All in tips

9 Ways to Tame Your (Solo) Hiking Fears: A Guide for Women

A lot of women who would like to go hiking, don’t do it because of fear. Sometimes it’s even hard to identify what exactly it is that scares them off - it’s just the generalized fear of Nature, hiking or camping solo or the unknown.

There is this anecdote asking how can a person lift a huge rock? The answer is: by breaking it into much smaller pieces and lifting each one separately, step by step. Same is with fear: when it’s unidentified, generalized fear of an idea, it’s hard to do anything about it, it’s paralyzing. But when you are able to name the particular source of anxiety, there is a chance we can work around it or with it.

Camping in the Rain: Top Tips, Hacks, and Gear!

Going backpacking only when there is a wonderful weather can mean you will never go. It’s much better to assume there will be rainy days in your future and prepare accordingly. Especially, that hiking and camping when it rains can be really rewarding and magical.

When we talk about camping in the rain, one of the most important safety concern is hypothermia and the dangers of flash floods. Keeping some things dry is absolutely crucial not just for our comfort but survival. We have to make sure that after a rainy and cold day hiking we can change into dry clothes and go to sleep in a dry sleeping bag, in a dry tent.

How to Minimize Condensation While Camping

Rain during a backpacking trip can be absolutely wonderful and even romantic. But there is quite the difference when the rain falls indoors… Condensation is a quite common and pretty annoying problem while backpacking. Instead of trying to fight against the laws of physics, it’s worth learning a few tips and hacks to minimize the inevitable.

How to Hike in the Rain - and Love It!

It’s pretty obvious that generally, hikers wish for a nice and clear weather. But it does not mean that if there is a rain in the forecast we should cancel our plans. Hiking (and camping!) in the rain may be fun and a chance to see the area in new light. There is also more chance to have the trail just to yourself as a number of potential hikers may change their plans.

Rain quite often comes with gloomy and moody clouds, creating a dramatic stage for your adventure. Of course, quite often it comes also with thick white fog and horizontally falling rains and hail... but that also can be quite breath-taking.

Pros and Cons of Hiking Solo

What does it really mean that you are alone? 

Before you head off to your first solo adventure, it's worth going through some pros and cons. I love hiking solo and am a big supporter of the idea. But it's best to be prepared and know what you are getting yourself into. Below are various possible cons and pros - they don't work that way for all but read them all to see if hiking solo is for you!

In the typical case of "good and bad news" I start with the cons:

What to Wear and What to Pack for a Day Hike in the Mountains

After another news piece on tourists who went hiking without proper clothes nor gear, I thought it would be beneficial to write an easy guide of the things you should wear and pack for a fantastic - and safe! - day in the mountains. 

Every other week we can hear about cases where the mountain rescue was called to save irresponsible hikers, who didn't prepare well and were ignorant of what they should pack or wear. 

Hiking with Fibromyalgia: Benefits, Tips, and Recommendations

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia some nine years ago. Unexplained pains, nothing on x-rays, and jumping reaction to the doctor pressing some well-chosen spots on my body. A well-known story to many who struggle with fibromyalgia and sometimes wait for years for a diagnosis.

I am lucky – my version of FM is pretty light. I could still work, take care of myself and generally, the disease did not mess too much with my life. My doctor told me about the importance of exercise and active lifestyle no matter the pain it could cause.

Fireless Backpacking - For the Love of our Planet (and Ourselves)!

Some of my warmest memories from childhood come from spending summers at scout camps – around a huge campfire, singing songs, and waiting for potatoes to be ready. And yet, I believe there is no need for hikers to build fires when they are backpacking through the wilderness unless it’s on well-established campsites with fire rings prepared for visitors. And even that - only once in a while. Why on Earth would I write that?

Hiking While Celiac - Gluten-Free on the Trail

When you have celiac disease and/or have food allergies and food intolerance, you think about food a lot. If it’s such a problem during regular days, how much more when planning a trip into the Wild?

It took me a while to learn what works best for hiking and camping trips (as well as my budget). But it always requires some research ahead of time, preparing food at home and probably carrying much more than others do.

How to Minimize Hiking Hazards: Avoid Accidents, Injuries, and Getting Lost

Over the past weeks, every day I saw reports about mountain rescue teams saving hikers from dangerous spots. In some cases, there was just some seriously bad luck to be blamed – but in the majority of them, the situation could have been well avoided if only the victims were better prepared.

The common thing that repeated throughout the rescue team’s comments was a lack of proper preparation on the side of the walkers. They were not prepared for the weather conditions, didn’t have a map, no necessary gear (like a compass, crampons, warmer layers, headlamp etc.) or underestimated the trail's difficulty.

The problem with such tourists is not just that they could have died (and some did actually), injured themselves and so on, but also endangered the brave members of rescue teams who rushed after them.

