Anything men can do, women can do too, right?!
Well, there are plenty of naysayers that suggest women going places alone is dangerous. This could be to specific destinations or even into the great outdoors.
But writer Ruby McConnell sought to change that with her new book, A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook. McConnell herself is a writer, dancer and geologist who loves the outdoors. She created this practical guide for women in the woods, breaking down the many myths and offering helpful advice.
>> Grab a copy of A Woman’s Guide to the Wild on Amazon.
Why Was the Book Written?
McConnell noticed an underlying current in the media that seemed to suggest women had no place in the wilderness. She also noticed a trend in all-female hiking clubs and interest in long-term camping trips like the one featured in Cheryl Strayed’s book (and later movie) Wild.
Women are equally capable of accomplishing long distance hikes like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, but we seem to hear less about them than their male counterparts. There are also some aspects of female life that make camping and hiking more difficult, and overwhelming to some, but not impossible. The author dives into this as well.
What’s In the Book?
In this 250+ page book, you’ll find information on everything from where to actually go camping to how to make a meal on the go. She starts with information on how to get back to nature within a short drive from major American cities.
The next chapter is all about what to pack, which is of interest to readers of this site! Packing lists include day trips to deep wilderness trips and, as we’ve discussed before, how to pack your backpack properly.
You’ll later learn how to set up camp, start a fire and deal with “that time of the month” while outdoors. Pay special attention to the illustrations of venomous insects and poisonous plants! If you have any camping related questions, you’ll likely find the answer in this guide.
Is It Right for Me?
If you’re a camping and hiking veteran, you might find most of the information in A Woman’s Guide to the Wild to be common sense or knowledge you already had. But for someone like me who is a total camping neophyte, it could be useful. If I had to set out on my own tomorrow, I would have no idea how to start a fire, how to properly dispose of waste, or how to tell which direction I was facing.
This book is like a guidebook to a destination, which you might want to either research fully before you go (before leaving it at home) or to bring with you to constantly reference.
My favorite aspects of the book were the layout, which was easy to follow, especially with the boxes for packing lists, and the sketches that are included every few pages. I also liked the little sidebars with recipes and DIY hacks. The paperback makes it easy to throw in your bag while still traveling light. And for every topic covered, McConnell interviews an expert to offer their words of advice, whether it’s a Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, professional kayaker, or the folks at Lunette and Diva Cup.
But keep in mind that the majority of the information is geared specifically towards Americans, including tips on camping for free at Bureau of Land Management property. That’s not to say that the rest isn’t useful, or that it wouldn’t be helpful while hiking in America, but it’s something other readers should keep in mind before purchasing. Overall, as a non-camper who lives in the United States, this book taught me a lot!
You can buy the guide on Amazon as a paperback (US) or for your Kindle (US, UK, AU) as well as Target, Walmart and Foyles (UK). All cost less than $20 USD.