International Women’s Day may have been yesterday, but why stop at one day to celebrate women’s achievements?
The BMC has teamed up with Sport is Beautiful, the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF), WomenClimb, Mountain Warehouse, and a load of other partners to bring the Women in Mountain Adventure Film Competition. After discovering at the ShAFF that only an average of 20% of entries were created by women, or featured a female protagonist, the Women in Mountain Adventure Film Competition was created to address this issue.
The main contenders for the prize have now been shortlisted, and whether it is naked swimming in the lakes of Snowdonia year-round to a young girl’s first exploration of her local hills, the competition shows women are moving and achieving year-round, not just on one day.
You can take a look at the different entries through BMC TV by following this link: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/women-in-mountain-adventure-watch-the-films-on-bmc-tv.
Which film is your favourite?
In recent weeks I’ve noticed a takeover on my bus stops, shopping centres and tv screen. Those women in ads, looking perfectly coiffed and slightly dead behind the eyes have disappeared, and been replaced by women of all backgrounds and sizes dripping with sweat, charging up hills, dancing round gyms or even charging into the boxing ring, all as part of the #thisgirlcan campaign.
The #thisgirlcan campaign is aimed at encouraging women of all abilities, shapes and sizes to participate more in sports and exercise more often, and challenge their fear of judgement that stops them from doing so. Approximately 75% of women between the ages of 14-40 state they want to be more active, yet there are two million fewer women than men that regularly participate in sports.
Every woman has felt intimidated when trying out a new sport or in new surroundings at some point, particularly when you’re by yourself. That little voice, niggling in the back of your head, questioning your ability, the competency of others, whether you will be ostracised or not based on those criteria, how you will look. The list goes on.
This uncertainty is then compounded with the issue of body image; look at anything related to fitness in the media or in fashion, and it will be closely followed by images of tall, slim girls without any muscle mass, dieting tips, or clickbait articles varying between cellulite eradication or how to make your bum look bigger. Not very representative of the general public.
And not very fun either. Who wants to spend their precious free time counting calories, or toiling in the gym for sculpted abs, while you spend the rest of your time miserable and obsessive? Not you, and if the 5/10 diet is anything to go on, nor does anyone around you, either.
Which is another reason why I think the #thisgirlcan campaign is so important – it reminds everyone that sport is for fun. You don’t have to be the best, or work towards winning a competition, just enjoy the sport you’re participating in.
As someone who enjoys trying out new sports, and for the most part has little regard for the judgement of others, even I have felt somewhat disheartened if I haven’t picked a sport up straight-away or felt judged on my ability, like I was in a contest I didn’t know I had registered for. All you can do during times like those is ask yourself “Does it really matter?” and remember why it is you decided to try out the sport in the first place. And if you don’t enjoy it the first time round, ask yourself why and find alternative solutions.
So the next time you start to feel down or intimidated, just remember the message of #thisgirlcan. Fitness is for everyone, and comes in all sizes and ability.
As outdoor brands continue to compete against one another in producing boots with versatility at the forefront of design, this offering from the Italian brand Asolo is a definite contender on the market.
The upper part of the boot is made from water-resistant suede leather, with a rubber-reinforced toe to protect the front of the boot on rocky terrain and where boot deterioration would be most prone. Not only that, but the boot also contains the Gore-Tex Performancce membrane, making it waterproof and breathable. The sole of the shoe is constructed of Asolo’s own Duo AsoFlex, which the company claims provides anti-torsion and anti-pronation support while maintaining flexibility and anti-shock capabilities. Similar to the toe box, the heel of the boot is reinforced with a rubber material to protect it from wear and tear.
Overall, the boot is constructed of a mixture of high-tenacity nylon and suede leather that makes it light enough for day trips, yet sturdy enough for multi-treks in the mountains. In particular, the snug, well-cushioned ankle support makes it a good choice for hikes with rocky terrain or varying inclines.
