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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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Discovery Trekking Towel

tn_P7051014.JPGEvery time I go on a long walk or travel overseas, I take a small towel with me.  A towel (says The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have - and the same applies to regular hikers, travellers and outdoor enthusiasts.  I use my towel as a face washer, to sit on while reading on the beach, to mop out the tent on soggy trips, to change behind and, of course, to dry off after a swim.  In the past, my backpacking towels have been small, damp, passably efficient at drying things and a little smelly after several days (or weeks, or months) in a back pack.  I’ve always put up with them - after all, many miles from home you can’t expect to have all the creature comforts, one of which includes a big, fluffy towel - and done my best to keep them clean and hygienic.  

I’m very pleased to report that now I don’t have to put up with any of this anymore.  No more accidently exposing myself to the students I take kayaking as I struggle to change behind a towel the size of a large handkerchief.  No more perching precariously on a tiny scrap of damp, sand encrusted material while trying to enjoy my book on a sunny day.  No more drying myself with a cold, clammy, damp and smelly towel.  No more wincing as I discover that my towel has mistakenly been wedged between my pack liner and pack for the last few weeks (actually, this might still happen, but it’s not the fault of the towel).  And why don’t I have to worry about any of this ever again?  Well, because I’ve just discovered the Discovery Trekking Towel!

The first fantastic thing about the Discovery Trekking Towel is its size.  I have the large size towel, with dimensions are 34” x 58” (or 86cm x 147cm), which is the same size as my regular towel.  However, the towel only weighs 300g and packs down as small as my other (smelly, small) backpacking towels.  As a tall person, I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to have a light, small towel that covers all the necessary bits while I’m changing, including wrapping all the way around my body almost twice, rather than having to do the small towel tango to avoid exposure to the elements and fellow adventure partners.

The next fantastic thing about the Discovery Trekking Towel is the luxury feel.  The towel is made of a special type of fabric - a high tech stretch fabric, according to their website.  Whatever the details are, suffice it to say that the towel feels luxurious, even when it’s wet.  After a long, cold ride up the hill to work one day (carrying the towel in my back pack, which was fine because it’s so small and light), I used the towel to dry off after a shower and wow!  The material is sheer and smooth and almost feels like silk against your skin.  You can wrap yourself up in it and even walk around the shower room!  When I first started multi-day hiking, I thought that luxury items were unnecessary in the bush and kind of cheating, but I very soon changed my mind on that one.  The Discovery Trekking Towel feels like a luxury item - but you don’t even have to justify carrying it because it’s so light and small.  You can save your justification skills for the espresso coffee maker, bottle of wine and camembert cheese that are so important.  And I can assure you that you and your new towel will be the envy of gear freaks everywhere.

tn_P7051015.JPGThe Discovery Trekking towels contain silver, which is an anti-microbial. Usually the smelliness in cotton or other materials is caused by microbes that flourish in warm, damp conditions such as the space between your pack liner and your pack.  Anti-microbials, which are often chemicals, prevent the growth of these tiny creatures, but silver is a natural source.  Discovery Trekking have impregnated it in their towel, and therefore it doesn’t wash out.  I ended up testing the towel’s anti-microbial properties accidently, but it certainly passed the test.  It’s winter in Tasmania at the moment and I have gamely taken my towel out on several occasions, hoping that I will pluck up the courage to test out the towel in the great outdoors by going for a swim.  Alas, the water is frigid and I am pretty pathetic (having spent the last three years in Queensland where the water never gets below about 20 degrees Celsius), and the towel hasn’t yet had an ‘outdoor trial’ despite being carried along to all sorts of different places.  It has, however, sat in my pack, and it did get a little bit damp one day from a sudden rain storm, and then I did accidently forget to clear out my pack until the next weekend.  But it was fine!  No smell, no clamminess, just a little damp that quickly dried out.  Anyone who’s had to dry themselves with a stinky, wet towel will know that this towel’s silver is worth its weight in gold!

Not only does the towel cover all the important bits, feel luxurious and avoid the dreaded towel-stink, it also works!  If you’re stuck for entertainment (or you’re doing research, or both), put the corner of the towel in some water and watch the water get sucked up into the fabric.  You might even like to have a race with a friend, to find out who can suck up the water the quickest!  These towels are made from the best wicking fabric around, which is why they suck the water away from your skin the way they do.  I’m also proud to report that they work just as well with salt water as they do with fresh - I’d love to say I finally went for that swim but it was blowing 40 knots so I just took it down to the beach and did the wicking race thing.

Discovery Trekking Outfitters
Discovery Trekking are a Canadian company from Campbell River (on Vancouver Island, British Columbia) and currently not available in Australian shops, but you can get the towels online at the Discovery Trekking website.  The large towel is just $29.95 CAD and they ship to Australia in just a few days.  There are other sizes for those who are thinking that 300g is too much - check out the website for details.

Given my past experience with backpacking towels, I was initially sceptical about this one, but was quickly turned into a true convert.  I really like this towel and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to use it in the outdoors (or for entertainment such as wicking races).  A little bit of luxury goes a long way when you’re many miles from home, and this towel is a great way to get it!

For more information, check out Discovery Trekking Outfitters.  Jackie tells me that the towels should soon be available in Australia, but until then the website is the best way to get hold of one.  If you're in the US, look for them in REI.


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