From most used to least used, here they are…
1. Trail Heads- For some reason, I feel very safe at most trail heads. I say most because, every spot no matter where you choose, can have danger. Before I settle down with my most used area to my least used area, I ALWAYS assess the area first! If you get that eerie feeling in your gut, then move! Most trail heads have overnight camping, even though they don’t advertise it. This is because many trails are used for day trips and backpacking trips, so they just think you are camping on the trail. They don’t notice you as long as you are not advertising you are going to sleep there, such as setting up your tent. If you are staying the night here, stay in your car, truck, Jeep, whatever you’ve got.
2. Walmart Parking Lots- I feel pretty safe here as long as it’s in a respectable area. You get a good/bad vibe of the area when searching for a place to sleep. I use Walmart parking lots generally because they are well lit and you can use their bathrooms.
3. Truck Stops- I feel incredibly safe here as long as it’s a big truck stop. Not just a regular gas station, but rather a Flying J’s. It’s well lit, there are bathrooms 24-7, fast-food if you need something quick and easy to eat, and if you are not on a budget, there are showers available, they are some of the best showers to come by!
4. Visitor Centers/ Rest Areas- Here is where your radar needs to go a little higher. Some rest areas are run down and just creepy. But, you also have the other ones that are amazing! Bathrooms open 24-7, a place to refill your water, and well lit. Some even have night time security guards!
5. Apartment Complex’s- People live in apartment complex’s so they are generally safe! Find where the guests park and you shouldn’t be bothered. The downfall to this is you can’t be seen loitering. You need to make this the last stop of your night. Pull in, get in your backseat, sleep, and get out.
6. Hotels- The key to this one is, it’s bright and you need to find somewhere to park where you are not underneath a giant spot light. It gets really annoying, fast! Plus, you need to go to a hotel where they are not likely to check license plates. An easy way to do this is to stay away from the high end ones. Go to a more down to earth, low key hotel such as a Comfort Inn.
7. BLM land- This is a great escape. To be in the middle of nowhere and to be able to stretch out, have a fire, and maybe cook a good dinner for yourself. It’s great! The down fall is there are no facilities, 99% of the time. There are always exceptions though, most of the time you are all alone, which depending on how you look at it can be a positive or a negative. This is all situational for me. Am I alone as a young woman or am I with people? If I am with people, this ranks more at the top of my list. If I am alone, it’s more at the bottom of my list.
8. Hospital Parking Lots- People are going in and out of hospitals all night long so it is pretty easy to go unnoticed. The parking area is pretty well lit so you feel safe. The con is hospitals are generally only in cities, so if you are not in a city or rarely go to them, this option isn’t quickly available like truck stops are.
9. Residential Areas- For the most part, I have always felt safe in residential areas. People live here. These are their homes. The negative is, finding a place to park, and this is another place where you need to be in and out. You need to be respectful and go unnoticed. It’s difficult in residential areas to go unnoticed. You have to make this the last stop for the night, pull in, hop in your backseat, and go to sleep!
10. Some campgrounds- Very rarely is a campground free but you do find them from time-to-time. When you do it is a breath of fresh air. Bathrooms, a nice picnic bench, a place to refill your water. It’s a rare but an amazing commodity.
Hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new. This list is primarily for when I am solo.
Thank you for reading and have a great day!