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Thread: Do women need to buy gear "made for women?"

  1. #1
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    Default Do women need to buy gear "made for women?"

    Hello! I'm going to Alaska next month. I am a very casual hiker here in California, so I want to buy new gear for my trip. As a woman, how important is it I buy gear "made for a woman?" Especially as a woman traveling to hike in Alaska?

    This article brought my attention to important issues to consider when buying gear:
    http://www.divinecaroline.com/articl...P=KNC-DC_YSM_6

    Any one else have other items to add? Or items to subtract?

  2. #2
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Smile Welcome!

    Tatiana - Welcome to the Forums!!

    While most of us are guys here, we are glad to have few women around. Some guys forget that there are women that frequent this site, so take the ill-directed occasional bashing with a grain of salt (or fire back at them and put them in their place!) and you'll get along just fine.

    I've got 3 sisters, a mother and lots of female friends who love the outdoors. While some women can handle their own in any environment, most I have known like to be as comfortable as possible. The only way to achieve this is to buy garments that fit your bodystyle. I sometimes have to mend mine to fit the way I want to. With that being said and assuming you have a girly figure (for lack of better words, some women are more comfortable in men's clothing), I would recommend you purchase gear that is made to fit a woman's body. I say gear because there are more and more things becoming available for the female outdoor enthusiest. Boots, snowshoes, backpacks, shirts, shorts and sleeping bags are some.

    I am not in Alaska...yet (will be moving there in a month or two), so these other guys will be able to help you with a more specific gear list for you.

    I am almost certain they will need to know when you will be visiting. Where in the state (vast climate changes across the state). How long. What you plan to do. Amount you plan to spend. And so on. You might put together a list of your gear and post it here so they can analyze it. Be forwarned that you will get TONS of opinions, ultimate decisions will come down to your liking!

    Good Luck! Have fun!

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    Yes!!

    Grading: the process of sizing each pattern peice on boots, pants, blouses, jackets, etc., has different rules for women vs. men (obviously!).

    Having worked in the "outdoor" garment and gear industry for 18 or so years I can tell you that some manufacturers simply take their small to medium sizes and call them women's sizes. Ask the retailer exactly what's different. On a backpack you should notice shoulder straps that quickly dive along your side rather than across...um...you know. Waist belts should have a steeper angle along the top to fit a women's hip.

    check out www.redantspants.com to see some women's work (carhart style) pants. It took her quite a long time to find someone who would do the patterns properly to fit a woman.

    For jackets and blouses, the differences should show up as darts in the chest area and more cut along the waist.

    You'll be much more comfortable.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Well Buck, I warned you not to talk about that girlish figure

    Being not female I would have never thought about where those straps err well position themselves but sounds logical. My wife although not petite really likes to wear all my hunting and fishing gear Nope I don't wear hers or at least I won't admit to it Seemed like some valuable insight in that article you posted. They didn't include pepperspray or those cute little bells bears like errr.....dislike

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Most important item is

    Your most important item is good footware. Alaska whether hunting or hiking requires excellent footware. Buy the best you can affort because your life can depend on your feet. Same goes with socks, buy quality. As far as other gear mens will work. Cabelas has a womens section in their catalog and on their website.

    There is also a program that you may want to attend called Women in the Outdoors. It provides classes on topics of your choice, hiking, archery, shooting , trapping and many others that will assist you in learing about how and why we do things up here. We are not hard noses, it is just that there is a reason we do things the way we do. It is called experience and surviving to hunt or hike another day. You need to listen to the longtime Alaskans. They have been there and done that.

    Also use the search feature on this site. If looking for boots, type in Lowa, Meindl or even sheep hunting boots. You will gain a lot of experience really quick.

    Best of luck!

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    My wife hunts with me and does a lot of hiking with me as well. Unfortunately, we found that a lot of the gear we used was only designed for men and there weren't a lot of options for her. She ended up using mens gear and hasn't had a problem. Her Meindl hiking boots are also mens and hasn't been an issue. All of her clothes are mens size medium. We haven't found an extremely comfortable pack for her yet so we just keep weight down to avoid too much discomfort. Otherwise all of her gear is mens.

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Talking Someone had to say it!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AKBighorn View Post
    Well Buck, I warned you not to talk about that girlish figure

    Being not female I would have never thought about where those straps err well position themselves but sounds logical. My wife although not petite really likes to wear all my hunting and fishing gear Nope I don't wear hers or at least I won't admit to it Seemed like some valuable insight in that article you posted. They didn't include pepperspray or those cute little bells bears like errr.....dislike
    That's all right, hanging out with all them women has it's positive points too you know... Like eaten good!! House stays pretty clean too!!

    Buck

  8. #8

    Default Gear for women

    Hi, Tatiana:

    Guess I'm one of the few women around here ... depending on your size, there is some good women's gear out there but there's a bunch of cutesy junk, too. For raingear / outerwear Cabela's has always done well by me. Watch their measurements, though, and make sure you are getting the proper size.

    At 5'5 and 120 lbs I do pretty well with boys' or youth gear for clothing, watch the cheesy factor and stick with name brands. Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage sells a decent selection.

    For boots, depends on what you need. If it's day trips on decent trails, Salomon and La Sportiva make a nice women's boot. For technical climbing or a heavy duty boot, the only one I've ever found is La Sportiva that makes a true woman's boot rather than a sized down men's boot. Some women can wear men's boots just fine, but I'm not one of them. I do a lot of sheep and goat hunting so need more than a day trip boot.

    I had to laugh about the pack strap dilemma -- because it's SO TRUE! I have a youth model external frame pack and even with that had to modify the strap configuration.

    Good luck - PM if you have more questions or want more details.

    -mbd

  9. #9
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    My Wife is a very curvey woman and finds gear made for women much more comfortable. Whenever she has tried mens gear it either smooshes her to tightly up top or is to tight in the hips.

    Dont know if that helps but it's what my wife has found.

  10. #10
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbd View Post
    ......At 5'5 and 120 lbs I do pretty well with boys' or youth gear for clothing, watch the cheesy factor and stick with name brands. Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage sells a decent selection.
    Mrs. Mark is 5'5" and 140 lbs. We re-outfitted her with clothing again last summer at Sportsman's Warehouse. I think a lot of it was women's sizes.

    But what she treasures most (and always has) is a pair of my size 12 heavy wool socks in the sleeping bag with those chemical warmers in them with her tootsies and my warm body in the bag with her, and in the morning there had better be a tent heater on.........

  11. #11

    Default Oh, warm feet!

    I hear Mrs. Mark! I've always had cold feet (just ask Mr. mbd) compounded by surgery a few years ago that took out the feeling and circulation in one completely, those chemical heaters are -- HEAVEN! and highly recommended.

    But the tent heater would have to come out of MY weight allowance, according to Mr. mbd....

    Mrs. Mark had better luck at Sportsman's Warehouse than I have had. She must be blessed with a bit more, ahem, curves than I am. Most of what I found there didn't fit well, but was great for style factor.

    Most of our trips are extended backcountry, so style is not the foremost consideration. Last fall's Kodiak goat hunt was 13 days on the south end of the island, of which it rained 27, and I gotta tell you, guys just come out of that kind of stuff looking kind of 'rugged', but us girls, oooooooh boy, kind of scary. Let's just say there are no known photos of my return to civilization.

    Fun aside, footgear and outerwear are what's the most important for me. Everything else I can fake if I have to, but feet and weather protection have to be 100%. It's taken a long time for me to find good boots. I posted on another forum that good boots saved me on the sheep hunt from hell a few years ago in the Alaska Range. Weather problems got in the way (huh) and if not for good boots I'd still be up there somewhere.

    I wish there was more GOOD gear for women, bet I'm not alone.

    -mbd

  12. #12
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbd View Post
    ......But the tent heater would have to come out of MY weight allowance, according to Mr. mbd....
    The tent heater is a new phenomenon. I never paid it much mind until Mrs. Mark accompanied me with one of my hunting buddies who has a serious aversion to the cold. When she saw that tent heater in action, she marvelled about it, and my buddy made me feel like I was abusive because I didn't have one for her.

    So on the next trip into the woods with Mrs. Mark I bought one and stashed it in the rig without telling her. I was a real wonderful guy when I whipped it out on the first morning in the tent.

    I did it to myself. Now it just has to go.

    I guess I'm just a softie............

    Mrs. Mark had better luck at Sportsman's Warehouse than I have had. She must be blessed with a bit more, ahem, curves than I am. Most of what I found there didn't fit well, but was great for style factor......

    .....Fun aside, footgear and outerwear are what's the most important for me....
    No doubt, and that's where we did pretty well there. Mrs. Mark's outerwear is approaching the characteristics of a good snowmobile suit in camo. I don't think we could buy clothing that was too heavy in terms of insulation. This is a human who needs insulative clothing to sleep in, under a big comforter, and in a house heated to 70 degrees.

    Style?

    I'm not difficult to please in that department. Even when she wakes up in the morning with her hair in a toss she's beautiful to me. Heck, I think she's absolutely gorgeous when dressed up in heavy, sagging camo and framed alongside a big campfire............

  13. #13
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Mark I agree my wife looks sexier on the last day of our trip than the first! Maybe it's a back to nature kinda thing?

    Rick P

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    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    Mark I agree my wife looks sexier on the last day of our trip than the first! Maybe it's a back to nature kinda thing?

    Rick P
    Groowwllllll........

  15. #15
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Fit is so important

    My wife also said that functional is usually foremost in mens mind, but often comes down the list for her, so she has made mistakes in her purchase of some outdoor wear.... based on her first thoughts, of " How will I look in this outfit"?..
    I have noticed in the last few years, the Water sports clothing people are really pushing the Made for Women stuff for Kayaking and canoe.
    this is smart. They are making good looking stuff that is functional.
    I had a young lady working for us last season in our canoe and Kayak and rafting trips program.
    She is a Recreation Major in College and knows her stuff. She brought with her from the lower 48, great looking outdoor wear that was very functional.
    This is a good time to be a women in the outdoors. With manufactures making Backpacks designed for women, sleeping bags, clothing, and camping gear.
    Bottom line though is that no matter man or women, we all have our own shape. Different things fit very different on all of us.
    My wife says that you should ask this question before buying any clothing.
    "How easy will it be for me to remove so I can go potty?"
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  16. #16

    Default Womens Gear

    Alaska Canoe's wife quote "How easy will it be for me to remove so I can go potty?" This made me laugh because it is so true! When you start adding layers etc depending on weather & conditions, this can be an issue for us gals...
    And to all the guys who think there wife looks sexy out there... love hearing that stuff!
    HELP anyone! in your travels and experiences what have you learned about boots? I have wide feet that are extremely hard to find boots anywhere in town or cabelas... i have ordered and tried on so many... and mens dont come in small enough sizes to fit me in the length.
    Also being 5'3" and 130 i can sometimes fit well into boys clothing, although it all depends on who makes it. Im not the "curvy" type, but well like mbd says we gals have "extra" issues for packs and shirt fittings. Im really starting to like the under armour heat and cold gear stuff, its very "moveable" and form fitting or loose depending on your style. Its a little more spendy, but worth it and they seem to have a good variety.
    My 2 cents...
    <*)))><

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    The first time I took my new "made for a woman" backpack out on a trip I sang hallaluah! Those straps placements make a huge difference!
    Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    This is the third time I've been back trying to decide weather or not to post this, it maybe very valuable to the ladies in our group so here it goes. On the going potty subject I worked with a female guide a few years back, a great outdoors person and tough as nails. One evening we decided to go rock gardening so we put on neoprene, chest and shoulder guards, helmets and jumped into a couple of old white water boats I kept around just for doing the "crazy" stuff. We decided to take a brake and landed on a very narrow strip of rocky shoreline, she said "I'm sorry but I have too go potty". I immediately thought Oh No there is nowhere she can strip down in private! She stepped over to her kayak and got something I didn't see out of the boat then stepped over to some rocks. I though she'd go behind them but much to my dismay she lowered her neoprene to her waist and peed standing up! Then she walked over to the water and I thought washed her hands like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It took me 3 days to work up the courage to ask how she managed to relieve herself with so little effort. She laughed and showed me what she had grabbed from her boat, it was a miniature urinal with a short spout on it. Apparently this devise had saved her allot of embarrassing and potentially cold outdoors headaches. Sorry I cant remember what the gizmo was called but for her it worked great.

    Just this a little red faced Alaskans experience.
    Rick P

    PS I truly meant for this to be helpful

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    Default Ladies Urinal

    They have a few names. One is the lady J.
    Nothing like seeing a woman attempt to write her name in the snow!

    http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...roductId=13827

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    Default thank you!

    Tatiana! You are a lifesaver! The site is a Godsend!

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