How to Stay Sane Solo or in a Group - Backpacker

How to Stay Sane Solo or in a Group

Lone ranger or social butterfly, you can still thrive.
stay sane

When alone, skip the cocktails and stay positive. Photo by Ryan Kuonen/Flickr


You can’t escape yourself when you go camping alone, but there’s plenty of ways to be your own best buddy.

Maintain hygiene. If no one’s around to see it, how gross can it be? Plenty. Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean you don’t need to wash yourself. Respect.

Skip the booze. Passing the flask is no fun when its going from your right hand to your left hand. Solo cocktails are one part boring, one part sad.

Be encouraging. You’ll be talking to yourself in no time, so you may as well be a coach instead of a critic. Resist the urge to have running conversations with inanimate objects.

In a Group

There’s strength in numbers, yes, but also snorers, lazy campers who don’t help with chores, and navigation “experts” who always want to go a different way. Use these tips from guide and expedition veteran Molly Absolon to smooth group dynamics. 

Choose your companions carefully.Look for people who share your goals and who stay positive and optimistic when things don’t go as planned.

Designate a leader at the outset. This can be awkward with a group of friends, but it’s much better to have direction at key moments than to get frustrated while the crew endlessly debates. If you’d rather go leaderless, decide how you will make decisions if consensus isn’t working.

Choose your battles. If you really don’t care where you camp, defer to others who do. But if it makes all the difference in the world to you, being “polite” will make you resentful. Communicate your wishes even if it seems easier to remain silent.

Do your share of the chores, of course. Bonus: When another group member is slacking,
you can feel unequivocally righteous.

Pack a treat. It can be a chocolate bar, cookies, maybe a flask of something special. You may end up sharing with your teammates, but it’s nice to know you have something of your own for those moments when you really need a boost.

Take a time out. During downtime, do something solo. Go for a walk, sit by a stream and read a book, go fishing. In good weather, consider forgoing the crowded tent and sleeping under the stars.

Carry earplugs.