Please note this is currently an auto transcript and as such some spellings and words may be inaccurate.
IDENT FRAN: This podcast is part of the Tremula Network, adventure and outdoor podcasts off the beaten track. To find out more, head to tremula.network or find us on socials.
[MUSIC starts - ON THE OUTSIDE theme - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]
KATHI: 00:08 Hello and welcome to On the Outside the podcast, sharing diverse views on What's Happening outdoors.
00:16 My name is Kathi Kamleitner, and you probably don't know who I am, although if you listen to our episode with Matt Barr, that was all about money and payments for creatives in the outdoor sector. You may remember my voice because I submitted a voice note back then sharing about my own experiences on that topic. I usually host the Wild for Scotland podcast, which is co-produced by On The Outside's, very own Fran Turauskis. I'm taking over today to give Fran a bit of a break from hosting, but she is here as a producer and we will hear from her a bit later in the episode as she shares some thoughts that we got from listeners on today's topic, which is why do we need Specialist Outdoor Equipment? And to help me talk about this, I've got two guests. Firstly is the founder of Outside our a and regular on the outside panellist, Ani Barber. Annie, can you introduce yourself and give us an update on what has been happening with you since you last did the minisode for On The Outside back in April? I know you had some pretty amazing projects, didn't you?
ANI: 01:23 Yeah, so we've just released, myself and Frit Tam have released a film called Walking Towards Pain. It's just been finished, it's not really been released, but we've held two screenings and it follows me doing my first UK Mountain ever and how that was with me having lupus and what the impact was on my body afterwards. And it's been nice. The responses that we've had have been really heartwarming. I've really enjoyed hearing what other people from sort of the disabled and chronic heal community think so far of it makes it worth it.
KATHI: 02:02 Hopefully we'll hear a bit more about that film, maybe not today, but soon on the podcast as well. And maybe we can share a little taster with our listeners as well. Our other panellist for today is Sarah Mahmoud, also known as The Hill Walking Hijabi. Zara, you've not been on the show before, but you have made our news stories very recently. Would you mind introducing yourself as well?
ZAHRAH: 02:26 Yeah, sure. So hi everyone. I'm Zara Mahmoud, and like Kathy said, I'm known as the hell walking Hijabi on Instagram. So I've probably made your news for one of two reasons, either I'm, I've been recently appointed as the president, honorary president of Rambler Scotland, and also recently we've put the active wear hijab that I've co collaborated and co-designed with Beau to the public. So that that's my recent news and going on with me.
KATHI: 03:00 That's so exciting and I'm so excited you're both here because I think it will be so interesting to hear both of your experiences and perspectives and opinions on the topic that we're talking about today.
03:16 Today's conversation is all about specialists and inclusive outdoor equipment, and I guess any outdoor equipment that can be adapted to suit different people and different needs in that arise in the outdoors. And we're really excited to have Yon, Zara. And I'd love to start off the conversation by talking about the active wear hijab that has just launched and that you've been such an integral part in developing. It took three years, right, to get that project off the ground. Can you tell us a bit about the process and maybe some of the challenges that you've encountered along the way?
ZAHRAH: 03:49 Yeah, sure. So yeah, you're right. It did take three years. Three years actually to the day almost or to the month I should say. And the whole process started off because one of the ow kind of high up employees contacted me on Instagram after hearing me on Radio four. And it was during lockdown, it would've been I think, or just as lockdown had started to hit. And I was talking about how I was still finding Joy Outdoors and that one hour allotted time that we were allowed to go outside and obviously trying to obviously staying local and trying to still find those endorphins and that kind of peace, mental peace from getting my body moving. So yeah, he contacted me and he said, oh, it's funny that you kind of spoke. I've just come across your profile. My username is the hell walking hijabi. So he was talking about the hijabi bit and he said, if you're open to it, I'd love to have a conversation with you.
04:47 We've kind of been thinking about it for a while that we want to be more inclusive and something like this kind of getting into the market of some specialist clothing would be kind of one way that we could do that. So that that's how the conversation started. But obviously we wanted to make sure we were a right fit. They were obviously wanted to make sure that I was someone they could work with and vice versa. So that's how the ball got rolling and we started having kind of teams conversation zoom chats. I was introduced to a lot of other staff there and including the senior designer who really spearheaded this process. Kate, she was amazing. She is amazing. So yeah, we all just got talking and they asked me to list the challenges of what I felt WA wasn't out there already and why there was a need for a hijab, an out, or not even an outdoors hijab, just a hijab that you felt comfortable working out in as well.
05:43 So yeah, that's how it got started. And obviously with covid impacting so much of our lives, the process was stalled a bit because of production being overseas and all the rest of it and all the impact that has. But the first kind of almost year, I would say, or up to a year, it was just back and forth with design ideas. So a lot of conversations between me and Kate, she sketched out designs. She even made the first prototype very, very roughly in her house where she was working from home and kind of trial trialled it on for me while on a Zoom call. So yeah, it was just a lot of back and forth. Luckily then restrictions started opening up and they were able to produce a prototype because the first prototype was the one that Kate had just kind of done herself. I trialled out probably about three, four prototypes and during this time I'd gotten married and also got pregnant, so that was also going to cause a bit of a delay having my baby.
