Backpacking is an activity that’s gaining a lot of female enthusiasts. So, if you want to see what’s so great about this hobby, try it yourself in 2019 and you’ll surely become a fan. But, before you create your itinerary, let’s look into some of the best backpacking gear for women.
Women-specific backpacks offer more comfort when hiking long trails. They have shorter torso lengths, anatomical hip belts that transfer weight and ergonomic S-shaped straps that won’t get in the way of your chest. When choosing the size of your pack, first measure your torso and hips, so they fit you better and don’t rest on your butt.
Women are prone to bacterial infections, so make sure to pick a good pair of underwear. Stay away from cotton, because it takes a long time to dry and switch to high-performance underwear like those made of Merino wool (it has natural antimicrobial and odor-retaining properties) or polyester. Boy shorts are also a great option since they have more material that will keep your obliques warm in winter.
Most people choose backpacking shoes designed specifically for their gender, so it’s best if you pick women’s shoes. Pairs for ladies tend to be narrower in the heel, wider in the toe box and lighter when it comes to weight. But, every foot is different, so this rule is not written in stone. Additionally, many experienced backpackers are ditching their hiking boots in favor of regular trail runners. Why? Because these are light, breathable and comfortable. Plus, they offer good traction perfect for all sorts of terrains and don’t have to be broken into. Oftentimes, you can put them on straight out of the box and experience no blisters and discomfort. Check out models like Altra Lone Peak or Saucony Peregrine—these are some of the most popular models among backpackers.
The comfort of your shoes often depends on what kind of socks you’re wearing. On your trip, your feet are bound to get sweaty which can cause blisters and a world of other discomforts. Grabbing quality women’s socks is the key to a good backpacking trip. Luckily, you can find all kinds of comfy pairs from everyday high socks perfect for colder weather to low hidden ones when you want to change into something airy and light. For instance, ones made with bamboo fibers will ensure your feet never get too cold, too hot or too smelly. Plus, they hold their shape and won’t roll or sag.
Buying a good sleeping bag is one of the most important purchases if you want to stay warm and comfy on your adventures. In general, women get colder than men, especially when sleeping, so make sure to grab a bag that has a high-temperature rating with better insulation in the torso area and toes. However, the main reason why you need a specialized bag designed for women is the shape that’s wider in the hips and narrower in the shoulders—this doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but it will optimize warmth and comfort. REI is a good manufacturer with models both for men and women, but Enlightened Equipment and Feathered Friends also have bags modeled to fit women’s form.
These tend to be mostly unisex, but some companies do produce women-specific models. Since women tend to get colder than men while sleeping, it’s important to choose a pad with a high R-value. This will give you better insulation from the cold ground and offer more comfort when sleeping on bumpy ground. Air pads are also more comfortable than foam ones and they tend to be lighter while carrying them in your pack. Sea to Summit and NEMO have a good offer of different air sleeping pads most of which are perfect for 3-season backpacking trips.
You always need to have a good raincoat with you that will keep you dry, safe and comfortable. A lot of beginners tend to pack coats that are too bulky and heavy for their trip. It’s really a miracle how much space you can save by picking a lightweight rain shell over a full-on coat. Minimalist women’s jackets without pockets and pit zips do reduce weight, but if comfort is your main concern, make sure to skip those. Pit zips are also perfect for breathability and extra ventilation that can make all the difference, so make sure to aim for a model equipped with these comforts.
Tents are very gender-neutral, but women often benefit from a model that’s light and warm. This type of tent will provide all the safety and protection you need and won’t weigh you down during your trip. You can find excellent buyers guides online when it comes to tents, so make sure to check these out before you make a purchase.
With this equipment, your backpacking adventure will be comfortable, safe and fun and you’ll surely come back for round two. Backpacking is a hobby that will grab you from your first trip!