GO! Girls Outdoors

A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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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The Body Shop

Climbing in Europe There’s a fair chance that if you’re here reading this, you like to spend a bit of time enjoying the beautiful outdoors.  I enjoy playing at different activities outside as well, but have come to realise that many outdoor activities give your gear a bit of a trashing.  You only have to look at the state of your various bits of outdoor gear that have been exposed to every type of weather there is to realise that sun, wind, rain, dust, mud, salt water, fresh water, sand, grit, dirt and so on are very efficient at ageing fabric, buckles, plastics and metal.  I often look at my 10 year old, brown and grey day pack and remember the colour it used to be - bottle green and black - and how all the zips worked and buckles matched.  Logically I’ve spent even more  time in the elements and gone more places than it has.  It’s lucky for me that skin repairs itself, or else I’d be even more sad and sorry looking than my pack, all wrinkly and grey with bits hanging off, half my functions not working and inexpert stitches everywhere.

I’ve never been much of a one for lying around with cucumbers stuck to my eyes or other beauty treatments - in fact, my parents’ prematurely balding poodle has far more expensive shampoo than I do.  However, with the amount of time I spent in the outdoors exposing myself to sun, wind, rain, dust, etc, etc, it’s a wonder I’m not starting to resemble a wrinkled old hag complete with festering skin cancers, frizzy grey hair and arthritic, old, liver spotted hands.  It must be a bit of good genetics coupled with a healthy lifestyle that keeps me looking more or less my age, along with my rare purchase of a good bottle of moisturiser or hair conditioner that I end up keeping for months longer than it recommends on the packaging.

A little while ago, when Mum and I visited Tasmania’s Female Lifestyle Expo (and were not particularly impressed, you can read the blog article), we came across a stall with products from The Body Shop.  The lady there took one look at our hands, tut-tutted to herself and then reached into the depths of her stall for the best and most effective hand lotion she had available - Hemp Hand Protector - and squeezed a generous dollop onto our poor, tired, somewhat scaly hands.

Hemp Hand ProtectorEverything else at the Female Lifestyle Expo was pretty so-so, except for the Hemp Hand Protector.  As Mum and I drank our coffee and discussed what it means to be a woman according to the Female Lifestyle Expo organisers, we couldn’t help marvelling at how smooth and supple our hands were feeling.  It was then I decided to contact The Body Shop and find out some more about their products, and how they might apply to the outdoorsy type ladies, who mostly need a different type of skin moisturiser than your average “Female Lifestyle Expo woman” (who apparently needed only to lose weight, put on makeup, get married, buy a nice handbag and eat some chocolate).  The kind people at The Body Shop were more than happy to oblige to a gear review, not just of the Hemp Hand Protector but also of some Hemp Face Protector and some Vitamin E Face Moisturiser with SPF 15.  Here are the results!

For the test I decided that I would spend a more or less typical weekend doing what I liked doing, then apply the products at the end.  So off I went with a few friends - kayaking on the ocean (sun combined with salt water and sand exfoliation), mountain biking (mud splash masque with added, wind-applied dust, more sun and partial dehydration) and rock climbing (a light chalk dusting followed by removal by rope chafe and an application of rope dirt, as well as more sun and wind).  By the end my hands and face were looking pretty sorry for themselves - even by my standards.  And so on to the application of product.

Hemp Face ProtectorHemp Hand Protector (RRP $21.95 AUD) contains “the natural magic of hemp backed by soothing glycerine, beeswax, lanolin and panthenol to improve nail flexibility”.  Despite the fact that in my mind glycerine is a song, beeswax is something you get rid of before eating honey, lanolin is something to do with sheep and panthenol sounds like a pick up line from a lisping, mid-western American (“Honey, take off those panth an’ all”), I was impressed.  And I’m also pleased to report that I was thoroughly impressed by the product itself, in full agreement with my fellow tester Amanda.  The cream goes on beautifully, stays on for hours (you can feel it if you wash your hands later), leaves your hands smooth and supple after a trashing and, most importantly, doesn’t feel slimy!  There’s nothing worse than slimy, “moisturised” hands that leave grease marks on the newspaper.

The next product we tried out was the Hemp Face Protector (RRP $25.95 AUD), which is simply described as “an intense moisturiser to soothe and protect very dry skin”.  Nothing flowery, just down to business!  Just like the Hemp Hand Protector, the Hemp Face Protector went on smoothly, didn’t feel greasy, was easy to rub in and left our battered faces feeling much better afterwards.  Better still, we discovered that a little bit goes a long way, so don’t be put off by the size of the tub - it will last a long time.

Vitamin E SPF 15Last but not least was the Vitamin E Face Moisturiser with SPF 15 (RRP $27.95 AUD), designed to put on every day as a morning moisturiser as a prevention rather than a cure.  Seeing as we have been experiencing the first really sunny days of spring in Tasmania, it was the perfect time to try it out.  Just like the other products it was absorbed very well without leaving that greasy feeling of normal sunscreens, and I certainly didn’t get sunburnt on the days I put it on.  I imagine that in the height of the Australian summer you would want to complement the cream with a few sunscreen layers, but for everyday use it’s great.

As for the expense - because in my opinion it is fairly significant paying almost $30 for a daily sunscreen moisturiser - I can only say that with the products I tried out, a little went a long way.  I can see the products lasting me a long time, and not just because I’m usually too slack to put them on.  They feel great, look after your skin and hopefully help to prevent you from becoming a wizened, old, skin cancer ridden hag who scares off little kids with her appearance, despite all her amazing photos and stories from outdoor adventures all over the world.  Look after yourself, stick around to inspire future generations and consider supporting The Body Shop (who do, after all, put a portion of their profits back into worthy projects - see the website for details).  If only they had something to revitalise ageing back packs…

The Australian website for The Body Shop can be found here.  If you're elsewhere on the planet, try here and then pick your own country.

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