“You can’t climb up a mountain with downhill thoughts.”
Positive thinking is essential to getting through challenging hikes. Just as essential, is the gear you use to get there…
Ladies, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, hiking gear for women is a must-have to enjoy your next outdoor adventure. Not all hiking gear is created equally and what might be excellent equipment for men is not always the right fit for female hikers.
Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 items you should bring on your next hike to ensure maximum comfort, safety, and preparedness. Happy hiking!
1. Wool Socks
If you haven’t considered the importance of the perfect pair of socks for hiking, we have one word for you: blisters. They are the best way to ruin an entire hike and make you too miserable to enjoy the sights and beauty around you.
Enter, wool socks.
Did you know wool can absorb almost 30% of its weight in water? These babies have the perfect amount of cushion to keep your feet comfy for the entire hike, no matter the difficulty. Of course, you have the option of crew or regular, though regular may work better if you’re donning hiking boots.
Many wool socks even come with a lifetime guarantee. That means if your socks develop holes or rips, the manufacturer will replace them on the spot!
Not only are they worth the investment for this guarantee alone, but your feet and ankles will be in cushiony-heaven so you can enjoy getting lost in the beauties of nature.
2. UV-Protectant Hat
Whether you’re hiking in the desert or shaded mountains, a UV-protectant hat is always the best choice. Not only do they protect your head and face from damaging and dangerous UV rays, but they can often be found with wide rims so even your neck and shoulders enjoy added protection.
When hiking in bright locations, a UV-protectant, wide-brimmed, hat is also a great way to shade your line of vision so you can see ahead of you for potential footfalls or obstacles. The right hat should add to your comfort while also being highly functional.
Look for one that is also breathable and antimicrobial. This will eliminate the buildup of stinky odors after multiple uses.
Despite some fashionista’s opinions, a wide-brimmed hat doesn’t have to be “unstylish.” There is a wide variety of UV-protectant hats available to suit any style.
The point is you want a durable hat to withstand the heat of the sun as well as sweat and water exposure. Your head and skin will thank you.
3. Hiking Shoes
Proper hiking shoes can be broken down into three broad categories: shoes, boots, and sandals. Choosing the right pair will largely depend on the terrain you plan to use them in.
Hiking boots have long been associated with long treks and for good reason. Despite the common trend among novice hikers to simply don their athletic shoes, adequate foot and ankle support will make or break a hike.
Hiking boots reduce your risk of sore feet as they often come with thick soles and plenty of sturdy ankle support. Without them, on more rocky terrain, you run the risk of rolled ankles or exposure to other things like snake bites or poison ivy.
This is especially true if you like to hike off the beaten path.
Hiking shoes are another great option for more leisurely hikes or walks. Think of these as an in-between choice between sandals and boots. While they provide some additional support, they aren’t as heavy and bulky as boots.
Hiking sandals are ideal for any terrain where you may have to cross through water. Places like the Narrows or the Subway in Zion National Park or other water-dominant hikes are well-suited to hiking sandals as they can take on water without retaining it and make your feet heavier to carry. They are also good at reducing chaffing should your feet become wet.
When it comes to choosing footwear for your next outdoor adventure, it’s better to be safe with a quality pair of hiking shoes, than sorry with those flimsy cross trainers.
4. A Female-Specific Hiking Backpack
Among all the hiking gear for women that need to be tailored to suit a woman specifically, a backpack is at the top of the list. Women’s backs and frames are built differently than men’s.
Find a hiking backpack for women that is light enough that you can comfortably carry it for your entire hike. It’s always wise to test the backpack out before embarking.
Fill it with the same weight you plan on carrying for the trip and do a small test-hike to see how well it holds up and how well you hold up under the weight.
Breast and hip straps are important features in the right backpack so you can tighten or loosen the pack to fit and rest just above your hip bones. This relieves the weight from your back muscles and makes for a more comfortable hike.
5. A GPS Hiking Watch
Many hikers may opt for their Apple watch, but unless you’re planning on charging it every night, it may not be the ideal option for long hikes. Regardless of what brand you choose, a GPS hiking watch is something no female hiker should go without.
We’d put it up there in essentials next to, oh, say… water?
Why? Because no matter how experienced you are as a hiker, there’s always a risk of injury, getting lost, or other issues. With a GPS watch, you can make and receive calls, send someone your location, track your progress, know where you are and the list goes on.
Many brands also include much more detailed workout stats than what you can get through Apple. Try to find one that’s waterproof, lasts several days without a charge, and includes any additional features you find important for your hike.
…Perhaps, a Spotify app so you can jam out while you get your hike on?
More Essential Hiking Gear for Women
When looking for hiking gear for women, your list should always include these 5 items but there are still others that are helpful to consider. Keep in mind your water storage. For example, will you do a water backpack or bottle? Also, don’t forget sunscreen, bug spray, hiking poles, energy bars, and other essential bits of gear you don’t want to leave behind.
Be thoughtful when selecting hiking gear specific to female hikers. Some manufacturers and brands have perfected their female products more than others, so don’t be afraid to test several versions of a product before making your purchase.
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