Aren’t you afraid of camping alone in the woods?

Sunset on Lake Placid, NY
Sunset on Lake Placid, NY

“Are you not afraid of camping on your own in the woods?” is probably the question I hear the most when I speak about the trips I have been on, though questions about hygiene while hiking, wild animals and the wisdom of me hitchhiking alone come close on the popularity scale.

The answer is unfortunately not simple. I don’t mind camping alone in the woods most times. However I don’t particularly appreciate the sound of a large animal walking around my tent during the night. Even worst would be the sound of a person, but luckily that never happened while I was in the wild. So most of the time I am fine with camping on my own. Other times, I get scared, but I deal with it. If I haven’t done it for a long time the first nights are usually harder and then I get used to it again, or I am just too tired not to sleep.

Non-hikers automatically think that campgrounds with other people are safer. Being surrounded by others might be better in case of an aggressive animal encounter (which is rare!), however campgrounds usually also mean that there will be dogs and also people that know you are sleeping alone in your tent. That is what usually scares me the most. Whenever I have to camp in nature but close to civilization I try my best to select a camp spot where no one will see me.

If you are scared to camp on your own, I encourage you to go progressively. Start by camping on your own in a campground where other people are present. Then you could try camping close to a hut but not necessarily letting the hut users know you are there. Then in the wild but close to civilization. You will find that with each new experience you get more comfortable with being on your own.