Lightweight backpack hikes by women, female hikers are becoming more prominent among nature enthusiasts by completing thru-hikes and extremely challenging treks through the wilderness. Whenever women take a spotlight in previously male-oriented sports, job or task, it empowers all women to try. It changes perceptions that the former “weaker sex” cannot or do not have the male stamina to successfully hike. Men make awesome hikers also, of course, but when you hike like a girl, this is what you can expect. It might not be a bad idea for men to take some of these tips from the ladies and benefit from them.
Hiking Challenges Women Face On The Trail
Backpacking females will encounter hygiene and elimination issues that are different scenarios from men on the trail. It's a total myth that women should not be hiking while they are menstruating because it will attract bears. Men do not have to deal with the cramps and weakness from blood loss during menses. The pads and tampons, along with cleansing wipes used, must be packed out, not buried. Stick to easier hikes during this time. You are not a "weaker" sex during this time, you are just being considerate of your body functions as a female. Save the more strenuous hikes for the rest of the month.
Women face many of the same challenges men do on the hiking trail. However, uniquely to females, they are constantly thought of as crazy, unequipped or just plain too "delicate" to hike like a man. They constantly face obstacles and situations that men often escape. They not only fear the wild animals in nature, but also the sexual predators who feel that a woman on the trail is fair game for their lust. Women hikers can and should learn that they don't have to be less safe when they backpack hike solo just because they are female.
Listen To Your Gut On The Hike Trail
If you are new to hiking and interested in a solo experience, there are women's groups that specifically educate ladies for obstacles they could encounter that are unlike their male counterparts. You may find initial hiking peace-of-mind by interaction with other female hikers here: https://www.womenwhohike.com/womenwhohike-groups
Dealing with sleeping in shelters consisting mostly of men is not an easy task, however, it's all in your attitude and presentation. Speaking with other women hikers is an invaluable education before you attempt it yourself. Reach out to women’s hiking groups for the best advice from ladies who know how to deal with women’s challenges on the trail.
Backpacking Weight DOES Make A Difference!
A lightweight backpack will be more comfortable for any hiker. Due to physical stature, it is more difficult for women to carry heavy backpack loads. While hiking, if you keep your hiking pack weight at or around 25% of your body weight, you will do fine. Obviously the weight of your pack will fluctuate as you hike as you lessen the load of your food and water.
The weight of the backpack alone should range about 3 to 4 lbs. unpacked. A 100 lb. lady should not exceed a packed weight of over 25 lbs. while a 175 woman could carry 43 lbs on a trek. Physical size matters, not gender. Both must become accustomed to carrying weight on their backs throughout a hiking excursion.
Mars Versus Venice Trail Hikers
Statistically women are more organized then men, not all, but dare I say most? Packing a hiking backpack is no easy feat. Remembering to bring everything and fitting it all inside your hiking bag is a challenge every new hiker experiences. Ladies tend to learn more from the influential women in their lives while growing up. Do you recall watching your mom pack assembly-line lunches for five kids, washing and sorting mounds of dirty clothes, and preparing meals with chopping, cutting and following recipes day after day? Those were life skills you were learning without realizing it. Women tend to be more inclined to make lists of their gear, toiletries, food, water and other essentials. Men tend to just toss things in a bag with a mental check list. Either way will get the job done, but forgetting something is less likely when you make lists.
Lightweight backpack hikers, both men and women, walk differently. It is documented that men tend to be more competitive when hiking with a buddy or in a group. Women, wouldn't you agree that you are in more of a zen mood than a competitive challenge while hiking? Ladies may tend to walk slower to savor every sight and sound. It's not about ability, it's about thought processes between the species. Hiking, whether fast or slow is beneficial to our mental health as well. Walking amidst nature helps men and women shift your mood from the right hemisphere to the left. This does wonderful things to your brain, such as producing calmness and a feeling of peace.
A backpacking experience is virtually no different from male to female. There are still wilderness encounters, terrain challenges and confrontations with wild animals plus severe weather. Hikers of both genders will face similar occurrences at one point or another. Learning the knowledge and skills required for hiking is not limited for either sex as both can grasp the master the elements for a successful hike. Therefore, it should not be assumed that a man is brave for heading out into the wild alone, while a woman be considered crazy for attempting the same trip. The best element for either gender is common sense and awareness of the environment they're in.
Precautions Make Hiking Backpackers More Aware
During a lightweight backpack hiking trek, I believe men and women perceive danger differently. Hiking like a girl is being more cautious than their macho counterpart in many instances. Being afraid is not a bad thing when you first begin to hike. It will heighten your senses and keep you alert to everything around you. Having that increased level of awareness or hesitancy due to the unknown is the armor that protects you in the wilderness. Men may feel the initial fear but will brush it off feeling that displaying a "manly" persona is what is expected of him. Every hiker begins nervous and leery of that first few hikes. Keeping a certain level of uneasiness doesn't make you weak, it keeps you cognizant of your surroundings, which is a good thing.
Trekkers Bottom Line; A Combination Of Traits Is Best
Have you ever heard that a couple with ying and yang make the most successful relationships? The same holds true for hiking. Men and women can learn from each other. There is no "weaker" sex when it comes to backpack hiking. As time evolves, more and more women are taking up hiking and having a blast, whether in a group or solo. Both genders have to learn very basic information and then fill in the blanks with research, group hikes and downright experience on the trail. As a hiking community, we can all learn from one another. Naturetrailbackpacks encourages readers to leave a comment below to help other hikers if you have encountered hiking issues as a female, and how you conquered them. Male and female hikers are always wished happy hiking!