The Adventuress is a blog for women with adventurous spirits. It's a source of inspiration, planning, tips, and advice from experienced travelers and outdoor adventurers with the extra flair of being for women and by women only.
One of the many pleasures of women's hiking trip is that often the talk turns to books that we're currently reading or that we particularly enjoyed. With any luck some enterprising soul volunteers to write the list down and then share it with everyone. And if the stars align, it actually happens.
I'm sitting here looking at a lot of snow and dreaming about being on the Appalachian Trail instead! It does seem like a long time from now but it'll be here quickly. So, to satisfy that urge to backpack, this time of year is when I begin to take a look at my 'stuff' to see what needs repair, replacement, or maybe just some good old fashioned cleaning and rehabbing!
'Ten Tips' is the perfect companion for every female hiker. It offers well-crafted, not-so-obvious tools that hikers of all experience levels can use. From lacing up your boots the first time to thru-hiking a major trail, this piece will make hiking even more enjoyable.
Hi Jan! I’ve been looking into boots and I was checking out the Keen’s Targhee II Mid Hiker that you prefer. The guy at REI suggested I go with something a bit more stout (backpacking boot vs hiking boot) since it is a multi-day backpacking trip, rather than just a day hike. Do you have an opinion on that mindset? Let me know what you think. Hi Beth Wow --- asking me if I have an opinion is sometimes quite dangerous --- and (surprise, surprise) I do have an opinion. The Grand Targhee II mid hiker is actually a pretty 'stout' boot and is considered a backpacking boot and not just a hiking boot. Unless you have some medical issues with either your feet or your ankles the lighter you can go, still maintaining support both in the ankle area and on the sole of the boot --- the better. My preference is to have some ankle support (so the mid height is perfect) and have a sole with at least a 1/2 shank support and thick vibram (or vibram-like) soles. Many backpackers are good with the lower shoe-like profile of other boots that are even more lightweight. The Keen company has actually added a great innovation to their Grand Targhee II hiking shoe --- a tightening mechanism that holds the heel in place much better than before. You may even want to give them a try. We will also be carrying 30 pounds or less which makes a difference. Perhaps the guy at REI is not familiar with Lightweight Backpacking and is thinking heavier loads? I've actually not heard of anyone thinking the Grand Targhee II is not a backpacking boot. I'd also like to interject that recently a couple of the women who have taken the Intro trip and have continued to do the Appalachian Section trips with me have gone from the heavier, full leather (really stout) boots to either the Grand Targhee or the Asolo boot that is similar. Best scenario --- buy the boots that feel the best in the store and take some hikes in them. If you find that for some reason you feel you need a heavier (or even a lighter) boot then REI will take them back as trade in. Remember --- no matter which boot you purchase to get at least 1/2 - 1 size larger than you normally buy and do purchase a pair of Superfeet (or the equivalent) to use as the inner soles. The inner soles of even the best boot are not sufficient for comfort --- just toss 'em! You'll love the Superfeet! I love these kind of questions! --- can't wait to hear more of the story. Jan P.S. Just so you know, I checked with my local REI store and spoke with their 'shoe person' and she was quite surprised that you received this advice. Their training is in line with what I also advocate --- the lighter the better (barring any medical/physical issues) and the 'stouter' boot is generally recommended only for carrying 60 pounds and/or for winter and over and even then, they still feel that you should purchase the lightest weight boot your feet can handle. I would take this guy's advice 'with a grain of salt' though. Have a gear question? Ask Jan, our very own gear head!
We are all huge fans of using trekking poles on almost any hiking, trekking or backpacking trip. They so clearly contribute to your safety (by improving your balance and stability) and health (by saving stress on your knees), plus conserve your energy by transferring some of the work to your arms and chest, that we can't imagine why anyone would choose not to use them. Yes, they may take a little getting used to and instruction is helpful when you're first starting, but that should not deter you.
Sufficient rest is a main ingredient of a safe and enjoyable hike. While sleeping on the ground may not seem enticing, a proper sleeping bag and sleeping pad can make all the difference on camping and backpacking trips. This blog is part two of two. In part one, we gave recommendations about how to select a sleeping bag and in this blog we will focus on sleeping pads.
If you're making the switch to lightweight backpacking, one of the easiest ways to decrease weight is to get a new tent. Yes, it can be hard on the wallet but it can make a big difference. So here are some things to consider.
We all talk about and have our systems for packing for active vacations, hiking trips and other adventures; following a packing list, packing in ‘cubes’ or bags, having our underwear in the zippered compartments, taking a laundry bag for soiled items – to name a few. But---what is your system for un-packing? Mine is usually wheeling in my luggage, placing it in the entry hall and leaving it for at least 4-5 days before finally getting tired of either tripping over it or continuing to live out of it. Yes---I thoroughly dislike un-packing!! It doesn’t help that I live with someone who, no matter when we return, un-packs immediately! I used to believe that my aversion to un-packing was in retaliation of the efficiency of un-packing I had to watch---but no! Even when I’m the only traveler returning my bag still sits for the next week awaiting attention! So, if you are like me----what do we do? Well, we can accept that part of our personality and be comfortable with it or we can follow the ‘un-packing’ list. Suggestions include: When re-packing to return home place all soiled items into one bag or cube. This can be easily tossed into the washer upon getting back home. Re-pack all hygiene items in one bag or cube so that upon return home you only have this one item to take out and place back into the proper spot. If possible---keep clean clothes on hangers so that when un-packing all you have to do is grab the hangers and re-hang in the closet. (This is by far one of my favorites!) Travel REALLY light so that there is very little to un-pack! Put un-packing at the top of the ‘to do list’ either the day you return or the morning after. Of course---the best plan is to have more active vacations planned so that it is actually a re-packing rather than an un-packing! Now that’s a suggestion! What trip can I go on next?!
You may be able to wash you sheets or even comforters with one hand tied around your back... but a sleeping bag may seem a little less familiar. Seasoned AGC guide, Jan Latham, shares a few tip on how to handle your outdoor gear with care...
One of the keys to lightweight backpacking for women is to look at everything we want to take and see if anything can be used for more than one function. This is especially important if we have a choice between two items - ask yourself, could one of them have more uses than the other. Here are some examples: