How to Hike As a Girl (and Still Be an Object)

Female hikers today are taking endurance to a new level.  Unfortunately, old notions and misogynistic stereotypes are enduring as well.  In the changing world of long distance hiking, stories of Jenn Pharr Davis and Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson still contend with newly coined phrases like ‘glamping’ and the misguided, anachronistic expectation that women should feel an obligation to ‘look good’ all the time (Check out this article for an example and my inspiration.)


How does a female blogger write about hiking today?  Clearly, by re-animating the stereotypes we thought we had kicked in the fifties.  So here are some suggestions for looking cute and feminine while still hiking the AT.  You can choose to take it as seriously as you want to.  Personally I recommend interpreting this blog post – along with all suggestions that women should prioritize improving their appearance over developing themselves physically and emotionally – as satire….


There you are – Standing on top of springer and staring out at the vast, seemingly unconquerable mountain range stretching in front of you, beckoning you to traverse its ancient, daunting spine from Georgia to Maine.  You have given up everything – family, friends, career, security – to experience your own odyssey within the corridor of these millennial mountains.  Only one question dominates your mind, eclipsing the banality of your past and the temerity of your future:

‘Do I look good?’


Don’t get me wrong – feminism has come a looong way.  Now girls can traipse out into the woods just like a big, burly man (and its done wonders for our marriage prospects!), but how do you do this while still looking like the simpering puddle of emotion and eyelashes that society tells us is the only recognizable form of female beauty?

Keep reading for a few tips to help you beat those boys off with a walking stick!



Remember the old adage your mother told you?

Girls who go ultralight
Don’t make the boys fight!

Well, this is a great example of that worthy platitude.  Sure, it’s nice to save a few extra ounces from your new boyfriend’s bag (he is carrying your gear, right?) but he’ll appreciate you a lot more for wearing those long, plastic protrusions from your eyes and the glue that cements them there.  Looking for a more natural look than fake glitter lashes?  Try waterproof mascara!  For those times when you’re pleading with him to carry you to the shelter in the middle of a hail storm, he’ll be moved by your big, vacant eyes caked with a viscous black goop.  Remember: even if you run from the rain, your mascara won’t!  (Note: if you forgot to bring waterproof mascara, you can also coat your lashes in pine pitch for that rustic look!)


You don’t want to be a dumpy Deborah, but boy are hiking fashions lame!  Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to color-coordinate wicking gear or find cashmere hiker clothes in a rural Southern Walmart.  Thank goodness some people have the good sense to create cute shoes and keep hiking fashion out of the dark ages.


For clothes, try wearing jean shorts and a bandana as a shirt; it looks super cute and fits with the ‘tough’ hiker look you’re trying for.  Make sure you have a bandana to coordinate with each pair of shoes you bring – guys will notice those details, even when they’re acting all macho and pretending to care about navigating around a flooded river.

If you lose one of your bandanas, you can always put some DIY hiker ingenuity to good use by combining pine cones, sticks, leaves, old Snickers bars wrappers, and of course your feminine wiles to make this quick outfit:


Pooping in the woods

Well, first of all, you obviously don’t want to admit to actually pooping.  Use cute euphemisms like ‘squeezing the fecal bear’ or ‘harvesting a yucky potato’.  Guys love that stuff – and it makes you sound poetic, which is super duper feminine.

Secondly, bring a scented candle and light it each time you poop in the woods.  You wouldn’t want you guy to pick up a bad scent if the wind shifts!  Leave it lit just in case and don’t worry about the fire hazard.  He’ll be too busy noticing how hot you are to care about a few smoldering trees.



Sigh.  Here you are in the hundred mile wilderness, and the guys are all so concerned with the fact that they’re wasting away to nothing (It’s so unfair!  Why can’t you have that gaunt, emaciated look?) that they listlessly stare into the campfire, drooling slightly and totally ignoring your cute sleep tights!

Don’t despair; Remember that a man’s stomach is the way to his heart.  Carry a vial of bacon fat and rub it on yourself right before hiking that day.


As your body heats up, it will give off an enticing aroma of bacon and be sure to get your guy’s attention again.  In a pinch, tuna juice will also work.  Which brings us to:

Bear attacks


What a great opportunity to be the damsel in distress for your guy!!  To look your best during a bear attack, try a loose, messy hairstyle that will fall across your face when you twist your ankle in front of the approaching bear (you might be tempted to crawl away or defend yourself here, but don’t give in!  Saving yourself is extremely unattractive and will be sure to emasculate your man.)  Use a rub-in concealer, since you don’t want a lot of powder to detract from your naturally flushed cheeks as you cower helplessly.  In the event that your beau doesn’t fend off the attack successfully, make sure you have picked out a flattering headshot of yourself ahead of time for the inevitable newspaper articles that will follow.

Just remember that after this hike is over and done, you’ll only have one thing to show for it: Your photos on Instagram and Facebook.   So don’t blow it and think you can skip carrying that cordless hair straightener, girl!

That 2000 miler patch is going to look so cute on your new fall dress.



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