For the Ladies

Being one of a handful of girls, in a largely male dominated company and in some ways industry, can be an interesting experience. It can feel like a “good-ole-boy” paradise at times, with all the goofing around and obsessing over the latest and greatest fishing gear to put on your kayak. But make no mistake, the ladies are here and we’ve got just as much enthusiasm about the rivers, lakes and oceans as those trouble making boys do.

I personally am an avid outdoorswoman, veteran backpacker, scuba diver, rock climber and San Marcos, Texas river rat. I am an Austin native and I can’t tell you how many summers I spent kayaking both Lady Bird Lake and Lake Austin. You can catch me and my girlfriends out and about almost every weekend (when the weather permits), either snorkeling for treasure left by absent minded tubers, with our kayaks in tow or taking a short trip down to our favorite camping spots just for the heck of it.

I’ve recently had several questions about our “Ladies Night” seminars we’ve been hosting in our stores, as well as inquiries into any clubs around the San Marcos or Austin areas that cater to women — specifically with interests in the rivers that surround us. Let me offer some more information.

Ladies Night @ACK
Our Ladies Night seminars are designed to offer information about the gear you need and the places to go for outdoor paddling adventures tailored towards women. It’s an informal gathering of like-minded paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts and is open to all women of any experience level. Our next seminar is on November 16th, 2011 from 6-7pm at the San Marcos, Austin and Houston stores. Our focus for the night will be about picking out the right gear, whether you’re going fishing or just taking a trip down river. For more information about this event, click here.

Paddle Lessons and Guided Trips
For those looking to get take the next level and are ready to get out on the water I decided to do some research of organizations that I could recommend and so happen to come across a group that my fellow kayaking ladies should look into — See Jane Paddle!

 See Jane Paddle is a group led by experienced marathon paddlers and athletes, Debbie Richardson and Janie Glos. These ladies know what they’re talking about, being finishers of the Texas Water Safari as well as being a part of a women’s canoe racing team known as “The Hippie Chicks”. Their goal is to reach out to women who have a love of adventure and the outdoors but have yet to experience the joy of paddling. Their group offers women’s paddling clinics for beginners where they teach you the basic skills of paddling in a relaxed and very friendly environment. You can go alone to make some new friends or bring a bunch of your girlfriends with you, either way it’s a wonderful learning opportunity!

They also offer guided river trips on the San Marcos, Guadalupe and Colorado rivers. These trips are beginner friendly and complete with all the gear you need. You’ll be able to explore the natural beauty of the Texas river landscape and bond with ladies who enjoy this natural beauty as much as you do! 

Debbie and Janie are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable who want women of all backgrounds and athletic ability to share in the wonder and beauty of the rivers of Texas.

As a fellow river enthusiast, I couldn’t agree more with their philosophy and mission and encourage my fellow ladies who have, or have not been out on the river before to check them out. Who knows, you could find a new passion, or have a wonderful weekend adventure! Either way, it’s worth looking into.

Texas Outdoor Women’s Network
The group was created by Texas Parks and Wildlife to provide all women the opportunity to experience outdoor activities in a safe, non-threatening and supportive environment. The beauty of the group is that each one has members interested in a wide variety of outdoor activities including paddling! They have local chapters that you can specifically in Austin, Bastrop, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Rockport, San Antonio, San Marcos and Waco. Click here for complete details.

So for all of my fellow ladies who love the water, join us at one of our “Ladies Night” seminars, get some lessons, join an outdoor adventure group and get out there and explore! With as much natural beauty as Central Texas, there’s no reason not to.

Do you have any other great resources related to paddling or the outdoors that you’d like to share with other ladies? Comment below!

Bronwynn @ACK San Marcos

A Focus on Paddling Gear for the Outdoor Woman

Forget the pink, this is about form, function and comfort!

