Madison Flo ShortsOne of the things I love about my job is when designers, manufacturers and retailers of technical outdoor kit ask me to get involved in product testing and reviews.

You might think that it’s all about the nice little packages which arrive in the post.  Yes,  of course that’s a nice bonus to it, but to be honest the real reason I love getting involved is because it gives me a chance to feedback and, as a result, hopefully develop and improve products for women over time.

I’ve been playing out in the great outdoors for around 30 years now, going mountain biking, walking, climbing and camping – and that means I’ve bought and worn an awful lot of kit during that time.  I’ve also been highly critical of the lack of choice for women during those years.  Men always seemed to have more technical clothing, better colours and a greater choice generally.  Sometimes, I would end up buying an item which didn’t really fit properly just because the version made for men was the only thing available.

It took mountain biking clothing companies years to acknowledge that women like going out in sh*t conditions too and that we didn’t all sit at home, baking buns and waiting for the sunny day when we could get on our basic mountain bike and tootle down the easy trail with our picnics in our shopping baskets….although in the midst of winter, that does sound rather nice 😉

EDZ Yeti FleeceI’m happy to report that over the years, things have started changing.

It’s now much easier for me to find technical kit made specifically with women in mind.  More designers and manufacturers produce the equivalent piece of clothing in both male and female designs.  We’re still not there yet, although I do understand that businesses have to work with the bottom line profit figures in mind – if women aren’t buying in big enough numbers, is it viable for manufacturers to produce, and retailers to stock, separate items for us.

Equally though, if the range and choice isn’t there, how can women show that we really want those technical equivalents and in bright vibrant colours (now that’s a whole different topic – I love bright oranges, blues and greens, but unlike lots of comments I see from women, I’m also not adverse to purples and pinks sometimes).

So yes, it’s great to receive a new piece of kit to test in the post.  But even better, I love the fact that designers and manufacturers are seeking feedback from me as a woman to help improve their product ranges.  I’m proud to be involved with those brands I’ve started working with – two I’ve discussed a longer term relationship with are EDZ Clothing and Rad8 Mountain Biking Glasses

Rad8 504 Photochromic glassesIt’s important for me to highlight that I choose to work only with the brands I would purchase from myself, and also for me to be upfront about receiving products free of charge in exchange for an honest and properly field tested review – and that for me is the key point, honesty.

Before I work with a brand, I let them know that I am always open and honest – giving feedback both good and bad.  That way, anyone reading my product reviews can be assured of a balanced opinion and not just more marketing blurb from a business.

Rad8 Mtb glasses

So check out my Reviews page (which also includes reviews of kit I’ve purchased for myself and loved) and hopefully you’ll find some interesting and useful information to help you decide what technical kit to wear when you’re outdoors doing whatever it is you do.

…and if you see any pictures of me in a particular piece of kit you’d like to read a review about, get in touch 😉

EDZ merino gloves

Specialised 2FO mtb shoes


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