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Safety Tips for Solo Women in the Outdoors

What are some of your best safety tips/advice for solo women hikers, backpackers, trail runners, campers, etc?  

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13 Replies

Pepper Spray for sure.  A personal alarm/strobe (especially for night).  A personal GPS, cell phone with back up battery.  

Leaving a detailed itinerary and check-in time with a friend or family member!  Let someone know where you are going and when you should be back in contact- the more detail the better.  This is a part of all my outdoor activity prep, for everything from a simple trail run to multi-day backpacking

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.

My dog! She has a big scary bark, although she probably wouldn't hurt anyone. She does make me feel safer when I'm running in the woods. 

A dog companion is super helpful and fun 🙂 My dog helps me in being more alert to my surroundings as well. It's great that some shelters now have the option to take a dog out for a day on a hike.

@HikerBabe wrote:

My dog! She has a big scary bark, although she probably wouldn't hurt anyone. She does make me feel safer when I'm running in the woods. 

I agree that the 2 best things are some type of communication device, SPOT, or system to get in contact in case of emergency and leaving a detailed itineray with someone you trust to keep an eye on you. A knife or weapon to use for protection may not be a bad idea as well.  I hate that this is a topic of conversation as I wish it was equally safe for us ladies to be on trail, however we must be prepared!! Open to hear other's tips too!

A lot of police departments offer a free course in women's self defense. They aren't based on heavy lifting in a gym, just simple techniques. I took one in Tucson, AZ because about a month after I moved there a woman running at 6 A.M. was attacked. On any given day that could have been me running through any of the numerous trail systems there in the wildland-urban interface. Also a SPOT and InReach

I spend considerable time solo traveling, mountain biking, hiking, and camping in remote places.  People, especially men, tell me all the time that what I'm doing is completely unsafe and that I need a firearm (to which I'm personally opposed).  I feel like three things prevent me from feeling unsafe.  First is that I've spent my entire life doing things outdoors so I am confident in my abilities and my equipment.  Second, I am always very aware of my surroundings and I trust my gut.  I notice everything around me and how I feel, and if I don't feel right, I move on.  And last, I don't expect to run into problems.  I'm not naive but I believe that we get what we expect so I expect to always have a good time and to be safe!  Mostly I find that the more you do alone, the better you feel about it!  Start small, do things with friends to build confidence, pay attention and expect to have fun!

I always tell someone where I am going and that I will let them know when I am done. I also "share my location" on my phone with some close friends. Another thing I make sure to do when I am alone is to not have both earbuds in if I am listening to music. I like to be able to hear around me as well and be aware of my surroundings.

2 knives folding and full tang, pepper spray, tactical flash light over 300 lumens, maybe some fighting and defense skills. Oh and im guessing your talking about safety from other people (predators). Then try to stay away fron metal that reflects light and gives your location.. and learn the soft and vunerable spots of the human body so if you are attacked you can defend yourself and get away. Bring a first aid kit and read all of Dave Canterbury’s Bushcraft books (learning to use the earth for your survival)  His 5 C’s are: Cutting tool —knife, Container (stainless steel, kanteen, Cordage—paracord or bank line, Combstion device— lighter, magnifying glass, ferro rod.    Last i believe is Cover for an emergency blanket a real one or 55 Gal drumliner..... Good Luck.