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Solo road trip safety


Original Post
Kalli Schumacher · · Chanhasssen, MN · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 1

So as the other thread named this is about car issues, I thought I’d start a new thread. Going on a solo trip in a few weeks and just wondering all your experiences traveling and more significantly, sleeping in your car solo. I’ve only ever done a trip with a regular, male partner so doing it solo as a female worries me slightly more. 

In conjunction with the other thread, what at a bare minimum do you travel with for safety? Besides like jack and jumper cables.  Patch kit? Portable tire pump? I worked at a place that we carried fire extinguishers in our car kits? 

Thanks and I’ll post soon looking for partners in Wyoming/Oregon/Cali/Nevada/Utah. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

A satellite messenger would be a good tool to have, as well as some pepper spray.

Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740

Roadside service. Electronic tire pump that hooks up to cigarette lighter socket. Tire repair kit. Jumper cables. Gun.

All of these items have seen use in my home-on-wheels for 2 years, except for shooting someone. Since 2017, I haven't had a permanent residence. 

lou · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 60

Portable battery jumper.... invaluable.... if no cell service you could be out of luck without this!!    STANLEY FATMAX 700/350 Amp Jump Starter

Natalie Nicole · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 20

Hey Kalli,

I totally hear you on being nervous about traveling solo as a female on the road - I felt that way before my long road trips out West (California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming).

Luckily I didn't have any car issues; I just brought the standard car kit: jumper cables, car fluids, tire change kit, tire pressure gauge. On my first long trip, I brought an inreach just in case my car broke down in the middle of nowhere where there wasn't any phone service. The inreach can also be nice to have if you're camping in a spot without cell service, which I found to often be the case for BLM land - but there are workarounds, like texting the GPS location for your camping spot prior to leaving cell service; I didn't bring the inreach on future trips. If you own a GPS, I personally liked using it more than my smartphone just because phone coverage can be unreliable along the road and one doesn't have to have offline maps for entire states.

If concerned about safety, I would agree with FrankPS's suggestion of pepper spray; it's easy to get and cheap for a little added insurance. Personally, I didn't encounter any issues regarding safety, even when car camping in the middle of nowhere by myself in a new-to-me area. I used freecampsites.net to find places to sleep along the road, which is useful in both the U.S. and Canada - it has ratings, comments, and sometimes photos that you can review before choosing a spot.

Traveling solo is a great experience and I felt so much more empowered following my solo 2000+ mi road trips. I hope you have a great trip and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

T Bloodstone · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 75

Be aware of your surroundings. When you park for the night, make sure that your car is in a position that is easy to get out in case you need to jump into the driver's seat and hightail out of there.  If you're going to be a few hours away from the nearest gas station, have an extra gas container in your car.  Have a couple gallons of water too. I think the most important thing is listen to your instincts. If you get to a spot and you feel weird or just off little, then go somewhere else. Pay attention to your senses. Have fun and good luck.   

Josh C · · Somewhere out West · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,120

Lock your doors at night. If you sleep with the window down, make sure it is down so someone can't reach their hand in and unlock it. If you're dispersed camping, I think it's safer to sleep out in the boonies away from people. I may be wrong, but that's my opinion. Also, like T Bloodstone says, your intuition is often the best weapon you have for staying out of bad situations. If something doesn't feel right, drive on.

And if you do get into a bad situation, follow Paul Hutton's advice if you're comfortable with it: a handgun may be something to think about. If anything, you'll probably feel better sleeping alone with it.

And over the last couple decades mechanical failures in cars is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Most breakdowns seem to stem from flat tires (carry a spare), battery issues (a portable jumper is good but a new battery before your trip is best), and radiator issues (fluid change before trip could be a good idea). 

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