October Solo Camping

A couple years ago, in that first pandemic fall, I started solo car camping. Part of the motivation was that 5 of us were stuck in the house together for work and school and I needed to get away for my sanity. Remember those days?

Pandemic motivations aside, so far I’ve only done solo car camping in the autumn in response to an undeniable and exigent (definition: can’t be ignored) inner drive to “leave the city and go to the woods”.

I stumbled upon a quote recently that perfectly expresses October’s siren call to vagabonds and wanderers like myself.

After many years of backpacking, hiking, and tent camping adventures with my family and my husband I am delighting in this new solo activity. And solo wandering in general.

There are many reasons for me to go car camping alone:

  • I want to.
  • My husband doesn’t have the same needs, in this season of life, to leave the city with the same frequency I do.
  • Camping is cheaper than renting an airbnb getaway and immerses me more in nature. And sleeping in the car is easier and warmer than setting up a tent. And depending on the context also feels more secure.
  • I simply love exploring new places. I love the thrill of the search, the drive, the settling in to my surroundings.
  • I need to be out of the city, on the regular.
  • I love the confidence and competence building of this activity. I want to keep building these traits in me so I can take on new adventures as they present themselves.

Since I’ve started doing this 2 years ago, I’ve created video content about my adventures and posted these to YouTube and Instagram but I never posted those here. I would like them here as a record and a resource, but also to share with those of you who don’t frequent those other platforms.

By the way, I’m not a dedicated vlogger, I don’t have a vision for my YouTube channel or video content in general. It’s just that sometimes the ideas I want to share are easier, or better, or only suited to share in video format. I don’t always mention those videos here, but I’m hoping to get better at doing that.

Grab & Go Camp Bin

This is the most recent video I made and it’s very “how-to”. The title is pretty self explanatory but this video shows you the contents of my camp bin and some other camp essentials. It doesn’t show you my sleeping arrangements, you’ll have to watch my October Camping & Hiking at Parc Eco Laurentides (next in this post) for those details.

Here’s a complete list of what I take for a solo car camping trip:

  • Shelter, I sleep in the car.
  • Sleep system: thick 3-fold mattress, bottom sheet, sleeping bag and pillow. Depending on the temperature I like to use my sleeping bag as a quilt, in which case a bottom sheet is nice on the mattress. This is literally “car” camping and my sleep system is more cushy than my tenting sleep system.
  • Camp Grab & Go Bin, packed according to the trip needs
  • First Aid Kit
  • Wood box with tools (axe, hatchet, gloves, paper) & wood
  • Stool (see October Camping & Hiking at Parc Eco Laurentides for why)
  • Clothing bag & hiking gear (pack, poles, appropriate shoes), if I’m going hiking
  • Camp shoes, for this trip I loved my slip-on Bog’s ankle boots
  • Food bag & cooler (if necessary)
  • Tech & navigational tools: phone, battery charger, paper maps, etc. Eventually I want to do more backcountry stuff by myself and when I do that I’ll add a satellite emergency distress beacon. For now, if where I’m going is out of cell range (best!), I tell Damien my itinerary.

October Camping & Hiking at Parc Eco Laurentides

This is my video from last fall when I did a solo car camping and hiking trip at Parc Eco Laurentides. It’s part review of the park and the hiking trails, part “watch me do camp stuff”, and part reflections on this life stage where I have more freedom.

If you view this video on YouTube, in the captions you can see the outline of the video and if you click on the timestamps you go directly to that section.

My favorite parts of the video are my reflections on happiness at the 22:41 mark, in which I ask myself the question: am I allowed to be this happy? At 31:38 I talk about the freedom of the post-child raising years & solo adventuring.

That’s the philosophical stuff but I also talk about practical things like my sleeping arrangements at 11:33 & 13:43

Thoughts on Solo Adventuring

This is a video I created 2 years ago after my first fall solo camping trip.

I talk about my own experiences going solo in the outdoors, why it might be perceived as unsafe (or actually unsafe depending on your context), and how you can push the edge, just a little, of your own “familiar zone”.

The familiar zone - what you’re familiar with, what you know, what feels safe - is also called our comfort zone. We all have a comfort zone. This zone can define our current limits, but it doesn’t have to define our future limits.

This applies to more than just solo adventuring.

That’s a wrap of all my currently posted videos of solo car camping. The three together walk you through the why and how of doing this.

In October 2020 I published a post called Going Solo (& other midlife experiences) where I share my journey into (short) solo trips after an adulthood of “togetherness” with my family. I’ll end this with a three line quote from that post that helps explain why I love these short solo trips.

I can do things by myself. I like my own company. I am competent.

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