Are you ready to get out and see the great outdoors? Whether on a long hike stateside or abroad, we have a killer list of must-haves for any lady on a trek. Having recently finished Annapurna’s 10 day trek to Base Camp, we compiled a list along with veteran travel blogger and world trekker Anne Howard from Honey Trek. Together, we will make sure you are completely covered on your next sojourn. So many outdoor magazines cover this stuff from a man’s viewpoint, and granted they are largely the same when it comes to the essentials, but they often lack a woman’s touch. Here is our recommendations:
Nothing is more important than having clean water on a trek. The worst thing you can imagine is being violently ill due to poor water, far from medical help, and reliant on your own two legs to get you there. We have two excellent recommendations for water purifying:
- Anne highly recommends SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Water Purifer. This tiny UV-light stick will save you from having to buy water on the hike. By stirring the SteriPEN for 90 seconds in impure water with, it kills over 99.9% of all water-born bacteria and viruses so you can drink from the streams you pass or the faucet in remote tea houses—rather than buying wasteful plastic bottles or the semi-dodgy boiled water for sale. Keeping this in your pack makes you entirely independent while helping your budget and the environment. The major pro here is that you can share this amongst a group or even a couple.
- We used Seychelle’s Stainless Steel Flip-Top Water Bottle. It is a cute stainless steel bottle that holds 27 ounces of water. Just fill it up with any water, except for salt water, and suck through the filtration straw. It is super easy to use and an extremely effective filtration option. Best of all, there is no set up required like there is with SteriPen and many other options out there. The bottle’s replaceable filter can handle up to 100 gallons of water and automatically stops working when the filter is full. It removes up to 99.99% of contaminants and pollutants found in fresh water supplies including Aesthetics such as chlorine, Sediment and dirt; Biologicals such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E-Coli Bacteria; Chemicals (VOC’s) such as DDT, MTBE, Benzene, Chloroforms (THM’s); and Dissolved Solids (heavy metals) such as Arsenic, Lead, Mercury, Copper, Zinc, Aluminum and Chromium 6. Removes up to 90% of fluoride.
There were times these literally saved my life
With many steep ledges and rocky grounds, a pole can steady you or even just take some weight off your legs and back. Anne tell us, “Even if you’ve never hiked with poles or don’t like using them, bring them. There are over 15,000 stairs on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek so a pole can act as your railing for balance and leverage to pull you up this step-by-step slog. One pole is all your really need but two is great to help you find your rhythm in a six-hour day on the trail. (Tip: Start your StairMaster routine stat!)”
The most important asset you have on a grueling trek is your mind. One day we did nearly 6,000 stairs. At moments when I felt like I couldn’t keep going, music let me tune out and put one foot in front of the other. Anne admits, “Though I’d like to say the sounds and beauty of nature are all the entertainment you need on 10-day hike, it’s good to bring an audiobook in case the romance wears off. It’s a long, hard hike and having the distraction of a good story can be just the thing to help you power through the hardest sections of the trail. Too keep you in touch with Himalayas, consider an audiobook on the Annapurnas like The Will to Climb.”
“You could never pack enough clothes to have a fresh shirt and socks each day—and trust me, you won’t want to wear the same thing more than twice. Instead pack two pairs of each and laundry detergent so you can carry fewer and cleaner things,” says Anne.
Sunscreen or Sunclothes
Day in and out you are in the Sun, even if you have cloudy weather, and it is awful dealing with tender burnt shoulders and a backpack. Nowadays sunwear isn’t just for your grandma. It is fashionable and very easy to find. Almost all outdoor clothes highlight this as a feature, but some go even farther and weave in reflective material into the fabric making an extremely high SPF while maintaining a very light airy feel. We used a Coolibar Aire Wrap (pictured), in Nepal and never felt hot or uncomfortable, but rather very cool, and most importantly, not sunburned.
Synthetic! Synthetics wick moisture away like nothing else. So instead of feeling sticky all day hiking, you feel cool. They are also super easy to wash and dry, and they don’t hold onto odors. This is especially important with underwear. Your trekking underwear choice should not chafe at all, and be extremely breathable. Sports bras are a great choice, as are tops with built in support cups. Check out our article on how to get a good sports bra for you.
An Awesome Backpack
A good fitting backpack can take all the weight off your back and shoulders and disperse it to your hips and legs. This makes hiking a lot easier and results in a lot less pain. Any of the major retailers that sell backpacks have informed individuals that will size you and fit you to the perfect backpack and even teach you the best way to wear it and shift your weight as you needed.
Hat or Headbands
Nature often means a lack of your usual beauty regimen, but that doesn’t mean you have to become a mountain woman. A nice braid and a cute headband pulled together a sweet outdoorsy look in just a few minutes. And a hat when it is hot or cold is very shielding from the elements and gives your eyes a break from the beating sun, as well as protecting that precious skin of yours.
Us Techies need our Power. Half the satisfaction of trekking come from the pictures that prove you actually did it! So you you’re your devices charged and ready. Fortunately there are so many solar charging option out there. Most recently we reviewed the Waka Waka Power Charger, and highly recommend it. It charges up fast, makes a great flashlight, and charges two iPhones on one full charge.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
100% of trekking is on your trusty two feet. A good pair of boots are invaluable. Waterproof is a must. You don’t want nasty soaked feet all the time, but dry, happy and comfortable ones. We used Ahnu’s Montara Boot and couldn’t be happier. Make sure to break in any shoes before a long hike. Blisters are your worst enemy on a long hike.
If you are really in the middle of nature, then when nature calls, you might find this female urination device immensely useful. Instead of peeing being a whole ordeal, you can stand up like a guy and get it done quickly with out having to disrobe your lower half. For modesty and convenience many women have found this to be an awesome addition to backpacking.
These backpacking treks are all about enhancing and improving what you already have, your physical and mental stamina. So anything you carry should just be an extension of that end goal. A strong woman has everything she needs already with her to get the job done.
Note: If you enjoyed Anne’s commentary, check out Honey Trek. Its about 1 couple, 1 honeymoon, 4 continents, 25 countries, and 500 days. Anne has trekked everywhere.