We all should do whatever we can to minimize the risks of hiking accidents. This is particularly important when hiking solo – we need to rely on ourselves only.

The Scenic Route to Weight Loss: Hiking as a Weight Control Tool

I am a big fan of the “Healthy at Every Size” movement and support women of all sizes and fitness levels in the Outdoors. No weight loss is necessary before enjoying the wonderful benefits of hiking and camping.

But I know a lot of women do want to lose some weight and get in better shape. Myself included. I put some fat on and although I don’t think there's anything wrong with it, I would like to get back to my size from about a year ago – if only to fit my old clothes.

So if there are women out there who would like to get into a bit more athletic shape, let’s find the best, the most healthy and safe way to do it, right?

What NOT to Pack Hiking: 9 Things to Leave Behind

Gear is obviously on our mind when we are getting ready for a longer hike. We don’t want to carry too much but also don’t want to miss something essential. From every side, we are bombarded with tips and gear lists but also ads and store’s suggestions of “necessities”.

If you are anything like me, you try to lighten up your load to make you hiking easier and safer. If you don't - you either are lucky to start already with a pretty low load or you just don't know how much better your hiking will get once you cut a few pounds off your backpack.

But how can you determine which pieces of gear are really needed and which ones you can safely leave at home (or better yet – at the store)? Well, I have nine things you really don’t have to take with you to ease your load and help your wallet.

How to Set Up a Tent in High Winds

Strong winds in the forecast? Don’t cancel your camping trip just yet!

It’s pretty obvious that when we dream of a nice camping trip in the Great Outdoors, we envision beautiful weather and no nasty surprises. But as we know, Nature does not always cooperate or listens to our dreams. Sometimes the rains are testing our determination and at other times – it’s the winds.

The good thing is, most of the times we can still enjoy our camping trip as long as we follow a few guidelines.

7 Tips for Your First Solo Hike

As many of you know already, I love hiking solo.

I find it tremendously rewarding on many levels. It helps with my anxiety, brings relaxation and simple happiness. Hiking solo gives me also a great boost to my confidence and pride of own accomplishments.

A lot of people find trekking solo as equally rewarding – although it’s different for each person. But even extroverts find the experience worth the effort.

In our times, when we are surrounded by people almost all the time it is good to be one-on-one with Nature and listen only to the sounds of wind, birds, and waterfalls.

Should you then hit the trail right away?

The Quest to Lighten Up my Gear Continues!

A few months ago I wrote a guide to gradual upgrading your gear to lighten up the load. I have realized that instead of writing another “edit” in that post, I should just write a post describing where I’m at on this quest to shed weight off my back.

I needed to start with the big items – that’s where you see big differences. If I can shed 1 kg of weight with a different tent, there is really no sense obsessing over a 10g lighter spoon, right?

All You Need to Know about Hiking the West Highland Way

Do you plan on hiking the West Highland Way? Do you wonder how to prepare for it? You are in the right place! I walked the West Highland Way trail over a year ago and it was truly life-changing. I had a lovely time but I’ve made some mistakes, too. I would love to share some ideas, tips, and advice so your time on the most popular Scottish trail is only positive.

Why hiking the West Highland Way?

West Highland Way is probably the most famous trail in Scotland. It takes you from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow all the way to Fort William, 154 km (or 96 miles) to the North. It was officially opened in 1980 and became the first officially designated long distance footpath in Scotland. Thousands of people walk the WHW each year, and for a good reason – it takes you through a wonderful variety of terrain and breath-taking views.

Fall Hiking: How to Dress and What to Pack

Why fall hiking? Fall is probably the best season for hiking. Gone are the nasty hot temperatures, in are crispy cold mornings and beautiful foliage changes. The trails are emptier and accommodation gets more affordable.

I encourage you to go on fall hikes – either shorter day-long ones or multiple-days treks. If you have the right gear you can even enjoy fall camping. I want you to have a pleasant and safe fall hiking, so let me remind you about a few important things.

How to Choose the Right Camping Cookware

The moment you decide to take the big step into camping is the one you have to grab some camping cookware. The variety available to hikers and campers nowadays is a bit dizzying so I am here to help you navigate your way in the wild kitchen.

By the way - are you thinking about going camping but are kind of unsure about the whole thing? Let me help you! Learn a few tips and enjoy the solo camping adventures!

If the only thing that comes to your mind when you think of camping pots are the old school aluminum scouts' pots, you are about to be in for a surprise! Although you probably can still buy those, I have no idea why anyone would.

How to Pack Your Backpack for Safety, Comfort, and Efficiency

The way we pack our backpacks can make or break our trip. An improperly packed bag can seem to be heavier than in reality, might push us off balance and cause back pain or injuries.

It takes a few trials to make it right but it is well worth your time to learn smart backpack packing.  I am pretty sure it’s obvious that the way we pack our backpacks depends on their size and the kind of a hike we are preparing for.