This is easier if you have a guild or any form of news contact at your disposal but it also comes from general experience. Know which zones are more/less likely to have hostile traffic and for what reasons.
Example: Hawthorn Ridge is known for having very high PvP traffic for PvP sake. Not really over materials just because it’s a high PvP traffic zone by Albion Online Silver . So solo’ing in that area for materials will yield a much higher risk than reward.
Whereas StaleLake has higher hostile camp potential due to it’s high ore yield and close proximity to a city. Making both the risk and the reward higher for gathering in an area like this.
Knowing why StaleLake is high risk can also help you successfully gather your materials while never running into the hostile camps that are probably there waiting for you.For this explanation it would be easier if you can look at your map.
StaleLake is 1 zone South of PillagePort. Meaning any unhindered ore gatherer could easily travel in, collect the high yield of Albion Malland travel back to town making very quick and high profit runs. Which is exactly why hostile players will camp that area. Now, if you’re still looking at your map you will notice that 2 zones south is another city.