Love camping and hiking, and want to upgrade your gear? Here are a few of my favorite camping gear ideas for women!
Ladies! If you've spent much time looking for hiking and camping gear, you've probably noticed something.
A lot of the standard camping gear out there is not made with women in mind.
We also have a list of our favorite outdoor gear for men.
Here's a list of my top camping gear recommendations for women. Everything's available online, so you don't have to hunt it down in person.
Best Camping Gear for Women: Clothing
The following are the clothes that I grab when we head out for a camping or backpacking trip.
These clothes make my hiking trips more enjoyable and comfortable, and I highly recommend them!
I own everything listed, and have worn them on various trips.
Looking for backpacking specific gear? Check out this guide for our favorite backpacking gear.
Headbands (Sweat Bands + Ear Warmers)
Camping trips mean messy hair and ponytails.
Recently, I've also been using these Buff headbands, and I love them because they're quick-dry.
These multi-purpose headbands also work as a sweatband for hot days or sweaty hikes, or ear warmers for cold days. They wash out beautifully.
Merino Wool Activewear
Our team tested lots of merino wool items (read more in this merino wool guide), and have been consistently impressed with its ability to keep us warm and dry.
Here are a few of our favorites:
I own several pairs of Icebreaker wool undies.
If you're ready to splurge on some comfy all-purpose pants, these Icebreaker merino wool jogger pants are my current favorite. These pants are great for hiking, or (my personal favorite) as a cozy pajama pant that's sure to keep you warm at night.
When hiking or camping in cooler weather, I love this merino wool long-sleeve half-zip.
Quick-Dry + UPF Tops
Quick-dry tops are fabulous for camping, because they'll keep you — you guessed it — dry! That's going to keep you cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather.
My current favorite tops are both from REI and both provide sun protection. I love this Sahara t-shirt, with it's comfortable fabric and well-placed, non-chaffing seams. I'm also a huge fan of their Sahara shade hoodie.
Best Women's Hiking Pants
Ladies, shopping for pants is HARD. You know this, we know.
We've been testing women's outdoor pants, and have a few that have stood out as our top picks.
Our top hiking pants pics are from Kuhl.
The Kuhl Trekr pants and the Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up pants. These pants both fit a curvy frame well, the fabric did not pill, seemed somewhat smell-resistant, were incredibly breathable and (yay) have pockets!
Our runner-up hiking pants are from prAna: the prAna Halle II. These quick dry pants are boot-cut and flattering for curvy figures, and they have deep pockets. However, we did notice that the fabric began to pill somewhat quickly, and they seemed to get smelly more quickly than the Kuhl pants.
Another almost-favorite is Outdoor Research's Zendo pants and Zendo capris. They're well-fitting (even with curves and muscular thighs), and breathable. However, the pockets are almost unusable because anything I put in them weighs the pants down causing sagging.
In the past, we've also been fans of Columbia hiking pants, but the recent Columbia pants we've tried just haven't fit well.
Women's Snow Pants
We tried lots of different styles of snow pants, and had a clear favorite. These North Face snow pants are roomy through the legs, adjust to fit a variety of waist sizes, and have nicely sized pockets.
I do recommend sizing up, even if you opt for a different snow pant. All the snow pants we tried seemed to run small.
Women's Outdoor Coats
One of the quickest ways to turn my mood upside down is to get me chilled to the bone.
Everyone is happier when I have a warm coat.
My favorite coat is my North Face Triclimate Jacket — it has a waterproof outer coat, a fluffy down inner coat (that can double as a pillow in a pinch!), and a snowboarding snow skirt that fits around my hips nicely!
Are your outdoor adventures taking you to the beach or hot springs?
Best Camping Gear for Women: Shoes + Boots
These are the shoes I bring along on each camping trip!
If you’re staying at a campground and plan on using their shower or pool, bring along some rubber shoes. You could definitely just use rubber flip-flops, but I like to wear these Crocs sandals. They're cute and casual if we go somewhere in town.
I also like to bring hiking sandals along when I go camping, even if I’m not going on a hike. Keen Newport sandals are a sturdy sports sandal, and I love them for both hiking and using as campground shoes. For thoughts on other brands, see my post on the best hiking sandals.
If you’re doing a lot of hiking, invest in a pair of good hiking boots. My personal favorite is the Keen Pyrenees.
I recommend any Keen or Merrell boot.
More Camping Gear for Women
Here are a few more things that I always throw in the car before heading out on a camping trip.
Favorite Mini Purse
This might seem obvious, but I don't want to take a large purse (or really, any purse!) out on a hiking trail. But you do need some way to keep your phone and ID safe. If pockets aren't working for you or if you're on a long backpacking trip, a mini purse might be ideal.
My favorite trail-friendly purse is this Kavu wallet purse. It's large enough to hold my iPhone 11, plus a few other small essentials. And then it easily slides into my backpack.
Backpacks for Women
For short hikes, my favorite pack is this Osprey Day Pack. It's large enough to hold water, snacks, and whatever else you need for an extra-long day hike, and is made with an adjustable torso.
Shopping for backpacking packs, especially large ones, can be challenging. If you're short, it can be extra challenging! If you're struggling to find a correctly sized pack, check out this backpacking packs for petite women guide.
My current top pick is the Osprey Eja 58 pack. It comes in various sizes (including extra-small), is light-weight, and has a mesh frame that holds the weight of the pack slightly off your back.
Are Women's Trekking Poles Worth It?
Did you know that there are women-specific versions of trekking poles? I didn't until recently, and I decided to give them a shot.
What's the difference?
The poles are somewhat shorter than a standard trekking pole, usually by a few inches. Also, the hand grips are slightly smaller.
Was there a difference? Yes, actually!
As mentioned, I'm fairly short (at 5'2"), and I typically hike with my trekking pole on the "minimum" end of the extension area. With these poles I could move the poles a little farther up and extend them more. Does this make them more sturdy? I'm not sure.
What about the hand grip?
Compared to the grip on the standard Black Diamond Alpine carbon trekking poles, the women's pole grip did look and feel slightly smaller and easier for my (fairly small) hands to grip.
When compared the the Kelty poles, the women's trekking pole handle was significantly smaller (but the Kelty handles are also larger than my standard Black Diamond poles, so this was expected).
So should you buy a pair of women-specific trekking poles?
Maybe! The difference didn't seem life-altering, but I do think I now prefer these slightly smaller trekking poles. If you're short and have small hands (woman or not!), these poles may be more comfortable than the standard version.