Let’s explore hiking for women. As we have pointed out in another article, men’s and women’s needs are very different when it comes to outdoors clothing. It’s not only about style, though this is arguably important for most women – it’s also about materials, comfort and weight. Check our guide below, with lots of tips and advice on the best hiking gear for women.
Hiking for women: The shoes
First things first – the first piece of gear you will need to purchase before you set off for your mountain adventures, are women’s hiking shoes. Your sports shoes are excellent for the gym and your crossfit sessions, but they are not good for the mountain. You will need to invest in a good quality pair of hiking shoes, which will keep your feet dry and warm, and prevent you from getting any injuries.
The type of hiking shoes you will choose depends on the type of hiking you are planning to do, on the terrain, on the season and (most importantly) on your personal preferences. Though arguably hiking shoes are not the most stylish shoes, this shouldn’t really matter. Just purchase the pair that fits best, even if you don’t really like the color.
You can choose between the following types of hiking shoes for women:
- Hiking boots – heavy, chunky and sturdy waterproof boots, ideal for rough terrains and rainy weather. There are several subtypes of hiking boots.
- Hiking shoes / Trail shoes – lighter, more flexible and more comfortable than hiking boots, but still with a sturdy, gripping sole.
- Hiking sandals – an option if your hike involves frequent river crossings, or walking by / on the beach, but not recommended for longer, strenuous hikes. On a side note, some hiking sandals are really cute and can be worn with your favorite summer dresses.
For more information, you can check out our article on hiking shoes.
Tip #1: When you go shopping for hiking shoes, bring with you the socks you are planning to use when hiking. Consider using padded hiking socks – otherwise you might get blisters after a few hours of hiking. If you think padded socks are uncomfortable or too warm for you, use a pair of thick socks that you like.
Tip #2: Hiking shoes might feel a little uncomfortable at first. Spend some time walking around the store, and try to walk up and down stairs if you can. Don’t hesitate to ask for a different size or a different model, as there are many differences between manufacturers. Also, try to go shopping late in the day, when your foot is slightly larger.
Tip #3: When shopping for hiking shoes for women, go to a well-known store, where the sales people are knowledgeable about hiking shoes and will be happy to help you find the one that suits you the most. And, most importantly, don’t skimp on the quality – after all, you only have one pair of feet.
Hiking for women: Clothing
Hiking clothes for women are tailor-made for women’s needs. Apart from keeping you dry and comfortable, they are also designed to make you look good! You can find women’s tops in bright, cheerful colors, while choices for women’s hiking pants are generally more limited.
Depending on the time of year when you are going hiking, you will need different types and combinations of clothes. Whatever hiking clothes you choose, make sure the fabric is lightweight, breathable and quick-drying. You may also want to consider using UV-protective clothing.
Underwear – This piece of gear is often neglected, but it can make a huge difference, especially if you are, well, voluptuous. Always use a well-fitting sports bra with no metal or plastic parts that could irritate the skin, especially if you are carrying a heavy backpack. As for your panties or briefs, make sure they are well-fitting and flexible and avoid thongs – you don’t want any chafing in your private parts while hiking.
Hiking T-shirt – When hiking, you will generally need two or three layers of clothes. The first one is typically a T-shirt. You can choose a short-sleeved or a long-sleeved shirt, depending on the time of year and your personal preferences. If you are carrying a heavy backpack avoid tank tops, as your backpack straps could hurt your bare shoulders.
Hiking jackets – There are different types of outdoors jacket that you can choose from. In general, you want your jacket to protect you from the cold, wind and rain. This could mean carrying more than one jacket with you, for example a fleece jacket to keep you warm and a rain or windproof jacket on top. In winter, you will need more specialized gear.
Hiking pants – We recommend wearing hiking pants whenever you go for a hike, as they can protect you from the sun, the cold, thorny bushes and insects. Women’s hiking pants are cut differently from men’s pants, as they have a smaller waist. Choose the length that fits you most – if you are mostly hiking in spring or summer, capri pants might be a good option.
Hiking shorts / skirts / skorts – Though these are not suitable for cold weather and / or hard-core trekking, they are a great (and sexy) option for light hiking in warm weather. Some women like skorts, as they are as comfortable as a short, but look like a shirt. Hiking skirts can also be worn over leggings – some women find that more comfortable than hiking pants.
Hiking for women: The backpack case
For a short, half day hike, you might be able to use a backpack you own already, provided that it sits comfortably around your shoulders. You can store an extra jacket, water, snacks, a small pharmacy and other useful things. For longer hikes or treks, however, you will definitely need a specialized hiking backpack for women to fit all your gear.
Women’s backpacks are made for smaller frames, and they have a slightly different shape than men’s backpacks. Check section 10 of our previous article for more information on hiking backpacks.
More hiking gear
Apart from the items mentioned above, you will need a few other items, depending on the season and your own personal needs.
A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are essential for summer, whereas in winter you will need gloves, scarf and a beanie or a hooded jacket – even ear muffs if it’s really cold. Don’t judge the temperature by your male friends – men generally have a much higher tolerance for cold weather, so take as many clothes as you think you might need to enjoy your hike.
When it comes to hiking for women needs change a bit and gladly technology evolves accordingly as it should be.