Hiking Gear For Women - How To Be Chic And Equipped On The Trail
Calling all hiking-loving ladies!
Have you ever heard of the Swedish saying, "There's no bad weather, only bad clothing," before? Well, we stand by it and would like to add our own twist to it:
There's no bad hike, only bad hiking gear!
Experienced hikers know the importance of having proper, reliable, and secure hiking gear for a successful and enjoyable hiking experience.
However, not all gear is fit for everyone. Men and women differ in many ways - including the physical aspect. That's something to remember when deciding what to wear hiking.
Hiking gear for women is there to adjust to your body type, needs, and physical characteristics so as to ensure that you have the most memorable trekking experience that won't be tainted by the memories of discomfort from your gear.
There are multiple facets of hiking gear for women you should keep in mind when preparing for your next trip. And we get that things might seem a bit overwhelming right now.
But, worry not:
We are here to guide you through the process of selecting women's hiking gear - and the best hiking clothing - to ensure that you have a seamless preparation process and enjoy your hike to the max.
So, without further ado, let's get into it!
Hiking & Outdoor Sports 101: First Tips First
Before we dive deep into this whole hiking gear and hiking clothes for women thing, let's share some of our favorite tips for all of you adventure-loving women and girls out there.
You could invest in the best hiking gear and hiking clothes out there, but if you don't get the hang of the basics of hiking safety before heading for a backpacking trip, your outdoor gear won't do much.
So, brace yourselves, ladies - and get a pen and paper to jot down your favorite tips for your day hikes!
Go At Your Own Pace
Women are known to be beyond persistent and determined whenever they sink their teeth into something. Whether it's a new hobby, a job assignment, family duties, or anything in between, ladies will give it their 110 percent.
And hiking seems to be no different.
Whenever we've talked to a female hiker, we almost always heard the same story of their swift introduction to hiking:
They were usually accompanied by experienced hikers - individuals who already had their pace and preferences established. And, as beginners, they felt like they had no other option here but to try and keep up with them.
That resulted in a less-than-enjoyable first hiking experience. Some of them even considered never hitting the trail again - and understandably so.
Well, to prevent this from happening, here's our advice:
If you're a beginner or just have a pace that you feel comfortable with, do not be afraid to speak up.
It's extremely useful and comforting to have someone experienced on the trail with you, but it can be easy for them to forget that you're still not a pro like them. So, feel free to remind them - and ask them to slow down and allow you time to breathe and adjust.
That way, everyone involved will have a great time - and you won't feel overwhelmed or over-exhausted at any point during your hike.
Choose Your Trail Mates Wisely
As we've mentioned, experienced hikers are wonderful to have in your company on a trail. You know you can rely on them should something go wrong.
However, if you're just starting out, it may be more productive to find the company of a fellow beginner hiker. It'll probably be easier for you to sync up your pace with them than with a pro.
Also, it's important to know that a good hiker isn't one that is fast but one that is comfortable and confident on the trail. That's why you should find your feet hiking with someone who is in the same position as you.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
We know that you might feel more hesitant to drink as much water as you may like on the trail because bathroom breaks are ten times more complicated for ladies than they are for men. And we get that - but:
Forget about this mentality.
No matter how inconvenient or annoying the process of relieving yourself later can be, staying hydrated on the trail is of utmost importance - and shouldn't be overshadowed by anything. Not even inconvenient bathroom breaks.
If you fail to drink enough water - and this applies to any physical activity - you are risking dehydration, fatigue, headaches, and overall a bad mood. In short, it will be a recipe for disaster.
So, to avoid this scenario, make sure that you drink enough water all throughout the hike - and you're guaranteed to have a much better time. Your water bottle is your best friend out there!
Take Care Of "Hot Spots" Immediately
If you are starting to feel a so-called "hot spot" on your feet caused by your hiking boot or trail runners, make sure that you address them immediately.
Women tend to endure as much as they possibly can before actually expressing their pain - so it's no surprise that this happens on the trail, too. You don't want to slow down the rest of your hiking entourage, so you ignore it - but only end up making it worse.
Well, don't let it happen to you.
If you don't take care of the problem spot on your foot, it's likely to develop into a blister, and we all know how much fun those can be. It's much easier to remediate a beginning of a callus than a full-blown blister.
Put On An Additional Layer
Once you stop to take a break, don't forget to throw on another layer of clothing. It might seem redundant, especially in warmer weather, but trust us on this one.
During your hike, you'll inevitably get sweaty - which is fine and won't bother you much while you're moving. Your body is warm, so there's not much harm there.
But once you stop, your muscles start to cool down, and your body temperature starts dropping - but the sweat remains on your skin. That's both uncomfortable and dangerous - even more so if your trail has taken you up a hill to some cooler temperatures or if the wind starts to blow.
