Dear 100 Hour Board,
My two friends and I are planning our first solo camping trip this summer! But... we are all girls, and our parents are freaking out that it is crazy unsafe for 3 women to go camping alone.
Since I haven't really camped since my YW days... I'm not sure how big of a risk this really is. Any camping experts out there who can chime in?
My girlfriend and I went camping for four days this past summer near a beach in Maine. My girlfriend and I each had some cursory camping experience (me through Girls Camp and her from family vacations) but neither of us is an adventurer by any means. Other than a tent, we didn't even have any real camping equipment. We made fire, made shelter, and easily survived in comfort. There was nothing to it at all. It was perfectly safe.
Unless you are going to climb Everest without a guide or something, I think your parents' fears are totally unfounded. Why on earth would a group of women be unsafe while camping? What is it that a man is needed for, exactly? Women are completely capable of setting up tents and gathering firewood. Your average man wouldn't have known how to wrestle an angry moose, should there have been any, any more than we did. You guys are going to be just fine.
There's this thing called benevolent sexism. It harms us all. Tell your collective parents to shove it.
- The Black Sheep
REI is currently running a campaign called Force of Nature that supports women in the outdoors. ("A Woman's Place Is In the Wild" is a great tagline.) Their Salt Lake location is hosting two Women's Backpacking Basics classes in May, which would be a really smart way for you and your friends to connect with other female campers and review the basics. (There are REIs throughout the country if you're not local.)
How is it going alone when there are three of you? Ask your parents how many women would have to go for them to consider you not alone. Five? Ten? 100? Or maybe you should just ask them why they think being outdoors makes women incompetent. Let's get real, they're saying you need a man along to do...what exactly? Protect you from bears? Protect you from other men? Light a fire for you? Ask your parents what specific concerns they have, because if you can set up a tent and safely light a fire, what else is there to worry about?