Solo Camping

Published

Camping trips make superb options for a family holiday or a trip with a group of friends, but solo camping can be just as rewarding, giving you the chance to organise your break exactly as you please and soak up the peace of nature with no distractions. And there are plenty of people out there doing just that – in fact, around 8% of campsite bookings made through Pitchup in 2022 were for solo travellers. 

If you’d like to try out a solo outdoor adventure, you’ll be completely self reliant so you’ll need to make sure your camping skills are up to scratch. This guide will help you prepare for your solo camping trip – from what to pack to how to stay safe – as well as explaining why going camping on your own can be a wonderful thing.

Escape everyday life on a solo camping trip (Will Truettner on Unsplash)

6 great reasons to go camping on your own

What’s so great about going camping on your own? Setting out alone for the first time can be a little daunting, so here we run through some of the benefits of a solo camping trip to give you some great reasons to give it a go.

  • It tests your organisational skills

Taking the plunge and embarking on a solo camping adventure means you need to be very well prepared. That means packing carefully and mastering skills like pitching your tent or lighting a campfire – a few practice runs are advisable before you leave home.

  • You’ll learn life skills

Setting up your pitch, cooking your food outdoors and navigating on your own are all excellent skills to learn – and you’ll have to do them for yourself, because you won’t have anyone else to rely on. Even if you do hit a few small problems along the way, there’s a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that you managed to find a way to cope with it all.

  • You'll be more able to enjoy nature

With no-one to distract you, you’ll find yourself immersed in the sights and sounds of nature – perhaps the best way to find some real ‘me-time’ and free yourself from the stresses of daily life. There’s a real sense of wonder to be found in simply being out in the fresh air, hearing birdsong or watching the stars glitter above you on clear nights.

  • There may be social benefits

Camping solo doesn’t have to be about being alone all the time if you don’t want to. If you find you do want to be sociable, there’s usually a way – some bigger campsites have pools, sports facilities and evening entertainment where you can find people to chat to, even briefly. You’ll probably meet fellow guests while simply sitting outside your tent too – and without a partner or friend to cling to you might find yourself more open to meeting new people.

  • You can set your own schedule

Solo camping means you get to set your own agenda, with no issues about who wants to do what and when. Just decide on what sort of activity you fancy for the day – perhaps getting out on your bike or strolling around a local town – and go and do it. And if you don’t feel like doing anything at all, that’s fine too – simply put your feet up in your tent and read a good book. 

  • You’ll grow in confidence

Doing something all by yourself is a real confidence booster, and may well make you keen to explore more new experiences. Some people find they love solo camping so much that they go on to wild camp alone way out in the countryside. If you’d like to give it a go, remember to pitch responsibly and legally, and be aware of the different rules for wild camping across the globe.

Solo camping gear checklist 

Packing for a solo camping expedition is all about self-sufficiency – with no one else to rely on, you’ll need to pack carefully and cover all eventualities. 

A camping checklist is a good idea for any camping trip, to give you peace of mind that you’ve packed all the essentials for a comfortable experience. Ticking the items off one by one gives you the confidence that you’ve got everything you need, and nothing’s been left behind. Even if you’re a regular camper, it’s worth going through this process every time, just to be sure – especially if you’re travelling on your own.

When you’re solo camping there are a few key items that will help you stay safe, so make sure you double check these before setting off. Going through all these checks can really help to soothe any pre-trip nerves you may have, and allow you to look forward to all the great things that lie ahead.

9 key items to pack for a solo camping trip

  • Sensible footwear to give you the best protection from accidents or injuries while out and about.
  • A whistle or personal alarm, in case you need to attract attention while out walking or ward off an intruder at the campsite. 
  • A torch, to help you find your way around or see what’s going on around you at night – even if your site is well lit.
  • A reliable mobile phone for taking photos, using a mapping app, sharing your location and contacting people in case of (unlikely) emergencies. 
  • A detailed Ordnance Survey map for walks; don’t simply rely on a mapping app in case your phone runs out of battery or your signal fails.
  • A phone charger if your campsite has a source of electricity; otherwise, take a battery-pack charger (and double-check that you’ve charged it).
  • A first aid kit with pain relief, bandages, plasters, sterile wipes, tweezers and scissors, so you can deal with any minor injuries for yourself.
  • A multi-tool knife with implements like scissors, tweezers and a bottle opener – a small thing to pack, but helpful for getting you out of all sorts of unexpected situations.
  • A good book for a bit of relaxing downtime on an evening alone.

Is it safe to solo camp?

