By Flora Tsapovsky
Outdoor adventuring is almost synonymous with backpacking and camping. Enjoying the two, as well as preparing and shopping for them, are usually labeled as male experiences, or, best case scenario, something that couples do—just look at a typical commercial or listen to the radio, where outfitter REI is advertised in pleasant baritone. Sasha Cox, founder of San Francisco-based Trail Mavens, was well aware of this when coming up with the idea for her business: Camping and backpacking trips for women, by women, in which participants learn important nature and survival skills and bond over campfires, hikes and tent-pitching.
When Cox just started to discover the outdoors, “Every subsequent relationship I pursued was with someone who could be described as a mountain man,” she recalls candidly on the Trail Mavens website. A few years later, coming to appreciate the healing powers of female friendship, she wanted to match girl power with sleeping under the stars away from power outlets. “I decided that day that I’d start a business devoted to getting women outdoors,” she says. “There would be no men in sight; women would be the teachers and the students.”
These days, Trail Mavens—which began in 2015—is a successful venture, with a feature on the local news and a vibrant blog where ‘mavens’ share their ‘memoirs’ about recent trips. Here’s a quip: “I am feeling more confident in planning camping trips,” raves Christina Turner Fisher, who’d watch her husband take off camping with his friends and crave a similar experience. “My outdoors squad is growing too!”
Trail Mavens’ trips take place nearly every weekend all over California—from Big Sur to Yosemite, and a big portion of them touch upon the beaches and natural reserves of Marin County. The biggest hit is a recurring overnight trip to Point Reyes, with a 5.5-mile hike on the Coastal Trail, a picnic at Bass Lake and sunset-watching. The $295 trip ends with a ‘champagne toast,’ a purposefully cliché nod to girliness, but includes hands-on camping activities and valuable lessons about “making it” outdoors. Moreover, the trip is titled ‘Bucket List Backpacking’—the bucket list item being, perhaps, watching the ocean up close and personal, or spending a weekend doing all of the things that you usually don’t get around to do, in purely female company.
Learn more at trailmavens.com.