Fat Girl on the Trail
What the hell am I doing here?
I ask myself this more than I like to admit. I do not look like a hiker. In fact, I use to think I didn’t have any business even being out on a trail… because of my size.
When most people think about hikers, they imagine svelte people with muscles bounding under their skin. They don’t normally visualize a woman who is 5’7” and at the heaviest she has ever been in her life.
Luckily for me, I don’t tend to let other people’s perceptions of me affect me much. However, being my size, I do not look like the models at REI and I can say that most of the clothes and companies that specialize in hiking do not cater to people of my size.
So, lets say you’re not a size 2 and you want to get out and start enjoying your local trails. What do you wear? What do you need? Where are you going to find it?
For me, I love yoga pants because they give me the ability to move and climb and sometimes get out of some tight spots without being constricted. The downside to yoga pants? They don’t hide much. So wear them with pride. Also, they don’t protect you against mosquitos…. at all. (I use Ben’s mosquito repellent FYI. And it WILL eat through certain fabrics if you buy the 100% DEET.) I tend to get my yoga pants from Torrid, Target, Fred Meyers, Costco, etc. I don’t get very fancy with them.
You’re not into tight fitting yoga pants? My second favorite pants option are 511 tactical pants. They are thick, the repel water, have a ton of pockets, a built in gun holster, and a wide waist band that you can adjust to the perfect fit. I have slid down rocks, climbed through thorns, and waded through rivers in these suckers and they still look new. Being as I’m not very tall and fairly wide, I also love that you can order them in tons of sizes so you get something thats going to fit you just right.
As for your top half, I tend to go with a lighter, wicking fabric. I sweat. I mean, I sweat A LOT when I’m hiking. I like a loose fitting tank and I normally keep a light, long-sleeve, pull-over in my backpack in case I need another layer. I don’t get anything fancy with my tops. Most come from Target, Fred Meyers, or Costco. Also, don’t forget sunscreen. I love using my hiking time as my tanning time, but I have forgotten my sunscreen more than once and the burn is sooooo not worth it.
Next up? Socks. I go with wool year round. They keep your feet warm and dry. I like the padding I get from them as well. The saying “cotton kills” is true. Cotton tends to stay damn and does nothing for insulation for you.
Last up is shoes. I think everyone will have their own preference. I like my Keens for various reasons and I tend to always come back to them after trying something different. I will suggest that you try them out in the store wearing your hiking socks and on different surfaces if you can. Make sure you have enough room in the toe as feet tend to swell when hiking. I go with a boot I can lace higher in order to keep my ankles from rolling as much, but it is totally your call.
Hopefully this helps my fellow larger ladies get ready to hit the trails. Don’t worry if you don’t look like a model in a catalogue. Be comfortable and confident.