While, I’m not an expert…
I have hiked 17 days, 131 miles and from 2,690 to 17,769 feet above sea level on the Annapurna Circuit that winds through the Himalayas in Nepal.
It was the best experience of my life!
But it didn’t come without learning a few hard lessons and earning countless blisters. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Read my five hiking tips for women hikers…
Hiking Tips for Women
1. Wear Socks Inside Out
I know it sounds crazy. But think about it…
The outside material of your sock is smoother than the looped material on the inside. By turning your socks inside out, your feet will only be in contact with the smooth surface, helping to prevent unnecessary blisters.
It’s so comfortable, I wear my socks inside out all the time now.
2. Bring Hiking Boots AND Sandals
Hiking boots are necessary for long term treks. They provide ankle support, are water proof, and have thick soles that grip rocks.
Some women make the mistake of only bringing (or should I say “wearing”) one pair of hiking boots and nothing more.
Why pack an extra pair of shoes and carry all that weight?
I highly recommend also bringing a pair of sandals to give your feet a break from the boots and to stretch out.
Usually, I wear my hiking boots all day long, then change to my sandals at night to let them breathe. The sandals are also nice if you have to trek through water.
Whether you bring sandals or not…
Be sure you buy the most comfortable shoes possible. I try on every pair of shoes at the store before buying to find the best shoes for MY feet. You can take the advice of a sales person, but don’t buy anything unless it’s right for your feet.
And even if the most comfortable shoes are more expensive, BUY them! I’d rather spend an extra $20 to hike comfortably and blister free, than hobble painfully along the trail with $20 in my pocket.
3. Bring Panty Liners
Laundry should be the least of your worries when hiking.
Not only do you need to carry special biodegradable laundry soap, you also need water and the time to air-dry your clothes before you can pack them again.
Instead, wear panty liners (or pads) so you don’t have to change your underwear everyday. They are more light weight than packing additional underwear and help keep you dry if you have to pee in the woods without toilet paper. Just be sure to pack everything out with you.
Also, sanitary or baby wipes are an excellent way to stay fresh if you can’t shower.
4. Carry a Walking Stick
A retractable walking stick with a shock absorbing spring helps stabilize hikers and relieve some of the burden and weight off the legs.
I prefer to only carry one walking stick, so I can switch it from hand to hand as they get sore. If you don’t regularly use a walking stick you’re hands might get sore (possibly with a few blisters) until you get used to it and form calluses.
Older women might consider carrying two walking sticks (one in each hand) for more stability on steep inclines.
Also, in case of an emergency…
You can use your walking stick as a weapon should any animals or danger arise on the trail.
5. Protect Your Face
A billed beanie is a great way to keep your head warm, pull your hair back and block the sun from your eyes. A wide rimmed hat or baseball cap works great too.
Keep in mind when you’re hiking, your face will get hot (and sweaty) so you might want to skip wearing sunglasses and waterproof sunscreen.
I prefer to use Olay face lotion with 15 SPF and a billed beanie.
So skip the hard lessons and countless blisters and follow these five tips for women hikers.
Do you have any hiking tips for women? If so, leave a comment below.