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What in the world does one DO when SoloCamping?

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Pretty much whatever you want. And isn't THAT a nice change of pace?

One of my favorite solo camping activities ~ anything by-the-fire. I read by the fire, have my coffee by the fire, have more coffee by the fire, roast marshmallows by the fire, look at the day as it awakens from beside the fire, contemplate the dusk as it settles by the fire.


It's just-you. You may not have been just-you for a very long time.

You can be as active as you like... hike, fish, paddle. You can be as quiet as you like... nap in the hammock, read by the fire. And you can do it all on your own timeline.

I'm not going to tell you what to do.


I can give you some ideas, but truly this is the beauty of solocamping. Unlike camping in community, with friends, partners, kids, extended family, a school or professional group, solocamping has an audience of one. You. And that may be a little strange at first. You may ride the rollercoaster of exhilerated to bewildered and back again, as you navigate only considering your own thoughts and feelings and desires. If you are like many of us, the bulk of the organizing, carrying out, and cleaning up in any camp situation falls to you as one of the Primary Givers. So there hasn't been a lot of thought before about what *you* feel like doing, at any given time. There is a routine that is missing. It may feel a little unsettling, not having that routine. You may find yourself after the busy-ness of setting up, sort of looking around, saying, what now?


Settle down, tune in. First of all, I urge you ~ just sit down, look around you with pleasure and accomplishment. If you are uncomfortable, take a deep breath in, and let it out. Maybe place your hands palms-up on your thighs. Close your eyes. Quiet the inner voice, the chatter. Just listen. You may hear wind in the trees, birdsong. You may hear the laughter of nearby kids biking past. You may hear other campers chatting or walking by, the crunch of boots on a path. Smell. The pine needles, the heady smell of woodsmoke from a campfire, the wet green of the forest. Whatever it is, just sort of settle in and tune in to the moment.


Ask. Then check in with that inner voice again, and ask yourself, what would I like in this moment? Am I hungry? What would I like to eat? Am I tired? Maybe a nap sounds good. Am I feeling peaceful, restful? Maybe some hammock time with a good book. Do I feel like exploring? Take your phone (which is just a camera for the weekend) or your actual camera and take a meander. I call them meanderhikes. Am I feeling energetic? Load up a daypack and take a full-on hike; grab that fishing pole and hit the lake. Want to get familiar with my surroundings? Wander around the campground, and find the water faucet, the restrooms, the garbage, the trails, the ranger station; take pics of other (unoccupied) campsites, both the site and the site # in succession, for future trips.


Do. On your own timetable. Okay, I won't tell you what to do. But here's a list of some possibles to consider, and see what you think. The cool thing - and it may or may not take some getting used to - is that it really IS *just* about what you think.

  • Strolling, wandering, meanderhiking, hiking, trail-running. You get the idea.

  • Photo trekking. Get some pics of your surroundings, and you in them. Notice and capture nature.

  • Geocaching. Grab a gps and your log and pen and go! (This one takes some planning. Look for more about this activity in a future blog post!)

  • Mapquesting. A simple anywhere-version of Geocaching ~ you, a map, a compass.

  • Fishing. Be sure to take your signed license.

  • Reading. This is for pleasure. No empowering work reading. No work, period.

  • Napping. Sometimes this is the first time in a long time you've had the time.

  • Hammocking. Yes, it's a verb. A very nice one.

  • Games. Yes, just you. Bananagrams, Solitaire. But be sure to look around occasionally... your surroundings are pretty cool. NOT a game on a device. No no no.

  • Biking. Mountain biking on designated trails, or just pleasure biking around camp and surroundings.

  • Paddling. Paddleboarding, kayaking, float-tubing, rafting, canoeing. Some lakes will have rentals.

  • Writing. Solo camping is a primo time to jot down thoughts. Journal, create poetry, make lists of dreams, scribble down some memoir.

  • Music. I tend to be of the camp (pun intended :)) that you do NOT play music aloud on a device~ that can be done at home, and it can really encroach on the experience of others. I am always irritated when someone's got their boom box (yeah, boom box, I said it) going. However, if you have an acoustic guitar that needs dusting off and strumming, solo camping is a lovely time for that.

  • Making a meal, having a snack. I know, this sounds like a chore - but if you are a person that enjoys cooking, and rarely get to consider ONLY what you feel like eating, this can be a lovely activity. (a) I bring some treat foods that I don't usually eat at home (hotdogs, cookies, etc) as well as healthy balanced stuff, and (b) I eat what I like, at a time that works for me. That can bring a lot of satisfaction and pleasure, to a practice that was perhaps more rote before you took it camping. And indulge. I have literally driven out of the campground and into a neighboring town, encountering lovely scenery on the way, when a craving for spaghetti was flung on me, and I didn't have the ingredients. I create some *amazing* charcuterie plates for one. I've flipped pancakes at 1 pm. I really pay attention to myself and what I want when I am solo camping.

I hope this list got you started thinking, dreaming. And I hope you make it your own.

"What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create." ~ Buddha

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