Solo Tripping

How many of you P.netters take solo canoe/kayak trips? How long do you normally go for (number of days) and why do you solo?

Well, it’s easy to schedule… I just have to check with myself… Same thing with planning - I have to consider only one person’s likes and dislikes … that really helps when planning meals… how long? I have done up to 2 nights solo, so far… the downside? everything that needs to be done gets done by you - including carrying!!! While we should always put safety first - it is paramount when soloing…

Keep paddling…

So I don’t have to explain to anyone
That is why.

I have to
everyone else knows me

Solo trips
I typically go for either 2-3 nights such as a weekend with perhaps an extra day. Solo has it’s pros and cons. Doing all the work is the offset by setting the entire schedule and having alone time. I go solo about half the overnighters I take.

In winter - most of my day trips (typically backcountry skiing) are solo. It is the best time to enjoy the solitude and quiet of the woods.

I have a non-traditional

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work schedule and often work on one or both weekend days and nights. Sometimes it would be nice to have company, especially for safety issues, but then I get to thinkin' about all the crowds that are out there on the weekends and it puts a smile on my face. I will never complain about having days off on the weekdays!

You can't blow smoke up Mother Nature's ass when you paddle alone. It's do or die.

I did my first this past summer… a planned 7 day into the BWCA. It was a great experience and I loved it, no one to worry about or take care of except me. However, I had to cut it short to 5 days because of a stress fracture in my foot I got going in… While I loved the solitude of it… I love to take family and have them enjoy the fun too!


Fantastic solo…for the right person
If you are the kind of person who would enjoy a solo trip, you probably already know it even without having done one.

I do solo trips occasionally. They amount to maybe a third to a half of my kayak-camping trips. I only like to do them for longer trips (more than a week), because part of the purpose of going solo is to have lots of mental space for free-associating, imagining, and other things that get pushed to the back burner on short trips, in daily life, and whenever other people (even just ONE other person) are around.

On solo trips I tend to write more in my diary, take more photos, and/or paddle more miles per day. At least I have the freedom to do so.

Also, I hate whiners. When I’m alone and I’m in a whiney mood myself, nobody else has to suffer for it, and vice versa. As paddlin pirate said, it’s between me and Mother Nature. No excuses for ANYTHING!

typically a month to six weeks
i LOVE to be alone in the wilderness. there’s a very special feeling of solitude, tranquility, freedom and peace that comes with being totally self reliant. sometimes i paddle with a buddy but few can accomodate my schedule or lack of the need for one.

Thanks for the replies
I also solo. Usually 5-7 nights but I am planning a 10-14 night trip next June. I go solo for many of the above stated reasons; no one else to satisfy, no one to argue with, I can set my own pace. However, a poster on another site sums it up for me better than I could ever say myself. He said, " Wilderness exists on two levels; one in the reality of the trip and one in your own self." Solo tripping in the wilderness gives one the opportunity to learn a lot about both. I think that is the real reason I like solo tripping.


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Almost all solo trips for the last several years. Must be the hermit in me. For the last 2 years, 2 trips to the BWCAW, May and Sept. May trips have been true solo, Sept. trips involved meeting other solo trippers at a designated lake on a set date. Both style trips are very satisfying to me. Most trip are 7 days. I enjoy the solitude, and the selfish ability to justify things only to myself. Get a lot of reading done and more photos than traveling with company. Downside, no body else to do dishes or clean the fish!


I hate the cooking
I like to solo and don’t mind doing any of the other chores alone, but the cooking gets to me. I don’t know why, but it seems a waste to cook for yourself. I don’t mind making coffee (or tea or hot cider) if I already have a fire, but I don’t like to fire up the stove to do it.

I haven’t done it yet, but sometime I’m not going to have any cooked meals and leave the stove and pans behind.

Peanut butter
My first solo was a 1-night trip. I skipped the pots and stove and brought a tube of PB for cold protein. Would not want to do that for anything more than 3 days, though. I don’t mind cooking; I was just trying to minimize bulk and weight.

It’s OK to not like cooking for yourself…just don’t show up with cold or canned food and play the “old bachelor” sympathy ploy hoping that “nurturing female” types will feed you good hot meals feeling sorry for you. It gets old after the nth such occurrence. Real old.

If you simply offer to buy the food and wash the dishes in exchange for their cooking it–and arrange that all in advance–that’s fair enough. Anything else is just a child in man’s disguise expecting Mom to wait on him.

Not a big fan of solo cooking either
Therefore I use a lot of freeze dried type meals (either Alpine Aire, Mountain House or store bought stuff- Lipton rice meals, etc.) I fix coffee (coffee bags)and oatmeal in the mornings (boil water), for noon meals I snack on granola bars, energy bars, cheese and cracker snacks, dried fruit, jerky and drink water (on occasion flavored with Crystal Light). Evening meal (usually prepared late afternoon) consists of freeze dried meals (boil water - mix in package - eat from package) and occasionally a fish if I really feel like doing more than boiling water. I have gone for 7 days eating like this and did just fine. Next summer I am planning a 10-14 day trip so I may want to fix a couple of more susstantial meals. I’ll save those for wind bound days.

freeze dried …
i go solo for a month or more and eat only freeze dried dinners. grits (instant) for breakfast with a cuppa cocoa and power bars for lunch with some dried fruit. i too, use crystal lite to flavor my drink water. freeze dried stuff nowadays is darn good. can you say Mary Jane farms? mmmmm. i’d serve it to company. just boil water i say. why have more hassle and not eat any better.

I solo because it is who I am, Like blue eyes and brown hair. Part of the makeup.

Its by means of traveling to myself.

I go out 1-5 nights solo a lot.

Have gone longer from 2-6 months solo trips. Those are usually a few years apart due to cost and logistics/planning.


Ditto on pacing and photos
I find it nearly impossible to take good photos on a group trip, because even stopping for a couple of quick shots here and there means a disproportionate amount of catching up to the group. It’s not so bad with just one other person, but there’s no substitute for being on your own and having the ability to tailor you pace to your own whims as they happen. If you screw up and end up paddling in the dark when you didn’t originally plan to, you don’t have to feel guilty about putting a partner through any inconvenience - you just deal with it.

We’re talking solo, right?
If I’m solo, who is this “nurturing female” type that’s going to feel sorry for me and feed me? Although I have done trips with a group all paddling solo canoes, I was talking about solo trips by myself. No one to feel sorry for me but myself.

Your other point is well taken. I am indeed a child in man’s disguise. I only wish my body was as young and strong. My mom never waited on me much, “You want cookies? Good! When you’re done making them bring me a couple”.

Now for group trips I’m most often the cook, maybe one of the reasons I don’t like to cook when solo. I suppose on the group trips I’m the nurturing female, though I don’t look the part, especially after a couple days in the bush. :slight_smile:

Although this is a late reply
The reason I paddle solo is to hone my foraging skills in the Florida wilds. In my canoe I can take a few creature comforts the my injury-accumulated body demands. Along with fruits and veggies I gather I bring along a crab-net, fish-gig, and a trot-line, although if I’m paddling the Tampa Bay and the waters south I’ll forgo the fishing gear and use a native plant to do my fishing for me. My longest stretch has been three months but nowadays it’s 2, maybe 3 weeks at the most.

For Me
I go on, at least, one solo trip a year from 5 days to 15 days. I do it because it’s fun. I blogged about why I do it in two interviews with myself from my paddle across the BWCA from Crane Lake to Lake Superior. If you’re interested you can read the posts here: and

I’d cut and paste them here, but they’re pretty long.