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A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

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Gear

Gear Resources
Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

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Travel

Travel Resources
A selection of travel resources especially for women who love to travel. Includes a list of online communities if you do it yourself, or companies if you need a little help.

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Surfing

Surfing Resources
Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

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Hiking/Tramping

Hiking Resources
Extended walks are great for the mind and spirit and lots of women love to take part in them. Check out these resources and get inspired to go on a walking adventure.

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Snow Sports

Snow Sports Resources
Skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, polar expeditions - all done in the snow and all done by lots of amazing women.  Check out these resources to find out more...

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Kayaking/Canoeing

Kayaking Resources
White water, surfing, sea kayaking, sprint racing, marathon racing, multisport, fishing...is there anything you can't do from a kayak? Explore these resources!

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Cycling

Cycling Resources
A list of resources for all sorts of cycling - mountain biking, road biking, touring, racing, recreation and commuting - all specific to women.

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Climbing

Climbing Resources
Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

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Organisations

Organisations
A list of organisations that cater exclusively to women, or run trips exclusively for women. A great way to find a women-specific adventure in your area.

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Outdoor Industry

Outdoor Industry Resources
Looking for resources to help you plan programs, companies and organisations that cater for women or organisations you can join? Look no further...

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A little bit of equipment envy

tn_Heir Nicht.JPG
Wait!  There's no such thing as equipment envy...


...or is there??



A little while ago a friend of mine stated, firmly and without hesitation, the reason there were less women than men out there enjoying outdoor activities.  The problem, she explained, is really quite simple and straightforward - but particularly difficult to fix without some life changing decisions and a lot of expensive surgery.

In July every year there are women all over the world watching the Tour de France boys pee off their bikes at 50km/hr and burning up inside with the unjust nature of it. 

tn_Peeing over Mexico City.JPGIt is, after all, a reasonably simple piece of equipment that allows men to urinate while standing up, yet peeing without sitting or squatting is a skill that eludes most women.  It is a skill that minimises inconvenience and fuss and clothing removal, allowing the equipment wielder to stay warmer and drier.  It is a skill that the ‘outdoor woman of the world’ looks on with just a touch of envy - and perhaps admiration, depending on the wielder of the equipment and the equipment of the wielder.

There are a lot of situations in which outdoor toileting is easy. Despite the fact I’ve never quite got around to learning to pee standing up (I’ve heard it’s possible but the attempts I’ve had led me to believe it’s improbable), I’ve never had too much trouble. A nice view, a good set of squatting muscles and a few dry leaves or a light breeze and you’re set.  Even festering third world or overfull ‘short drop’ toilets can be dealt with if you’ve got a good set of lungs and a good breath hold time (you can improve this by going snorkelling a lot).

tn_Up a climb with Tom.JPGHowever, sometimes there are times when the male equipment becomes an enviable commodity.  Three pitches into a six pitch climb, just as you start to feel the twitch from the three cups of coffee you had that morning, you realise that the sales bloke in the climbing shop didn’t properly explain the benefits of the adjustable leg loop.  Worst of all, he probably didn’t even know because all he ever had to do was unzip, whip it out and send a yellow waterfall cascading off the cliff.  He probably never felt the embarrassment of sharing a ledge with a sniggering climbing buddy while unclipping ropes, taking off a harness and precariously balancing behind a bit of struggling, scruffy cliff vegetation.

tn_Spouting pipe.JPGThinking about this sort of situation, and foreseeing a time on an upcoming kayaking trip where I would almost certainly find myself with 2 metre waves below, 30m cliffs above and 25 knots of wind whistling past (not ideal peeing conditions), I decided to have a go at solving the problem.  After all, the male equipment isn’t particularly complicated, regardless of what they might say. There are all sorts of gadgets and gizmos on the market, not just for women in these sorts of outdoor situations, but also for wheelchair users and the elderly.  Basically they’re just a cup shaped plastic bit attached to a hose and a collecting container if you’re fussy - easily manufactured, so I thought, using an old soda water bottle cut into a cup shape and a bit of tubing.  How hard could it be?

tn_P6240030.JPGTurns out - pretty hard - even in the nice calm water where I had my trial run.  First there was the scratchy edges of the soda water bottle, which I hadn’t protected partly because I like to believe I’m a pretty hard core outdoorsy chick who doesn’t mind a bit of discomfort, but mostly because I couldn’t be bothered.  Then there was the wriggling and squirming and undressing that had to go on just to get the thing into position.  Then there was that part where, during all the wriggling, I knocked my sponge overboard and it promptly sank to join its long lost relatives on the sea floor.  Then there was the unexpected, major issue of aim and in particular my lack of it.

The experience ended with me sitting in a cockpit full of wee that was not quite deep enough for the bilge pump to get rid of, but that was nicely soaking into the cockpit foam padding and my paddling shorts.  The sponge would have been useful, but unfortunately it had moved on to greener pastures - and who could blame it. Suffice it to say that the ten minute, home made version of what it took evolution many thousands of years to accomplish, was not a roaring success.

tn_Now I really gotta go.JPGSo, barring spending lots of money on a gadget that probably wouldn’t work that well anyway and make my boyfriend jealous because it would have to reach over the cockpit rim or out the leg of a pair of shorts, what is the solution to this problem?  Personally I think the answer is to harden up, humble down, have a laugh and deal with it whatever way you can.  After all, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Do you have a better idea? A patented technique, great gadget or gross story you’d like to share?  Go to the forum at GO! Girls Outdooors and tell everyone about it!

UPDATE: I've taken it upon myself to try out not one but three different types of Female Urinating Devices (FUD's) and reviewed them for GO! Girls Outdoors.  Click on the name to read about the GoGirl, the P-Style and the Shewee.
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