Hiking in itself poses so many risks but to hike alone means that your threat of potential risks and threats increases drastically. Although solo hiking is a rather popular pastime for lots of people, one has to ask, why are so many people going hiking alone?
Some people do it because they just want time away from “it all,” while others use it as a journey to self-discovery… Regardless of the reason why people enjoy or choose solo hiking, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks you’ll be up against.
Whether you’re on a journey to self-discovery or simply need to get away from it all and re-evaluate some things in your life, always remember that your safety comes first and by being aware of the potential risks you have the potential to face, you can better prepare yourself and plan accordingly to either prevent or reduce those risks.
Everything from extreme climates and damage to your personal belongings to the threat of infectious diseases, take a look at some of the potential risks you’ll face with hiking, especially if you’re a solo hiker.
Damage/Loss of Personal Belongings
You’re hiking, meaning you’re out in the elements and all of your personal belongings have the potential to be lost or damaged. Damage to your personal belongings is something that most people don’t even think about… they figure that whatever is lost, damaged, or even stolen can be replaced…
Well, that may be true but what if some of your personal belongings included business equipment? What if you’re an online business owner and you have your backpack with you and it contains your laptop, cell phone, camera, personal hotspot, and other important pieces of equipment? What if it rains and all of that gets damaged in the rain?
Do you have hundreds of dollars to quickly replace it so that there won’t be too long of an interruption of business? If you can’t say yes (and even if you can) to that question, then you need to make sure your business is professionally covered. Most digital nomads who are also backpackers will invest in some of the latest in damage-proof backpacks but even with that, they still also invest in business insurance as added coverage for their business travels.
According to Observer-Dispatch, experiencing loneliness is an emotional risk that people rarely think about. Again, some people crave loneliness because they are trying to get away from “it all,” but if you’re someone who actually enjoys the company of other hikers, then you’re not going to like solo hiking so much.
It can get pretty lonely on the trail, leaving you to do nothing but listen to your inner thoughts and if your inner thoughts were one of the things you were needing a break from, then solo hiking is definitely not going to help you get away from it… if anything, the loneliness on the trail is going to only intensify those inner thoughts you’re trying to avoid.
Getting lost? You’re probably thinking, getting lost is the least of your concern because you have GPS on your phone, tablet, and an actual GPS device so getting lost won’t happen to you… well, newsflash… you can have all of those pieces of technology and still get lost in the wilderness. You can experience anything from batteries dying to simply having no bars in an area to use any of those pieces of technology.
If you’re in a town, you can always ask a local but if you’re in a foreign country and don’t understand the language, you can be in a world of hurt… Experienced solo hikers would call getting lost and adventure while first-time solo hikers would call it a panic attack!
Depending on where and the time of year it is that you plan to go hiking, you’re going to experience some extreme weather. Whether you experience a sunburn, frostbite, or dehydration, weather climates are one of the leading causes of the most common hiking injuries.
The good news is that a lot of those injuries are preventable. When you know or have an inkling that you’re going to experience some extreme temperatures, you want to make sure you dress accordingly and pack the right type of clothes, shoes, and accessories. If you’re going to be in extreme heat, you want to make sure you’ve packed sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and a few pants and long-sleeved shirts and jackets… this is going to help protect your skin in both extreme climates.