12 Things I Learnt That

Lilly Wild Women


I believe that we need to create a community of adventurous women to support and help each other, motivate more women to get outside and to create strong female role models. 

In order to understand what outdoorsy women wanted from Lilly Wild, I created a survey in one my first weeks at Escape The City's Startup Tribe. Within one week of releasing the survey, I had had more than 210 women reply.

I was astounded by the response and incredibly grateful to the women who took 5 minutes out of their time to complete my survey.

This is what I learnt...

1. We Like Blue, Green, Black And Red Too.

We're all fed up of being patronised and subjected to the majority of adventure gear being pink, purple or pastel colours.

Just because we are girls doesn’t mean that we want to adorn ourselves in pink, purple and pastel colours head to toe.

And yet…this is what the outdoor industry thinks we want and provides us with gear in a multitude array of shades of pinks, purples and pastel greens and blues.

Patagonia gets girls. Their Nano Air Jacket comes in non-pink/purple colours and did I mention it’s awesome?!

Armadillo Merino also understands that women want high performance and functional garments in dark greys, greens and browns.

With Lilly Wild, I'm hoping to bring you more brands like them. You can discover the story behind Armadillo Merino with my Q&A I did with Andy, the founder, HERE.

2. More Than 80% Of Adventurous Women Want An All Women’s Outdoor Brand

We want to be represented as strong, bold, tenacious, boundary-pushing women in the outdoor and adventure world, just as much as men.

The outdoor culture remains very much a macho one, derived from the historical trend of the men exploring into the great abyss and women looking after the home.

Times have change and although brands are evolving with modern times, for us women, it’s not quick enough.

Did you know that women feel they’re underrepresented in the outdoor industry? With the average woman feeling represented with a score of 4.5 out of a potential 10.

We’ve had enough of walking into Snow And Rock or Cotswolds and being presented with a fraction of the clothes, shoes and gear that men have.

3. We Want More Women Adventure Role Models

Where are all the badass female explorers?

When you turn on the TV for a nature documentary or outdoor show, open a outdoor magazine or listen to a podcast, you predominantly see or hear a man. Why?!

Did you know that adventurous women feel they represented in the outdoor/adventure related media (films, books, websites) with a score of 4.1 out of 10?

There are some awesome women explorers out there who could provide incredible role models to women of all ages, but they seem to be hiddenfrom view, from Megan Hine, Belinda Kirk to Anna McNuff, Ann Daniels and Emily Penn.

A few women are making waves in the industry including TV presenter Jo Pickard, Julia Momnen and Megan Hine, featured below, is one of Bear Grylls’ survival consultants!

Megan Hine photographed by Adrian Myers and Bill Turpin

Megan Hine photographed by Adrian Myers and Bill Turpin

Many women continue to blaze the trail for the rest of us…

Courageous explorers, such as Sophie Radcliffe, Sarah William’s Tough Girl Podcast and UK’s Women’s Health recently featured 4 wicked Queen Adventurers in their Live Fearless spread.

Lilly Wild

But We Want More.

4. We Enjoy Getting Our Hands Dirty

We want to be recognized as real women, doing amazing things.

Women are often depicted as lean climbers wearing little clothing and described as cute, sexy, skinny or have blonde hair and blue eyes.

Enough is enough. We want to be shown as real women doing awesome adventurers and described as being kickass, strong, resilient and tough.

The majority of women love hiking, running (fell, trail and road), wild camping, climbing/couldering and kayaking. So lets get more inspirational stories out there of women of all shapes and sizes demonstrating that we are on a equal footing to men.

5. We Want More Information On Adventuring As A Women

Us girls never had the scouts — I’m still bitter about this!

Growing up we had different opportunities to boys, for one, we never had the scouts. We had Brownies. Sadly this didn’t involve building shelters in the woods, learning different rope knots or tracking.

Unless you were in an outdoorsy family, the majority of us women didn’t do much hiking or camping in England’s wilderness. Subsequently, some of the adventure stuff that comes naturally to many is alien to most.

