Are you heading out on a solo adventure this season? Here are eight essentials you can rely on when you need them the most:
Black Diamond Iota Headlamp
This is BD’s smallest rechargeable headlamp, weighing 50 grams and easily hiding in your pocket. It’s definitely on the minimalist side, but on my two-night solo-trip it packed plenty of lithium ion battery life for the long December nights. Hiking to the biffy in the dark, I used all 150 lumens, and then toned it down with the tap adjustment for reading and eating.
Marmot Bolt 2P
The 2P means it’s officially a two-person tent, but weighing just over a kilogram, anyone can schlep this featherweight deep into the backcountry solo. Once there, the non-free-standing design is easy for one person to set up and it’s roomy. What would be meagre elbowroom for two feels palatial for one. With all my gear inside I still had room to stretch—nearly vertical sidewalls helped—and on a rainy night the overhanging vestibule let me cook in the doorway without getting drips inside. I couldn’t do either with most solo tents.
ICEdot Crash Sensor
Clip this small sensor onto your helmet and pair it with the app (iOS and Android) on your smartphone, then hit the trail solo without worrying about what would happen if you bailed hard, far from help. During a crash, the sensors onboard detect changes in force and impact, sending push notifications of your route, location, name and medical details to your emergency contacts. In other words, you don’t have to be conscious to call for help.
Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Pro Bivvy
Even if it’s a day trip, going alone means being self-sufficient and preparing for the worst cases, such as benighting. With the SOL Escape Pro Bivvy, an unplanned night out doesn’t have to be cold. This emergency sleeping bag packs smaller than a football and is made from a water-resistant, breathable and heat-reflecting material. It seals in warmth and can be reused, two things a typical space blanket can’t claim. And because it breathes, you won’t end up a soggy mess after a night out.
Stanley Stainless Steel Shot Glass & Flask Gift Set
The 230-millilitre flask is for you. Maybe you need some liquid courage, a nip to help pass a long night or something to help you sleep. We don’t judge. The shot glasses are for making friends. Bring the whole kit on a solo trip. The shot glasses store in a stainless steel carrying sleeve—don’t worry about denting them. If you run into other campers, offering a tipple is the perfect icebreaker and a sure way to partake in whatever they brought for dessert.
Domaine Pinnacle Coureur des Bois Maple Whisky
He may be dragging a 200-kilogram sled to the South Pole, but explorer Sébastien Lapierre always has room for a bottle of this blend of Canadian rye whisky and Quebec maple syrup. Sweet, spicy and creamy, it’s eminently drinkable on its own, perfect for carrying in the Stanley flask and sharing around a campfire, just like its namesakes probably did.
MSR Trailshot Microfilter
On my solo trip, my usual two-litre water filter felt like overkill—so I brought this one instead. It slid into the top pocket of my pack and weighs only 142 grams. When I needed to fill up, I dropped the hose into a small creek and started squeezing the palm-sized pump, sucking the dirty water into the hollow-fibre filter to remove bacteria, protozoa and particles. The water shoots out the top; I could drink it like a fountain or direct it into a bottle. MSR says it can filter 2,000 litres and cleans with a shake.
Going alone means you’re in charge of cooking, first aid and repair. Essential for all three: a good multi-tool. Most are full of accessories we never use, but for this one Gerber only kept the essentials—12 tools, including: pliers that open with one hand, wire cutters, two blades, pry bar, awl, bottle opener and a driver with 12 bits. The tool feels solid and is easy to use—ready for every job out there.