By Valerie R. Root
Founder of Empire Within Us
Last updated 6/20/2019
Advertiser Disclaimer - Some links on this page may pay us a little commission for your purchase.
I spend a lot of time camping, hiking and yoga(ing). When I am not, I am usually thinking about one of those three loves-of-my-life.
I am an eclectic shopper when it comes to camping, hiking, & yoga gear. I try a lot of different products before I settle on what I think works best for me.
I have been called a 'Diva' a few times... mostly about my sleep system, backpack and my footwear, but honestly I think those are the three most important elements of my outdoor adventures.
Some hiking gear I have purchased the less expensive options and have had great success and some inexpensive camping gear is downright cheap and not even worth giving it a try.
And in some instances, it may be down right unsafe to skimp on price, such as when buying crampons (aka calf daggers you purposely put on your shoes)
I am regularly asked for shopping and purchasing advice for camping, hiking, & yoga gear. So, I thought it might be fun to make a list of the hiking gear and clothes I have in my closet or have 'borrowed' from other gal-pal's closets (you know who you are!).
I have included a link through Amazon to make purchasing Val tested hiking clothes and gear more easy. (please send me an email if you find a broken link)
All of the hiking clothes and gear are Val approved for whether you are taking a leisurely sandy river bed hike, a strenuous rocky mountain climb, or risking your life crawling up the snow covered trail to San Grogornio Mountain (see pic below).
See you on the trail!
Best Hiking Shoes For Women
These shoes make me wonder if my spirit animal is aGecko! I stay upright even with little gravel rocks on granite trails under my feet. The Saucony Peregrine 8 saved my life when I was climbing around Tenaja Falls and almost slipped down 40' to a rock field (water makes slick rocks super slippery... who knew?)
Thumb width between your big toe and the end of the shoe! I buy my hiking shoes one whole size larger (9.5 --> 10.5). Happy Trails!
Best Hiking Boots For Women
The Oboz Bridger is a great women's boot for backpacking, mountaineering and for more extreme hiking (or extra support). These are the boots that felt like home when I tried them on. The carried me up and down the Mt Whitney Mountaineers Route with and without crampons. I also love to wear them to climb N and S Fortuna at Mission Trails.
Thumb width between your big toe and the end of the boot! I buy my hiking boots one whole size larger (9.5 --> 10.5). Happy Trails!
These OUTAD crampons price are as inexpensive as you will find for legit crampons. Be warned, the really inexpensive crampons may not fit well enought to stay on, which could result in serious issues. These are adjustable and will fit women's shoe sizes 6 to 12. Spend the extra money for the better quality ones and live to climb anther day!
Make sure your crampons fit your boot properly and well BEFORE you hit the trail!
Best Hiking Socks For Women
Okay, socks may not seem like a big deal, but they absolutely are! In this case you want to be very very picky!
I used to buy cotton or Costco 'hiking' socks. Then, I backpacked along a river bed and was calf deep in water for much of my trip. Luckily for me my friend recommended Darn Tough wool hiking socks. They have a Lifetime guarantee (they will literally replace your socks if they get a hole in them!!) Also, this high quality wool did an stellar job of keeping my feet warm even when they were soaking wet. If you look through my entire closet you are going to notice a few brands multiple times, and Darn Tough is one of them. Best Hiking Socks For Women - Hands Down! .... or is it Feet Up?
If you look through my entire closet you are going to notice a few brands multiple times, and Darn Tough is one of them. Best Hiking Socks For Women. See socks above for all the reasons I love Darn Tough socks!
Worried about bugs in your boots? Roll up your socks and wedge them in the ankle so that no bugs can get in while you sleep.
Women's Best Hydration Pack For Hiking
Hydration Packs over water bottles? Absolutely. Yes, no question. And no, its not about plastic waste.
I forget to drink enough water if I don't have the hose right in front of my mouth (maybe I am just very lazy?) And if I am going to carry 3 liters of water I need the pack to be comfortable and hold all my other (very necessary) gear (or are they accessories?)
This backpack has a nice waist belt and ample expandable storage.
CamelBack consistently makes quality products and this is one of them. Women's Best Hydration Pack For Hiking.
Osprey makes great packs designed for women. They don't just shrink and pink their men's designs (we all know how that usually works out...) and their products prove it. This pack has a top lid access option I prefer for overnight trips. Osprey is one of my favorite pack and hydration brands. Women's Best Hydration Pack For Backpacking.
Put the heaviest (most dense) items in the middle against your back. Light stuff on the bottom and the outside, medium weight stuff on top of the 'heavy' stuff.
Hydration Pack Accessories And Parts
Women's Best Osprey Day Pack For Hiking
This 20L capacity pack is awesome for a day hike that requires some clothing layers or extra snacks My favorite part of this pack is the external storage of the hydration bladder. This makes refilling a cinch and you don't disrupt all your fine packing! This comes in so many colors I am surprised I don't own more! This is my choice for a Women's Best Osprey Day Pack For Hiking.
Move the chest strap closer to your collar bone than your waist - it helps distribute the weight more comfortably.
Best Backpacking Backpacks For Women
OMG! This pack is a dream come true!! I carried 45 lbs up and down Whitney and San Grogornio this year with this snazzy cozy pack. It has independent hip belt (the only brand with that option) which I really like! Its as if the pack moves with you, rather than against you. Gregory is one of the best pack manufacturers and I am so happy this pack came in plum!
The hip belt is resting on your hips (not around them) and this may feel 'too high' but, its how we keep the weight off our shoulders.
If you look through my entire closet you are going to notice a few brands multiple times, and Osprey is one of them. Best Backpacking Backpacks For Women.