So, throw on another mid-layer or take out your rain jacket - or down jacket - and drape it over yourself to ensure that you're safe from the elements.
While cotton and other natural materials are the best choices for everyday wear, the absolute opposite goes for hiking clothes for women.
When deciding what to wear hiking, you should always be guided by what clothing will be the most comfortable, ultra-light, and breathable - while still having the best moisture-wicking abilities.
The reason why cotton is not the best fabric to wear hiking is that it absorbs moisture and dries very slowly, so you'll end up soaked and, more than likely, cold mid-trail.
And, even though this does not seem like a problem for warm weather, it certainly is in colder climates and even windier ones. It doesn't even have to do with you being cold; it's a matter of discomfort sometimes.
So, remember that when it comes to the best hiking clothes for women, quick-drying fabrics are your best friend.
Choose Your Hiking Boots Carefully
If we can make one piece of advice about women's hiking gear stick with you, it's this one:
Please - for the love of God - make sure that your boots fit properly.
If you go about finding the right pair of hiking shoes or trail runners in a rushed and superficial manner, you are guaranteed to regret it later on.
Your hiking boots will be your trusted companion on each hiking trip you embark on. So, take your time finding ones that feel comfortable, secure, durable, and that are waterproof.
It might seem like a lot to ask from a pair of trail runners or boots - but it's worth it.
If you have the best hiking shoes on, your hike will be a breeze, and if you don't - well, you can fill in the blanks.
Don't Forget Your Hiking Poles
You've heard about these; you've seen them in those unbelievably cool photos of hikers online - even your hiker friends have raved about them. But you are still wondering:
Do I really need them?
In short - yes, you do.
They are the best tools for preventing knee pain or making sure it doesn't get any worse. If you have endured knee pain even once in your life, you know that it's horribly uncomfortable.
So, to save yourself the discomfort, get yourself a good pair of trekking poles - and don't forget to learn how to use them beforehand.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but there is a science to it. So, don't try to wing it on the trail, or else you might do yourself more harm than good.
Now, this isn't only a tip for women - but for everyone who intends to set foot on a hiking trail.
Trail etiquette is not only there to ensure that the trails stay neat but to keep everyone safe, as well as to protect the local flora and fauna.
Being a rogue on your hike will not earn anyone any cool points. It'll only disturb the ecosystem there - and make every hiker's experience on that trail marginally worse.
So, just follow the trail etiquette of every respective trail that you get on - and you'll be alright!
SPF Is Your BFF
If you don't have sun protection, you might as well not even bother going hiking. It may sound a bit radical - but it's true.
The sun hits different at higher altitudes, and the risk of you getting sunburned - or getting a sunstroke - is much higher.
That's why you should take this topic very seriously and make sure that your backpacks always contain the following items:
Sunscreen - You need one that has at least an SPF of 30, but our recommendation is to go for an SPF of 50. Anything below a 3o will not protect you.
We know that sunscreens don't have the best reputation texture-wise and that people are often reluctant to wear one because of that. Well, you're in luck; the formulas have gotten much better in the past years.
Korean sunscreens have some of the best customer reviews, so if nothing has worked for you so far, it might be time to try one of these out.
Hats - To prevent sunstroke, you'll need a good hat. It'll protect you from the heat and the UV rays and also cover your face and potentially your decollete area - depending on how wide the brim is.
Sunglasses - Eyes need protection from the harmful UV rays, as well. So, don't forget to take a cute pair of sunglasses on your trek.
UPF clothing - If you'd like to skip the SPF lotions, there are some alternative - or, should we say, additional - options to protect your body from the sun.
UPF clothing blocks the UV rays from reaching your skin and causing harm, so you can be at peace if you invest in a couple of these pieces.
Best Hiking Gear For Women: Hiking Clothes & Gear Must-Haves
And now we're getting to the main topic of this article - hiking gear for women and women's hiking clothing.
We'll tell you all about the hiking community's favorites when it comes to this subject and help you get the best hiking clothes for yourself.
Let's jump straight into it!
Starting with the basics, we'll discuss the topic of sports bras first:
Every woman knows that proper support is key with any kind of physical activity - and hiking is no exception. Sports bras are an essential hiking gear item for any woman.
We've mentioned that cotton is a no-no for hiking clothes, and the same applies to bras. You'll need moisture-wicking materials to ensure that sweat does not stay on you for long.
And we can agree that there are few things worse than wearing a sweaty bra, right girls?
Proper support is crucial - which goes hand-in-hand with a secure fit. There are innumerable brands out there that provide a variety of different fits, so finding the ones that fit you best shouldn't be an issue.
Some bras even come with stash pockets which means that you get extra storage - a hiker's dream, right?!
