Women and Hiking


I came across this beautiful post by The Better Man Project… http://thebettermanprojects.com/2013/11/19/on-the-beauty-of-women-2/ …and it made me think about a woman’s unique experience as a hiker, backpacker and even an adventurer.

I have a healthy appreciation for male and female uniqueness, but we live in a time where everyone doesn’t have to make choices that fit cleanly into one box or the other. We are all individuals capable of being strong or weak, and good or bad. Chivalry and feminism both have important places in our culture.

DSC00323As adventurers, women face challenges that can make us see ourselves as weak or be dismissed by others as fearful. I would like to be able to address these and help women feel empowered in the wilderness. So I have some questions for you…

What do you think are the biggest challenges women face in the outdoors?

What knowledge would you like to gather about hiking, backpacking or camping?

Does something hold you back from going on the adventures you would like?

How has being a mom or dad influenced your outdoor life?

Please feel free to share your experiences with us. I would enjoy hearing any of your thoughts and questions. Hot Mama Hikers is growing and I would like it to be a valuable resource for you. It will continue to be a place for you to relax with nature and read about our adventures. There will be female focused information, but we have active male members and much of our educational content will be relevant to all.

Thank you for your feedback.

– Znara

Informative links:

White Blaze Women’s Hiking Forum (Appalachian Trail site)

Hiking Lady

Hiking/Backpacking While Pregnant

Skiing/Biking/ Rock Climbing During Pregnancy


7 thoughts on “Women and Hiking

  1. Mark Cashman

    Beautifully reasoned. This shows the critical role of philosophy and reason in the context of real human life, the choices in front of us and helps us avoid inappropriate categories in an important context.

    I always thought that the challenges experienced by the women who joined me on a hike were the same I coped with: needing to reach down for strength of body and will in the face of the extremely hard trail; deciding whether fears and anxieties or rational assessment were at work in determining to not tackle an obstacle; dealing with achievement and retreat, frustration and exaltation, and finding ways to help others understand why this was all worth it.

    But then I always believe the differences and similarities between individuals, especially those who share a passion, are more salient than anything that comes with their genetic code – gender, “race”… whatever.

    I think that as a dad, the biggest challenge has been to balance engaging a child in hiking – sometimes very difficult hiking – while coaching them through rough spots and holding the line on normal and basic discipline… all at the same time. Because, at the end of the day, the experience of hiking with parents isn’t to avoid having to stay home, it’s to build experiences that will one day turn into an enduring love of the outdoors for your child.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. znara

      Thank you for such a thoughtful response.

      I think the biggest difference that gender plays in our enjoyment of the outdoors has to do with the way we see ourselves but also with the fact that we present a different target out in the woods, alone, than a man does and we have to take that more seriously.

      Great insight on being a parent too!

  2. Jessie

    I’m not very outdoorsy, and one thing that makes me not want to get into taking hikes of more than an hour or two is that I don’t want to go to the bathroom in the woods! Seems like a crude/silly problem, but on the other hand…. At least dudes can just stand next to a tree!

    1. znara

      I’ll have to do an entry on going to the bathroom in the woods. I think that is something that holds a lot of women back, and not a lot of people talk about it 🙂 Thanks for the input.

  3. Pingback: Hiking Adventures: Perfect for Family Trips or Romantic GetawaysCamping-Together | Camping-Together

  4. Julie

    This is a great post, Ara!

    I’d have to say that the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a backpacking woman is the well-meaning but deeply irritating concern that people express about me backpacking alone. I think that this attitude that women are somehow unsuited or incapable of being alone in the woods could be a deterrent to novice female backpackers, which is too bad because I’ve found backpacking alone to be one of the most empowering experiences of my life.

    I’d love to learn more about grain-free backpacking food. Most of the usual backpacking dinners/snacks are all carbs (except for GORP, god bless it), and without investing in a dehydrator, there don’t seem to be a lot of light-weight, low-carb options.

    And finally, the last two for me are the same: I’m held back from backpacking now that I have my little guy. We breastfeed, so I can’t be away from him for long, and I can’t imagine hiking with both him and my pack strapped to me. So, it’ll be a few years before I do any overnights again. Sigh.

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