Women’s Hiking Essentials

Hiking is both fun and difficult, but you can make it all easier if you try to get all the things you need for a successful hiking experience.

Some of the essentials you need are crucial, whereas some you may be skip on in certain situations. No matter how dedicated you are to hiking though, some things you can’t do without when out on your favorite hiking trail.

  1. Navigation

You simply can’t go hiking without a map and a compass, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add a wrist altimeter and a GPS as well.

Some even throw in their backpack a topographic map as well, especially if the trail is not that popular and not that well known.

We all know that technology today is impressive, but you should never go hiking without a traditional compass. You don’t need any battery for it, it’s lightweight and, on top of everything else, you may use its sighting mirror (many have it) to flash sunlight to a helicopter for emergency.

Put on your list an altimeter as well as it measures air pressure, giving you a pretty accurate estimate of your elevation. This way you have an eye on your progress and identify better your location on a map.

hiking getting started

  1. Lights

You do need good light when hiking and a headlamp is a great choice as it ensures hands-free operation. Let’s not forget it’s lightweight, small and has long life batteries.

A strobe mode on your flashlight, it either is a headlamp or not, is a great function to have that may be essential in an emergency.

Get a flashlight or a lantern that is easy to pack and to carry around. Check to see how strong the beam is; it’s something you want to rely on if your life is in danger.

Some go for the solar flashlights and they are great as long as you have enough sunlight during the day. Pack some spare batteries just to play it safe, though.

  1. Fire

It’s only a matter of time until you need to jump-start a fire. You may want to go with a fire starter that ignites fast, sustaining heat for more than a couple of seconds. You may try priming paste, heat “nuggets”, dry tinder tucked in plastic bag or even lint trappings from household clothes dryer.

Don’t forget about the waterproof matches or the mechanical lighters. Either way, always bring some matches as plan B.

  1. Repair Kit and some tools

Even if you’re not the handy type, you need some sort of tools to fix an urgent problem. Either it’s a knife or a multitool; you do need something to prepare food with, to make kindling or to solve an emergency.

To give you a hint, a basic knife with at least 1 foldout blade, a can opener, some foldout scissors, 1 or 2 flathead screwdrivers should get you out of all sorts of problems. The more sophisticated your hiking trip is going to be, the more tools you’re going to need.

Throw in some duct tape also. You’ll never know when something goes wrong with your water bottle or trekking poles.

Hiking Essentials Tools

  1. First-Aid kit

No matter how careful you’re up there, some accidents may occur and you need to be ready for it. You may get a pre-assembled first-aid kit, but you may customize it according to your needs also.

You do need to include though something for the blisters, multiple gauze pads, over-the-counter pain medication, disinfecting ointment, and adhesive bandages of different sizes, pen and paper. Pack some nitrile gloves and compact guide to use for some medical emergencies.

  1. Sun Protection

You simply can’t hike without sunglasses, but you should also put on the list some extra-dark glacier glasses if a snow/ice trip is on your list. They should block 100% of the UVA and UVB light, to minimize risk for developing cataracts.

As for the sunscreen, you need one that offers at least 15SPF protection. If your trip is longer, get one with 30SPF protection for blocking better the UVA and UVB rays.

Get some sun-protection clothing that features ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Lightweight and synthetic, this type of clothing is great for the sunny hiking.

Hiking is fun

  1. Nutrition and hydration

Play it safe and always pack an extra day’s worth of food. Either it’s a freeze-dried meal or a no-cook item with long storage time (nuts, dried fruits, and jerky), you need to keep your body warm on a cold night or this is the right way to do it.

As for the water, you should carry at least 1 water bottle and a collapsible water reservoir as well. Get some means to treat water (chemical treatment or filter) for the longer trips.

  1. Shelter for the emergency

Even though you plan to hike for one day, it’s not a bad idea to have an emergency shelter if you are injured, for instance.

A bivy sack, a lightweight tarp, even a space blanket or a large plastic trash bag may serve you well, so don’t hesitate to include it on your essential list.



Most Beautiful Hiking Places in the Bay Area

The Bay Area, aka the San Francisco Bay Area, presents an amazing geographic diversity and is home for no less than 7 million inhabitants, including cities such as San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

We all know the Bay Areas for its special lifestyle, high-tech industry and liberal politics. However, the avid hiker knows it best for its amazing hiking places. Without any further introduction, here are 5 of our favorites.

