Why Pink? Why Limited Sizes? Our Frustrations With Adventure Gear
What’s the No 1 question being asked in Women’s Adventure Groups, both in the outdoors and online?
Why can't I get outdoor gear that fits, looks great, performs well and holds up?
Below are the types of comments that often fill our Facebook group feeds. We are regularly hearing from our followers, and the conversations are lengthy with many women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities chiming in and voicing opinions about their requirements, and their wishes when it comes to good quality gear for adventure seekers, outdoorsy types and female travelers.
- It occurred to me today as I searched for a sports bra.I found a (brand not mentioned) and thought their packaging was pretty good compared to other sports marketing: model looks sporty, and although slim, isn't emaciated, she's not white and blonde and has got modest breast size. In short, they seem to have made an effort to go beyond using a 'standard' white model flaunting big breasts for the benefit of male onlookers.
- Spotted - A rack of women’s waterproofs with no pink, plum or teal! Winning! When it comes to colours are pinks, purples and pastels really the best brands could do?
- Just because I'm female doesn't mean I'm a hippie! Flower motifs. Vagina looking swirly patterns. Flowers. Why do the men get wolves, mountains and fun stuff and I get those mentioned above
- Sizes - urgh. So many odd sizes from the same brands.
- Shape - women do not necessarily want box-shaped pants. I have avoided buying hiking pants for this reason. My ankles and my hips are not the same widths
- Women's clothing always seems to be more expensive but lacking in the pockets department. How come men get massive pockets on all their hiking trousers and zipped pockets on their fleeces, and we get nothing? It's not as if us women carry around a flipping handbag when we're hiking!
- Why are there no allowances for women with boobs or muscly legs!
- Don’t get me started on cycling kits, anyone bigger than 5 foot and a size 8 needs to look in the men’s department. I don’t want to look all pink and flowery either, but I also don’t want to look like my brother in ill-fitting clothes
- Why is women's gear more expensive and why do brands think that we are all size 6 and don't have muscles? I cant get my muscly legs into some trekking pants. It’s often a lesser quality as well.
- What about good stretch in the fabric of hiking pants to make it more flexible for scrambling over rocks etc. and high waisted as hipsters don't work and bum crack isn't a great look 👀 or comfortable either. Sizing for us big hip girls and big butt girls because we do these adventurous activities too and I could just keep going on and on.
- Also shoes - so many shoes designed for men, but not in sizes small enough to fit women, and no equivalent shoe in women's sizing. And also women's shoes don't have large sizes either.
- What happened to good old naturally aesthetic colours in comfortable collared and cuffed button up light airy bushwalking shirts. I need to buy men's large bushwalking shirts to fit over the hips. They need to get back to practical basics, durable fabrics and comfort. I always buy at least a size bigger because i don't like my clothes clinging and i believe many women would prefer loose fitting clothes if they had the option.
- I want pockets! In everything!! I want pants that are long enough without having to buy men's pants! I want gear that isn't pink or lavender!! I want tops that are actually made to go over boobs!
We can easily, and often do, criticise companies for their lack of knowledge around the everyday female adventurer and her clothing needs and requirements. But to be fair this is a relatively new space, with such an influx in the market, it’s possible brands have yet the time and customer knowledge to catch up and get right the current requests, across the globe or here down under.
We are familiar with some amazing smaller companies here in Australia, whose ethos we love and who tell us they are listening. They also explain that as a small company with small production runs, it’s difficult to get it right without it costing them the earth.
They are asking for feedback when they consider changing their current lines, and when they do make the changes we ask for, they say there is a need for us to support. Point taken.
A perfect example is sizing, many companies stock primarily size 8-16, as they believe these are the sizes that won't be left on the shelves. However, from comments we receive sizing, and consistent sizing across brands is a big issue. So much, so women are often left with the option to buy gear designed for men. And that leads to other problems. (see the comments above).
So how do we tackle this problem?
Maybe it's time to high five brands out there getting it right!
The style, the sizing, the fit, the colours, the performance and the marketing. Make brands aware we will be spending our dollars with brands who have made an effort to consider the design needs of females.
Tell us in your opinion - Who is doing a great job?
And also think about how can we support the brands out there listening, but yet still lagging behind?
Would love your thoughts!