Everything You Need To Know About Choosing Women’s Outdoor Gear

Office Admin

February 01, 2015

There was a time, not so long ago, that when it came out outdoor recreation gear, apparel and accessories, women were told one size fits all. “You there, young lady! I understand you need a backpack for a serious wilderness expedition? No problem. See that one over there that Jonathan is trying on? That’s the one for you!”

Suffice to say, the manufacturers of outdoor gear, apparel and accessories haven’t always greeted women interested in backcountry travel with open arms. Oh how times have changed, and for the better!

Celine Adair, co-founder and director of operations here at The National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education (NCOAE), will address the specific clothing and gear requirements for women who prefer their hikes to be more vertical in nature than horizontal and don’t think the term “roughing it” means room service is going to be late.

Celine, along with NCOAE instructor Jena Honeyman, will be speaking on the topic from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Great Outdoor Provisions Co. store in Wilmington, N.C. (The store is located at 3501 Oleander Drive — at the Hanover Center Shopping Mall — and the talk is free and open to the public.)

Outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturers didn’t truly recognize the potential for women’s wilderness equipment and accessories until about a decade ago. It’s not that they didn’t know there’s a difference between men and women. It was more the case of “one size fits all” when it comes to outdoor gear.

Wrong thinking, of course, but now that the manufacturers who regularly displays their product lines at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, each January and August have joined in on the game, everything from hiking shoes, backpacks and jackets, to socks, ski boots and gloves and mittens, are designed with women in mind.

During this ‘Campfire Conversation’ in the middle of the city, our NCOAE duo will show women exactly what clothing and camping gear has leaped to the forefront over the years, and how to select and properly fit apparel and gear designed just for women.

Specific topics Celine and Jena plan to cover include:

  • Women’s clothing & gear
  • Women’s hygiene issues in the backcountry
  • Women’s safety in the backcountry

The women will describe what it was that attracted them to backcountry travel, and while much of the talk will be about women in the wilderness, some of the issues discussed will be for male audience members too.

For instance, the temperature in most any outdoor adventure can change dramatically or at the drop of a hat. The pair will discuss layering clothing, and not in the sense of an evening out on the town.

And speaking of hats, Celine said she is a big fan of bringing warm headgear on every backpacking trip, “regardless of where and when I’m going.” It’s all about knowing your natural body temperature and it could make the difference between a memorable expedition and a miserable experience.

Regarding safety, Celine and Jena will offer expert advice on how to pack properly, let someone know where you’re going (GPS is a nice-to-have), always stick to the trail, and maybe even bring along a dog. Especially if that dog does more than just wag it’s tail at strangers and bears.

This free talk will also cover specific women’s hygiene issues — yeast infections, urinating and defecating outdoors, and menstrual issues. The men in the audience might want to wander outdoors for some air during these discussions (yes ladies, we still have a long ways to go!).

And, of course, Celine and Jena will answer any questions posed by audience members during the last 15 minutes of Monday night’s 6 to 8 p.m. presentation. For more information about Monday’s event, call NCOAE at (910) 399-8090 or the Great Outdoor Provisions Co. store in Wilmington at (910) 343-1648.

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