Deer Park

This is definitely a hiking trail made for the dedicated, experienced hiker. It’s a 4 miles long hiking trail and is one of the most secluded, natural trail from the Marin County.

You may find it in the bosom of peaceful Fairfax and is a starting point for some other beautiful hiking trails.

Deer Park

As you enter the par, you go pass the elementary school, take left and climb some switchbacks on Deer Park and Buckeye Trails, going to a small hill. As you enjoy the nice views of the surrounding towns of San Anselmo, San Rafael and Fairfax, try to get a good pace, as the next climb may be a bit more challenging.

You continue with a short ascent up Warm Springs Fire Road and get to the crest of Bald Hill. This area gives you a nice view over Marin, the East and South Bays, but also the ridge of the mountains that rise out of the sea, near the Stinson Beach. You should do this hike on a cloud, clear day to fully enjoy the breathtaking views. You may admire the banks of fog to the west, whereas to the east a clear sky lets you see San Pablo Bay, from the swamps of Vallejo to the oil refineries of Richmond. The hills of Marin are right into the north and the Mountain Tamalpais massif is somewhat into to the south.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. Breathe in the fresh, cold air and smell the nice perfumes of moist earth, fresh grass and flowers.

When you get back home, treat yourself with a beer and a bratwurst at Gestalt Haus, near Bolinas Avenue.

Alamere Falls

When you’re ready to enjoy something more exciting, go chade the 40ft. tide fall that cascades down a cliff, right onto the beach.

The impressive waterfall is definitely the cherry on top, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the ocean views as you hike along the cliff either.


The hike is for the experienced hiker as you may encounter some steep parts and the trail may get crowded in some points.

Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit and a rope also. Chances are you’re going to splash a bit as bass Lake and swing on your way back.

Diablo Foothills Regional Park

We do have to admit this isn’t quite the most popular hiking place, but this isn’t our fault for us. The Diablo Foothills gives us broad green fields that form a bowl, nicely surrounded by forested mountains.

Diablo Foothills Regional Park

This mild hike begins at the Alamo Trail, until the Briones-to-Mt.Diablo Regional. Take right and another right at the next fork, up to the China Wall. This isn’t the same we all know, but it’s a small outcropping of stones that does look a lot like the original Great Wall of China. You do deeper into Mt. Diablo State Park. Go along the American Discovery and Hanging Valley trails until you get to the parking lot.

Dipsea trail

The 9.5 miles trail isn’t difficult, but rather moderate to difficult and brings so many great things to the table for the experienced, and not the beginner hiker for sure.

This place is all about the views and you get to see everything in the area: Mt. Tam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, the Stinson Beach, and also the Pacific Ocean. You may encounter some wildlife as well and walk the well-known Dipsea Stairs. After you crossed a creek, you get to the Steep Ravine also.

Dipsea Trail

Some may feel that this is a long hike, but it’s totally worth it and you should get plenty of water and layers to fully enjoy the hike.

If you feel it’s too much for you, get the shorter hike that begins as Stinson and is only 7.5 miles long.

Tomales Point Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

The bare land of Point Reyes National Seashore gives amazing views of the rocky coastline, grasslands, wildlife galore and some coastal trees as well. It’s only an hour north of the city and typically is covered by a peculiar layer of fog.

Point Reyes National Seashore

The 10 miles hike is great as it gives not beautiful scenery, but it’s not that difficult to try either. It begins at the Pierce Point Ranch, where you may admire the Tule elk that roams freely.

When you get to the end of it, you should enjoy the views of the Pacific and Bodega Bay.

Additional tip: always pack windbreakers and some extra layers as the weather can be quite unpredictable.

Land’s End

We chose some nice ending for our selection and the wild, rocky corner of San Francisco is pretty popular among the hikers and tourists as well.

This is why you’d better want to go early on a weekday morning so that you may enjoy the astonishing place all by yourself.

The views of the rough coastline and the Golden Gate Bridge are amazing and you should go for the out-and-back if that’s a first for you.

Extra tip? Check for the shipwrecks if it’s a low tide and you won’t regret it all!