When it comes to hiking pants, they're one of the essentials of hiking clothes for women. You are in luck here because ladies have more options than men in this regard since you can opt for rain pants, cargo pants, leggings - or even hiking shorts.
Not that men can't wear some of these, too - but women's options are generally broader. And that means that you can find your fit and style with much more precision - and you're far less likely to compromise, even if you prioritize an affordable price.
So, what should you look for in hiking pants?
Whether we're talking about hiking in the winter or in the summer months, you'll want pants that are able to wick sweat effectively.
Materials you should look for are merino wool, nylon, polyester, etc. They are all quick-drying, lightweight, and semi-breathable synthetic materials that allow you the best of both worlds.
You want something that will allow you a wide range of motions - something that will follow your movement and not feel restrictive.
Well, aside from stretchy materials, an elastic waistband will provide you with the much-needed freedom of movement all throughout your hike. Plus, it won't feel too tight after you've eaten or had water.
Water Resistant/Water Repellent
Once again, regardless of the season that you're hiking in, you are likely to come in contact with water. And for that, you have to be prepared.
There's nothing worse than being stuck in wet clothes that take hours to dry. So, get some breathable, water-repellent rain pants that will save you that trouble.
Abrasion Resistant/Tear Resistant
There are plenty of obstacles and nuisances on each hike, and you never know when an odd branch or rock might try to tear your hiking apparel.
That's exactly why you should invest in the best hiking pants or leggings that will resist all of those hazards - and have you returning home unscathed.
Now, shorts can be a great addition to your summer hiking clothing. We do have to add that they aren't everyone's cup of tea - which is why you should consider what your priorities are.
Would you prefer to have your legs fully protected from flora and fauna by an additional layer of clothes? Or is it more important that your legs can breathe during hot summer days?
Do you like the freedom that comes from less fabric on you - or do you feel more exposed that way?
Do you prefer to have a protective layer of clothes for sun protection?
Do you like your shorts to be loose-fitting (think regular straight pants) or tighter, somewhat like leggings?
It's all a matter of preference - and you'll have to decide for yourself. But, the good thing is that you have a wide range of styles to choose from when it comes to hiking clothes for women. So, just find something that suits your style.
Now, onto our favorite topic - footwear. The rest, you can maybe skip on, improvise or save on, but when it comes to hiking shoes, don't be afraid to splurge out.
We've already discussed how important the right choice of shoes is for your hiking success, but here, we'll tell you what exactly you should look for - and what to steer clear of - when looking for your perfect pair of hiking boots.
Hiking Boots/Hiking Shoes
The first thing to look for in your boots is waterproof design. Having waterproof hiking boots will save you all the hassle of wet and cold feet that can ruin the trip and send you home with a nasty cold.
They should fit your foot just right, not too tight to stop your circulation - but still firm enough to give you the necessary ankle support.
It can be difficult for women to find ones that fit right since our feet tend to be more narrow. In turn, ill-fitting boots could lead to ankle injuries and more blisters. Great, huh?
Even more so, hiking boots should be sturdy and durable enough to withstand the challenges of different weather conditions and trail hazards.
They should also be cushioned enough to absorb some of the impacts on more difficult sections of the trail.
Trail Running Shoes
Now, for those of you, ladies, who like to enjoy a trail run every now and again, you will need a good pair of trail running shoes.
What to look for?
Well, first and foremost, you want your feet to have enough cushioning in the shoes to be able to protect you from all of the rocks that you may encounter. Also, you should try and figure out if your feet need a stiff or pliable pair of running shoes, wide or narrow, high or lose, etc.
We can't give you the exact formula here since there's no universal fit. Your best bet is to head to a nearby store and try a bunch of different styles to see which ones feel "just right."
It's also useful to consult with the salesperson; they're equipped with the necessary knowledge to help you get the best fit.
You may be thinking, do I seriously need special hiking socks, too?
Well, it's not like you'll be miserable without them, but they can make a world of difference if you have them.
Once again, they should give you that extra cushioning and protection and act as an extra layer between the boot and your foot - which is great for preventing blisters.
And, of course, they should be sweat-wicking and waterproof, making an ideal combo with your boots.
As far as materials go, merino wool socks are considered the best choice since they meet all of the above-mentioned requirements.
On that note, Darn Tough makes some of the fan favorites - and also has guides to choosing the best pair for you!
Sweat-wicking, breathable, acting as a lightweight layer - you've heard it all before. Not much differs here compared to all of the other women's hiking clothes.
Fabrics to look for in the best hiking clothes are nylon, polyester, merino wool, and fleece, to name a few. Of course, it depends on the weather.
There are numerous options you can choose from in terms of fit and style. You can go for a long sleeve shirt if you prefer the extra coverage in the summer - or you can choose a tank top to relieve yourself of the heat.
