Women Gone Wild

A seasoned adventurer no longer cares to keep up with the boys

| Utne Reader January / February 2007

This evening I raced over to the Sacramento REI five minutes before closing to pick up a Therm-a-Rest for next week's backpacking trip to the canyon country of southeastern Utah. My current Therm-a-Rest finally gave up the ghost in Alaska last year, and I quickly realized that there are a great many more options in semi-inflatable sleeping pads these days. The biggest surprise was that there are now Therm-a-Rests made specifically for women and that they are, of all things, pink.

'I think the green one is better,' my feminist friend Lucy said. Lucy never goes camping and couldn't care less about Therm-a-Rests, but she had endured a harrowing race across town in my car, and I could tell that the pink embarrassed her.

'The green one is better,' I said. 'It is also almost a pound heavier, and when you've got a pack on your back for eight straight hours, that pound can make a big difference.'

'At first we resisted the pink,' I told the woman at the cash register. 'Then we decided to embrace it.'

A smile of recognition spread across her face. 'Good call,' she said.

She and I were about the same age, and I could tell that we had probably both spent a good portion of our lives running around the wilderness, trying to prove we were as tough as the boys.