Solo Camping & Safety for Women

topic posted Mon, March 17, 2008 - 4:37 PM by  Unsubscribed
I don't need safety tips so much as am seeking tips, ideally from any female campers, about specific spots/ places in Oregon that feel safer than others if you wish to camp on your own. As spring comes, that's my plan but I do have safety concerns and am fine with being on camp grounds with families and others. Any sights to especially recommend where safety seems...more safe for women?
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  • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

    Mon, March 17, 2008 - 7:46 PM
    I assume you're talking about safety from other humans? This might sound completely counter-intuitive, but as a women who's camped alone, backpacked alone, and hitch-hiked alone through over 25 countries, the best way I know to not be messed with (regardless of gender) is to sleep/camp where folks won't find you. Wherever there's humans, there's the possibility of being messed with (by humans).
  • Unsu...

    Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

    Tue, March 18, 2008 - 8:44 AM
    I highly recommend the Indian Henry Campground in the Mount Hood Foothills. The couple that runs it is great, it's an amazingly magical site and I felt completely "safe" ever time I was there.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

    Tue, March 18, 2008 - 5:51 PM
    yes it's definitely the humans I'm a little bit more concerned about. I wouldn't be crazy about a bear attack but it's my fellow Americans I am a teeny bit more cautious about when out in the woods. I'm torn between thinking being in a very remote place is safer than to be in a more populated place. It's sort of sad to even have to think about this aspect so much when there are still so many other countries where it really is safe for a woman to camp alone yet- beautiful Bulgaria, for example. I will check out that recommendation below too. Thanks guys!
    • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

      Tue, March 18, 2008 - 10:01 PM
      hey, even as a dude who has done much solo travel and camping (almost solely solo camping) all it takes is a couple drunk rednecks in the middle of nowhere to make you question how smart it is to be a million miles from a streetlight. most people are harmless, and that experience with rednecks was in the remote northwoods of wisconsin, but still, as far as i can tell oregon rednecks aren't much more civilized. my advice is venture out into the unknown on daytrips. find a buddy to camp with. and if you really need alone time, a lot of well-frequented campgrounds have primitive or hike-in sites. pepper spray, air-horn, whatever deters bears is bound to keep weirdos away, too.
      • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

        Wed, March 19, 2008 - 1:34 AM
        I'd be more emphatic. If you're not on Federal property (that may change soon) and are licensed be as well armed as you can afford. At the very least a big knife, preferably a firearm. Nobody is going to call 911, Even if they did nobody will come. Pepper spray and loud noises mean the square root of diddlyp-squat when someone is trying to hurt you personally miles away from any sort of help.
        • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

          Wed, March 19, 2008 - 3:59 PM
          I would disagree on the pepper spray- get the bear spray- it shoots a toxic wad 16' that will clear a campground. Warnng dont spray up wind. Much better reach than a knife. I would even take a good walking stick over a knife in a fight.

          I used to do a lot of work in the woods, and I would say that the best way to avoid being messed with is to avoid attracting attention to yourself. I generally wear browns and greens in the woods, I own a small tent that is black... Dont camp right near your car if you dont want to be noticed. Plenty of times I have had people walk within 3' of me without noticing me.

          Guns? That is a tough one- they are useful only if you intend to use them... before packing a gun ask your self if you are ready to kill someone without hesitation, and with only the briefest of warnings. If you are get a dual action revolver (fewer moving parts, more durable) and spend enough time on the range that you can use the wepon well. Keep the chamber over the pin empty- it acts as a second safety. Always know where the gun is lest idle hands find it.

          I dont carry a gun in the woods- they are heavy.
          • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

            Fri, March 21, 2008 - 5:44 AM
            I've been hosed with the bear-grade spray in a training exercise. It wasn't that much worse than the regular pepper spray. That means a person who is enraged or goal-oriented can fight right through it.
            • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

              Fri, March 21, 2008 - 5:45 AM
              Pepper spray has been tested in many, many independent experiments. The result of those is that it is only recommended for law enforcement use in the case of "non-violent but non-compliant suspects". In other words, it's nothing to stake your life on.
              • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

                Fri, March 21, 2008 - 9:42 AM
                Bottom line.... if someone is looking for trouble, they're probably looking in populated areas - not the woods where trouble is harder to find.

