“Should I go alone or should I go with a group?” is one of the dilemmas that people think about. There are benefits to solo hiking, but it is safer [...]
Solo Hiking vs. Hiking With Friends (What Are The Benefits)
Published: July 15, 2021
“Should I go alone or should I go with a group?” is one of the dilemmas that people think about. There are benefits to solo hiking, but it is safer to go with friends. So, before you proceed to choose one of these, understand better which can fit your preferences.
Solo hiking can be relaxing and you’ll have the freedom to do anything whenever and however you want to. It can improve your self-character and develop courage, but this is also dangerous.
If you are with friends, you have someone to rely on, and you can watch out for each other. You can also build up your teamwork skills, however, this can also lead to arguments.
No matter what you prefer, both are good options. In this article, we will be talking about the pros and cons of solo hiking and hiking with friends. We also included some tips on both topics.
Things to know when going on a solo adventure
Reasons to go hiking alone
Hiking alone may be dangerous, but there are a lot of benefits to it, like relaxation, improving your ideas, freedom, reducing your fears, and helping you build character. You can do everything without adjustments, and gain experience for self-enhancement. It can also help you know yourself more.
Unwinding and unplugging are only some of a few benefits that you can attain when hiking. Although you’ll exert effort in this physical activity, being alone is some kind of meditation for your mind.
- Improved ideas
Hiking alone makes you vigilant in every move you make, especially in the middle of the woods. You don’t have any companion to rely on, so it makes you independent.
- You’re on your own
When hiking with a group, you have to adjust with the other members in terms of the hiking speed. If you are on your own, you can decide on your pace.
All of the schedule is up to your choice since you have to decide about everything, from breaks to when to eat, or to where to settle if you’re going to camp. There are no modifications needed for a plan. It’s your call.
- Reduce fear
Being alone can make a person aware and develop their courage. All of us may perceive this differently. But, whenever a person reflects on the thought of being unescorted, they learns numerous things.
- Mistakes become lessons
You can now perceive what are the do’s and don’ts in hiking for the next time you’ll hike. Mistakes from the first attempt give you an idea of how to avoid them.
- Experience is the best teacher
The freedom and the decisions you’ll be following on your adventures are lessons. Without them, you can’t visualize and improvise your own aim. If you experience it, you’ll know it.
- Boosts character
Specifically, being responsible. Usually, your partner or companion makes you depend on them. You can’t build up the said character if you just leave it as is. So, go alone, and be adventurous for self-enhancement purposes.
- Know yourself more
We always say, “I know myself,” but when we face a certain situation, that thought changes. While hiking on your own, you can have some ‘alone time,’ where you can think about yourself. Hiking puts you under several circumstances that can aid you in identifying more of your behaviors, attitudes, likes, and dislikes.
- You can do whatever you want
If you want to observe the river you have just discovered, you don’t have to ask for permission from anyone. You can just do it.
Reasons not to go hiking alone
When you hike alone, there is a high possibility of dangers, including getting attacked, or getting anxious and lonely. You don’t have someone to depend on to help you. With such factors, everything you aim to do when hiking will be limited since you don’t have a support system.
- May put you in danger
We always remind our readers to avoid going on a hike alone. This is one of the most important reminders since being alone can put you in danger. For example, if you injured yourself and you can’t walk, no one can come to your aid.
- You can’t depend on others
“No man is an island.” This is a good idea, however, there are cases where you really need someone to help you. There will be no one to remind or warn you when traveling alone. On the contrary, with companions, you can take care of each other and monitor activities to prevent accidents.
- Getting attacked
Isolated places shelter a lot of unexpected living things. These include humans and animals. Although this might sound like a movie scene, some people who live in forests and mountains may see you as a threat. And if you are alone, no one can protect you.
This can be the best example of being “alone is lonely” statement. You don’t have anyone to talk or express yourself to. We can talk to ourselves and think about everything on our own, but that’s so lonely. Some places don’t even support phone signals, and therefore, you cannot contact anyone in this case.
You may have freedom when solo hiking, however, it can make you anxious and worried about everything, and you don’t have anyone to tell you if you made the right decision. The worst part is when you camp at night. For sure, you’ll be restless that something bad will happen.
- No support
This mostly applies to backpacking. If you have a partner or companion, you can ask them to help you carry your stuff. But without them, you should endure that alone.
- You can’t do everything
Hiking embraces a lot of activities, aside from climbing and walking. And if you need someone to assist you, you can’t. That means your movement can be limited. You may not want to put yourself in danger to achieve your intentions.
Tips when solo hiking
You should select a maintained place when you plan to solo hike. Also, inform someone before you go, check the weather, research the place, and bring your essentials. When you are hiking alone, don’t push your limits, and avoid off-trail hiking.
- Select a maintained place
Solo hiking for the first time shouldn’t put you in danger. So, to ensure your enjoyment, look for a place people commonly visit to hike. These places are maintained, and bear better path instructions on their roads.
Some hiking places are too isolated, and people can get lost there, if they don’t have a guide. Since you are alone, choose a safer alternative.
- Inform someone
At least, inform one person before you proceed to your hiking agenda. Tell them the schedule, when are you going to leave, the estimated date of your return, and the specific hiking place you’re heading to. This can help big time if something bad happens. They can immediately determine where and when you were, and since they should be alarmed, they will take action.
- Don’t push yourself too much
You already know that you can’t do everything. Therefore, don’t go too far if you reached your limit. It can result in something unexpected and accidents. If you are tired, just take a break. This isn’t a competition. Check this article to learn how far you can go in a day hike.
- Bring your essentials
Preparation before you go solo hiking is a priority. Bring your essentials, especially water and food. A checklist is a great medium for you to create before you pack your things. This way, you won’t be forgetting anything to gear yourself up properly.
