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  • Written by Diana Smith

Camping is a beloved pastime and a special way to spend some time with nature. For a long time, activities like camping and similar outdoor experiences have been considered exclusively for men. But in recent years, more and more women have taken to hiking and camping, and this means getting some new gear. If you’ve been denied the experience to learn to start a fire, scavenge for berries and wash your clothes in a river, camping will bring out a completely different part of you. So here are the most important things every woman should bring to a camping trick this year:

Backpack

You literally cannot go anywhere without a good backpack strapped to your back. It’s an essential piece of gear and having an uncomfortable or ill-fitting backpack can cause you plenty of trouble along the way. This is where the physical differences between men and women come into play: A backpack needs to fit snugly around your back and most backpacks are made to fit the average man, which means much broader shoulders and the back. It’s not really easy to find backpacks made specifically for women, so you’ll be best off going to a well-stocked store and trying on different backpacks until you find one that is sufficiently comfortable. An important thing to note is that backpacks fit very differently when they are full, so make sure you ask the store clerks to fill them with something heavy like workout gear to get a real feel for it.

Clothing

Camping is not the time to put fashion above anything. Primarily, your clothes have to be comfortable and practical, so let’s take it from the head down. You always want to protect your head, whether it’s a helmet if you’re rock climbing, a hat in the summer or a warm cap during winter, you need to keep your head safe above all else. Secondly, you’ll probably want your hair out of your face, so if you have long hair, bring some hair ties and clips to hold it up. Stick to sports bras instead of anything in a wire. No matter the weather, you’re going to want a jacket on you. In summer, it will either protect you from direct sunlight, keep the mosquitoes off you and give you protection when the evening wind comes. In winter, obviously, you need it for warmth and protection from the snow.

For your bottoms, they have to be something stretchy so that you can overcome any obstacle, long to shield you from thorns and bugs, and preferably have at least one pocket for essentials. And you might think that the next step is shoes, but first you need to go shipping for some comfortable women’s socks. Try to find a material that will allow your feet to breathe, but that won’t retain moisture. This is essential, because if you need to for any reason take off your shoes, you don’t want to be caught barefoot. And lastly, of course, good shoes. There is no bigger mistake you can make than setting off to a hike in shoes that will make your feet blister or not protect you from the uneven ground of nature.

Security kit

This is especially important if you are camping alone, because you can become an easy target for wild animals or hostile people. You shouldn’t be alarmed, and stressing will only ruin your experience, but it’s good to be prepared. Firstly, you want to have a satellite phone so you can contact someone and let them know where you are at any moment, no matter the reception. Always give them your coordinates when you settle in for the night. Next, you want to have a loud whistle, preferably with a very strong flashing light (often a feature on flashlights). Lastly, you will want to have a direct self-defense item, like pepper spray, a taser or something similar if the first two aren’t legal where you are.

Hygiene

It’s often much easier for men to keep up with hygiene when out than for women, but there are some tips that can help. It’s not really practical to carry a roll of toilet paper with you, so for wiping needs, you can grab a pack of compressed paper tablets that take up much less space. If you’re going to be on your period for the trip, you want something like a diva cup rather than tampons and pads because 1) it needs to be changed much less often and 2) you don’t want to be carrying dirty tampons with you throughout the trip (leaving them out in nature is not an option!).

For everything else, you can follow regular packing tips that apply to everyone. And most importantly – don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something just because you’re a woman. Go, do it, and prove to everyone that women are just as amazing campers as men!

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