While reorganizing and streamlining the blog categories late last year, I found two lonely posts that demanded their own section — For women — and that also highlighted the need for more related content.
On this website I generally stick to subjects about which I’m an expert, so historically it’s been light on female-specific subjects and has lacked a female perspective. No matter how much time I spend in the backcountry with women — whether it be my wife, my guides, or my clients — I will never develop the same level of expertise in this area.
To help fill this content void and to provide a helpful and holistic resource for beginners and intermediates, today I’m launching a 10-part series about backpacking for women.
At least some — and maybe most — elements of a backpacking trip are gender-neutral. For example, our sex does not influence the fuel efficiency of an alcohol stove, the direction of true north, or the odds of getting a John Muir Trail permit. So a lot of informational content about backpacking is equally applicable to all genders.
I wanted this series to focus on areas that aren’t gender-neutral, and gave the writers two guiding questions:
- What unique concerns do women have about backpacking? And,
- In what ways is backpacking different for women than men?
Each installment covers one answer to these questions.
The first half of the 10-post series will be published on a weekly basis, and the second half will probably be a little slower.
Outdoor Women: How to Find Your Community
Say “yes” to all opportunities presented to you, and use internet groups to find your people and encourage a more inclusive outdoor community.
Societal Challenges: Yes, I Can Hike Solo, Thanks
Societal norms should be broken to encourage more women to venture into the outdoors solo. We’ll talk about why people shouldn’t be worried about women being vulnerable in the outdoors.
Facing Your Fears: Wild Animals, Insects and Injuries
We explore skills and tools to manage and reduce the risk of these off-cited concerns so you can confidently hit the trail.
Facing Your Fears: Other People
What can you do if you experience inappropriate physical contact, verbal harassment, or discrimination while adventuring in the outdoors? Also, how can you safely have an impact if you witness harassment?
Women Specific Gear
How is women-specific gear actually different, and do you need it?
Fitness & Training for the Female Outdoor Athlete
Tips on training for outdoor endeavors both inside and outside the gym.
Feeding the Female Athlete: Nutrition for Outdoor Endurance
Trail food is not one-size-fits-all. We’ll explore how to plan backcountry meals, adjust “standard” meal plans, and fuel the female outdoor athlete for the long haul.
Women Specific Hygiene: Peeing, Pooping, and Menstruating on the Trail
Learn how to successfully poop in the woods, properly use a pee funnel, effectively manage your period, and care for your lady bits.
Dirtbag Gorgeous: Embracing Dirt Under Your Fingernails and On-Trail Self-Care
Women wear makeup for various reasons, and that’s okay. Let’s talk about why it shouldn’t matter if you adventure while wearing make-up or not.
Mentoring & Giving Back
The greatest gift you can give to the outdoor community is yourself. Inclusivity, encouragement, and empowerment for women in the outdoors starts with us. We change the world, and further the cause of equality in the outdoors, one woman at a time. It’s your turn.
Teresa is a Seattle-based hiker, backpacker, cyclist, climber, and glacier mountaineer. She brings over twenty years of experience in outdoor adventures and mentorship, and is founder of Cascade Mountain Adventures, a Pacific Northwest outdoor guiding service dedicated to women taking their first steps into outdoor adventure.
Alexandra Lev is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance writer and content developer. As a passionate outdoor adventurer and mental health advocate, it’s her mission to inspire others to connect with themselves, their communities, and the planet in a deeper way. When not writing about the outdoors or speaking about mental health issues she can usually be found skiing or hiking in the backcountry with her husband and their two Siberian huskies.