I went on solo trip of 3 National Parks in July 2021 for 10 days. I’ve traveled alone for one or two days quite often, this was my first time traveling solo for such a long time. I visited Glacier, Yellowstone and The Grand Teton National Parks over the course.
These are the top tips that I’d have given to myself when starting. And also list of things I’ve learned while on the trip.
Many of the points illustrate my personal preference and may not be generic enough for everyone. This page will be updated with more data as I travel more.
Packing / Organization
- Get the 10 hiking essentials
- Get bigger water bottles to avoid frequent refills. Need capacity of at least 1 ltr.
- I use Embrava Sports Bottle – Amazon link
- Get insulated travel mug. Use this to get coffee / hot / cold beverages.
- Instead of using the paper cups that coffee shops provide, I handed them my travel flask to fill coffee. This allowed me to sip strong hot coffee for hours. I use Contigo mug – Amazon link
- Note down IMEI / phone / passport etc in a piece of paper and put it in your bag
- Have a pen in backpack
- Have bear bell and bear spray, and most importantly know how to use it
- Stay for at least 3 nights. 2 night stay is way too short to properly explore any National Park.
- Unreserved camping on lands managed by National Park Service is not allowed, and is patrolled. However, every National Park is usually accompanied by National Forest which has no such restrictions.
- Thus to find place to camp, just drive outside of National Park boundary, get on any road that has NF (e.g NF-2130) name and park, sleep.
Technology / Photography
- Download app to see trajectory of sun and moon. Very useful for sunrise and sunset golden hours photography.
- I use Photo Time https://www.phototime.app/
- Download tons of offline tracks on Spotify / any other music app.
- I thought my 600 downloaded tracks were enough, nope, they were not.
- Download offline Google Maps before starting trip.
- Use https://wanderinglabs.com/ to find open camping spots in National Park campsites.
- Tripod is must for any serious landscape photography.
- I use Peak Design Carbon Fiber – https://www.peakdesign.com/products/travel-tripod
- Everything happens for good
- There are times when things don’t go as planned. Traveling alone, it brings feeling of demotivation and heightened frustration.
- I always like to think that whatever happens – it happens for good. I have many stories where this was indeed true.