06:44 So yeah, at that point we kind of knew we were going with that final prototype. But then, yeah, it was probably about four, five months when I was just adjusting to my new role as a mother. And then Kate got back in touch and we got moving again. We made kind of minor tweaks to the final prototype, and this was probably around about early last year, quite early on last year in spring. And then it took a year just to get the publication of it all of how we were going to market it, what was going to be involved in that when we were going to market it, because obviously we were thinking timeline to be this time, right about April this year. But obvious had to be sensitive about the fact that it's Ramadan and they wanted to be sensitive to the fact that they weren't pushing a product out in Ramadan and coming across as disingenuous. So things like that, we get a lot of thought went into right up until the photo shoot and releasing the news on social media and other outlets. So yeah, it's been a really long process, but one that I've kind of really valued. And just to see that insight from another perspective really.
KATHI: 07:56 Oh, it sounds fascinating. I think as a relatively person, someone who just buys outer equipment and uses it but has never really thought about the development process, it's incredible to hear how much thought and detail goes into that entire collaboration. And it's not just about the features and the materials, but about the people who are going to use it in the end. So it's really cool to hear that. Yeah. And what has the reaction been on it so far?
ZAHRAH: 08:24 I mean, I've been blown away by the reaction. I knew that some people would find it the same that I found it, but I think when you get so immersed into a product and so involved, I was having kind of a mini panic before it got released thinking, have I just created a hijab that I enjoy and nobody else is going to enjoy because you think, well, I've kind of helped feed into this process. Is everybody else going to find it beneficial as well and kind of love it as much as I do? So I had a mini panic beforehand, but luckily the kind of reaction to it has been really positive. And they've actually sold out because they only made a certain number of pieces and it wasn't a small amount. It was quite a decent amount for something that is so specialist and niche. So they've actually sold out because I didn't even realise they had sold out until someone messaged me and said, when will we have more product? Cause I really want to get it. And I thought, oh wow, I didn't realise. So I've gotten back to my contact in Bergos task, what the plans are. So yeah, that just sums it up for me. That's amazing that so many people have found the benefit in it as well.
KATHI: 09:29 That's so cool. What a success story. Annie, can I bring you in as well? Have you heard about it? Have you seen it? What are your thoughts on the active wear hijab that Sarah just launched with therapist?
ANI: 09:41 Oh no, no. I've not really heard about it or anything. This is news to me.
09:50 Oh God, it was just so perfect seeing somebody that's been so proud in the hijab for so long in the outdoor community. It is just the perfect person to be putting out a hijab. I thought the design concept was brilliant, that that was a real seller for me. It's not just the pull on hijabs that you get in every sort of active hijab that you get. I like the fact that it's a bit different. It's a bit more Zara centric. She says she made it because it's what she'd like, but I like that it's like what you'd like because it's your collaboration. I was like, oh, this is so Zara. Yeah, no, I think it's fantastic. And as somebody with sort of hijabi cousins, it's a fantastic thing to see more and more of these products getting out. And it's fantastic to see people I know and people who I know are really good people putting in the work and doing this kind of thing and getting the recognition they deserve for putting in the work. So congratulations.
ZAHRAH: 10:54 Thank you. Thank you. That's so nice to hear.
KATHI: 10:57 And Sarah, are there any specific instances or maybe a story that you want to share where having that active or hijab for yourself has really kind of made a difference for you? The way you can be outdoors and the way you can enjoy the outdoors as well?
ZAHRAH: 11:14 So I think Annie touched on it a wee bit saying it's not like the style it, it's a bit different and it's going to sound so, but being comfortable in your skin makes such a difference to how you hold yourself and if you're enjoying yourself. So I remember there was other hijabs that used to wear, wear those kind of pillow styles because especially on a hot day, you can't really wear your everyday hijab. You're kind of already sweating or everything off and you're just kind of really struggling and you're heating up. So you really need something that's breathable. So the only options were those kind of hijabs at that point, those pillow in ones. So the difference, I mean the thing is I've got so many pictures of hikes that I've done right at the start of my journey where I am wearing the hijabs, but I just don't feel comfortable posting the pictures because I just don't feel comfortable and confident in how I look.
12:04 And it's such a small thing and it might sound so vain, which is probably the opposite of what the hijab kind of promotes, which is not caring as much about how you look and putting yourself out there and being judged for who you are as a person as opposed to how you look. But it does make a difference to how you carry yourself and to feel confident and to feel like you belong just makes such a difference. So the fact that I can just take a picture now of myself and post it and feel like I've got everything that I'm waiting is meant to be what I'm waiting for the outdoors, it just makes you feel really not only feel good and looking good in the pictures, but feel like you know belong basically. So I think that for me has been the biggest part of it.