                I also highly recommend some self defense classes. I always wondered why I was afraid of the 'spooks' in the dark and realized that the only reason I was afraid of the boogie man was because I didn't think I could kick his ass. Once I realized that I probably could I wasn't afraid anymore.

                Another note I'd like to make is unless you are highly proficient at using a weapon I think it's very unwise to carry one. Chances are that someone who IS going to cause you trouble has more experience with such objects and therefore you are arming them with your knife.

                Go to the woods. Hug some trees for me too. Know that the crazies are here in the city harassing us going out dancing this weekend.

  • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

    Wed, March 19, 2008 - 4:04 PM
    I like the area of Trout Lake- lots of great camping, fewer people than Mt Hood (although you have to check out Little Crater Lake by Timothy Lake). The greatest little country store there too...
    • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

      Wed, March 19, 2008 - 5:06 PM
      As someone who worked for Multnomah County Search & Rescue for a few years, I think you might consider that with solo camping your safety is less likely to be compromised by other people than by the fact that you're by yourself. (And I shudder at the thought of people heading out into the woods "armed to the teeth"....that makes me nauseous - maybe because i put my hands in the brains of someone who had an unfortunate hiking/gun combination)

      I'm also having a strong feminist reaction here as to why it is that you feel like you need to be more afraid or are somehow more vulnerable because you're a woman — here I would recommend a class at someplace like One With Heart to learn self defense skills that would help you maybe set aside the notion that everybody in the big bad world is out to get women. As the debate mounts in Congress to allow loaded, assembled guns in national parks, one thing I've been struck with is the repetition by park rangers and law enforcement that violent crime, at least in national parks, is extremely rare. I think your car is probably in more danger parked at a trail head than you are out in the woods.
      • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

        Wed, March 19, 2008 - 7:43 PM
        Thank you k8!

        In all of my years hitchiking and in all of my time in the wilderness (alone and with others), the only times I felt "danger" was in the wilderness *doing* things alone (climbing mostly). And I love doing (most of) those things. Out of curiosity, to your knowledge, has anyone (male or female) ever been attacked on the PCT (or comparable trail) while hiking alone?
        • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

          Wed, March 19, 2008 - 8:16 PM
          i just always stayed in bed once i went to bed and moved to my tent when i heard people coming

          no one can tell how many people or what sex the people are that are in your tent
          even if it's small and out of the way if "they are all" in the tent
          I have to admit I rarely felt safe camping by myself without my dog though
          but if i slept with a rock I felt better
          boys always used to give me knives, but they never made me feel safer and
          I don't think they made me safer either
          rocks though.....oh and I think most of oregon is pretty safe
          I mostly camped on the portland side of mt hood and out towards lakes and such
          and off the 101, but i don't know that I would suggest the 101 as the spots are hard to find

          most camp grounds are good too the best ones have their own personalities and crowds they
          attract (surfers or families or varying kinds of hippies or crafty older folks etc. ) so I dont know which I would suggest for you
          my dad used to take me to one where it had a bunch of potbellied pigs and a funny old man I wish I knew where it was
          he's probably not there anymore though......
        • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

          Wed, March 19, 2008 - 8:38 PM
          I've been all over this state. Never, ever, felt threatened except for one time when I came upon a group of young, drunk, males, in the Steens Mountain area, shooting guns.... I steered WAY clear of them. No one that I know of has ever been attacked on the PCT...or any other established trail.
      • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

        Thu, March 20, 2008 - 8:09 AM
        While it is true that solo camping has its risks, it also has its advantages. It is truely the closest to God I have ever been- statisticly you are safer hiking than driving your car or biking.

        I was not advocating brining a gun, I was merely offering my opions about what a person would need to do if the wanted to do so. Care and training could probably have avoided that accident that you spoke of.

