Here is my mini series of hiking tips to improve your knowledge and enjoyment whilst exploring the Peak District. The tips are aimed at beginner walkers but even the most experienced hikers might find tips they hadn’t thought of!
The first guide is aimed at solo hiking. Maybe you’ve never tried walking on your own in the hills and want to give it a go. If you have a few concerns about planning your first trip then take a read of these tips to help your first adventure be a success.
Here are my top 8 tips for solo hiking.
Any more good solo hiking tips? Tell us in the comments below.
8 top tips for solo hiking
Your first solo hike
Maybe you’re feeling nervous about your first solo hike? Pick a location that is familiar to you and plan a short route to build your confidence hiking solo gradually. The more you solo hike, the more your confidence will build.
Alternatively, if you’re not familiar with the area, choose a popular location, it means there will be plenty of people around so if you need help you can simply ask.
Tell someone your plans
Before you set off on your solo adventure, tell a friend or family member your plans including the start point, route and approximate finish time.
If you’ve plotted the map on an app then send them a link to the route.
Agree to contact them when you’re back from your hike and also a time for them to call for help if you’ve not returned, for any reason.
Check your kit
On a solo hike you’re entirely responsible for your own gear on the hike. Make sure you have plenty of water, food, waterproofs and a first aid kit.
It’s not like when you hike in friends and you can ask to borrow something or eat their food! Be prepared will all your kit.
- Read our hiking guide here on what to pack on a day hike.
A handy way not to run out of water is to take a filter water bottle. It means you can fill up from streams on your walk and you can carry less weight. (1 litre of water equals 1 kg to carry!)
The Water-to-Go filter bottle is brilliant for day hikes, simply fill up and you can drink straight away.
Don’t take unnecessary risks
This also applies when hiking with other people, but even more so on your own.
Trust your own judgement, if the route looks too tricky, there’s a possibility you might get lost or the weather is getting worse then there’s no shame in turning back or picking a different route.
Have a means of communication
A phone is the obvious choice for most people, but make sure you have it charged. A phone is only useful if you can use it. In colder weather, your phone battery will drain quickly so a power bank is a handy thing to carry on a longer hike.
Alternatively, if you do a lot of solo hiking in remote areas then a GPS satellite communicator would be a good purchase. Maybe a great gift for a loved one who goes off exploring!
I have many friends who have the Garmin Mini InReach and highly recommend, it’s expensive but a great piece of kit.
Take a map and compass
Although many people use online apps for navigation it’s important to carry a map and compass too.
As well as knowing how to navigate using a map and compass, if you’re hiking solo, it can help get you out of plenty of tricky situations!
Book yourself on a navigation course if you want to improve your skills. I recommend Emma Holland a qualified Mountain Leader who runs courses in the Peak District.
As well as the essentials, if you’re solo hiking it’s important to have the right kit if you end up in a tricky situation, even a twisted ankle could be risky if you’re in the hills and unprepared.
Extra warm layers are essential in an emergency, to help keep your body warm, whilst you wait for help. And a whistle is a small but handy piece of kit to draw attention without losing your voice!
Another brilliant item is a survival shelter, you can buy them in different sizes, also handy on group walks. I have the Vango 400 survival shelter and highly recommend it, lightweight and easy to put up!
Or for solo trips invest in a small 2-person shelter, it’s amazing how much warmer you are when you’re in them. Also, handy to have your lunch in on a rainy day!
How to get photos!
And lastly, a fun tip on how to get photos when solo hiking! Get yourself a little tripod, perfect to capture moments on your solo adventure.
I use the GorillaPod, which has grippy tripod legs so you can twist it around rocks, branches or uneven ground to get ‘the shot’!
Are you planning a solo hike soon? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below
Perfect Peak District walks for solo adventures
Not sure what walk to do as your first solo hike? Here are a few suggestions for Peak District hikes that would be good for your first solo adventures.
- Kinder Scout Walk (via Jacob’s Ladder) From Edale – opt for the out and back route via Jacob’s Ladder, a popular route so you’re bound to see other people on the walk
- Mam Tor + Lose Hill Walk From Castleton | 7-Mile Route – a classic Peak District route and a great walk for your first solo hike
- Wolfscote Dale + Biggin Dale Walk From Hartington | 5-Mile Route – the Derbyshire Dales are wonderful to explore as a solo walk
If you still need help finding the right walk to do then pop me an email and I’ll try to help 🙂
Need more help planning your Peak District trip?
Check out the 7 YHAs in the Peak District and find the best walks direct from your accommodation.
Find out what maps you will need for your trip here.
Top tips - Read our useful guides on hiking tips here.
Guided Walks with introduction to map reading (see dates here).
Visit our hiking recommendations page, (footwear, clothes + kit).
Or get in touch and I will help as best I can :).