The Top 10 Articles You Loved Most on A Woman Afoot in 2018
When I looked at this year's statistics, I must admit that I was taken aback by some data. It's quite evident from the list that you like reading advice and gear tips. Only one destination-related article made it to the Top 10: the West Highland Way hiking guide. It also seemed that my readers searched for information on Scotland a lot - I am not surprised here, who doesn't love Scotland?
I think my biggest surprise was the high position of the review of the Vango Blade 200. Thank you, my British readers! Vango is not well-known outside of Europe, so I never thought that article would get so popular. I always read gear reviews before I buy anything (thank you, buying anxiety), so I understand why that kind of posts are searched for. Over the past two years, I’ve written multiple gear reviews, for boots, rain jacket, two backpacks, a gas stove, a camera, two tents, a pillow, sleeping mattress… The Vango review is one of the earliest ones, so it had enough time to build its popularity.
Disclaimer: This post, in addition to some awesome tips and advice, may contain affiliate links to respected retailers for your convenience. It means that if you buy anything through those links, I receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
It's also pretty apparent that articles written late in the year had a worse start - that's what 2019 is for, right?
Without farther ado, let's dive into the Top 10 Most Loved Blog Articles for 2018!
No. 1: What NOT to Pack Hiking: 9 Things to Leave Behind
Isn't it funny that from all the available gear posts the one about what NOT to take won? I wrote it because I wanted to share my own experiences of packing a crap load of unneeded stuff but also to help with budgeting. I have spent too much money on gear I didn't really need. It also supports lowering the weight of our backpacks, so we don't kill our knees too fast.
I still learn what gear works and what doesn't - there is only so much you can learn from others, then you need to take it and adjust to your own style, needs, and budget.
Are you interested in more packing and gear advice? Take a look below:
Winter 2018: Hiking and camping on Crete, Greece.
No. 2: 15 Tips for Your First SOLO Camping Trip!
I fell in love with solo camping, but I have encountered a lot of shocked reactions to realize it's not a normal thing for everyone. Some of my friends could deal with the solo hiking part but sleeping somewhere in the wild by yourself? Too scary.
So I tried to ease a bit the worries and anxious thoughts through the only way I can: research and preparation. It works for me to alleviate my severe anxiety, so I hope it works for others, too. When we cut the problem into smaller, manageable, chunks, it's much easier to see that there isn't really all that much to fear and you just need to prepare for everything to go smoothly.
No. 3: The Complete Packing List for Women Hiking & Camping Solo in Scotland
Oh, Scotland. It's been already almost three years since my trekking time in Scotland, but I still remember it with great fondness. I hope to go there again this year - I have late spring in mind. I am glad that this packing list could help other women prepare for a fantastic adventure in the Scottish Highlands!
If you are interested in hiking & camping gear, you might want to take a look below at what gear I have and recommend:
Can’t see anything? try refreshing the page.
Spring 2018: Hiking in Poland
No. 4: A Sweet Little List of Cool Hiking & Camping Gadgets - Amazing Gift Ideas!
We all love gear and hiking gadgets. Anyone who gets into hiking and camping becomes a gear geek, there is no escape! We like to know everything about the new fabrics, materials and shapes helping us enjoying the Great Outdoors more. I can only imagine how confusing it could be for people on the outside of the backpacking bubble trying to find a nice gift for the adventurous loved one. Here is the article to help! I can't imagine there is a hiker who would not be happy with a new pair of woolen socks or a buff!
Are you interested in finding more cool gift ideas for hikers and campers? Take a look below:
No. 5: Day Hiking Essentials: What You Need to Pack & Wear
Safety first: we hear too often news reports of unprepared tourists who had to be saved by mountain rescue volunteers. Some of them just had a bad experience, some paid with their life. Just the other day I've heard about a family who went into the mountains (in winter!) with no special gear, kids in just leggings and skirts, no flashlights, no nothing...
As much as I believe mountains are for everybody, being there is a privilege. Mountains do not cater to us, they don't care about our safety or well-being. It's all on us. It's our responsibility to prepare well to ensure the safety of ourselves, but also so we don't endanger people who would go into the Wild to save our stupid asses.
Summer 2018: Hiking & Camping in Norway
No. 6: All You Need to Know about Hiking the West Highland Way
Scotland again! West Highland Way is such a classic trail, it's a must for anyone who goes to Scotland. It's a beautiful trek and a fantastic introduction to the varied landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. It was my first trail in Scotland, and you know what they say about the first times... I know I want to go back one day and redo it to see how I feel about it years later. If you consider visiting the Highlands, make sure you check the West Highland Way out. You won't be sorry!
No. 7: Gear Review: Vango Blade 200 Tent for Hikers
Here we go - My biggest surprise. Vango is a Scottish brand, and their products are popular in the UK and other places in Europe. I had a tent and a self-inflating sleeping pad from them. They worked great as my intro-gear into hiking. A bit too bulky and heavy but I could afford them and enjoyed using them. Even though I switched to Tarptent Double Rainbow a while back to cut on weight, I still recommend Vango as a great budget-friendly backpacking tent.
Do you want to read more gear reviews? Take a look below!
No. 8: Hiking & Camping Etiquette or How NOT to Be an A*hole on the Trail
I am so happy this article was so popular! I hope many people read it so meeting others in the Wild will be friendly and pleasant instead of infuriating or traumatic. Most of the ideas in that article are pretty common-sense, but sometimes we just need a gentle reminder about another person's view or experience. So many times we do something annoying because we have no idea it's annoying! With a bit of help from my introverted, solitude-seeking soul, we can all enjoy Nature.
No. 9: The Ultimate Packing List for Female Solo Hikers
I use this list myself when I am getting ready for a trek. I am really absent-minded, and I quickly get distracted, so I need a checklist to make sure I have all I need. It's easy to adjust it to particular conditions or weather (or personal needs), and it fits any hiker.
When we hike solo, we rely on what we take, and we pay the price for forgetting something - there is no one to give us a hand! That's why it's crucial to have a packing list - you can use mine or build your own. After you come back from your trip, make sure you note what worked well and what you need to change or switch for something else.
Fall 2018: Hiking in Poland
No. 10: 7 Tips for Your First Solo Hike
I want to encourage as many women as I can to try hiking solo. I find it amazingly beneficial for one's mental health, self-confidence, self-acceptance, and general personal growth. It gives strength, teaches new skills, and makes you appreciate your own body more.
But it's essential to prepare and be aware of a few things before one hits the trails solo. We must put safety and health into the planning process - there is no spontaneity in hiking! All the more so in solo hiking.
Popular sites outside of the blog - resources:
As I already said: Scotland wins. When I count all clicked on sites -not just blog articles, the resource page with camping accommodation on the West Highland Way wins! I am glad that all the gathered information on camping spots in the Highlands can help someone plan their Scottish vacation better. Although Scotland enjoys the free to roam law, it doesn't mean you can camp wherever you feel like it. There are legal and seasonal restrictions, as well as areas where the terrain does not provide a secure ground for a tent.
Many of my articles deal with gear and variety of “how tos” of hiking and camping. You will find a lot of basics and distilled info on the resource page. Don’t wait - take a look!