Solo Hiking Q&A – Sharing hiker stories


In this video, I answer your questions about solo hiking and solo backpacking. I also share some solo hiking and backpacking stories from other fellow hikers as well as offer some tips for making it easier to get started solo hiking.

Links to other videos:
First solo backpacking trip –
10 essentials for staying safe on trail =
5 Tips before Backpacking Solo –
What I carry for solo backpacking –

Time stamps for questions and stories:

2:31 Protection
4:30 what I carry for solo compared to not solo
5:04 Other sketchy hikers
6:25 Fear at dark, being afraid
8:02 Choosing location,
9:50 tips for confidence, overcoming fears
10:38 dangerous situations
12:37 Longer trips solo?
12:56 Gotten lost? Map course?
13:49 what’s in pack for solo?
14:11 what you should carry solo
15:04 what’s it like and favorite thing about solo?
16:27 advice for beginner backpacker
16:44 longest solo hike? thru hike AT? Dream backpacking trip?
17:39 longest not seeing another hiker? Hiked in dark?

18:22 Christina Zukas
22:10 Melissa Coatney
24:08 Molly Bate
28:03 Benny Braden

30:39 Tips to get started solo backpacking/hiking

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26 comments

  • Benny Braden is my cousin. Watching him totally inspired me to set out on my own journey hiking.

  • Thank you so much Braids! I am planning a to backpack solo next week. I had narrowed it down to 2 places. With your advice in this video, it solidified my decision. I’m going to the one that is more populated. It also has Guthook available and I can do less miles per day if needed. I absolutely LOVE your channel. We must live near each other bc many of the places you go are places not far from me (SE US). I absolutely love how you admit to being a little scared. That’s how I feel but my desire to see big sights is worth overcoming that fear. Like you, I’ve added bear spray and a neck knife to my gear just for peace of mind for myself and my family.

  • Is it true that bear spray isn’t allowed on AT? Would that make you modify your protection items?

  • Thank you so much for making these videos! My boyfriend and I backpack a lot, but I'm getting tired (that sounds a little harsh) of "not being able to go" when he can't go, so I'm trying to work up the courage to go alone…maybe this weekend! I know I have all of the skills (except for maybe building a tarp shelter when it rains, like my bf does), but I do worry about being lonely or animals/people at night. Your videos are encouraging and helpful for women! I hope to see you on the trail someday!

  • Hiking with braids, it is true what you said. Every one thinks you’ll keep warmer by putting on a lot of clothing in your sleeping bag/ quilt will keep you warmer. That is not true. In military cold weather training in Alaska (in the winter) we were taught that by wearing a light base layer and breathing out of your bag you will stay warmer.

  • Love your channel and will follow your adventure all the way to the end. Mike and Amie from Johnson City, Tn.

  • I always hike alone. It's great to see wildlife and go at your ownpace. It's extremely calming and peaceful. Only downside would be some wild animals that I would not like to meet by myself.

  • That video was very good. As a mother of 2 girls I love to watch your videos but worried about you. Your such a pretty girl and very daring. But your right about leaving your comfort zone. I guess I'm just old haha. God bless you and keep you safe.

  • I'm like Molly, I like to spend time with myself. I have hiked 5 times now alone. the last one was 10 miles, my longest and most remote. It was very scary at first, but after about 3 miles I was too tired to care!! I haven't worked up the courage to do an overnight yet, but I liked the things Christina and you said about camping near your car, and then camp with others that you don't know. I believe my next trip will be an overnighter on a trail I have been on several times that has a pretty popular campground.

  • Fantastic video! I have fears about solo'ing. I am a woman and a person of color, and in the real world, in the wrong areas, … it can be pretty terrifying. I don't know if those fears are logical in the backcountry but I definitely need to start facing them. I hope to do it before this year ends. It'll be a 1-1.5 mile away from my vehicle and a place that I've been to before. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Excellent video. I’ve only done solo backpacking trips because no one else I know wants to go with me. I do want to invest in an inreach for piece of mind. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  • Wonderful video! Thank you for all the advice, information, and different perspectives!

  • Gretchen, loved the video! Excellent advice. I've been solo hiking for years and absolutely love it. I have not done any solo backpacking but hope to in the near future. When my children were younger I took them camping & hiking frequently. Now that they are adults most of my trips are solo. As I've gotten older (58), my kids and my parents worry about me at times. My daughter bought me the Garmin Inreach Explorer+ for Christmas last year and that gives everyone more peace of mind. I grew up and live on the NC side of the Smokies and have hiked extensively in NC and TN, both in and out of the Park. I just started my first map for the 900 miler. Hope to run into you sometime on the trails! Loved the input from the other hikers. Watch Plug-it-In all the time and have seen all the ladies in the hiking groups online. Best wishes to everyone and Happy Hiking! 😁

  • I have hiked hundreds of miles alone. I enjoyed walking alone .i have only felt scared once. I just walked away from them. I more afraid of getting lost, than of people. Happy trails

  • Great vid and great advice. Thanks for sharing. Very empowering!

  • Hello Gretchen, thank you for sharing your fine video. I really enjoyed it. It was very good to hear the perspective of the three Ladies. I also enjoyed Benny's input. Always the very best of good things to you, Jerry and your family. One day, God willing, I would love to meet you and Jerry out there on the trail. Take care, be safe and always have fun. 🤗

  • This was really interesting to watch and listen to hearing the experiences and tips from you and the other hikers. Everyone asked great questions too!

  • 💣BOOM💥 anything in life is dangerous if you're not alert and attentive and follow safe practice💪🤠👍

  • Awesome video, Gretchen! Lots of helpful info for your viewers. Thank you, again, for having me be a part of this episode! It was a pleasure to contribute. 😊

  • Thanks for answering my question Gretchen! I prepared my hiking bag after watching your 10 essentials video, bought a compass and thought, well I don't really know how to use this thing. 😂 Also, had to add that I loved hearing from other hikers as well. What a great addition 🙂

  • As usual- another great video 😊

  • Fantastic video my friend! Very informational and loaded with tons of great advice!

  • Hi y'all! Sorry for the delay in getting this video uploaded today! It took a lot longer in editing than I expected! I know it's a long video but I hope it gives you some encouragement and helps answer your questions about solo hiking. I have included time stamps in the description if you want to go to specific parts of the video. 🙂

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