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Why all-women's backpacking trips? The power of community in the outdoors

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

From letting go of expectations to learning something new, here are some of the many perks of adventuring together.


We don’t want to play into any stereotypes. But the truth is, spending time in the outdoors with other women can benefit all aspects of our lives. It gives us confidence to be ourselves, allows us to let go, and teaches us new skills to use in our everyday lives.

You know that feeling after you’ve hung out with a good friend all day? That’s often what we walk away with after adventures with other women.

Beyond that, there are so many reasons why backpacking with a group of women can be fulfilling and good for the soul.

The benefits of all-women backpacking trips

The first couple times us cofounders of LAAF Travels (Katie and Megan) went backpacking, we made plenty of mistakes.

Melted the camp stove? Yep.

Mistook a deer for a bear and freaked out in the middle of the night? Yep.

But those shared experiences bonded us in new ways. After those brief- and sometimes prolonged- moments of panic subsided, we were able to laugh about them. These stories are woven into the core of our friendship.

On our LAAF PNW adventures, we teach the basics of backpacking and provide the setting to meet other gals to adventure with. It’s amazing the connections you can make when there’s no pressure to be anyone but yourself.

Not being held to a stereotype

The fortunate among us know what it’s like to hang with a group of women and the security and affirmation that comes from it.

Women are dynamic humans. We can be many things at once- vulnerable, strong, curious, stubborn… the list goes on. We’re used to juggling our different strengths for whatever the situation requires of us.

When we’re among other women in the outdoors, we might feel less pressure to perform or succeed in everything we do. The need to prove ourselves wanes, and the expectations drift away. There’s room for meaningful conversations that wouldn’t happen in other settings.

It’s a freeing feeling.

This space gives us the time and the energy to self-reflect, to be in the moment and to appreciate ourselves in all of our complexities. This is the power of a shared experience.

And usually, we have a good time.

The outdoors gives us opportunity to buck stereotypes, and to take a break from all the expectations from ourselves and others.

The chance to recharge and let go

Whether we’re trying to live up to gender roles or trying to buck them, it can be exhausting.

Adventuring with groups of women builds community and can take away the pressure of being everything to everyone in today’s complicated and busy world.

On our women’s backpacking trips, we aim to create an environment for you to get to know other women by having real conversations without distraction. Women already have the ability to connect and tell stories, we just set the stage for that to happen.

Mountains and trails? Check.

Prepping you for the trip so you can just get excited about it? Check.

Healthy and delicious meals cooked for you so you can sit back and learn from us? You bet.

The outdoors provides the perfect backdrop to let go, be ourselves and tap into a more playful and reflective side.

There’s no one to impress out there but yourself.

Learning backpacking skills from other women


We believe the best way to learn backpacking skills is out on the trails. Sure, you can do loads of research leading up to your trip, but you need to actually go backpacking to know whether or not it’s for you.

There’s a lot that goes into backpacking, which is why we take care of all the logistics on our LAAF trips so you have time and brain space to learn the rest. And we don’t mean just learning from your guides, but observing and taking in the skills from other women on our backpacking trips.

Some perks of learning from other women include:

  • Not being afraid to ask questions

  • Letting your guard down to try something new

  • Taking more risks and caring less about failing

  • Feeling supported and less self-conscious

Learning something new in a group can create an instant connection, especially in an outdoor environment.

This is often the case when we get together with our friends in the outdoors- none of us are trying to impress anyone.

Women have the ability and often the inclination to let go of their egos and just have a good time.

All-women’s adventures and intersectionality

With all of this being said, it’s important to acknowledge that the outdoors have historically been a place occupied and reserved for mostly white people, and white men in particular.

The good thing is outdoor spaces are becoming more representative of the makeup of this country. You can see new faces on mountain tops and trails that in the past have been completely left out and even excluded from outdoor recreation, in magazine ads and within the industry.

There are so many entrepreneurs and trail blazers that are working to get more of their communities into the outdoors, whether that’s Native, Black or Latina women, and queer and gender nonbinary people.

We plan and hope to partner with these sorts of companies in the future, but for now we’re setting the groundwork for sorts of self-identifying women to feel free and most like themselves on the trails.

Get out on the trails

If you’re new to hiking, find a friend and pick a trail that seems doable to both of you. Or maybe you need some solo time and quiet away from the city. During the week is a great time to go in this scenario.

Keep it simple to start with- there’s no need to get overwhelmed. All you need is a good amount of water, a trail snack, some layers and tennis shoes or hiking boots.

And if you want to learn the skills of backpacking with a great group of women, you know where to find us!

We acknowledge that as a company and as individuals we recreate on stolen land that belong to the Duwamish Tribe. Find out more at

#womenoutdoors #laaftravels #womensadventures #backpackingskills #outdoorscommunity

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