Precautions I Took as a Solo Woman Hiking the AT
I am a huge proponent that women can and should do everything they set their minds to. However, I also believe it is always wise to be aware and plan for worst-case scenarios to not knowingly put myself in a bad situation. So, here what I want to do is simply provide a straightforward post for other women who plan to thru-hike so that they may read and hopefully get ideas for themselves as to how they may prepare for a thru-hike. So, here are the steps I have taken to prepare myself to hike the AT as a solo female:
- Items I have brought:
- I am using carabiners on the inside of my tent to act as locks. If someone wants to come into my tent at night, they will have to cut their way in.
- I have packed pepper spray and a multi-tool with a knife
- I have with me an inReach GPS (to use in case of an SOS)
- Precautions taken:
- I uploaded my Garmin with detailed GPX files to use as a guide for the trail
- I studied the path I will take in order to know where nearby towns and roads are
- I have contacted family and friends along the AT so that they always have a rough idea of where I am/should be and set out an expectation of how often I should message them. I also have preset plans to meet some of them along the way
- These friends and family also each have multiple ways of tracking my location
- Plans I have:
- Avoid camping near roads
- Avoid camping alone with a single stranger (groups OK)
- Regular check-ins with family and friends
- Avoid hitchhiking alone
- I have connected with other women hiking the AT using various social media pages (e.g., The Solo Female Traveler Network, Women of the AT, All Women All Trails, AT: Women’s Thru-Hiker Group, Outdoorsy Gals, Bearfoots Appalachian Trail, Right to Hike, AT: Women’s Group)
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Hey your on the Trek! I read this! Good luck and just enjoy the show.
I think those are great ideas. I’m all for things and procedures to make the trail accessible to more people I as a single male hiker don’t fear being assaulted , but I still take more precautions than I would if I was hiking in a group. It is really wise to think out a whole issues ahead of time
Even as a male, I find most of these to be good ideas for myself. I’m more concerned that I’ll do something stupid and damage myself than someone else doing something, but the recommendations cover both quite well.
Always leave town with enough daylight to hike at least 5 miles in… be vague or dishonest with strangers about your itinerary… If you have a public social media or blog keep it a week or two behind so stalkers don’t know where to look… don’t sign trail registers… arrive to intended overnight shelters with enough time and energy to continue on to a safe alternative if something weird is going on at the shelter… hike without audio media playing…
Sounds like you have a well thought out plan. If using carabiners as “locks” on your tent zippers make sure you always sleep with your knife readily available. If you had to exit your tent quickly (fire? animal?) messing with carabiners in the dark may be a challenge. I never sleep in a tent without a knife handy for quick exit. Enjoy your hike!
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