Questions that often came up were;

  • Is solo wild camping or solo travel safe as a women?
  • How do you manage periods when in the wilderness or trips?
  • How do you overcome your fear?
  • Are there any self defence manoeuvres you can do? How do you optimise your personal safety?

Every women has a different technique and method, so it would be awesome if we could get all of these questions answered, and more, by as many adventurous women as possible.

My aim with Lilly Wild is to provide women with adventure resources on a variety of topics, you can download them from our homepage here. And if there's one you want, then shoot us a email! 

6. Yes, You Can Have An Adventure Cake And Eat It Too

Adventuring as an amateur explorer can be fitted into A ‘Normal’ Family/Work Life.

On the whole, you are mostly shown women adventurers who do it as a profession. However, it is more than possible to fit adventures, big and small, into your normal life.

Alastair Humphrey is a massive promoter of 5pm-9am microadventures and although a pro adventurer and family man, is helping lots of people get outside more.

A 5–9 Microadventure in a nutshell…

After work you grab your adventure bag and head for a hill, grab some fish n’ chips on your way up, watch the sun come down and the following morning walk smugly into work having just had an epic nights sleep under the stars.

Phoebe Smith, author of Extreme Sleeps, is an adventurer and award winning magazine editor of Wanderlust. Phoebe has slept in Britain’s remotest places, and yes, even in The Middle Of Nowhere) and its extremities. Showing you can have an awesome career and adventures.

Phoebe Smith, Author of Extreme Sleeps and Editor of Wanderlust Magazine

Phoebe Smith, Author of Extreme Sleeps and Editor of Wanderlust Magazine

The Meek Family are proving that family and adventure mix excellently together too.

And Elise Downing, who recently ran around the coast of the UK proved that you can definitely have an adventure and cake!

So there are lots of people, both men, women and families, demonstrating that you can have a life of adventurer and mould this in and round your family and work life. This way of life just needs to be promoted more prominently in the media.

Advanced warning: adventure may transform your life…for the better!

7. Women Want Greater Focus On Wellbeing

It’s not just about the challenge or how you look…

The 2 main metrics that define a successful life for many people are: Money and Power.

However, I believe, among others including Arianna Huffington, that we need to re-define success and add a third: The Quality of Yourself.

Arianna believes that the quality of yourself up is made up of 4 pillars:

  • Wellbeing
  • Wisdom
  • Wonder
  • Giving
  • And I’m going to a 5th: Adventure.

However, to have a successful adventure, you need to be mastering the other 4 pillars and especially Wellbeing.

Wellbeing includes your state of mind, sleep, nutrition, movement, health and much more.

It’s just as important as the challenge and contributes you to having a thriving life.

By working towards improving your wellbeing you’ll be automatically upgrading your adventure…

  • You don’t need to be super fit to venture into the unknown, but some level of fitness does help and enhances your fun. Tips and advice on how to train were requested and noted!
  • Fuelling your body with the right nutrition allows you to excel in your workouts, speed up your recovery, boost your energy and charge your adventure with goodness.
  • Sleeping enough each night pre and during your adventure means you will be able to go further, recover better, boost your energy and banish that brain fog.
  • Cultivating your mind’s resilience is the most crucial part of an adventure. When times get tough or you feel doubt creeping in, by having a resilient mind and knowing how to conquer your negativity with positivity will see you through into the epic ups of your adventure.

Lets start increasing focus on the tools that are necessary to succeed in adventure as well as the awesome stories that accompany it. Together we can achieve the extraordinary.

8. More Women Only Courses Would Be Nice

Because sometimes we need pure girl power….

Women want all women courses specialising in outdoor activities…

  • As sometimes it can be intimidating being the only women or one of few on a trip of all male participants.
  • Or daunting being a beginner and make a f*ck up in front of a predominately male group.
  • It can also be awkward/embarrassing to discuss certain issues with a male guide.
  • More survival courses came up a lot too, which I also second! (I’ve heard Ray Mears are fantastic!)