The idea of solo camping can seem intimidating at first, but in the vast majority of cases it’s generally safe to camp alone on a campsite. Over time you may find that you’ve developed the confidence to go wild camping alone, but certainly for your first few trips it’s advisable to stick to a designated campsite, where you’ll have other people around if you need a bit of help with any aspect of your stay.

It’s a common belief that solo camping is inherently less safe for women, and while there may be some truth in this, camping generally remains a low-risk activity as long as you’re well prepared and well equipped. In most cases, the idea is more daunting than the reality – and there are many women out there loving their solo camping trips around the UK and elsewhere every year. Reading up on others’ personal experiences and advice for solo female campers can help you to understand the risks and how to deal with them.

In fact, most of the issues involved with camping alone apply equally across the genders – aspects of weather, tent construction and keeping your valuables safe in a tent are universal. With that in mind, we’ve put together a collection of solo camping tips that can help to keep you safe and comfortable while camping alone, and make the most of your solo holiday experience.

 Learn to be self-reliant when solo camping (Josh Clemence on Unsplash)

11 hints and tips for solo camping

Preparing for potential issues of weather, security and comfort – as well as just the mental challenges of going it alone – can help you to have a trouble-free and enjoyable solo camping trip. 

  • Start small. Before you plan a long solo camping adventure, dip your toe in the water with a one-night/weekend stay somewhere close to home (Pitchup’s campsites near me filter is really handy for this). This will help you practise your skills and find out how you take to camping alone.
  • Even if wilderness camping is your ultimate aim, try a solo stay on a dedicated campsite first. This will give you the added security of having other people around to lend a hand if needed. Back to basics campsites with minimal facilities can give you a taste of wild camping life if that’s your style. 
  • Choose your tent wisely. You’ll need something that’s easy to pitch and offers you enough space for you and your luggage – don’t forget that ‘one-person’ tents rarely take into account the need to store a lot of kit.
  • Practise putting your tent up and taking it down several times before leaving home. Even if it’s one you’ve used before, you may find the process of learning to pitch a tent on your own is a bit awkward at first. Practising before you leave helps you learn useful skills like using rocks to weight down one side of the tent while you peg the other. 
  • When you arrive on site, take a look around and choose a good spot that’s not too distant from the facilities and other people. As tempting as it may be to slink off to a quiet corner, there is safety in numbers so it’s a good idea to be within a reasonable distance of other people.
  • Introduce yourself to site owners/staff and have a chat to see if they have any tips about the best spots on the site. Say hello to your neighbouring campers too – they’re often a friendly bunch, and a smile and a brief conversation can go a long way towards making you feel more relaxed.
  • Without going into too much detail (which could leave you vulnerable), tell site staff/fellow campers what your plans for the day are, so that they’ll know when to raise an alarm or where to send help in the unlikely event of you getting lost or injured.
  • Harness the power of technology to do things like download maps before setting off and share your live location with a trusted friend or family member back at home via mapping apps. Download the What3Words app and you’ll be able to pinpoint your exact location if you ever need to call for help. The Google personal safety app and iPhone Emergency SOS settings are worth exploring too.
  • Don’t share too much on social media during your trip, as there is a small possibility that your information falls into the wrong hands. Save it until you get home.
  • Have a backup plan if you start to feel uncomfortable for whatever reason – this might include sleeping in your car or even packing up and going home if something doesn’t feel right. Save a number for the site owner or warden in your phone so you can call for help easily if you need it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – whether that’s dealing with unwanted attention from a fellow guest or needing extra strength to pull out a stuck tent peg. Solo camping doesn’t mean stubbornly having to tough it out alone at all times, and you’ll usually find campers are very willing to help each other out. 

Where is good for solo camping?

You can go solo camping in any area – national parks and coastal areas are popular, of course, but even a quick escape to a farm or woodland a short drive from home can give you that sense of having had a good break. The key is to choose your campsite well – and Pitchup’s user reviews are particularly useful here. They’re all independent comments written by previous guests, and they’ll give you a good sense of the style and atmosphere of the place as well as details of facilities and location. 

If you particularly want to find out what solo campers thought of a place you’ve got your eye on, you can filter reviews to see only the ones written by those travelling alone, rather than couples or families – for this you’ll need to select ‘male traveller’ and/or ‘female traveller’ from the dropdown menu.

Some of the things you might want to look out for as a solo camper include information on security features, staff availability and how well lit your chosen site is. You might also want to choose a place where you can park your car by your pitch, as this will give you the peace of mind that you’ll easily be able to move into your car if you feel uncomfortable or the weather draws in.