In the winter, though, you will, of course, opt for base layers with long sleeves to help you stay warm.
Now, let's discuss a slightly controversial topic - hiking dresses. You either love wearing 'em, or you hate 'em. But before you make that judgment, you ought to try them first.
Hiking dresses can actually be a great addition to your hiking gear and can make your trekking experience much more practical and hassle-free.
Remember when we talked about proper hydration and what might veer women off of drinking enough water?
Well, a dress is a potential solution.
Also, this piece of hiking clothing for women can be very practical and breathable, allowing you a wide range of motions on your trek.
Some dresses also have pockets - which we know is every woman's dream. So, they are not only pretty and stylish but also practical.
For winter hiking, you must have a down jacket to keep you warm and cozy. Temperatures can - and probably will - drop significantly on the trail the higher you go, so having a warm jacket is a must.
Don't be surprised when you see the prices - they can get pretty high. But they're undoubtedly worth it because here, the price most often does reflect the quality.
What About Hiking Accessories?
Here are some of the additions that can make your trek that much more enjoyable and practical.
As we've previously talked about, sun protection is crucial. A baseball cap can provide you with some much-needed shade, making it highly practical.
It can protect your head from getting too hot and prevent sunstroke - but it also protects your face from the sun.
We also love them because they allow you to seamlessly pull your ponytail through. You get to look stylish and be properly equipped on the trail. It's a win-win situation.
A fan favorite here, waist packs give you extra storage space, allow you to have your most used items on hand, and relieve some of the weight from your hiking backpack.
There are many versions of this useful little hiking accessory, so you're sure to find one that suits you.
They often have a water holder and multiple smaller and bigger pockets, which are perfect for sunglasses, money, tissues, snacks, and so on. In short, they'll be your best hiking companion.
You generally don't have to be an expert to know that a good backpack is a staple of any hiker's hiking gear. That is because, if you have a proper hiking backpack, you can bring with you all of the necessary items - while still being as comfortable as possible.
A good hiking backpack will provide you with sufficient storage and enough compartments to organize your belongings neatly, with the addition of proper back support, comfy padding, and adjustable straps. It will also be water-resistant, tear-resistant, durable, and sturdy.
What a list, huh?
Are there hiking backpacks that fulfill these requirements? And if there are, they must cost a fortune, right?
Well, the answer to both of those questions is - yes, to a degree.
While it's difficult to find a backpack that will complete your backpacking gear and check all of these boxes, it's doable. Or rather, it can check all of your boxes.
The truth is that some of the requirements that we've listed above aren't an absolute must for some - while for others, not having them is a deal-breaker. Much like we've said before in this guide, it's all about what you need - and expect - from a backpack.
Are you the type of person who likes to go for multi-day backpacking trips, or do you stick to shorter hikes or day hikes? Do you have children and have to pack their belongings, too, or are you hiking alone? Are you hiking in the winter or in the summer months?
All of these factors determine your choice of backpacking gear. So, try answering them before purchasing a backpack.
Also, even though you can order excellent ones online, it's a good idea to head to a store nearby and try one on - just to get a feel for it. That way, you can get a clearer picture of what you can expect and what it is that you want from a hiking backpack in the first place.
We've already brushed lightly over this topic - but let's dive into it here a bit more.
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned outdoor expert, in your twenties or your forties, male or female, hiking poles will be a more than welcome addition to your hiking gear.
There are different kinds, though, so it's imperative that you find ones that suit your build. The wrong size of the poles could do you more harm than good - so, choose wisely.
Carbide and steel tips are commonly used to provide traction - even on ice - making them popular among hikers. Oh, and rubber tips can prolong the life of your poles, so use them diligently.
Best Hiking Gear For Women: Final Word
Well, ladies, you've made it to the end of this article - and we hope you are a bit more informed now.
Before, you were wondering what the best hiking clothes and the best hiking gear for women are - and it was our goal to get you some much-needed answers. Along with that, we aimed to give you some of the most useful tips for when you hit the trail so as to ensure the success of your next trip.
As far as the best hiking clothes go, it's important to find the right fit for you - whichever part of women's hiking apparel we're talking about here.
The material is super important, too. Remember that cotton is not the right choice in this case. Rather than that, opt for merino wool, nylon, or polyester with just the right amount of stretch to them, with moisture-wicking abilities to boot.
When choosing hiking footwear, try on as many different types of hiking boots to find the best ones for you. Merino wool hiking socks will also be a great addition to your hiking clothes - and something you should definitely wear hiking every time.
Don't forget about sun protection, UPF clothing, your waist pack, and hiking poles to help you maximize your experience.
We've reached the end of this adventure - and the beginning of your own on the trail. We won't keep you any longer. You have all of the necessary info - and all you have to do is hit the trail.
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