“When most people think female-specific outdoor gear, they’re bound to think of pink mummy bags and water bottles with flowers plastered on them. Now, while a few flowers never hurt anyone, we think gals deserve a little more thought than that.” -activejunky.com
The 2013 Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide features some of the best female-specific backpacking and camping gear on the market, plus other gear (for any sex) that female testers just happened to rank very high this year. From lightweight camping stoves boasting record boil times to backpacks and sleeping pads designed especially for women’s bodies, Active Junky picked the best of the best and put them all in one place, along with detailed product reviews and ratings, to simplify your shopping experience. But that’s not all. When you shop through Active Junky you get cash back on your purchases. This is ideal if you a) shop for gear online, and b) like saving money. We teamed up with Active Junky to put on the 2013 Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide and help you save on outdoor gear. Here are a few of this year’s featured products that we recommend for women who can’t help but adventure outdoors and demand high-quality gear to accommodate.
Here’s how it looks:
At 14.7 ounces, this stove is incredibly light. It also boils a liter of water in 3.5 minutes. Plus, fuel efficient would be an understatement; the MSR Reactor 1 Liter stove milks an 8-ounce canister of camp fuel for almost an hour-and-a-half of burn-time. Cooking under wind gusts on an exposed ridgeline? No problem. This MSR stove gets the job done in the worst weather, and is ideal as a winter camping stove. Let’s do the math: a camp stove (and 1-liter pot!) that weighs less than a pound and efficiently boils water really, really fast, even in crummy weather. That’s a winner in anyone’s book!
Hauling Outdoor Gear
Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL
This lightweight women’s specific backpack is perfect for a big day on trail or an overnight getaway with minimal gear. When you load the Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL to the max it remains comfortable on your back, thanks to Deuter‘s AirComfort ‘trampoline-style’ back system that keeps weight off your back to increase breathability and maximize comfort. The hip belt moves with you to keep the pack vertical and stable, even when you’re hiking across a steep slope, and the padding is especially comfortable on a woman’s wider, cone-shaped and generally bonier hips. Dual vertical side pockets offer plenty of storage and dual hip belt pockets keep your camera, snacks and other on-the-fly items within easy reach.
Sipping beverages made from clean, refreshing mountain spring water and glacier melt is mandatory in the backcountry. You’ll love these innovative ways to both filter and carry your fluids:
Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter
Talk about easy-peasy water filtration! This may seem too good to be true, but you literally just fill up the bag with non-potable water, hang it from a tree, tent, rock or the top of your pack, and kick back and relax while up to four liters filter themselves! The water moves down a tube from the “dirty” bag, through the Platypus carbon filter, and into the “clean” bag. That’s all it takes! Kill two birds by washing your dishes or cleaning up camp while your water filters on its own; it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to fill the entire Platypus GravityWorks 4-liter bag with 99.9999% bacteria and protozoa -free water! At less than 11 ounces and small enough to roll up and tuck away in a pocket, it’s no wonder this quick and convenient water filter was Editor’s Choice this year.
HydroFlask Flip Cap Insulated Water Bottle
Can’t stand it when your tea or coffee cools to room temp before you’ve polished it off? Store your drinks in a HydroFlask insulated water bottle constructed from double-walled stainless steel and you won’t have that problem. When you fill a HydroFlask bottle with hot liquids, they stay hot. This is ideal on chilly mornings outdoors, but also great for long days at work or road trips when you want to spread out your sips and enjoy your drink longer. Or, use it as a larger reservoir to store hot drinks and refill your smaller mug from! HydroFlasks are perfect for cold drinks too, and have the same effect – if you fill it with cold water, it will stay cold. Fill your bottle with ice water and leave it in a car with the windows up on a hot day. When you return hours later to a hot driver’s seat and steering wheel, you’re HydroFlask will still be full of cold water. Don’t be surprised if the ice cubes are still in tact, either. Here’s a more detailed article about HydroFlask insulated bottles: Hydro Flask Insulated Bottle – Keeps Hots Hot and Colds Cold!
Seeing in the Dark
Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Lantern
Do you love a good book before bed when you’re camping? Maybe you’d appreciate more light around your site than a headlamp provides, but don’t want to lug around a bulky lantern. For the ultimate backpacking lantern that sets a pleasant ambiance, you want the Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Lantern. Not only is it both tiny and lightweight (1.9 oz!), it has multiple settings so you can choose from a bright LED light to illuminate your campsite or picnic table, a strobe light for those backcountry discotecas with friends, and a dimming option for varied uses both in an out of the tent. It even offers a candle-mode that flickers gently to create a more romantic setting – or to simulate a campfire when you’re stuck in a hotel between adventures. Another unique feature of the Mini Hozuki is the cool magnetic clip that hangs from practically anything from your backpack, a nearby tree, or one of the loops on your tent ceiling.
Sleeping Well Outdoors
Women’s Therm-A-Rest NeoAir X-Lite Sleeping Mattress
We’ve got to get our beauty sleep when we’re backpacking. Not just so we look good – shoot, we know ‘looking good’ is a relevant term in the backcountry – but so we feel good all day and can truly appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. Sometimes it can be tough to ignore discomforts associated with last night’s mediocre sleep. Let’s negate this all together with a comfortable inflatable mattress that won’t weigh you down on the trail. The Women’s Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite only weighs 11 ounces and is super comfortable when you lay down, plus is lined with a reflective layer to prevent precious body heat from escaping during the night.
Check out the full 2013 Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide for more gear like the best women’s hiking pants, lightweight utensils and multi-day trekking packs.
Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.