10 great UK campsites for solo campers

Many campsites offer a warm welcome to solo campers, but there’s nothing like a personal recommendation to help you find a great place to stay. With that in mind, we’ve created this list of 10 UK campsites that have been well reviewed by previous Pitchup customers on solo camping trips. Read on to find out what they think makes an ideal place to stay when you’re camping alone. 

Blue Hills Touring Park, Cornwall

"Blue Hills is a very well run site, very clean, nice and quiet. The wardens were very friendly. The site is accessible by coded electric gates. As a solo traveller (except for the dogs!) I felt very safe being there alone and didn’t once have any concerns." Anonymous

Book Blue Hills Touring Park

Diamond Farm, Somerset

"This was my first solo trip in recently purchased romahome. From arrival the friendly receptionists were welcoming and helpful. I felt safe as night warden’s mobile number given out on paperwork. Receptionist offered to freeze ice blocks, charge my Iphone up at no charge. So helpful. Although I was a solo traveller by choice, I did not feel alone!" Julie

Book Diamond Farm

Camping @ Croyde Bay, Devon

"Fabulous small campsite where as a solo female camper I felt safe and completely at home. After a long surf it was a delight to come back to a practical outside shower to wash off the sand from my wetsuit and have a communal place to dry, then step inside a discrete female shower area with separate hair drying facilities!" Emma 

Book Camping @ Croyde Bay

Rectory Farm Fishing and Camping Site, Norfolk

"This was my first time camping solo and couldn’t have chosen a better campsite,the facilities were excellent and most of all the peace and quiet that you don’t get living in a city. The owners were very friendly and will definitely book for longer next time." Paul

Book Rectory Farm Fishing and Camping Site

Lane End Farm, Derbyshire

"What a little gem. Can't fault the campsite. This was my first time solo camping and was a little nervous. I felt really safe and the owner was very friendly. Only 8 pitches and was advised of my pitch number before arriving." Lauren

Book Lane End Farm

Fire and Stars Woodland Camping, Leicestershire

"Absolutely beautiful and secluded with friendly staff. Completely idyllic place to unwind. It was my first solo camp and I’m so glad I chose here to do it." Alice

Book Fire and Stars Woodland Camping 

Riverside Caravan Park at the George, Gloucestershire

"The spacing was good between pitches with 2 pitches separated by a hedge in between. It was well lit at night – especially being a solo female, trip to the toilet felt safe." Kaz 

Book Riverside Caravan Park at the George 

Tip Top Campsite, West Yorkshire 

"I can not recommend this site enough! I came for my first solo camp and I could not have picked a better site. I felt safe, welcomed and relaxed. The owners, Jonathan and Carole, could not have been any more welcoming if they tried." Claire 

Book Tip Top Campsite 

Sychpwll Centre, Powys

"A gorgeous stay at the Sychpwll Centre, Powys. Such a beautiful, peaceful spot in a lovely location, with nice eco-friendly facilities, and the nicest people (who couldn’t have been sweeter about me fretting over my first solo camping trip). Definitely a Five Star - and somewhere I’ll be coming back to again and again." David 

Book Sychpwll Camping 

Treborth Hall Farm Caravan Site, Gwynedd 

"Owner was extremely friendly but not intrusive. Came by personally to check everything was okay and gave me information about the whole site. Made sure I was aware of how to contact him with any questions. As a solo female traveller in my 20s safety is always my first thought but the campsite felt safe and I was able to relax." Leila

Book Treborth Hall Farm Caravan Site

Not found quite the right location for your solo camping trip yet? Pitchup has campsites available to book all around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.  

See a list of all Pitchup campsites  

FAQs for solo campers

  • Is it safe to go solo camping?

Yes, it is generally safe to solo camp. Research the layout of your campsite so you know where everything is after dark, pitch near fellow campers and introduce yourself to the site owners. 

  • What should I do before I go on a solo camping break?

You’ll need to be totally self-reliant on site, so practise putting up your tent or parking your caravan, learn how to make a campfire and make a list of things to pack and double check it before you leave home. 

  • What do I need to take on a solo camping trip? 

Pack everything you need for a camping break, plus a few extras to ensure you’re safe and someone knows where you are. For example, share your location on your phone, or download the What3Words app in case of emergencies.

  • Should I take my dog on a solo camping break?

Yes, dogs can be excellent company, but please remember that many campsites do not allow you to leave your pet unattended in your tent or caravan. Check out Pitchup’s dog-friendly sites.