I used to view many of the outdoor products that claimed to be “designed specifically for women” as just part of a marketing ploy.

My attitude changed, however, when I asked women about it. It seems many girl gadgets are worth the special purchase. Here’s a few top picks — according to my wife that is:

Credit: Thermarest

Therm-a-rest Mira Women’s Down Sleeping Bag (pictured up top)

This is a new bag for 2014. It’s an ultra-light three-season (rated to -9 degrees Celsius) and filled with the very compressible 750+-fill goose down. It also has foot warmers built in, overfilled hood, draft collar tube, a reflective liner — ThermaCapture — and Therm-a-rest’s famed mattress integration system. So, it’s darn cozy. But how is it specifically made for women? It’s all about the cut of the bag. It’s tapered specifically for women. Doesn’t seem too much of difference to me, but my wife bought the bag the moment it became available. 

Thermarest NeoAir
Credit: Thermarest

Therm-a-rest Women’s NeoAir XLite

The NeoAir XLite has quickly become one of my preferred sleeping mats. It’s warm, comfortable and insanely lightweight. The mat rolls up to the size of a one-litre water bottle. Therm-a-rest also has one specially made for women; and once again my wife made sure she purchased it. The difference is subtle — it’s an added layer of Therm-a-rest's reflective ThermaCapture to give it added warmth. The good news is that my wife has her own now — specifically for her — and she no longer borrows mine to sleep on.

Credit: Pltypus

Playpus Women’s Packs

There’s a lot of thought put into the design of Platypus’s line of Women-specific Hydration Packs, and nothing has to do with pink fabric and flower decals. It’s all to do with fit. The shoulder straps, sternum straps, waist belt and back panel are all designed by women to fit women. Shoulder straps are located closer together so they won’t slip off the shoulders. The padding is slimmer and made not to restrict the chest and cause chaffing under the armpits and the inside of the neck. The sternum strap allows for more adjustability, moving it higher up or further down if needed. Also, the hip belt matches the shape of a woman’s hips. The advertising campaign says it all, actually. It’s awesome. World Cup downhill racer Miranda Miller makes the statement “It’s designed for you... unless you’re a man.” 

Credit: Kevin Callan

Whiz Easy

 I’m not entirely sure that all women would enjoy using this product but I can guarantee it’s specifically made for women. It allows women to pee standing up. I’ve seen many similar devices throughout the years (PeeMate, Shewee. Go Girl, pStyle) but this seems to be the latest and best selling. The Whiz Easy is made of elastomer thermoplastic, making it flexible and soft. The plastic also contains an anti-bacterial additive (similar to chopping boards). I asked a few female campers I know if they would use the product. Most said they would when it came to squatting over a nasty outhouse at a campground. The company also makes silicone rubber connector tubes that attach to a catheter bag. Female kayakers seem to love this addition. There is also the Whiz Plus; a simple flick and its dry and clean. Finally, the Whiz Easy features a special plasma coating — developed by the British army — that repels all liquids. It’s great for places where there’s no water.