It’s a great big world out there and there’s no end to the num­ber of adven­tures to be had. While some exploits def­i­nite­ly require a group (white-water raft­ing, any­one?) oth­ers can be had all by your lone­some. And it can be hard to tell which adven­tures are best tack­led alone. There’s def­i­nite­ly no rea­son you can’t wan­der the PCT all on your own, but these are the ques­tions you should ask your­self before solo adven­ture traveling.

solo adventure traveling hiker

Are you equipped?
No mat­ter want kind of escapade you’re about to embark on, this is a cru­cial one. From hik­ing to moun­tain climb­ing to kayak­ing the Ama­zon, you need to seri­ous­ly con­sid­er your own out­door capa­bil­i­ties. How adept are you in the wild? Are you able to han­dle any prob­lems that arrive with aplomb, expe­ri­ence, and knowledge?

Sure, throw­ing a pack togeth­er and head­ing off into the wilder­ness sounds like a lot of fun. And a 3‑month trek with­out any pre­vi­ous out­door expe­ri­ence sounds great on paper. But in real­i­ty, it’s most­ly a great way to wind up dead. If you’re about to head out on your first extend­ed trip, have a friend or two in place who actu­al­ly know what they’re doing to help keep you on track. Once they’ve shown the ropes the first time around you can con­sid­er tack­ling the world alone on your own after that.

Are you an introvert? 
One of the biggest ques­tions you need to ask your­self is how com­fort­able you are with only your­self as com­pa­ny. Intro­verts often leap at the chance to spend a few days, weeks or even months to them­selves. Extro­verts, on the oth­er hand, tend to go stir-crazy with no one around to bounce their thoughts around.

If you’re the type who enjoys hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions, the lone­li­ness you’ll encounter on the trail could be crip­pling if you choose to go it alone. On the oth­er hand, even intro­verts need human com­pan­ion­ship every once in a while. Know your thresh­old for how long you can spend on your own.

How awe­some are your friends?
Addi­tion­al­ly, we all have those friends that, while we love them uncon­di­tion­al­ly, we can real­ly only stand to be in their pres­ence for a few hours before we want to run away scream­ing. Don’t take that friend with you on a group adventure.

In fact, you should prob­a­bly do a men­tal run­down on your entire cir­cle of friends and esti­mate how long you could spend with them before it comes to blows. If your friends are all intro­verts you’ll prob­a­bly be ready to dis­pense of each other’s com­pa­ny after a day or two on the trail. Do you have a friend whose mouth doesn’t seem to have an off but­ton? You prob­a­bly don’t want to take him/her either.

Do you need a safe­ty net?
The best part of tak­ing a group trip is the built-in safe­ty net your friends pro­vide. If some­thing hor­ri­ble goes down, heav­en for­bid, hope­ful­ly, one of your bud­dies will have enough wits about him to ensure you stay safe and get the help you need. When alpine climb­ing, for instance, if an avalanche occurs and you get buried you’ll feel a lit­tle bet­ter know­ing your friend might be able to get help while you wait.

Do you want to test yourself?
Solo adven­ture trav­el­ing is a fan­tas­tic way to test what you’re real­ly made of.

There’s always dan­ger when you head out from the com­forts of your home. But there’s no sense in hold­ing back entire­ly. If you tru­ly want to know what you’re able to accom­plish, maybe you need to head out solo and see what kind of trou­ble you can han­dle. It’s quite a thrill to han­dle things on your own if all goes south. How­ev­er, we’ll say again, always research and pre­pare as best you can ahead of time.

Above all, solo­ing it or going with friends is a per­son­al and often sit­u­a­tion­al choice; there’s no sol­id right answer here. Con­sid­er your lim­its, your desires, and your abil­i­ties. After that, decide on the right course of action for each trip you take. Even­tu­al­ly, you’re prob­a­bly going to want both expe­ri­ences under your belt.