Colorado's SheFly outdoor pants help women comfortably pee outside

Morgan Tilton

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Women hiking in the new SheFly Apparel Go There Pant.(Photo/Erin Joy Nash)

If you've ever needed to answer nature's call while adventuring or working outdoors, you know the discomfort: Pulling your drawers down in the elements can be cold, damp, awkward, time-consuming, and lack privacy.

Fortunately for outdoor enthusiasts, there's finally a solution. Enter: SheFly Apparel, a new Colorado-based company with a mission to change the limitations of hiking pants through a revolutionary zipper. Below the regular zipper fly, a secondary patented zipper extends to the back of the waistband, allowing wearers to unzip as far as they need to go to the bathroom in the woods.

Dubbed the Go There Pant, the design received the 2022 Outdoor Retailer Innovation award and hit the market this spring.

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The SheFly Apparel Go There Pant with an innovative zipper for self relief debuted this spring.(Photo/ Erin Joy Nash)

Who wears the pants?

SheFly designed the pants to be comfortable for hiking, rock climbing, and working outdoors. (As a gear tester, I intend to test the pants but have no input at print.)

SheFly cofounder Georgia Grace Edwards said the company received a strong testimonial from a Colorado-based rope team leader who inspects bridges for an engineering firm.

“She was self-conscious about going to the bathroom, especially as a leader at work: She needed to get herself to a rope access point on the bridge, hike off the bridge until she could find a private location, remove a 40 pound harness, and get back to resume her position dangling off the side of the bridge. Something as simple as using the bathroom—a basic human function—is tied to someone feeling confident, capable, and productive. Wearing these pants has saved the woman more than an hour a day on the job,” said Edwards.

Similarly, rock climbers who formerly removed their pants and safety equipment for bladder relief—which can lead to climbers being stranded and stuck on a cliff—can now safely go to the bathroom wearing this pant design. “Beyond our pants preserving women’s comfort, safety, and energy, as well as providing convenience, women's performance in the outdoors is limited by gear that doesn’t work for them, and not going to the bathroom can lead to dehydration or even UTIs,” explained Edwards.

“It’s a multifaceted issue, and having a pair of pants that fits you and allows you to do what you need to do is a game changer,” she said.

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Squatting outdoors is easier in the Go There Pant.(Photo/Erin Joy Nash)

Born on a glacier

The multi-zipper concept surfaced after Edwards, 26, spent a summer guiding glacier treks in Alaska in 2016.

While her male colleagues could efficiently unzip and go pee, Edwards needed to hike across the glacier—avoiding crevasses along the way—for seclusion. She’d remove several layers of clothes in sub-zero temperatures, leaving her chilled for hours. To reduce her trips, she limited her water consumption.

After returning to class at Middlebury, where Edwards majored in international politics and economics. In 2018, she enrolled in a 4-week entrepreneur class to prototype a pant zipper better placed for the female anatomy. She experimented with velcro, buttons, and snap closures, but a zipper prevailed as the most streamlined, secure, and familiar closure.

Nearly 100 prototypes

That summer, Edwards presented the pants at the FreshTracks Road Pitch, a four-day motorcycle tour in Vermont where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to investors.

“The audience was 95% men in leather motorcycle chaps and we won the people’s choice and investors' choice awards, winning the local event then placing second at state—that’s when I realized we were really onto something,” said Edwards.

Alongside cofounders Bianca Gonzalez and Charlotte Massey, Edwards launched an IFundWomen crowdfunding campaign in spring 2019, securing more than triple their financial goal to kickstart the company. Now led by Massey and Edwards, SheFly has been on a roll ever since.

“Prototyping never stops. These pants have gone through nearly 75 iterations, and we’re always using customer feedback to improve,” said Edwards.

More pants in the pipeline

Next, SheFly is designing a legging with the zipper, which can be worn as a standalone layer or beneath the Go There Pant. The team is also launching a new brand name to be more inclusive.

Edwards said, “This product has been at the intersection of outdoor accessibility and women’s empowerment, and we want to back up what we’re saying with action.”

For Colorado-centric pitches, reach NewsBreak outdoor recreation reporter Morgan Tilton at morgan.tilton@gmail.com.

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Adventure journalist Morgan Tilton covers the outdoors with a focus on travel, industry news and human endurance. Featured in more than 70 publications, she’s a recipient of more than a dozen North American Travel Journalists Association awards.

Crested Butte, CO
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