KATHI: 12:53 And I guess in a way it's also just like you say, it feel it's not clothes that you wear for anybody else. Yeah, it's for yourself and it's feeling confident and feeling like yourself in the end as well. Not like you're wearing a costume. Yeah, it's not just about functionality, it is about that comfort level. So that's really good to hear. Okay. And there's obviously quite a few of activewear hijabs for different sports out now as well, so it's amazing to see that, like Annie said, there's different people developing these things for different purposes with different users in mind and with different personalities in mind as well. And it's not just one size fits all exactly, but there are those different options and we'll link to a few of those other products that are similar to your hijab in the show notes as well. And so people can see what else is out there.
13:43 Yeah, definitely. Is there any risk, and I was wondering this now that there are more of these items out there and that has become a bit more standard to have inclusive active wear like this, is there any risk that someone who uses those pieces is misappropriating that in any way? Y i I was thinking if a piece of outdoor equipment was designed for a certain kind of person or a certain kind of reason, but then someone else finds a different reason to use it, is there any kind of risk around appropriating a piece of clothing or equipment or misusing it in any way without even realising and causing offence or causing harm to other people who might are more genuinely the people who it was designed for?
ZAHRAH: 14:33 I mean, me personally, I think it always comes down to intention and what the purpose is for wearing something if you're wearing it, for example. And then the thought that always comes to mind when it comes to cultural appropriation is Halloween costumes. I mean that to me is just cultural appropriation. There is no other reason for doing that. But if you're finding a genuine benefit from wearing a item of clothing that wasn't maybe designed specifically for your needs, then I don't see the harm in it personally. And I'll always come back to when it comes to the hijab specifically, and I can't speak for everybody and different items of clothing, but I can speak for how I feel about the hijab is many, many, many years ago now, when I was a trainee back where I work, I was away in five, I think it was on a work kind of trip.
15:27 I was standing in cue in NICU and I think it was for Subway. And the woman in front of me kept looking at me and I thought, oh no, it's going to be an awkward interaction. I just felt really on guard and all of a sudden she just said, sorry, hi, how are you? And she kept looking at my hijab and she said, I really want to ask you something but don't want to offend you. And I thought, oh God, what is she going to ask me? And she actually turned out that she suffers from, she had suffered from a stroke and she suffers from heat exhaustion and she has to cover her head when it gets really warm because it can affect her physically. And I don't know the ins and outs of that, but from what she was saying, she basically when it's summer or really hot with her, she will cover her head and she just said, I just can't get the scarf that wear to stay on my head and you've got it on beautifully.
16:18 Please don't take offence to what I'm saying. Can you please give me some tips? And I thought, why would I take offence to that? You've just given me a compliment. So it was just that kind of interaction and it was just made me appreciate different point of view. She may not be waiting it for religious reasons, but she's got a legitimate reasons or reason or she feels comfortable in using it. So I always come back to that kind of in my head, whereas something of waiting some kind of, and I've seen it in the past, people wearing what they would class as quotation Middle Eastern or Arab type clothing to a Halloween party and thinking, okay, is not okay. So always for me comes back to the purpose and the intention. So I hope, I think that's a very long-winded way of answering your question, but that's just my opinion.
KATHI: 17:05 No, that makes total sense. Ani, is there anything you would like to add to that?
ANI: 17:11 I had the pretty most, the same feeling as Sarah. I'm not hijabi, so I feel like I have
17:18 Less of a standing in the conversation if Zahrah was going to go, no, I find it offensive, then I would be, my opinion is not valid. But from what I understand about the hijab in Islam is the intention in wearing it anyway, you can put a scarf on your head that doesn't make it a hijab that you were wearing a hijab. And I had a friend recently, very recently ask me, her skin's quite photosensitive and at the time it was beneficial for her to wear a scarf over her head that sort of had a little front end that covered her chest and she was like, I live in a Muslim area, are sort of the conservative Muslims going to feel like this is a problem? And I was like, no. I mean maybe you might get the odd look of person who is wearing a hijab in a different way or wearing a head scarf in a different way or I don't know, is wearing a flowery head scarf, I dunno. But at the worst that is it. Nobody's going to judge you or from my experience, feel offended or you've misappropriated it because you're not wearing a hijab, you're wearing a head scarf and there's a difference in my understanding. Yeah, totally.
ZAHRAH: 18:36 A hundred percent agree with that. And let's be honest, Stanley did probably get excited and think she was Muslim and stuff. Yeah. Or something.
ANI: 18:44 I didn't, yeah. You know what I mean? She lives in Newcastle and she lives in quite like a South Asian Muslim area of Newcastle. And I was thinking, I'm probably just going to be excited that they've got another one in the ranks.
ZAHRAH: 18:58 Exactly.
