On our teardrop travels we have notice there are a surprising number of solo teardroppers out there and some of them are women. Many women love to go camping alone or with their children or dogs, but some of them I've spoken to are fearful of hitting the road by themselves. I've been camping alone several times, but most of those times have been during a gathering with other teardroppers. I have traveled alone a few times, so I understand the trepidation of being in a strange place without a partner for company or safety.
I've had my fair share of travel scares. While traveling in Denmark, I was attacked by a group of teenagers on the beach (I scared them off with some self defense moves and some angry, foul language) and while in Ecuador several people tried to pickpocket me on the train. What they didn't know is that the wallet they were attempting to take from my jacket was my fake wallet – the real wallet is hidden on my body.
However, camping alone is different. You are usually out in the wilderness or a national or state park and when teardropping, you can feel vulnerable sleeping alone in what is essentially a box on wheels. Most women campers are fearful of strange men (or women) approaching them, petty crime like theft, rape and other violent attacks. We are always on the lookout for that white panel van and avoid parking right next to it.
On the TNTTT forum, there is a specific area just for lady teardroppers and the top threads are about safety and camping alone. Not every woman is going to broadcast their security camping secrets to the world, but here are the top tips from solo lady campers with a few additions of my own.
1. Camp in a well-lit campground where you feel safe and comfortable.
Some private campgrounds have gates that lock at night as well as a full-time camp host. Introduce yourself to the host and ask if you can camp near them. There is no need to broadcast to the world that you are alone, but give them a heads-up that you need a little extra security.
If you are in a state or national park, talk to the local rangers and ask about the safety issues in the area. Get their office or cell phone numbers. Camp next to a family or older couple and let them know that if they look out for you, you will look out for them. Also, try to use the bathroom or shower in the daytime and avoid going out at night.
2. Carry some sort of self defense weapon and learn self defense
Depending on your state or county, some weapons may be illegal, so please check your local laws. If you are comfortable with guns, get a permit, take a class and learn how to use it correctly. Remember that the teardrop is a small place and a thief may have a much easier time finding it hidden under your pillow. Other weapons are batons, kubatans, bear spray, pepper spray and tasers. Other self-defense devices include body alarms, door alarms and panic buttons on car keys. These will usually deter someone just hanging around or a wayward bear. A large, good flashlight will also illuminate dark areas for you and blind someone who might be looking too closely around your teardrop.
Learning some self defense is good for any kind of situation, not just camping alone. A few years ago, I took a women's self defense course which gave me more confidence and strength in dealing with a bad situation. Keep your skills updated and don't advertise that you know them.
3. Be aware of your surroundings and use common sense
If you read the post on Stacie Tamaki and her Glampette, she outfitted her teardrop to have a peephole in the door. She wanted to be aware of her surroundings without anyone being aware of her. No matter where you go camping, be aware of who else is around, where the nearest buildings and roads are, where the dark areas are and how to contact someone quickly. Keep your cell phone, keys and self-defense items close to you at all times. In addition, be confident in your ability to defend yourself and don't be helpless in any way. You are a solo teardropper – no way are you helpless!
4. Be prepared while inside your teardrop
Before getting into your teardrop for the night (and locking the doors), be sure your campsite is cleaned up and tidy, have any entertainment items inside with you, and make sure your curtains are closed. It's also good to have emergency water or food in the teardrop with you in case you get hungry or thirsty before the sun comes up.
5. Don't freak out
In the dozens of times we've gone camping in the teardrop, we have never run into any nefarious people. People in campgrounds tend to look out for each other and their belongings and don't tolerate loitering. There is no need to panic and spoil your camping trip, so if you are camping alone, just be prepared and aware. Because you are in a teardrop, you will have people approach you to admire your trailer. There is no need to tell them you are alone, but you may end up making more friends than you thought you would on a solo trip.
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