        I think that Alex's fear is valid. I am a big guy- no one ever messes with me (or hardly ever). While I believe that most people are good, I do think that those people who would injure others will seek out those less apperently able to defend themselves- and those who are smaller and of less physical mass make easier targets. I also dont like the fact that the majority of violent crimes are committed by men (my gender) and many are committed against women- but it is the sad truth of the matter. That should not dissuede Alex from heading out, but I think that be cautious is good common sense.

        • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

          Thu, March 20, 2008 - 1:39 PM
          actually, men are victimized by violent crime much more often than women. and

          and the highest population of rape victims (that big bad monster that women are taught to fear behind every blind corner and i guess every doug fir tree too) are actually incarcerated men.
          • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

            Fri, March 21, 2008 - 2:37 PM
            ......but all of that is comparing apples to orangutangs. If you fear being raped you fear being raped anywhere, it doesnt matter if you are camping or hiking, or are in prizon, or at the mall, or even in your own home. It happens, and unfortunately it happens everywhere. Random violence is what it is....its random.

            K8 you gave the greatest advice earlier....... akin to: if you already feel like your going to get in trouble, and you havent even participated yet, the best thing you can do is prepare to defend yourself.

            I went on a solo 2,000 mile plus journey 2 years ago and camped in several places across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon by myself. I thought about bringing mace or anything of the equivalent (not that I thought of it mind you, it was everyone else that was worried about me that made me think of it) and not once did the opportunity present itself for me to use it against another person. (camping in bear country outside Yellowstone, different story). Attackers seek out victims. Refuse to be or act like a victim and you already have the better than 50/50 chance you had when you started out.

            My advice to you, fellow solo female camper, is to just get out there and see the beautiful things this state has to offer. If you keep your fear of potential attack in your heart....guess what, eventually you are going to get attacked! Life is for the living to enjoy, go out and enjoy it.

            The only place in the state that I can say for sure that I would not recommend any one, male or female, to go alone is to Bagby Hot Springs. Stay clear from there and you will have yourself an adventure. But, as any one camping who knows how to camp also knows.......GO (be) PREPARED (for anything)!

            • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

              Fri, March 21, 2008 - 2:55 PM
              funny Luna I go to Bagby all the time solo. I guess it is all about perception of safey.
              • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

                Fri, March 21, 2008 - 3:23 PM
                Bagby has a well known reputation for attracting the miscreants and maleficents of the local northwest woods. "Riots" (use the term loosely), drug use, binge drinking, sex abuse etc. I definetly agree about one's perception of safety, but when a certain place has a reputation, I feel (for myself at any rate) that its better to err on the side of caution. There are *plenty* of hotsprings in this state to go to where one does not have to worry about the lurker in the trees with his pants down, or the rowdy tub of young men high on drugs or alcohol. IME - Put yourself in safer situations and you are guaranteed to have a safer ride.
                • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

                  Fri, March 21, 2008 - 3:47 PM
                  I know what you mean, and I wouldnt advise someone to go there alone, but I do it al the time because I can be there in under two hours from my house. All the other HS are either pay to play (nothing against BB, but I like a free soak) or far away... I also think that the good folks shoudl retake Bagby- if we all went there all the time and had a good (not rowdy time) pretty soon the wierdos would go... well wherever they go...

                  I agree that we all have to make our own safety decisions, but like I said Bagby has been good to me. I usually go mid week late at night (ie after 1am) and its pretty quiet.
  • Re: Solo Camping & Safety for Women

    Wed, March 26, 2008 - 5:29 PM
    I take my dog with me...I always feel safe because she has a fierce protective growl. But...I also dont like her to growl at other campers!! I usually go to State parks, county parks are great and out of the way usually. Not as busy, and ofen just as beautiful and close to things I am looking for.
    I think if you aren't familiar with a gun or wepon, don't take one.
    My best rock hammer, and a GOOD WHISTLE. A whistle always attracts if you are lost, it will last a lot longer than your voice will.
    Have fun camping!

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