How to Choose Women’s Hiking Boots in Wide Widths

There’s no point in getting the best hiking boots out there if they’re not the perfect fit for you. Don’t fall into the temptation of thinking that good hiking boots has to look rugger in order to fit the wide width, as it’s not all about that.

Ideally, you would need to test each boot design for sole and ankle rigidity, for instance. Nevertheless, there are so many tests you should try, especially if you’re not shopping online.

Here are some fun tests to try

There are several tests you can try when shopping for your hiking boots and some essential especially if your feet are wide.

  1. The Finger Test

This is the first test and you may need to fully unlace your boot in order to do it. Next, you move your foot as far forward in the boot as you can. You should be able to slip your index finger down inside the boot, right at the back of the ankle –if it’s the right boot for you. You need the extra space when backpacking downhill, as it’s likely that your foot slides forward in the boot, because of the heavy load.

  1. The Sensory Test

Now you’re up for the test no. 2, when you take off your socks and slip your bare foot into the hiking boot. Put some effort into it and try to see if any part of that boot feels tight. Pay extra attention for the small toes as some boots may give a pinch feel in that area.

As your feet are a tad wider than the regular is, you may want to check if the boot feels too narrow on the sides, right behind your toes. You don’t want the middle part of your foot to be too tight, on either side of the arch.

Some say this is the easiest way to know if a boot is right for you or not.

You need to repeat the test with the socks stretched on your foot also. A good boot doesn’t feel tight in any area, nor too fit loose either. You need just the right amount of “snug” for the foot.

Women tend to get tight-fitting street shoes and they should avoid that when getting hiking boots. Wide feet in tight boots may cause the leather/fabric relax too much, so the foot goes beyond the sole of the boot. The stress on your body raises as you try to keep balance while hiking on a platform that’s simply too short for your wide foot. In some cases, the edge of the sole may even dig into the bottom of the foot, through the fabric/leather. 5 minutes later, blisters and bruises are on the way.

Don’t be shy and try men’s boot also if you can’t find a women model for the wide width. Keep an eye on the sizing and check the heel area just as well. Women do have narrower heels than men do J

  1. The Stride Test

Now it’s a good time to walk around the boots a bit. You don’t want a pair if the top is jamming the back of your toes. The heel isn’t supposed to slide in the heal area either, but this is common for the rigid boots.

  1. The Slant Board Test

Ok, you may not be able to try this test in all store, but why not give it a go? Try to see if the salesman has a “slant board” and walk down the incline. Your foot shouldn’t jam into the front and your toes shouldn’t feel pinched either. If they do, get the next half-size larger.

How to test it at home?

Once you got your hiking boots, you may want to slip on the socks you’re gonna wear when hiking. Trace an outline of your foot as you place a blank sheet of paper under your foot. You continue by cutting the foot outline from the paper and slide the “foot cut-out” into your boot. Work the paper into all corners of the boot and remove the cutout when you’re done.

A spot where the paper is folded up is a spot where your boot is tight. Don’t get it wrong though as it’s quite normal to have some snugness.

Take the “long walk” test also. You may do it inside your house or inside a local shopping mall, as it’s good to put some “indoor distance” on the boot. If you’re not feeling ok, it’s better to send them back while you still can.

Some last tips

As your feet swell throughout the day, try the hiking boots in the second half of the day when your feet are at their largest.

You know you got the right pair when you walk and may wiggle your toes without them touching the front of the boots.

If you’re the type who uses insoles, don’t forget to insert them as they may add a whole half size to your hiking boots. They’re a great solution for the low or collapsed arches or in other foot conditions.

So, as long as you’re willing to try, don’t hesitate to put through all the tests your next hiking boots with wide width.

Women, Herbs and Health

Women have been using herbs as food and medicine since the dawn of time. One of the very first documented female healers and teachers was Trotula of Solerno, Italy who treated women’s gynecological health issues in the 11th century. She was an early advocate of a healthy diet, regular exercise and stress reduction in order to achieve optimal health. Today, plant medicine and a plant-based diet can be used to promote fertility, balance hormones naturally while providing nourishment and vitality. Medical herbalist Carmen Lynde covers common issues including infertility, urinary tract infections, hormone imbalance, uterine fibroids and much more. Herbs such as vervain, agrimony, holy basil, and motherwort are a few of the herbs that can be used for health.