Heels and Hiking Boots: A Woman’s Strategy to Packing for the Trail

Hiking Boots and Heels

As adventurous, traveling women, we can be finicky creatures, and we can go to extremes. Determined to not stand out as the woman that brought along a hairdryer, sometimes we may pack so little that we remove from our packs the ever important toilet paper or tampons we think we can find along the way only to regret it later. Or there is the other extreme of wanting every comfort of home while in a foreign and remote spot that you end up bringing makeup and a pair of heels on a trekking trip that you will never wear and will regret hauling around.

When I pack for an extended trip, I’m somewhere in the middle but certainly conscious that most of what I think I will need, I won’t. Here is my strategy for packing as an adventurous woman who wants to retain her feminine qualities.

1. Look at your itinerary, know your trip.

For the treks with OneSeed, formal wear is not necessary. In fact, walking around the lodge in your long johns and Chacos is perfectly acceptable attire. Both Chile and Nepal are conservative cultures, so be conscious of this when packing.

2. Make a list and organize it.

Excel, Evernote, good ol’ pen and paper. Whatever it is, write it out and you’ll see how long your list gets quickly, and you won’t need most of what you normally pack to go visit family for a week.

3. Talk to people that have done a similar trip (or check Internet forums).

Women are happy to share ideas on things they regretted bringing or wished they had brought and want to share that information with each other.

4. Lay out everything you plan to bring. Get rid of half of it.

Unless you are experienced at packing for an expedition, half is a pretty good rule of thumb. Women often pack more clothes than men because we are used to needing separate outfits, but while on the trail, you want to consolidate what you are bringing. No one will judge for wearing the same pants for a week. Make sure you have all the appropriate clothing (see our packing lists for Nepal and Chile), but don’t take more than necessary.

5. Pack it up.

Weigh your pack and test it out. Walk around with it for a while. Would you be comfortable for carrying this pack for an extended period of time? For treks in Nepal, there is a weight limit of 10kg/22lb for the pack that will be carried by a guide in training. For our Chile expeditions, you’ll be carrying your own–all the more reason to pack light!

6. Unpack, lay it out, reevaluate in a few days.

Come back in a few days and see if you have different feelings on any of the items, both items you may not need and items you may want to put back in (just not too many!). There’s nothing like mountain dried hair, so leave the hairdryer at home!


Happy packing!