions. Besides that, when you hike in a team sometimes other people’s irritating habits can change your mood or ruin your trip. Habits like poor hygiene is one of them.
You can enjoy more
If you hike alone you can make your own decision, when to rest, when to continue, and stop at places to explore it more. This way you can enjoy the hike more and create more memories, though some memories that you create with team members when hiking in a group are also priceless.
You prefer to meet other solo hikers
You can make new friends on your trip when you hike alone. People avoid to talk to other or try to make friends when they hike in a group or hike with their partners. But when you hike alone, it’s human nature that you want to talk to others and after all, you are solo, the best way to talk is with another solo hiker or get in touch with other hiking groups.
When you should hike alone?
Not every time or anytime is good for solo hiking. You must know when it’s ok to hike alone and when it’s not. It depends on the area and the hike itself. You can hike alone by yourself if it’s a day hike that is short and doesn’t require any hard skills.
You can see a lot of solo hikers on day hikes which are extremely short. Some hikes are too short that you don’t need to pack anything in your backpack besides a water bottle.
The second green signal is when the hike is one of the popular hikes and receives many visitors. If the hike receives many visitors then it is easy to hike alone because not only it makes your mind free, but also gives you security if any bad circumstances occur. If the hike is full of visitors you can ask for help if you don’t know about something or can get aware of the trail conditions. It’s always good to hike as a solo hiker surrounded by other solo and group hikers.
When you should not hike alone?
You should avoid hiking alone in the first place when you see these red flags. You should avoid hiking alone when the hike is a multi-day hike. A multi-day hike is a long hike that means you have to stay alone for more than one day. Well, that’s not the problem for some people, the main problem is security reasons because no one assures you a hundred percent guarantee and you can not trust other hikers always for your whole journey. For multi-day hikes, you need someone with you whom you can trust and enjoy your journey.
You should also avoid hiking alone when the trail is rough, or the route is tough. Last but not the least, you should avoid hiking alone when it’s unpopular and anybody rarely visits the trail. Empty and alone routes are more insecure and can be risky for you. You should also read the history of the trail to know the hikers’ view about the trail, this is the best way to get assured for solo hiking while keeping your safety also.
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Some cons of solo hiking
Danger of robbery
This is one of the common dangers when you hike alone. Whether you are a male hiker or female, it’s always a risk for robbery out there on a trail. The robbery danger can be reduced when you hike in a group because it gives security and thieves also avoid touching the group with so many members. But when you are alone on a trail, then you become easy prey for them. There is a high chance for robbery on long and multi-day hikes. Short hikes or one-day hikes are safe from robberies because there is too much rush on a trail, and people walk closely. Where on the other hand on long hikes the distance between two groups or hikers is more, and sometimes on the trail, you will see yourself alone.
Whether it’s a short hike or a long hike, I would suggest you to read about the trail and know if any robbery took place on that particular trail at any time.
Sexual assault is a danger for female hikers. It doesn’t matter if you hike on a popular trail or you have some other solo hikers to help you. Sexual assault only happens when there are people and sometimes a lot of people around you on a trial increase this risk instead of reducing it. You can not read anybody’s mind, people who become friends on a trail are not always a helper or a friend. That is why it’s always good to hike with a person you trust. Sexual assault happens in a silent place and that is why if you are a female hiker, you should avoid hiking solo on a trail where there is less rush or the trail is not popular.
Lack of help
Hiking is a group activity and sometimes a situation arises which demands help from another person. If you hike alone you are your own helper and when the situations like slipping, injury occur there is nobody for help. Situations like these can be very dangerous.
Another main con or danger of hiking alone is that you may get lost your way in the mountains or trees. Some trails don’t have a great navigation system and if you have never visited the trail before then you may get lost. This can happen in short and as well as on long hikes.