There was a time when the outdoor industry had a tendency to focus on manufacturing outdoor gear that was tailored mostly for men. However, in the past decade or so, manufacturers (even those in the hunting and fishing industries) have taken great strides in creating products that are geared specifically for women and for good reason. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, 44% of all outdoor participants are female. That is a huge number especially when you consider that over 135 million people participated in an outdoor activity in 2010. Which brings us to this…

Did you know that ACK offers a variety of paddlesport and outdoor products geared towards women? Of course, we do! While we don’t have concrete numbers, you’ll find that like the outdoor industry as a whole, women make up a huge percentage of our customer base. That’s why we are constantly on the lookout for quality, specialized, outdoor gear tailored to women.

I have personally used many of the products we sell on paddling and camping trips and I thought it would be a great idea to share the list with you.

Ocean Kayak Venus 11 Kayak

Ocean Kayak Venus 11 Kayak – Let’s start with the obvious, a kayak! While most kayaks are meant to be unisex, Ocean Kayak developed the Venus 11 Kayak with the woman in mind. It’s a great general use recreational kayak and as one customer described it “This boat is ridiculously light.” — which is primarily what makes this a great choice for the female paddler.

Stholquist Cruiser

Stholquist Cruiser PFD – Probably the most popular product we sell to female paddlers is our PFDs. More specifically the Stholquist Cruiser which I personally enjoy using myself. The Cruiser is made for woman and features a smaller cut, shortened torso and supportive inner cups along with a variety of other features you will appreciate.

NRS Women's HydroSilk shirt

NRS Women’s HydroSilk Shirt - When it comes to paddling apparel, comfort is key but I must admit, I want to look good too! The NRS Women’s HydroSilk shirt is not only stylish but is also the perfect solo layer when it’s warm out and it also makes a great base layer when it the weather turns cooler. More importantly, the shirt material provides UPF 50 for protection against the suns rays while the nylon/spandex blend quickly wicks moisture away and dries fast.

CamelBak Hydration Backpack – Stay thirsty my friends…not in this case. It’s important that all women, men, children and even pets stay hydrated. When paddling, hiking or biking, fighting with your water bottles can be annoying. Instead, pack up a CamelBak Hydration Backpack designed for Women. You’ll have water readily available while doing your part in conserving our natural resources.

Teva Dozer III Water Shandal

Teva Dozer III Water Shandal – Spring has to be the best time of the year to combine paddling trips with hiking adventures. Be prepared to tackle anything whether on land or water with the Teva Dozer III Water Shandal…yes, Shandal. Sandal meets shoe, get it? It’s simply provides great traction, comfort and safety.

Outdoor Research Oasis Sun Hat

Outdoor Research Oasis Sun Hat – Speaking of spring, protect your face and head for that matter from the sun with the Outdoor Research Oasis Sun Hat. It will keep you cool, offer protection from harmful UV rays and the wicking band will keep perspiration in check.

Immersion Research J-Lo Sprayskirt

Immersion Research J-Lo Sprayskirt – Here is an unexpected product developed for women, a kayak sprayskirt! The Immersion Research J-Lo sprayskirt features a shorter tapered tunnel (to fit a women’s torso), and super stretch hip panels to make it easier to slip on. The J-Lo features bungee construction for a dry seal on a wide range of cockpit rims.

Go Girl Urination Device – I know this list is getting long but how can I NOT mention one of my favorite paddling/camping products, the Go Girl Urination Device. Ok, so what is a Go Girl anyway? Simply put, it is a device that allows you to urinate while standing up. It’s neat. It’s discreet. It’s hygienic and I highly recommend it!

These are just a few of the many items designed for the female outdoor enthusiast. I do encourage you to visit our website and type “woman” or “female” to see what else we carry. On a side note, don’t manufacturers realize that women collectively make up a higher percentage of all retail sales in the U.S.? ;-)

Everyday, we look to expand our product offering and outdoor gear for women is absolutely no exception. We invite you, our female customers, to tell us what products you think we should carry by visiting our product recommendation page. We value your input and we look forward to serving you again soon!