It’s no secret that women’s hiking gear is just not as available as men’s. Despite the fact that we live in the 21st century, there seems to still be some thought that women just don’t hike, or aren’t able to hike, as much as their male counterparts. Though that’s obviously untrue, many outdoor gear companies still haven’t caught on. Even companies who have expanded their women’s gear section still seem to have had a hard time understanding what these women want. The racks are lined with delicate colors, often with a heart or flower printed somewhere on the fabric. A lot of the time, women also report the gear to be “too sexy,” which is usually the last thing women care to be when they’re busy conquering the backcountry.
There might be clothing and gear out there that’s designed for women, but it’s usually not practical. Women want to have a sports bra that works, not that looks “cute.” They want to have pants that have larger pockets, jackets that are not tight and more breathable, and gear that just functions as well as a man’s.
What about a decent pair of hiking boots that aren’t dainty, but actually supportive? And, for the love of all that’s holy, women want gear that doesn’t only come in “girly” colors! Is that so hard to ask? Seriously, there’s probably more gear out there for babies then there is for ladies. And, those who do find products they do like often find them to be too expensive.
So, let’s say you’re a woman that’s perfectly capable of backpacking or hiking up a mountain (because, why wouldn’t you be?), and you’re just frustrated with the options for gear available. (Or the lack thereof). There are solutions. One solution may be to just buy men’s gear, which unfortunately, a lot of women have to do. The problem with that is men’s gear isn’t meant for a woman’s body, and often doesn’t even come in a women’s size. Clothes will be too big or bulky, and can make a woman feel self-conscious when she should actually feel like a bad-ass in her hiking gear.
If you can’t be bothered with peeling through the racks at your local outdoor store, then consider these female-friendly options:
Out of all the outdoor companies out there, many women say that Columbia offers the best options when it comes to women’s gear. A favorite here are the convertible capris, that are light, easy to pack, and super comfortable while out on the trail. There is also a good selection of plus-size clothing here. Before you head anywhere else, check out this reliable store.
Mountain Warehouse is great for finding excellent hiking boots for women. A favorite is the Rapid Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots, which are not inherently girly or manly, but right there in between!
Craghoppers is a unique clothing brand which specializes in making innovative products for travel and the outdoors. This is a UK company, whose products all come with a lifetime guarantee. The best part? The women’s section is HUGE, as the company understands the struggle women face when finding gear. You can be sure all the clothes are just as comfortable as they are functional. And, they’re stylish, too!
L.L Bean has a nice selection of gear for plus-size women. Of course, we can all go on for days about what society considers to be “plus-size,” but at least these guys are trying!
For pregnant women who love hiking, this is the place to go! Mountain Mama has figured out their niche perfectly. Finding the best hiking clothes to wear for the trail with that baby bump is possible thanks to this company.
The Clymb is an online gear outline where you can find discounted prices on some of the top gear. Find the items you like at a store, and see if they have what you’re looking for in a better size or cheaper. You might be surprised what you find on here in general!
Steep and Cheap:
Steepandcheap.com is another online gear outlet where you can find women’s items for cheap prices (hence the name). Like The Clymb, there’s a wide selection for women’s clothes, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Or, you can just browse instead!
For simple, but comfortable trekking short sleeve and long sleeve tops as well as other gear items, look into Icebreaker. The prices might be a little steep here, but that’s why you must check out the online outlet stores to see if you can find them for a better deal.
MEC is an outdoor gear company that although isn’t as well-known as others, shouldn’t be overlooked. They sell clothing for all kinds of outdoor activities, and women should have no problem shopping successfully with all the gear items available.
These are just a few of the solutions out there when it comes to finding women’s hiking gear. If you have any tips, please post them in the comments section!