ANI: 18:59 No, the other thing I think is important is that it doesn't just add, remove a barrier for women who are already hijabi. It removes a barrier for women who are Muslim who are considering becoming hijabi who haven't become hijabi because of the thousands of barriers that surround putting a head scarf on your head as a Muslim woman and active wear is one of them. And how are you going to incorporate that with swimming or hiking or going to the gym or climbing that the numerous uses that could be used for this hijab will open doors to people who won't necessarily have wanted to or have felt there are too many things holding them back so far to make that massive transition because it is a massive transition. So yeah, I feel like there are so many ways that this hijab can be appreciated.
KATHI: 19:53 That's great. That's perfect. Fran, do you want to do some listener feedback now?
FRAN: 19:59 Yes, please.
KATHI: 20:01 Okay. I hadn't put phrases together for the same.
FRAN: 20:06 Also this is the first time that we've done it in this way. So it is a bit like, yeah, I've just put you on the spot there. I'll tell you what, I'll just come in as the voice of the producer. We might even leave this in because it's less editing for me. But we did have a couple of people replying in terms of whether they've used the hijab or seen the hijab or just in general, kind of like modesty, swimwear as well was mentioned. That's one of the ones that came up. So summit's special on Instagram. They said that most of the groups that they lead, there are at least one or two people that are wearing the hijab. They do get looks of curiosity still, but obviously nice to have something there that is a active hijab that they can wear. And aa, that's Queen Adia on Instagram who runs the POC paddle, little whoop whoop from Annie. On the video call there, she says she actually loves modesty swimwear because she personally uses it for safety and sun safety. So she thinks that particularly with swimwear and modesty clothing in summer, that there is that sun safety aspect as well, which is something that can be normalised a bit. So she says for paddle boarding I need a full body rash suit to protect from the sun and also the jellyfish, which terrified me. So yeah,
KATHI: 21:30 I was going to say yes, I use swim leggings, long-legged and long sleeve rash guards, which I guess you could consider modesty swimwear to an extent for the jellyfish because they are terrifying and it's not nice to be stung. But yes, you also don't always want to wear a full wetsuit. So it's brilliant that these items exist and that they can be used in so many different ways by so many different people. Yeah.
22:03 The second item we want to talk about today is other specialist outdoor clothing and equipment that is adapted and already exists and is a game changer for a lot of people or maybe not. So there are a few things that are already out there on the market that we could talk about and I thought the first thing that came to my mind is anything to do with peeing awkward and probably too much information. But Annie, I'm going to pick on you because we've heard so much from Zara in the first segment. Is that something that you are comfortable talking about and have you ever used any particular outdoor peeing equipment that was designed for women?
ANI: 22:43 No, I am comfortable talking about it. No, my mom, when she was going for a trip in Scotland, oh my god, might she kill me for this? Quite possibly. She doesn't listen, she's never going to know. Yeah, she did a trip to Scotland and her entire thing is, oh, Scotland's so wild and I dunno when the next toilet's going to be. And I'm a 60 year old woman with a small bladder. So she invested in a shewe and she practised at her at home and found it too difficult at home, let alone in the outdoor wilderness of Scotland. And so that's put me off. I don't use sort of adaptive equipment for going to the toilet outside if necessary.
KATHI: 23:36 How about you Z?
ZAHRAH: 23:39 Do you know I I'm very lucky or maybe it's actually more planning because you see Scotland as well. Not that in most places you're parking, there's not always facilities. However, I don't drink coffee in the morning off or try not to. I try to limit my water and intake until I know I'm getting back to the car or back to somewhere. But there are been a few times when I have had to pee a wild pee and I'm lucky enough to have had my husband to keep guard, but I've not used any kind of specialist equipment or anything like that. I just think it's probably difficult enough carrying everything else that I have to carry these days that I'm probably not going to be carrying anything extra. But yeah, I don't know if I would ever invest in anything. Cause I do feel like if you have to go, you have to go. Everybody does. So you'll just have to find a kind of semi secluded spot and hopefully find, have someone new with you that can keep guard. But I'm open to hearing about any products that are out there that might help.
KATHI: 24:43 Well there's actually quite a lot of products out there I have to admit. I have also not tried any of them yet. So there's the shewe device that, like Annie said, seems more hassle than usefulness and quite complicated to use. But then I've seen there's these trousers that have the zip all the way around from your front to the back. And I had a conversation with a friend not too long ago and she's a hiker and she's outdoors a lot and she very well put up the point of saying, what do you then do with your pants? You're still wearing something underneath, so how does that work? And we weren't quite sure and then we thought, well, but if you don't wear pants you don't want to zipper down there anywhere near. So we were a bit confused how that would work. The only thing I'm very intrigued by is the cooler cloth and the kind of reusable toilet paper idea of something that can just be washed and reused over and over again. Especially I guess in long distance hikes. And when you're in places where there isn't a bin nearby and so carrying it with you even four days on end isn't really this thing you want to do. So that might be one I would give a try in the future.
ZAHRAH: 26:03 I mean that probably sounds like the most chiropractic one because at the moment if I need to, I will use Harris's baby wipes and then put it in one of his nappy bags. Which one isn't obviously the most environmentally friendly, but two isn't ideal either. So yeah, no that might be one that I'll look into in
ANI: 26:23 I was going to say I've seen my friends who have them clipped the outside of their bag, so then you don't even have to put it back in your bag. It's just like then I dunno, that felt a bit better now.
