Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For the Teardrop Ladies: Camping Alone

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.

Photo by Designspiration

6 comments:

  1. Very insightful advice. One thing really intrigued me: why a fake wallet?

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    1. Thank you Aneta. We travel in some places that are known for their pickpockets (Italy, Central and South America). Pickpockets are usually not violent, they just want your cash. We have our real travel wallets with our passports and most of our cash hidden on our bodies and then we have the "fake wallets" in an outside pocket with a few dollars and some cancelled IDs or cards. If this wallet is grabbed, most pickpockets will take off and leave you alone and you've only lost a few bucks.

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  2. Great advice. I know the "Don't freak out" is one that's important to me having followed all the other recommendations I've found that my imagination has no limits at times & I have to remind myself "Don't freak out." Have had lots of fun going out on my own or with my kids & planning a head with safety in mind has always made the trips that much more fun. But even when out with my husband I follow my safety steps as if I was out on my own, just a good habit now.

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    1. Thanks Marie. I agree. Over the years, I've run into many people who are afraid to go out on their own or travel into another country. Most of it is fed by the news media and our imaginations grab hold of that. Not everything or everyone is out to get us.

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  3. Great post! One more tip if you're doing a custom build. The Glampette has three porch lights, one on the rear beside the door and one on each side of the trailer near each window. That way if I hear a suspicious noise at night (be it person or animal) I can turn on the lights and hopefully either scare away or at least see who or what is creating the ruckus. There are three light switches inside so that if only one is needed I can target the problem area.

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    1. Hi Stacie. Thanks for the great tip! yes, I've been wanting to put outdoor light on the Sunflower for a while now. Maybe some nice solar lights.

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