- Weather check
Hiking when it is raining can result in a more dangerous escapade. The roads are slippery, and it can result in several circumstances. If you already know that there is a huge probability of rainfalls or storms, it is better to reschedule. Always check the weather before you go.
- Avoid off-trail hiking
You can find shortcuts when you do this, but you can also harm the plants and other living things around you. When you hike off-trail, you just step on a different path, away from the designated road. It can also lead you to hazards, since you don’t know what you’re stepping into.
- Conduct research about the place
You can’t just select a place because it is famous. We advise you to go deeper in getting to know the wildlife. So, when there is an encounter between you and these animals, you know what to do. Some places are also called bear country, which means there is a vast population of bears in the area. By learning this, you can comprehend the do’s and don’ts and guidelines.
Things to consider when going on an adventure with friends
Reasons to go hiking with friends
When you hike with your friends, they can help you with loads, reduce expenditures, and someone can also take your photos. Plus, you can bond and build teamwork with them, while having fun hiking without feeling anxious. It is also a perfect idea to proceed to camping after hiking.
- Help you with heavy loads
If you go alone, you don’t have someone to help you carry your stuff. Sometimes, your friends can be your extension for backpacking purposes. They can help you carry the things that you can’t.
You can enjoy each other’s company and build strong friendships. Some people don’t get to spend time with their friends because of work, so if you are looking for an ideal activity with them, hiking is a good choice.
- Mood booster
Hiking is some sort of exercise, and it can improve your mood. It can make this adventure happier, especially in the presence of your friends. It’s a smart choice to engage in such activities while having fun.
- Reduce the amount of money spent
Far places will lead you to spend a lot of money. When going with friends, you can lessen the cost by dividing it by the amount of people going with you. This can also pertain to the share of food, and other essentials.
- Be each other’s lookout
Friends can warn you whether there is a danger or not. In some instances, you may not see what’s coming, but they might see that the ways are hazardous, which can result in injury. So, with them, you can double your security.
Another activity to include on your list that promotes teamwork. Friends, colleagues, family, and even partners… This can be a medium to strengthen your coordination and sense of unity with each other. When you hike, you should be vigilant about every movement. You can enhance your trust with the people, you are with.
- Someone can take a photo of you
When you solo hike, you can just take selfies or time your camera, which can be difficult to practice. But with your friends, you can just ask them to take a photo while you pose before the beautiful scenery. Who refuses to have a good angle photo? No one, right?
- Camping without worries
As we mentioned on the above topics, if you camp alone, you won’t be able to relax properly because of anxiety. But having your friends around when you camp can help you forget these worries, as they can take care of you and vice versa.
Reasons not to go hiking with friends
There are many reasons why you should hike with friends. But going with friends will also limit your freedom in everything you want to do. Plus, it can lead to arguments that can affect your bond. Lastly, this is not ideal for all due to different preferences.
- Limited freedom: Everything requires to consult with your group
Everything you aim to do in your hiking pursuit may not fit the opinion of your companion(s). You really need to consider and observe others’ likes and dislikes. Even if all of you are close friends, there are still a lot of differences between your perceptions and attitudes.
Regardless of your relationship with them, you should always consult them. The risk may be lesser when you are with a group, but your actions and ideas will be limited. This also leads to discomfort in any members of your circle, which can ruin the enjoyment.
- Can lead to arguments
Instead of improving your relationship, this can poorly affect your bond. The arguments can be connected to the first reason — the limited freedom. Some people may want everyone to follow them, and others may find it hard to adapt to that. Your hiking adventure may then turn into a debate.
- Not ideal for other people
Some prefer to go alone, with two people, or with a few friends. Whichever you prefer matters. If you like solitude, then choose solo hiking. Although it is recommended to go with a companion, sometimes, we also need time for ourselves. No matter what, plan ahead and consider your preferences.
Tips when hiking with friends
When hiking with friends, you should be planning everything together. Always check on them by teaching and giving them advice if you have a hiking experience. Bring enough food, choose a place with a simple and easy trail, and create an itinerary. Inform someone else that you are going to hike.
- Prepare everything with your friends
Plan and prepare everything with them. From looking for the ideal places to buying your outfits and equipment, it is preferred you go together. It is the best choice to learn the details, tips, and rules, so that you will have a sense of unity when you engage in this activity. The most important thing is to be aware of your safety and security in each other’s presence.
- Pick an easy trail
Don’t go to professional hiker leveled places, because not all of you know how to hike. It is better to choose a simple and easy trail to avoid accidents. Think about the fun you can have, as this is supposed to be a short getaway.
- Always check on them
If you are one of those who experienced hiking, teach and give your friends advice. Tell them about the proper outfits and the things they need to pack.
- Create an itinerary
This can help your group create a sense of unity and avoid division. Following a schedule won’t be confusing, and will prevent arguments in the midst of hiking. Apart from your checklist, ask them to write an overall itinerary of your adventure.
- Inform someone else that you are going to hike with friends
This point is not only necessary for solo hiking; you should also tell someone about your activity and the dates you’re going when you’re leaving with a group. We also suggest providing a list of your friends’ names. Whenever they need to look for you, it will be easier for them to identify where you are, and when they should do it.
- Bring plenty of water and food supplies
You never know what might happen along the way. So, just to be prepared, and bring more than enough food and water. The activity involves numerous people, so it is better to be ready if their supplies last before you finish hiking.
We can’t directly suggest that you select solo hiking or hiking with friends. There are several factors that you need to consider before choosing. Both have advantages and disadvantages that can suit your preferences and perspective.
However, if you want a safer option, we recommend you to go with someone. It may be a group or just one person; that’s up to you. Just be careful when you hike to avoid accidents.