ZAHRAH: 26:34 Dying in the air well
ANI: 26:36 Mean. Yeah, and not touching your things and your nice and nice clean waterproof coat and things. So I dunno, that
ZAHRAH: 26:43 Seemed a little more practical.
KATHI: 26:45 Definitely. Let's talk about a few other things Zara. So you're a relatively new mom. Is there any equipment that you've discovered or found that you've been taking with you ever since starting to hike with your child?
ZAHRAH: 27:01 I mean not apart from the carrier that I have to put 'em in. Apart from that, not anything specific I would say not anything that's maybe made by outdoors brands specifically for getting outdoors, but things that I've found useful or waterproof, changing mats, which most of them tend to be waterproof anyway because especially if you've got a boy, they tend to be everywhere. So most of 'em tend to be waterproof anyway, things like that travelled kind of stuff. Changing mats that are kind of more discreet and don't take up much space or much weight. But no, I do think that speaking as a relatively new mom who is still breastfeeding, not during the day though, so less of an issue nowadays but was very early on when I was constantly breastfeeding on demand. It'd be great to have some kind of outdoors clothing that is breastfeeding friendly that has that kind of access.
27:52 It's something that I do think is missing from actor where even just fighting a breastfeeding sports bra was a bit of a nightmare. I did find one in all places of h and m and I had to shout it out cause it was amazing because it gave amazing support at the same time as well. But even that was a bit of a difficult find. And then don't get me started on when you're actually pregnant as well. You're growing a baby, growing life, changing your whole body shape, a big massive bump. And I just had to keep sizing up with outdoors clothes as opposed to there's something actually made and then you don't feel like again it's fitting right or you're stretching out your clothes and stuff like that. So I do think there's a massive gap in the market for it, that kind of stuff. I'm not sure if there's anything that I would need specifically for Harris just now getting outdoors. I mean he is relatively contained at the moment because he is in the car carrier, but maybe as he gets older more things will come to mind hopefully maybe.
KATHI: 28:50 And do you have little tiny baby hiking boots and outdoor clothes for him? I imagine? Incredibly cute.
ZAHRAH: 28:58 I mean we actually did get gifted up here. I don't think there were obviously any kind of anything sturdy or waterproof or anything like that. It was just purely for the aesthetics. But we did get gifted up here when he was quite young. But again, their feet grow so quick. See investing in one of them until they're actually going to do the walk was pro is probably going to be a bit of a weight there.
KATHI: 29:20 Fair enough, fair enough. And Annie, what about you? Is there anything that you use that is adapted for comfort? I know you have lupus, so is there anything that you need to consider in terms of equipment that is particularly adapted or specialised to being able to enjoy the outdoors as much as you would want to?
ANI: 29:41 I didn't realise until I'd put on this base layer, this rub bass layer how much because, sorry, I should start from the beginning. Half of my thought just started there I am. I'm very sensitive with lupus two sunlight. It's not good for me to be an exposed night, which makes pretty much all of some not incredibly dangerous, but it can trigger a flare up and make me really unwell and cause skin lesions so fairly dangerous and you can get UV protective clothing and trousers and stuff like that, but often the long sleeves or the trousers just aren't breathable. And in summer when you want that UV protection and you need it to be long sleeve cause everyone else is wearing t-shirts and I mean I suppose even in modest wear, this would be quite nice. But having that long sleeves and it being not horrifically sweaty and me like my automatic reaction to roll them up and then be like, oh no wait, I need to pull them back down is a dream.
30:45 And I, I've only just found sort of one base layer that I was gifted that it's probably the most breathable and versatile but it could still be more breathable. I dunno, I dunno how well you could make it breathable and UV safe, but that's a big thing for me with lupus. Otherwise, no, the hardest thing with lupus is your weight fluctuates a lot with medication. So I mean we don't go on sizes, I sizes aren't important but I was for context a size 10 to 12, then I went on steroids from a flare up and I'm now a size 16 to 18, which in out in outdoor clothing is hard enough to shop for anyway and that number is not going to come down anytime soon because of the steroids and the amount I took for the amount of time has messed with my adrenal glands.
31:36 But when it does then that's going to go down. So it's annoying because it costs a lot of money to have to buy clothes that fit you and then buy more clothes that fit you and it's, it's not an adaptive thing I suppose it'd be nice perhaps if there was something that I could size up and down, but I dunno if that's how possible that is, especially with trousers and things like that, that would be nice. But it's not a big enough market I think for most people to consider and it's just not out there. So I just have to spend money for now.