One of the biggest complaints about the Asolo Stynger is that it attempts to market itself as a mountaineering boot while only possessing features suitable for hiking or trekking. In regards to this, I would strongly recommend not using this boot for any mountaineering expeditions. The Stynger cannot accommodate crampons and does not provide an adequate amount of insulation for extremely snowy or icy conditions.
In regards to versatility however, the Asolo Stynger succeeds in this aspect. Whether you are conducting multi-day treks with high inclines or declines, walking in flat, snowy conditions in urban areas, or simply going on a day hike, the Stynger is light enough for short walks yet possesses the right amount of durability and waterproofing for more taxing expeditions.
Like many Italian shoe brands, the Asolo Stynger has a narrow fit; those with especially narrow feet are recommended to try this boot, as it also has a narrow foot volume and close-fitting heel in addition to narrow width. Hikers with wide feet and/or ankles will most likely find these too tight.
Given that I myself have very narrow feet and bony ankles that are prone to sprains without support, the fit of this boot was ideal. My foot was supported around the ankle without constricting it, and the ankle provided enough support but still gave me enough freedom of movement. However, I have tried fitting these boots on dozens of people, and would not recommend these boots for individuals with very wide feet; in most cases I found many customers with wide feet were unable to completely pull slide their foot into the shoe.
For the past year, I have tested these boots in a variety of conditions. From snowy London walks, to rainy English coastal walks with steep inclines and declines, to multi-day treks around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and day hikes in tropical conditions in Pakistan, the Asolo Stynger managed to keep my foot warm in the higher elevations of Nepal’s Himalaya region while also keeping it cool in Pakistan’s autumnal heat. In particular, I must praise the boot on its lightweight capabilities, which makes it a good choice for backpackers that must adhere to weight requirements. In addition to this, the boot’s flexibility and comfort meant they required minimal time to wear in, and so far I have suffered no blisters or foot injuries when wearing them.
The only forewarning I give to those interested in trying this boot is to make sure you have enough space at the end of the toe box for declines. The reinforced upper toe is very sturdy, and if you haven’t given your toes enough space or cut your toenails before wearing them out for a hike, you will feel the reinforced upper reverberating against your feet on every declining step.
For hikers with narrow feet or backpackers wanting a lightweight, versatile boot, I would strongly recommend the Asolo Stynger. The boot’s combination of nylon and suede leather provides enough support and resilience to ensure the boot will last, without making sacrifices in terms of bulkiness/weight or movement. The boot’s waterproofing properties, in addition to its balance between ankle support and freedom of movement, make it an especially strong candidate over other boots. Despite these factors however the Asolo does not provide hikers with the insulation or the support or durability required for mountaineering boots in snowy/icy conditions.
In the first of four gift guide instalments for this upcoming Christmas season, I bring you a few ideas for each day of outdoorsy lady out there, whether you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or Secret Santa idea, or wanting to go big and expensive. Take a look below, and why not offer your suggestions below for other readers to gain inspiration as well?
BUDGET: Forget about draping your wet clothing over window frames or ancient televisions; with the handy hooks and suction cups of the DesignGo travel clothes line can be used wherever your traveller may venture. http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/outdoor-activity/the-50-best-camping-gear-1997914.html?action=gallery&ino=3 price: £4.99.
SOMETHING NICE: Packing for any and every occasion when you have limited bag space can be stressful on its own, but the twelve-way multifunctional dress can transform into several skirt and dress combos that can take you from relaxing after a day’s hike to . The dress is at its best when visiting warmer destinations, but layering it with tights, cardigans, coats or scarves will also work well too. http://twelveways.com/collections/all price: $65 – 85.
FLASHING THE CASH: For trips to destinations where drinking water is difficult to come by, this handy gift will help your adventurous traveller save money and stay hydrated. The SteriPen Freedom is the first rechargeable UV water purifier, which can kill 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa in less than a minute. Plus, it is lightweight and makes the water taste better than normal water purification tablets. http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/steripen-freedom-purifier-b5110035?id_colour=180 price: £118.00