10 Tips for Solo Hikers

Solo Hiking Savvy: 10 Tips for Independent Trailblazers, featuring my 10 favourite hiking quotes.

Written for my Camino de Santiago de Compostela walking retreat guests.

Embarking on a solo hiking adventure can be an exhilarating experience, offering the opportunity for self-discovery and connecting with nature. Walking is a simple but powerful way to boost your mood and improve your mental well-being. I always encourage my guests to walk on their own, to get the most benefit from walking the Camino. It is, however, essential to be well-prepared for your hike, to ensure your safety. In this article, I have listed 10 valuable tips for solo hikers, offering practical advice to help you navigate the Camino with confidence and I hope that the hiking quotes will motivate you to get out there and take a walk – or even better, join us here in the sun-blessed south of France for a 5-day ReConnect with Nature by walking the Camino de Santiago retreat!

The Camino de Santiago is not just a trail; it’s a journey of the soul, a pilgrimage of self-discovery and walking it is not about reaching the destination, but embracing the journey and the lessons learned along the way. Walking the Camino reminds us that life is a pilgrimage, and every moment is an opportunity for transformation. Walking the Camino de Santiago can be a profound journey of self-discovery, spiritual awakening, and connection with others.

10 Tips for Solo Hiking Savvy

  1. Review your route each day and research the trail conditions, difficulty level, and potential hazards beforehand. During the walk, stay on marked trails and follow trail markers or signs to avoid getting lost.
  2. Inform someone of your hiking plans, including your planned route, expected return time, and emergency contact information.
  3. Make sure you pack a map, compass, first aid kit, torch/headlamp, water, food, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. It’s best to be prepared for unexpected situations.
  4. Carry a fully charged cell phone and consider bringing a portable charger or solar charger for longer hikes.
  5. Be open to meeting fellow pilgrims from around the world and embrace the sense of community on the Camino. Offer a “buen camino” (good journey) as well as assistance, if needed, to fellow pilgrims.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to turn back if you encounter unsafe conditions or feel uncomfortable.
  7. Pace yourself and take regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and refuel. Drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  8. Be prepared for changes in weather conditions and dress in layers to stay warm and dry.
  9. Practice Leave No Trace principles and minimise your impact on the environment.
  10. Be cautious around wildlife and respect their habitat by keeping a safe distance and avoiding feeding or approaching animals.

10 Inspiring Hiking Quotes

The quotes below highlight the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of walking, emphasizing its simplicity and effectiveness as a form of exercise.

  1. “There is nothing worse, after days of falling asleep by a babbling brook and waking up to a choir chirping birds, than to go inside a house with insulated walls and an obstructive roof. This tortuous invention, a cage, a box, prevents you from seeing or hearing anything of natural importance. Make time to free yourself and find a bit of nature.” Katherine Keith
  2. “After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.”G.M. Trevelyan
  3. “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau
  4. On a hike, the days pass with the wind, the sun, the stars; movement is powered by a belly full of food and water, not a noxious tankful of fossil fuels. On a hike, you’re less a job title and more a human being…. A periodic hike not only stretches the limbs but also reminds us: Wow, there’s a big old world out there. Ken Ilgunas
  5. “Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind.” – Gary Snyder
  6. “The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.” – Werner Herzog
  7. “Climbing a mountain represents a chance to briefly free oneself of the small concerns of our common lives, to strip off non-essentials, to come down to the core of life itself. Food, shelter, and friends – these are the essentials, these plus faith and purpose and a deep and unrelenting determination.” Mateo Cabello
  8. “Walking is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.” – Rebecca Solnit
  9. “If you have not touched the rocky wall of a canyon. If you have not heard a rushing river pound over cobblestones… If you have not seen the tree line recede to the top of a bare crested mountain. If you have not looked into a pair of wild eyes and seen your own reflection. Please, for the good of your soul, travel west.” – Daniel J. Rice
  10. “I am happy out here. Messy hair, dirty feet, and wild water on my skin. Out here with the wild things; this is where I belong.” – Brooke Hampton

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can enhance your solo hiking experience and embark on a memorable adventure with confidence and peace of mind. Whether you’re a seasoned trailblazer or new to solo hiking, these tips will empower you to explore the great outdoors independently while staying safe.

“No single mountain ever came to me…so I always go to them.” – Erik Tanghe


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