Hiking Solo as a Female

As a female hiker that has a tendency to hike alone, with the exception of my dog, I often get the question, ‘Why don’t you hike with a partner?‘ or sometimes people just flat-out say ‘It’s really not safe out there, you should bring someone with you, preferably a guy.

If I’m being totally honest, I hate that! I’m perfectly capable of handling things on my own. I guess, more than anything, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the mindset that I’m not as strong or capable simply because I’m female. Disparaging comments often drown out the words of encouragement because I let it get to me. Having been to college in small, conservative town in the North Georgia mountains, I’m no stranger to the old mindset. I spent five years in a town where most people believed that women should marry out of college and settle down to be a housewife. That lifestyle isn’t for me, and that often set me apart from the crowd. I’m starting to wonder what it’s going to take to change this mindset. We’re in the 21st century, women are taking the world by storm! And yet, people balk at the idea that I hike alone!

I’ve seen many articles in recent months that are targeting the bias in the outdoor industry. Articles have ranged from the durability and usability of women’s outdoor clothing to the attitudes of people towards female hikers. We need more voices out there! There are so many incredible role models for us, and so many have set records. But why aren’t their names more mainstream? Why are people disregarding their records?

Sorry for the rant today guys. I just get frustrated by people’s responses sometimes. I do my best to brush it off, but it does get to me every once in a while. I promise to follow up this post with some inspiring women adventurers!

13 thoughts on “Hiking Solo as a Female

  1. Three things:
    1. I’m a middle-aged woman and I always hike alone and I always here that also. People mean well and despite how well we are ‘prepared’, shit happens – more so to women – but none-the-less.
    2. Not to toot-my-own-horn, but I’ve addressed (in not so subtle language nor as well as almost anyone else could have said it) some of your ‘women’s issues’ mentioned in your post on a couple of recent posts of mine. You’re a young woman, my target audience for those posts, if you want to (& I won’t be offended if you don’t) read & comment: https://keepkaryn.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/knowledge-is-forgotten-history-repeats-itself/ …and the Susan B Anthony was a Blogger post.
    3. Good for you to have the strength and wisdom to follow your own path!!
    Happy Trails.

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    • Thank you so much for commenting! It’s comforting (in some ways) to know that there are other women out there facing the comments but still doing what they love! I will definitely be reading your blog, and specifically the post you linked to.
      Happy Trails!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. You made some valid points in your responses to other comments – I’d suggest, and it’s just a suggestion because others’ opinions and ‘double standards’ are not going away anytime soon…but education is the key – so I’d suggest that you adopt an educational attitude to those people who repeatedly ask the frustrating questions and inform them. You’re in a good place to do this; you’re young, informed, active and people, in general, are not informed and react to what they hear or assume. Instead of being angry (which isn’t good for YOU) about the (women’s issue) help spearhead helping people understand. You are going to meet hundreds of people on your journey and then you’ll have such stories and information from your personal experiences to share!! 🙂

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  2. This is an interesting topic, and it’s so true that people single out women for hiking alone. You don’t hear people saying to men, “You shouldn’t hike alone,” but for women it’s a different story. There’s a double standard with so many aspects of our lives, and it’s sad that it continues in the 21st century.

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  3. The reason men don’t get the same harassment as women is based off of history and sociology.

    This is not about women issues or you being not capable.

    Fact: The average man is stronger than the average woman. (top performing women athletes are equivalent to the 90% ratio of male atheletes)

    So most of the people who are worried about you hiking alone are going off of what they know about human anatomy.

    The reason there is a double standard is because not all humans are civilized. When it comes down to it there are crazy males who have the ability to overpower you. That is why people say you may want to hike with a partner, or with a gun at least.

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    • Statistically speaking, crime rates are much lower on hiking trails than anywhere else. People are more vocal of their concerns for hiking solo vs wandering a city alone because they know less about hiking. What it comes down to is being smart and listening to your instincts.

      The chances of me assaulted on a trail are slimmer than me being in a car accident. I drive my car every day because I refuse to let that fear affect my every day life. In the same aspect, I refuse to let the possibility that I could get hurt while hiking deter me from doing what I love. It is really and truly all about being smart. Bad things can happen no matter who you are or where you are in the world.

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  4. Totally a legit rant, this frustrates me too! It makes me mad that people don’t worry about me when I walk around the city by myself but the moment I step into the woods alone to hike or go for a run they are super freaked out and concerned for my safety. I think it is because they, themselves are scared of the woods. It is an unknown for them and they think it is dangerous. When we finished the AT I was surprised that the most common question we got was, “So what was the scariest thing that happened to you?” “Or when did you feel the most un-safe?” Those fears are only amplified when turned towards a woman hiking a lot. SO amen Sister, it’s not cool, just not cool!!

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    • Thank you so much for commenting!! I hate that this is the norm for female hikers. Whenever I bring up the conversation about a solo thru-hike the reactions I get are so frustrating! More often than not I hear discouraging remarks rather than encouraging. It’s time to change that! I think it comes down to education and knowledge more than anything else. I think the more that people understand hiking and the society of hikers you find on the trail the less that people will worry. I hope that would be the case anyways. In the mean time I’m just trying to prove people wrong. Women are just as capable as men in this aspect!

      Liked by 1 person

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