Having an all women trip can create a safe space for women, bringing comfort to them knowing that it doesn’t matter if they make a mistake or ask a simple, but necessary, question.

9. We Want A Community Of Awesome Women Adventurers

To have a greater sense of belonging would be cool…

With such an emphasis on men, occasionally it can feel that women aren’t as welcome in the outdoor world.

But by having and creating a community of inspirational adventurous women of all backgrounds, sizes, ages, abilities, ethnicities and disabilities would be amazing.

This would also pool together the immense wealth of knowledgeoutdoorsy women hold and be a great way for others to ask questionslearn adventure techniques and methodsfind local communities and establish a collaborative, team mindset.

Women would also be able to find explorer buddies, with whom they could embark on intrepid trips to escape their day-to-day life!

Because to be an adventurous women you don’t have to go it alone, you can have loads of fun in travel groups and fitness communities, such as local running groups or bouldering gyms.

My first EC trip; wild camping in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

My first EC trip; wild camping in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

I discovered adventure with Belinda Kirk at Explorers Connect (EC). Belinda and all the wonderful EC'ers have helped me build up my skills and confidence, while having an incredible amount of fun!

It was actually Explorers Connect that helped me transform my life through adventure, you can read about that here: 5 Ways Adventure Transformed My Life

I have created a Facebook group called The Lilly Wild Tribe, which is the start of a women's only adventure community. We support each other, share stories, tips and tricks and have fun!

10. Women Want Known Safe Places, Locations And Hikes

Just for peace of mind…

Recommended places and accommodation by women for women would be a useful asset in planning travel journeys and adventures. — and where not to go!

We would also like to have more women’s experiences and stories about trekking in teams and/or solo certain hikes, treks and trails, such as those who are Triple Crown Hikers (USA’s Pacific crest, continental divide and Appalachian trails).

Also some great wild camping spots women have found would be a bonus!

11. We Want To Celebrate Women’s Successes

Lets celebrate all success, the big and small…

It would be great to celebrate all successes, not just climbing the highest mountain or completing the fastest, longest and most painful expedition.

We are totally into challenges and it’s a wonderful way to stretch and push past our limits. But it would be terrific to balance this out with anyone’s successes, from wild camping for the first time to completing their first fell running competition.

It’s also lovely to enjoy the serene and tranquil moments that adventure brings and to celebrate those too.

12. We Want To Celebrate Failures Too

They are not something to be embarrassed out, but something to learn from..

Celebrating others failures is a great way to realise that we’re all human and nothing is going to be perfect.

But by celebrating our failures, we are also celebrating a new lesson and mistake we won’t repeat again.

By celebrating a failure as a community, we also boost that person’s happiness and confidence. And we learn from that mistake too, helping ensure no one will make that error again.

So let’s turn that negative into a positive and share methods and techniques to help ensure it’s onwards and upwards from here!

When my friend and I went wild camping in the Brecon Beacons  in mid-Spring, it poured with rain and we were soaked down to our underwear. Lesson here: re-proof your raincoat if torrential rain is forecasted!

Kathryn Tyler ringing out her gear in the Brecon Beacons!

Kathryn Tyler ringing out her gear in the Brecon Beacons!

Yes we we girls and we like to gossip, drink wine, eat chocolate, indulge in a clean toilet, discuss fashion and wear the colour pink BUT we also love to drink beer and whisky round a campfire, hike, camp, surf, ski, lift weights, get our hands dirty and wear navy blue.

So lets STOP the stereotype.

Lets encourage women to be women and help them get outside more, embarking on awe-inspiring and fun adventures.

Have any of these surprised you? Do you agree with one of the points? Or perhaps there's something missing? Let me know below or shoot me a tweet: @lillywildtribe 

Some of the links to people and communities I've mentioned;

Al Humphreys / Explorers Connect / Megan Hine / Sarah Williams at Tough Girl Podcasts / Anna McNuff / Laura Kennington / The Meek Family / Phoebe Smith / Sophie Radcliffe / Armadillo Merino