KATHI: 32:12 I wonder if there's a need or a market for how there's these cloth swap cycle circles where you are close swap parties where you come together and you can swap each other's clothes and it, it's different sizes and different styles and whatnot. I wonder if there's a place within the outdoor sector for something like that that allows people to swap outdoor clothes that are lightly used or not at least in a semi-good state that allows for a low cost alternative to that need to just go out and buy another new outfit constantly anytime something changes about your body. You, you've both mentioned that, right? Whether it's weight fluctuations or being pregnant, you can't just constantly go out and about and buy new things. So I do wonder whether there's a swapping circle, swapping party hanging in the air above our heads here.
ANI: 33:06 I know there's Facebook groups and things that you can do outdoor clothing swaps or outdoor kit swaps and stuff like that. The problem is nobody wants to swap such a massive range. Does that make sense? So it would be just selling the product I have and then buying new ones or buying secondhand ones.
KATHI: 33:24 Have either of you ever tried specialised or adapted backpacks? There's obviously the backpacks that are supposedly made for women that I remember when I got my first one I thought, well I don't see the difference but apparently there is a difference and then there's now also backpacks designed for plus size hikers as well. Have any of you ever tried kind of adaptive backpacks like that?
ZAHRAH: 33:49 No. No.
33:51 I mean these days, because I've usually got the carrier on, it's got kind of pockets and storage stuff in there, normally wearing that. And if I'm not carrying him, my husband is, I'm enjoying the not carrying anything feeling. But yeah, no, I have seen the ones for women that the good thing about the carrier and I will say is that it's my husband is over six foot and I am five foot two, I say three sometimes. And the carrier goes, can actually be adjusted to fit his length of torso in my length of torso, which is really good. I mean it means if we're swapping about in the middle of a walk, we need to stop and adjust that. But it, it's really handy having that because when we had Harris on the front in a sling carrier one, he didn't like it and he wasn't happy. But two, we couldn't really adjust it for my husband so it meant that it was just on me. So yeah, that we do really appreciate the fact that that can be adjusted for both our lengths.
KATHI: 34:52 Yeah, that's brilliant And it will allow for different people using it, but also you using it over a longer period of time. Not that you're suddenly going to grow to six 12,
ZAHRAH: 35:04 No, nothing that has long pass.
KATHI: 35:08 Well, but I think the plus size hiking backpacks were one of the things mentioned in some of the comments that we got from listeners of the podcast. So I'm going to ask Fran to come back in and share some more of the feedback that we got from listeners about this topic.
FRAN: 35:25 It was indeed, so Steph Weal, who listeners might also know from the money episode as well, she did do a voice note on there. She's the co-founder of Everybody Outdoors and she says that her plus size rucksack is a game changer. So getting her first one made her realise how badly all of her previous Rucksacks had actually fitted. So she used to struggle to do the pack up on her hips and the webbing would actually dig into the squishy part of her stomach instead is what she says. She says that now my rucksack is comfortable to wear, it stays in place instead of sliding around and it lets me carry the weight of a heavy pack on my hips properly. So yeah, she says a game changer there that actually it is not just about comfort. It sounds like it could literally be saving things from actually getting hurt if it's sitting in the right place and that kind of thing. Yeah, interesting.
KATHI: 36:25 That just makes me think I need to try one of those because I always struggle with the hip belts and the buckles and where they are. Just for context, I'm not particularly plus sized. I think I'm probably a size 14, 16, but I do have quite a big bust. So I find that a lot of things just don't fit because there's stuff in the way and where you're supposed to close the buckles and you have to adjust it and then the rest just doesn't fit anymore. So I'm definitely going to try those and look those up.
ANI: 36:56 When I first tried a backpack, I couldn't believe that I was expected to put the buckle on my chest. I thought this is the women's one and I had to get one that sort of went above which I found. But I was really excited to get a specific brand, which I'm not going to name and everybody else has. And then I discovered that it's not made for people who are not me.
ZAHRAH: 37:23 Yeah, I was going to say just because we touched on it earlier, Annie, I think you mentioned it about clothing that can be adapted as your change as well. And obviously since pregnancy to after pregnancy, my body is still different. It's not like it was before pregnancy and I don't know if it ever will be, but with, and I know we'll keep going on about this carrier, but it's so only experience I have just now, but the actual hip buckles, which only realised probably a few months ago can actually be adjusted. So with my husband, he just had it on the kind of normal average setting and they sat where they're meant to. And I didn't realise until I was looking into the instructions of it to figure out how to make it bigger, bigger for my son because he's getting taller and I needed to make sure he was sitting in it in a safe place so you can adjust it for his height.
38:13 And then I realised you can actually, there there's extra material in the straps around the hips and it's velcroed in so you can actually pull it apart and velcro it out so it actually comes round better and sits on your hips. Because I think you mentioned Fran, that was it. Steph had said that it didn't sit at the right place and it sat on her stomach and set up her hips. So yeah, this was a game changer for me that I realised again. So I mean it just shows you that if they can do it for a carrier, they should be able to do it really for a backpack. So change with you as your body changes.
