Going Solo On An Overland Trip

Going solo on an overland trip is not something we recommend. We enjoy the camaraderie of having other people with us on top of the apparent safety net other rigs provide. However, we know it gets done, and given proper planning, it can be done with no problems.

A solo trip could be sought for any number of reasons. In this article, we are going to cover some things to consider when planning a solo trip. This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to doing it, just a rough outline of what to consider.

The Benefits of Going Solo

There are benefits to go solo on any adventure, not just an overlanding trip. Going alone allows you to move at your own pace. You aren’t going to be held to a schedule or even a set route. You get to choose your timing and your route and move as fast or slow as necessary.

Being solo also means you are only responsible for yourself in every aspect. Want to break from a pre-planned route? You only have to convince yourself. Want to make something weird for dinner? You’re the only one who has to eat it. This also means you are responsible for your health and well-being. Do something dumb? You’ve got to patch yourself up.

Reasons For Going Solo

There is any number of reasons for venturing out solo on your own. Either way, you need to make sure you are prepared and have planned accordingly, something we cover later on in this article.

Bug Out Planning

Having contingency plans in place in case of emergencies is important. One reason for potentially going solo is to test a bug out plan out of town. You’ve got your rig loaded and ready to go, so you just head out on your pre-planned route. This gives you the chance to see the route and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Testing Your Skills

This falls in line with planning a bug out scenario. A particular set of skills (read in best Liam Nesson voice) is necessary when venturing out on an adventure. Similar to the bug out planning, testing what you know helps you determine where you may need more training. We highly recommend getting trained in specific areas before going solo. There is no need to get stuck only to find out what you thought you knew about recovery is wrong or dangerous.

Clearing Your Head

The last option may be more in line with what most people are after — a chance to clear your head with no other distractions. Getting into the middle of nowhere in the woods can do wonders for mental well-being.

What To Consider

Just as with planning a group trip, there are several things to consider when planning a solo trip. The difference here is you are entirely self-reliant. Planning becomes more important to ensure you have the right tools and information to successfully and safely complete your trip.

Plan Accordingly

The best thing you can do is plan accordingly. Track the weather before going to make sure you aren’t going to run into anything bad. Check on trail and road conditions in the area to make sure nothing is closed or impassable. Knowing what you are getting into can go a long way to keeping things running smoothly.

Plan With Redundancies

The saying one is none; two is one, etc. is popular in the preparedness community. Planning redundancies are going to be beneficial for a solo trek into the woods. Make sure the gear you carry can serve a dual purpose. Try to think of some scenarios where things might go wrong and plan what you take around those.

Have Someone Else Go Over Your Plan

You may think you have thought of everything, but it might be a good idea to let someone else go over what you’re the plan is. They may find a flaw with what you are doing or know the area you are planning on being in.

Share Your Plans With Multiple People

Let more than one person know you are going. Give them your route and itinerary for the time you will be gone. Exchange contact information so you can get in touch with them or vice versa in the case of an emergency.

Check-Ins and Contingency Planning

Establish check-in times and frequencies with the people you gave your plan to. You may need to establish a contingency plan if you have passed a check-in time. Establish a hierarchy of who gets contacted first, second, etc. If you are traveling in a remote area with limited signal, messages may only go to one person.

Take It Slow

Most likely, what you drove in will be what you have to drive out as well. Take things slow and ensure you are not causing damage that cannot be trail repaired. Don’t put yourself in positions that are dangerous. If you do, take your time and do not rush through them. This goes for simple tasks that seem mundane but could lead to injury.

Dress Brightly

This may seem like a silly thing. If you get stuck or lost being in bright clothing can go a long way for you to be found. Don’t pack earth tones or camo patterns that will make it difficult for someone to see you.

It’s Completely Doable

While we aren’t fans of going solo, it is completely doable and has been done. People go out alone on adventures all the time, whether it’s backpacking or biking or kayaking. All of these are done with less gear than what we as overlanders would carry. The key to being successful and safe is to plan and let people know what your plan is.

 

Nick Howell

Nick is a lifelong Michigan resident, born and raised. He grew up in Bay City and transplanted to the metro Detroit area after college for work. Seeking more woods and outdoors time, he resolved to get out more. In a spark of creativity, he co-founded Michigan Overland with the intent to travel to parts unknown both within Michigan and abroad.

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