Backpacking Tips for Women
Don’t sweat the small stuff – learn what items to ditch, and what you should never leave home without. Check out these tips, tricks, and gear advice to make your backpacking experience unforgettable! .
The steepest climb allows the greatest view. I’ve found this true on multiple occasions. Whether I’m carrying a small daypack, or heading out on a backcountry extravaganza, there are a few things that I never leave home without. I learned a few tips and tricks on how to thrive while camping, exploring, and adventuring. This list has the little things covered so that YOU can enjoy yourself. Get out there!
1- Bring a few wet wipes. At the end of a tough day, a wet wipe bath may be your saving grace. Remove the dirt, grime, and sweat before hopping into your tent for the night. That semi-clean feeling can be a serious morale boost.
2- Ditch the deodorant. Seriously. You will be sweaty and smelly whether you lather yourself with deodorant or not. Attempting to cover up with fruity smells after hiking/biking/rafting will make you smell WORSE in the upcoming hours. Embrace your sweaty self – you’ll find that everyone else will be doing the same.
3- Brush your teeth. Twice-a-day. This is the one thing I could not give up. A toothbrush and tube of toothpaste is so tiny and lightweight! But, if you aren’t brushing every day, choose floss instead. Floss is lightweight and can be squished in a backpack until it’s basically nonexistent. Dental health is important, even when you’re off the grid.
4- Hair care. Sometimes they’re luscious locks. Sometimes you want to shave your entire head. Britney Spears circa 2007, maybe? Braids will become your best friend when backpacking. A braid will keep the wispy hair in place and withstand sweat, hats, bandannas, headbands, and whatever the weather has in store. If you are on an epic journey through deserts or mountains or jungles, you do not want to be distracted by a goofy hairdo.
5- You may find dirt, leaves, and twigs in your hair upon your arrival back to civilization. In this case, take the advice of your hair care bottle when you shower. Wash – Rinse – Repeat. At least three times.
Backpacking Nitty Gritty
6- You know it’s coming. Menstruation. Aunt Flow. That time of the month. Periods. Call it whatever you like, it happens to all of us! You should never have to plan a trip around your period. If you have yet to discover pocket size tampons, your life is about to change. Not only do they fit nicely in a purse or wallet, but their small size makes them great for backpacking, as well. Next, grab a plastic sandwich bag and cover the outside in duct tape. Place all waste and wrappers in your secretive, little bag. This is a tried and true method for waste disposal.
7- Number one and number two. I only have two pieces of advice for this topic. First, always bring an emergency roll of toilet paper. Second, ditch the goofy pee funnels that they sell for woman – not worth it. Just find a nice view and squat!
Other than that, each natural area has a different rule for where to do your business. Do a bit of research before heading out into the wilderness. Some areas prefer adventurers to pee into a body of water; some prefer for you to find a spot far away. Do you need to dig a cat hole? If so – where? Should you use a wag bag? You will want to be prepared with this information before you head out.
8- Leave behind some clothing. Backpack space and weight will always be limiting. Prioritize clothing that will keep you warm. Bring options that are quick drying and can be layered. When living in the backcountry for nine days I only wore two pairs of pants – one for sleep and one for adventure. As summer turned to autumn, bringing gloves, hats, and warm socks became a priority. Also, say goodbye to multiple changes of undergarments. When you run out of space in your pack, you can typically ditch two things – food or clothing. The choice is obvious (keep that granola). If this is a tough pill to swallow, wash it down with some wine before you take off.
9- Weight distribution. Place heaviest items towards your back. Lightest items on top and away from your back. Confusing? Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!
10- Grab a handful of plastic bags (Ziploc). If you are going to be in a damp climate, or have a chance of encountering rain – gallon baggies. Your Ziploc’s will act as packing cubes and aid in organization – clothing, toiletries, and food should each get their own bag. Also, these things are WATERPROOF. You, your tent, and your backpack may have been caught in the rain, but you will have a fresh pair dry clothes in your baggies. I could say it a million times over. For backpacking adventures – gallon bags, all the way, without a doubt.
11- Always have a travel size hand sanitizer easily accessible. Always.
12- Invest in a first aid kit. You can find a small kit at most outdoor retailers. Or buy the essentials separately and put one together yourself.
I hope these tips will help you on your next adventure. Hang out with me on Instagram and Pinterest, or leave a comment with your favorite backpacking tricks! Now – go explore!