KATHI: 38:53 The last thing we wanted to talk about today, and we've kind of already jumped on a little bit before with both of you mentioning a few things that you wish you had access to in terms of adaptive outdoor clothing. So yeah, the last topic, is there anything that is missing? Anything that we really wish we already had on the market and would be game changers and life-changing? A really good use to us. And again, I know Fran, we got quite a lot of feedback on this one particularly, which I think just goes to show how much potential is out there for new outdoor equipment to be developed. Do you want to share a few of the things we got sent by listeners?
FRAN: 39:32 Yeah, absolutely. So very telling that this is the question that people responded to the most. The first one that I thought was interesting actually talks about something similar already was the idea of more adjustable things like trousers, almost like kids' trousers so that you don't need belts that you can adjust the waist on and you can pull them on and off more easily. So that one came from Claire Millington who runs the outdoors for everyone Instagram account and that count as about experience of those with disability who do outdoor pursuits and Claire's daughter PIP has complex needs but it really enjoys doing outdoor sports. And Claire is saying that these adjustable trousers and something like that would be so useful for them. She also mentioned generally things that help with motor skills, so fine motor skills being a bit of a difficulty. Things like shoelaces, a quick fastening pool type things like Solomon Trail Runners would be better on lots of things and big fastenings on coats and that kind of stuff.
40:41 And what was really interesting about that is we actually had a similar thing from a lady called Emma Harrison. So Emma is a mountain leader and she also has a C6 spinal cord injury, which means that she has quite a lot of neurological weaknesses including those motor functions and motor skills. She also said that big toggles would be fantastic for a lot more equipment and she had a really good idea about just having toggles that could be sold separately, that you could attach to smaller zips, which just seems like a genius thing. So anyone out there that wants to make those, I think that needs to be done straight away. So Emma says that she wishes adaptive equipment in general was just much easier. She also talked about things like temperature regulation and like Annie said, having things that are a bit more easy to regulate temperature in different situations. And Emma does want to give Ace shout out. She did mention that House is helping her a lot with that adaptive equipment, which she really appreciated. And that's through a programme called House Adapts, which we will link to in the show notes. Obviously
ANI: 42:02 I heard about the Berg House adapts from an interview I did with Ed Jackson at Kendall Mountain Festival. Lovely bloke. And they had adapted equipment for him and his expeditions, one of them being due to his spinal cord injury. He only gets sort of hot, I think on the top half of his body. So he has these extra zips at the top that he, so he can just dump heat temperature regulation and he talks sort of very highly of this and is something I think boathouse could shout out about more because I don't hear much about it. But similarly, quite a few of the brands I think that run by nature definitely do adjust their clothing for adaptive measures. Yeah, there's a few brands that are starting to look at doing it a few a bit more, which is good. It would be nice to see more things based on catheters and stoma bags because I'm seeing that as a big thing that isn't being advocate being catered towards yet, but is something that a lot of people are talking about.
KATHI: 43:06 But hopefully there's maybe someone listening who takes that inspiration from today's episode to speak out and reach out to one of those companies to develop something. Sarah, is there any advice that you can share with people who might want to work with brands to get these things done and to get things like that developed and put on the market for a wider group of people to use?
ZAHRAH: 43:28 I think just in general, if you've got an idea and you want to speak to someone about it, then have that confidence to do that in loads of ways that you can connect with people nowadays, especially with the age of the internet and social media, I think just have that realistic view of how long it takes. So it's not going to be, especially if you wanted to put the effort in and make sure it's something that's going to benefit more people than just yourself wider as well, you want to take the time with it. And it's not a kind of, I know for example, I can speak on my experience with Bergos, it's, it's definitely not a tick box exercise with them. That's why I went with them. There was a lot of other brands that were talking to me on that stage and I went with them because I didn't feel like they were just doing it to tick a box.
44:18 They actually wanted to make a difference. And I think that that has to be remembered when you're thinking about the process because some people couldn't believe that it took three years with the hijab. But I think it obviously it has been the right amount of time and obviously there might have been some sort of delays and some things that were out of our control, but at the end of the day we wanted to make sure that there was a product that could benefit other people. So I think just having that kind of realistic expectation in mind and keeping that in the back of our head. Cause once we have a good idea and we're just kind of desperate to get it out there and experience it and for other people to experience it, I felt like that for a long time. And I think just reigning yourself in and making sure that you're kind of have those expectations and making sure that you've got the best product that you can bring to market.
45:06 So I think just within an age where we like things quick, fast food, fast everything, and just lack that patience as I'm speaking specifically about myself here. So yeah, it really taught me patience and just kind of making sure that you're doing it for the right reasons and getting the right product out there. So yeah, adjust your expectations, I would say. And not to say that that's kind of a negative view of it or a negative position, but it's more just kind of, if it's something from the heart, then it's going to take time to get there.
