For many, to go hiking alone is the ultimate feeling of freedom. No distractions, no one to entertain, no one who goes faster or slower than you.
Mall of Norway test pilot Rita is an experienced hiker and loves to take top tours by herself. In this article, she shares her recommendations for what you should think about when you hike through nature alone and how you can get used to being alone in the dark.
Rita has one simple, but essential rule for hiking alone. “ALWAYS leave notice about where you are going!” Obviously you don’t want to imagine that something serious might happen along the way, but in the event that you lose mobility or you get lost and cannot call for help, it is crucial that others know what general area you are in. To be completely on the safe side, Rita always sends a message about which peak she is walking on, when she is halfway up, at the top and on her way back down. She also always has a power bank for her mobile phone with her.
Additional tip: Mobile phone batteries run out faster when they get cold. Thermo bags from Eyepoc keep your mobile phone warm and last longer.
Weather in the mountains changes often and quickly. Therefore, check the weather forecast often and turn around in time. It´s easy to underestimate the time it takes to get back to the car and civilization, especially in unfamiliar terrain. To prevent this from happening, Rita has a good tip – “When I’m on a top tour alone, I always read the tour descriptions and save screenshots of the map on my phone, in case there’s poor coverage on route.” On longer trips, it is also a good idea to have a general timetable. If you notice that you are behind schedule, it is better to turn around before the actual tour destination than risking not arriving before dark. Especially in the winter months in Norway, it is easy to forget how quickly the sun goes down. Therefore, set a timer to get back home or to your tour destination before dark.
Good equipment, good hiking shoes and clothes have a lot to say about whether a trip goes well, no matter if you are going alone or with others. Rita always wears a woolen baselayer, preferably with a zipper up the neck to adjust to when it gets windy and cold or warm. You can find more articles about the benefits of wool clothing in our journal.
An all-weather jacket with ventilation under the arm pits and a good hood is her recommendation for a functional top layer. She adjusts her outfit with either a fleece jacket or a wool jumper as a middle layer, in case it gets cold. It is always a good idea to bring an extra wool jersey for when you might get wet, so that you don’t freeze. She recommends high-quality hiking trousers for good mobility, also with ventilation on the outside of the legs, as those on the inside might rub when you walk.
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Additional tip: Buy and pack ultra-light gear, as you can’t share the weight with anyone else.
Starting to go hiking by yourself can be scary. Rita speaks from her own experience when she says that it is best to start with simple trips. “Increase the level and length gradually and before you know it, you’ll be sleeping in a tent on top of a beautiful mountain.”
Additional tip: There can be lots of new impressions when you´re alone on a mountain top. Especially at night, strange sounds might keep you awake. An audiobook or music downloaded to your phone helps you if you want to isolate yourself from the scary world outside the tent. Many hikers also like to listen to music or an audiobook while they are walking. Test new headphones well before going on a long trip. A good fit makes all the difference here.
“I hope many of the readers enjoy their hiking experiences alone, as well as with others. I wish everyone a good and safe trip!” – Rita