Best Hiking Gear For Women

Best Hiking Gear For Women

December 18, 2018 6 By Ciara Groesbeck

I used to love hiking in pretty much whatever I had lying around– anything from a cotton tee to a silky nightgown (yes, really). As I became more passionate about hiking, the idea of trekking through seasons other than just summer made it very apparent how badly I needed an entire makeover (gear and apparel makeover).

After many seasons atop numerous peaks I have nailed down the layers, and the gear that makes me most comfortable, while still being trendy and affordable.

Obviously every “body” is different, but this is what works for me and I will describe each piece to the fullest extent! For reference with sizing I am 5’6 and ~150 pounds, evenly proportioned.


Shoes/Boots

What goes on your feet has to be one of the most important things– at least for me it is. Traction, ankle support, and warmth are just some factors I think about when choosing proper boots.

“Boots or Shoes?”–I would suggest both depending on the terrain and time of year you will be gallivanting. In the summer and early fall you can opt for a lighter hiking shoe and in the winter keeping your feet dry is most important, so you will want a boot; preferably insulated if you get cold feet easily (ME! ME!)

My feet are slightly wide and my toes tend to curl under a bit, so making sure I have enough room for wool socks inside my boots/shoes is so very important!

Favorite Trail Running Shoe— This shoe makes running seem so much easier. The fit is cushy, and the traction these shoes have is unbelievable. I will forever order some model of these shoes. Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4W

Favorite Hiking Shoe— I know, I am such a salomon sucker. These shoes just fit incredibly, and when you find a brand that works you stick with it! These run a half size large on me as well (so if you’re an 8, you might want to order a 7.5) Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Shoe

Favorite Hiking Boot— This boot is so comfortable and warm. It runs about a half size too large, so order down half size for perfect fit! Salomon Women’s X Ultra Winter CS Waterproof Snow Boot 

Since I have only written about Salomon boots and shoes I wanted to include a few other brands that I have worn in the past that I really adore too.

  • Keen
  • Ahnu
  • Asolo

Socks

This is going to be a quick section because I only have two socks that I will wear.

Injinji socks: These are the funky socks with the individual toes! Not only will you look super fly, but they will keep your feet from rubbing together if your feet sweat at all– which means NO blisters!

Darn Tough: Hands down the best hiking sock you could ever ask for! They have a lifetime guarantee, are bold and beautiful and made right in Vermont (which is super local for me!). Try to wear them out, I dare you!


Bottoms

My ideal hiking outfit consists of comfortable sport leggings and a skort or skirt over the top. This outfit stays pretty consistent throughout the year– just turns insulated in the winter time. This combination allows the most flexibility while protecting my behind from the cold (extremities always get cold fast!).

If it is extremely cold then I will opt for my leggings with a wind-proof and water resistant pant over the top.

Favorite Cold Gear Leggings: Under Armour Cold Gear Leggings –these leggings do a great job of keeping the wind out and are just the coziest things your legs can be hugged by.

Favorite Summer Leggings: Queenie Ke High Waisted Leggings –I can hardly pronounce the brand correctly, but these leggings are awesome. They don’t ride up, they don’t fall down, are inexpensive and super flexible!

Favorite Skort— My favorite skort currently is the Marmot Pace Skirt. It is longer in the back and the material is sheen and doesn’t ride up between my legs. Look on REI, or Backcountry for some great deals!

Favorite Insulated Skirt: Smartwool Women’s Corbet 120 Skirt –this skirt is so warm! It zips both ways, so if you are having to lift your leg high (to ski or ascend a mountain) you can unzip the bottom a bit for more leg room! I wear a size Medium and it fits perfect!


Tops

I get cold very easily, so I layer a lot for hiking. Opt for moisture wicking clothing so as you sweat (which you will), you won’t be as chilled once you reach a windy summit. With that said, you should always have a wind breaker, or winter jacket with you even in the summer as the weather is always a bit unpredictable.

Favorite Base Layer: Patagonia Capilene Mid Weight Crew. This shirt is soft on the inside, moisture wicking and provides sufficient warmth. I wear a size Medium and it fits just a little loose. The Best deals are right through Patagonia!