KATHI: 45:47 And in other news,
45:52 The National Park Protector Awards 2023 are now open for nominations. National Park protectors are individuals and groups who go above and beyond for national parks. From the large scale projects that help nature recover to grassroots groups, improving community access to national parks and volunteers, helping people to visit responsibly. The annual awards have been run for decades by campaign for national parks and are chance to recognise and reward these efforts. Last year's main winner was the Fix the Fells team who play an integral role in caring for the well used pass in one of the UK's most visited national parks. Anyone can be nominated head to cnp.org.uk to find out more protector. Our Winters UK are running a number of online carbon literacy training courses. The one day course will teach you the science, giving you an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities alongside the ability and motivation to reduce emissions. It's been designed for outdoor people and fits the carbon literacy standard. So you'll be learning the most up-to-date science and be able to tackle those difficult conversations. Head on, find out more via a link in our show notes. This month is [inaudible] a month where garden owners are encouraged to allow their lawns to grow wild. This gives wild plants a chance to set seed before their first cutting, making for healthier, more diverse lawns, which in turn helps to feed bees, butterflies, and other pollinators through summer. The No Mo May movement was started in 2019 by conservation charity plant life. And if you've been taken part, we'd love to see some of your pictures, send us photos of your lawns.
47:46 And lastly, the next time you fancier walk, you could be joined by singer Ed Sheeran. He's teamed up with Peloton to create an exclusive audio collaboration for a new series of outdoor walks. Each episode features music from his new album and immersive and intimate storytelling. Before I let you two go, I wanted to do a quick check-in checkout with you and just see if there's anything else you wanted to share with the listeners, any projects you're working on, how can people connect with you and check out your work. Anything else you want people to check out that you're currently doing? Sarah?
ZAHRAH: 48:28 I'm currently doing nothing. I cannot, you can find me on Instagram mainly. That's where when I stay or when I love and I'm just recently got a lot of backlog of walks that I've been trying to post. I'm trying to create a resource online through my social media of more kind of accessible walks for people that are taking buggies for their children. And someone pointed out a lot of these walks may also be wheelchair accessible. I can't specifically vouch for that cause I don't have that experience. And there will be differences where clearly if you're pushing up a buggy, you can go more uphill than maybe you can in a wheelchair. So it's just something to keep in mind. Cause I think someone was trying to market those walks as more accessible than they may be. But yeah, anyway, I'm just trying to kind of share more of the realistic adventures of a mom with a boisterous toddler and share more resources out there for new moms. That's just something that where my kind of passion and interest is now. It changes every so often. But yeah, that's pretty much it from me at the moment.
KATHI: 49:36 And how about you, Annie?
ANI: 49:40 Everything's sort of surrounding this film now that it's finished and that we're doing screenings. We're sort of talking to some different organisations and stores and things and looking at in-store screenings, different retailers and hopefully can do some with the White Cha, which was a sponsor of the film and get this story of, I don't want to say the ugly truth, but sort of like the bare face reality of what it's like to live with chronic pain and fatigue rather than what it looks like on my Instagram page. Which isn't that glamorous either, but is still nicer than it is.
KATHI: 50:17 And if we follow you on Instagram, we'll find out when there's any screenings around us or upcoming screenings nearby where we might want to travel to.
ANI: 50:26 100%. Yeah, if you follow me or Fritz Films, which is the studio, I'm sure you'll keep up with it. The updates, yeah, excited for more people to see it.
ZAHRAH: 50:40 I'm excited to see it as well. I just want to see, I'm really excited to see it. And also I've learned a lot from Annie and watching her stories and sharing her adventures and I think she does it in such an inspirational way without even meaning to be inspirational. So definitely if for nothing else, follow her for to watch her realistic take. But also very informing for me
ANI: 51:05 Fam, that's my life goals sorted now it I've achieved everything I need to.
KATHI: 51:13 I love how this call just started with Annie complimenting Zara and now it's going to end with Zara complimenting Annie. And I don't even have to do anything, even though I obvious obviously approve and agree with both of you. So thank you both so much for taking the time and for coming on on the outside and talk about your current project and your experiences and your thoughts. And yeah, I hope to speak to you all again soon.
ZAHRAH: 51:39 Thanks
ANI: 51:40 Thank you.
KATHI: 51:42 Now, I might not be Ed Sheeran, but if you are looking for something nice to listen to while you're out and about, check out my podcast, wild for Scotland, which is full of just as immersive, but maybe a little less intimate storytelling. This episode of On the Outside was hosted by me, Kathy Ka Leer. Francesca Takis is the producer on the Outside Artwork is created by Sophie Nolan. Music is Best. Beats by Alex Norton. Anesu Matanda Mambingo is our social media assistant and you have been our listener. Thank you very much for listening.
FRAN: 52:27 A really wide range here of stuff that is missing from the outdoors. Anesu Matanda Mambingo who is our new social media assistant, she says that Afro compatible helmets for cycling and climbing. The thing that we had most feedback on was size ranges. So Steph again says that she's got her backpack now, but she says personal flotation devices and climbing harnesses in particular don't sit right. It does make her scared to go climbing because of the fear of the embarrassment. Wannabe bug lady says she's a four XL and just can't find the technical gear and the same range as clothes as even a size 16 public right of way. Explorer says she's a size 10 shoe and it's impossible to find women's shoes in that size.... [Fades out]