Skip To Content

    21 Safety Tips For Women Who Run And Hike Alone, AKA Your Daily Reminder That Being A Woman Is HARD

    "I always wear only one headphone, am very aware of my surroundings, and carry a taser."

    The "Ask Women" subreddit is a place for people of any gender to ask highly specific questions and get answers from — you guessed it — women.

    Recently, Redditor u/Upsidedown_Sammie asked "What are ways you stay safe while hiking/trail running alone?" Safety while running alone is a common concern for women, and solo hikes require even more safety precautions.

    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)."

    Pepper spray

    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."


    4. "Bear spray works on bears AND perverts. If you're actually hiking in an area where there are likely a lot of bears, wear bells, and make sure your food is sealed."

    A woman confronting a bear

    5. "Be aware of any large, dangerous wild animals in the area you plan to hike. Avoid hassling baby animals, because their mothers are usually close."


    🚶‍♀️ 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."

    A female hiker looking out at a river

    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."


    8. "My friend who runs frequently has a Garmin watch with an emergency alert feature, which will send location data to a listed contact."

    A person using a watch

    9. "Share your location with someone using your Google Maps app. Click on your photo in the top right corner (next to the search bar), then location sharing, then 'New Share.'"


    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."

    A woman reading a map

    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)."

    A woman looking in her first aid kit

    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."

    A smiling woman in a field

    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."

    A woman spitting water with a water-bottle necklace

    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."


    🚶‍♀️ Ultimately, staying safe as a woman on a solo hike requires constant vigilance and trusting your gut.

    18. "I've learned to trust my instincts. If I pass someone and have a bad feeling, I go another direction or just leave entirely."

    A woman standing in front of some trees

    19. "I trust my gut and my dog's gut. If we feel like it's time to go home, then it's time to go home. I'd rather leave feeling like I could've done more than end up in the newspaper."


    20. "I always wear only one headphone, am very aware of my surroundings, and carry a taser."


    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."

    A woman flexing her arms

    H/T r/AskWomen

    Some replies have been edited for length and clarity.

    I want to know your solo running and hiking tips! Drop them in the comments below. 🚶‍♀️👇