The women of Reddit had terrific advice. Here are some of the best responses.
🚶♀️ Several commenters had specific suggestions to keep creepers, perverts, and bears away.
1."To keep creepers away, I take my big, scary 100-lb. dog with me. My dog's secretly very friendly, but I taught him to bark and growl when I use the word 'easy.' So, when I say that cue, it looks like I’m trying to control this giant growling dog, but in reality, I’m cuing him to act scary when I'm alone."
2."Carry pepper spray gel (it's less runny and not as likely to smear when sprayed)."
3."Go in the daytime when other people are on the trails, and carry a weapon like pepper spray or a utility knife. Bonus: Have a sturdy walking stick, and know how to use it. There are some excellent videos on YouTube teaching basic self-defense with quarterstaffs."
🚶♀️ There were a slew of navigation tips, because the last thing you want to do on a solo hike is get lost.
6."I download an offline GPS, and I only go on trails that are well populated and that I'm very familiar with. I also carry a CamelBak with a first aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight, and snacks. I always tell my spouse where I’m going and when I’ll be getting back home — plus, he can see my location on his phone."
7."Carry a whistle in case your phone isn't working and you get lost, have an injury, etc. You can stay put in one place, and it'll save you from having to shout."
10."Print out a map. Do not leave the trail, no matter how fit you are or how many times you have done the hike before. Know how to make and maintain a fire, build shelter, and find something to put a barrier between you and the ground. Get an actual physical compass — you may not be able to use the one on your phone."
11."Make sure your phone has the SOS feature. Always keep your GPS on. Always let somebody know what trail you're running, and periodically send your location to someone you trust who you know is going to come or send someone."
🚶♀️ Of course, there were plenty of general safety tips as well.
12."Have a first aid kit and phone in case of an emergency. Avoid any trail where it looks like there's a high chance of breaking your leg. Check the weather beforehand to avoid thunderstorms and other unpleasant surprises (like flash floods)."
13."If you see others on the trail, make your presence known to them in case you go missing. If you hear a random voice call out to you when you aren't lost, don't answer it. Go in the opposite direction."
14."I'm a woman who hikes alone often. I never wait until I'm exhausted to go back home (so I can run if I have to), always look at the path beforehand so I won't get lost, and wear a yellow jacket so hunters will see me."
15."I bring my phone and battery pack when I'm running or hiking. My main concern is animals (that's why I like trail running and hiking, because there are fewer people to worry about). But if I'm running alone, I wear leggings with side pockets for easy access to pepper spray and a pocket knife. Lastly, if I am concerned about safety (this could be about people, animals, or just getting lost/hurt), I don't go alone."
16."I bring more water than I expect to need, wear bright clothing, and bring an airhorn in case I get hurt or am in distress."
17."I use good equipment, like high quality shoes and clothes. I watch my step and don't walk fast enough to lose control, especially when I'm wearing a backpack. And never walk harder or longer than I am fit for."
21."Mostly, the key is confidence. You could do everything right and still have bad experiences. I broke my ankle once when I was alone and saw some creepy guys in the middle of the forest. You can't avoid this kind of thing 100% of the time. Knowing it can happen and how to handle it helps me feel safe."