Favorite Fleece Mid Layer: Also part of the Patagonia Family: Women’s Cross Trek 1/4 Zip. Don’t let the price scare you, this pull-over will provide you with extreme warmth, especially when paired with the base layer (mentioned above!)

Favorite Summer Hiking Shirt: I actually don’t have a favorite hiking shirt, but I tend to go with something inexpensive like the Techwicks apparel from EMS. They are light, versatile (meaning I wear them even when I am not hiking) and do their job of wicking sweat!


Outer Gear

I am jacket obsessed, a lover of ALL jackets. I probably own too many, but luckily I have narrowed it down to my hiking favorites. I am not particularly one to care about name brands, but these jackets have made hiking experiences so much more enjoyable for me. Again, I have tried many brands, but have found these next few to keep me the driest even on the wettest days; and when miles from your car being dry is the world!

Favorite Rain Jacket: Marmot PreCip Women’s Lightweight Rain Jacket –Marmot makes great, long-lasting gear that is very breathable!

Favorite Winter Jacket: Marmot Featherless Hoodie –My favorite part about this jacket is it has the look and the feel of a down jacket, but is filled with synthetic material so even if you get wet you will stay warm! The color is beautiful too. I wear a size Medium and it fits perfect! 


Packs

I have had many types of packs and only one has been my soul mate– if there is such a thing. When I first purchased a pack I had zero clue as to how to size one for myself. I purchased it online and hoped for the best, the color was nice anyways!

After a few years, and much shoulder pain later I became aware that sizing yourself for your pack is definitely important. Even though I am not a super small person, my torso is short- meaning the length that a pack would sit on my body is small; therefore my pack size should be a small. What a difference!

Since purchasing a proper fitting pack, I have zero complaints and I just love everything about my Deuter. I strongly urge anyone new to hiking and hiking gear to get fitted at a store. Try on all the packs that call to you, think about how much gear you want to be able to fit into it and how much you would like to access gear from the outside.

Favorite Day Pack/1 Overnight Pack: Deuter 45L +10SL. This pack is specific to women, hence the SL (slim fit). It molds to your curves and even with weight in the pack I could barely feel it on my back. It also comes adorned with a yellow flower- the symbol of the Deuter pack (maybe my favorite feature?).


Extras

This section is all the extra “little” things that make every hike safer!

Favorite Gloves— my hands get cold really easily so I opt for mittens, but if you are doing anything technical I would suggest fingered gloves for more support/grip. My current favorite is the L.L. Bean Mittens (Nothing special, but boy are they warm!)

Favorite Headlamp— two words: Rechargeable batteries! I do a lot of sunrise hikes and my batteries wear out very quickly so having rechargeable batteries are a money saver to say the least! I highly recommend the Black Diamond Spot. It is bright, comfortable on your head and very inexpensive.

Favorite Trekking Poles— I never used trekking poles until I had a knee injury and now they are always on me! They give your legs a break on the ascent and help with impact and balance on the descent. My favorite are my Trail Pro Trekking Poles.

Favorite Spikes: A very necessary piece of equipment if doing any winter hiking. There are limited options, but after trying the different kinds I would undoubtedly recommend the Hillsound Microspikes every single time. The spikes are longer, the fit on your boot is more secure and comfortable- all around best spike! 

Favorite Snowshoes: I am a huge Tubbs fan, so as I would love to say I have reviewed many different brands, but I just have never needed to! For mountain climbing, I recommend the Tubbs Flex Trek– great fit, and great grip! Snowshoes are sized by weight, so just glance at the size chart before purchasing. I personally wear a 22 in this model!


Hiking, Adventuring– Being Prepared & Having Fun

That was a boat load of information– so thank you all for reading it through.

There is so much beauty to explore, so don’t limit hiking to just one season! Be prepared for the conditions, check weather reports and trail conditions and then go explore! You will be so ecstatic you did!

Feel free to comment below with any questions, tips or favorite mountains you have hiked– always looking to learn!

Happy Trails,

Ciara, Boone & Crockett (Happy Tails)