Top Tips And Hacks For Women Outdoors
As women who love spending time outdoors, we know what a wonderfully inclusive place it is, where anyone with a pair of boots can get involved and enjoy whatever adventure suits them. But we also know that there can be challenges which require a little ingenuity and expert know-how – and that’s where this list comes in. Discover our tips to break taboos, overcome challenges and enjoy the outdoors to the fullest.
Going To The Toilet
We couldn’t possibly talk about being a woman outdoors without mentioning using the toilet (or not!). Something so basic can quickly become a struggle when you find yourself on an exposed peak or a busy trail – but it’s never a reason to intentionally dehydrate. Water is always essential but especially outdoors, and if you’ve ever found yourself without water on an adventure, you’ll know that getting used to peeing outside is much easier than recovering from dehydration.
First up: waste. Leave no trace applies in all situations, and that means you should always bring a bag in which to take your used tissues or toilet paper home. Even biodegradable versions aren’t native to the environment and, let’s be honest, aren’t great for other people to come across, so always take it home to dispose of. If you’re cutting down on waste or don’t fancy carrying around used toilet paper, we usually go for the drip-dry approach and wear merino underwear (or period pants – more on those later) to absorb remaining moisture and keep you comfortable. For anyone who needs to use the toilet outside, we recommend heading uphill if you need to find a spot to pee on a busy trail, because people tend to look ahead and down instead of up so you’re less likely to be spotted.
Of course, squatting behind bushes or trees isn’t your only option. Funnels like SheWees are useful to keep in your pack for flexibility, and brands like ZipHers are leading the way in innovative kit designed to make things that bit easier for women on the trails or in the hills.
If you’re able to get out there during your period, it can be a great way to get your body moving, reduce cramps and generally boost your mood – and it can be done totally waste and stress-free. Reusable period products are not only far better than disposables when it comes to protecting our planet, but depending on which method you choose, they also require a lot less maintenance than pads and tampons. For one-day adventures, period underwear like Modibodi, Thinx or any of the other brands out there are the perfect solution. You can choose your absorbency, which means that for most people, one pair can last all day (or at least until you get home), or they can be used as a backup alongside other products like a cup.
For multi-day adventures, we recommend using a menstrual cup. They don’t add bulk to your pack and need changing far less frequently than disposable products – you just need to make sure you have something to clean your hands with. If you’re a first-timer, it’s best to get used to inserting and wearing the cup around the house so you can feel confident wearing it on your adventures, and we recommend bringing a backup cup on long or remote trips in case you drop or lose your original.
Before undertaking any physical activity while pregnant, the first thing to do is check with your doctor, but for most people, walking in particular is a great low-impact way to stay fit and mentally healthy during pregnancy. Depending on your level of experience, it’s usually recommended to save the really big adventures for after pregnancy. The higher and more dangerous the terrain, the higherthe risk of accidents and oxygen deprivation, on top of the additional weight making it more exhausting for you, so keep in mind what’s best for your body and choose your adventures accordingly. When you do head out there, limit the weight of your pack as much as possible to avoid back strain, and carry more water than you think you’ll ever need to combat pregnancy dehydration – even if that means spreading the load across your group!
Women’s kit has come a long way from “shrink it and pink it” – it’s designed to fit properly, move with female bodies and perform according to the wearer’s needs. Women’s-specific packs are probably the best example of this; they’re designed to fit narrower waists and wider hips for better stability and less pressure on your back. However, it’s really important not to feel restricted by the gender assigned to a certain piece of kit – it’s just a label, and the best pack, jacket or any piece of kit to buy is the one that fits you and is going to be comfortable on your adventures. If you’re unsure which pack will work best for you, visit us in-store to try them out and for a free pack fitting with one of our experts.
In terms of other kit to consider, sports bras aren’t always essential for walking or climbing, but can be far more comfortable than day-to-day bras on hot days or during high-intensity activity when you might be glad of the extra support and moisture wicking. For taking on the hills or trails, a low-impact bra is usually all you’ll need.
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