Looking for other "fluffy" backpackers

4:53 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I hope that the mod's don't close this thread, but I'm starting a blog/website for fat/fluffy backpackers/hikers and want to reach out to "other" bigger trailspacers who would like to contribute to the site... just registered thefluffyhiker.com ^_^  (my nickname even before Gabriel Iglesias was fluffy)

I think that because of our bigger sizes, certain things that work well for "normal" sized folks are horrible for us (ie - I can't stand gregory/osprey packs, I think they're the most uncomfortable on the planet) and things like sleeping bags, jacket sizes (which I still haven't mastered online.. darn living in the 'bush' in Alaska), and even shoes.

(and don't worry, I'm going to link as much as I can back to Trailspace!)

thoughts on this? or are we a *true* uber small minority?!


9:06 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Well I guess I could have been called a fluffy hiker a couple of years ago when I started hikin again. I had been kinda lazy for a few years. I changed my work from really physical to the food industry. I weighed 270 at six feet tall. Then my knee gave up for good, I had a total replacement. I day hiked before my surgery to lose weight then started as soon as possible after surgery. I weigh about 210 now, I was about 190 but didnt like the way I felt. My point is if you continue to hike, going on longer more frequent trips the weight will continue to fall off. I dont think being skinny makes people hike I think hikin makes skinny people. The longer the trip the more limited your diet, so you pack better quality food instead of quantity. Its about being healthy and enjoying the outdoors not lookin good in your speedo for me. Cardio fitness to get up that hill is the only thing that matters.

10:31 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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No need to worry about the thread being removed! :) THings are only removed when they are spam, violate any laws, or break the Membership Rules and Terms of Service. Usually that means inciting arguments, posting offensive material, or attacking another member. 

I am currently well over an ideal weight, and I can relate to your topic. Pack lumbar supports are intended to sit firmly on the superior angle of the sacrum, and the belt "wings" to rest on top of both Iliac crests (hip bones) but if you have "extra padding" this doesn't work correctly. Love handles and beer bellies both prevent the proper placement, which means either the back sits too low, and is supported by the top or your thighs and glutial forms, or the belt has to bee extremely tight, or both. Either way, the result is less than optimally comfortable. I am not sure there is a solution, except loosing weight, which I am determined to do.  

11:35 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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hotdog - I was actually well over 400 at my biggest, and I'm hovering at 300 right now (and 6'1).  Amazingly I fit into airline seats without a seat belt extension - and I have been watching my diet.   however, hiking with friends and liquor accounts for 20 pounds in each of our packs isn't helping either.

gonzan - I think the most annoying thing about being big is trying to buy coats/jackets online.  I made the stupid mistake of buying a 2XL and I swear I could barely get my arms in! 

12:23 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Travelnate. That is great. I am fluffy...biggest woman on the trek to base camp and we certainly face some challenges unique to being fluffy. I went to the site, but it goes to a godaddy hosting site. I will try again later.

11:01 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Gonzan said:

I am currently well over an ideal weight,

We seem to discuss this a lot here, I think its a good thing. 

Hotdog.  You are a stud for burning all that weight away!  My Trailspace running hat is off to you!

I think if I was my "ideal" weight I'd be questioned by the United Nations War Crimes Commision for suspicion of recently escaping from a concentration camp.  Even when I was in great shape and stood on the podium at the state wrestling championships I was at least 15 pounds over my "ideal" weight.  That was 50 pounds ago though.  My goal is to be about halfway between my current mass and my ideal. 

For better or worse it seems like a lot of things in the US seem to be made for thicker people.  I feel like, though I have fattened up since the wife and kids came along, the sizes of clothes I wear hasn't increased porportionately.  However, I find that the things I wear in the XL size range seem to vary WIDELY in actual ft.  I feel for anyone who has to do a lot of clothing shopping online without the benefit of trying things on. 

11:23 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the compliment. It wasnt all exercise I made some drastic changes to my diet as well. I dont think anyone has come up with a system for finding an ideal weight. There are too many factors,bone size,bone density, thickness of skin. Yes there is a diff in the thickness of peoples skin. My wife and I were both cut across the back of our calves by a broken safety cable. We went for stitches together, the doc checking us over could not believe the diff in the thickness of our skin. Mine was more than twice the thickness of hers, dont know why im kinda dark skinned and dont bruise, my wife is very pale and bruises from a stiff breeze. Anyway being healthy and happy is way more important than being skinny.

11:44 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm a scrawny dude now, but was well over my ideal weight for many years.  I think a lot of folks that have never had the experience of carrying more weight than they want to can't understand how uncomfortable it can be.  I used to chafe, blister and sweat FAR worse than I do now.  Don't get me started on chafing.

This is an interesting issue Nate, because people are now more likely to have a high BMI than not.  The "lazy" explanation for why larger folks are under-represented in active pursuits is that this is the reason they are larger in the first place.  I happen to think that you've uncovered another more relevant reason - that active outdoor recreation equipment isn't universally available above certain sizes.  Kudos to you for thinking about this!

12:01 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth said:

I think a lot of folks that have never had the experience of carrying more weight than they want to can't understand how uncomfortable it can be.

 I think this is spot on, Seth. Before I gained my current "cargo," I couldn't have imagined how negatively being overweight would effect me and hinder the pursuits I love. I also never dreamed it would be so difficult to get back "into shape."  I will get there, though. 

12:05 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I think that's the main purpose of why I want to have a site dedicated to "bigger" hikers.  I live in Juneau, Alaska - and yes bragging – this is the most beautiful place on the planet.  During the summer I can look out my window and see water for 30 miles in a “fjord” with peaks of 5,000 feet on both sides, cruise ships putting around (ok, not always pretty), and bald eagles flying by my window.  At breaks, we can hike up the Perseverance Trail along a rushing glacial stream, and when we go home we can bike along many of our bike paths or go out to the glacier and be in a glacial tube by 5pm.  I gave up a life on the beach in South Florida for this place, and I think only this crowd would ‘get it’, cause all my other friends still accuse me of being on crack.

But, living here has its disadvantages – and that comes with only 2 limited gear shops and 2 other stores that carry *SOME* hiking gear.  When you are a bigger hiker, we don’t have the luxury to run down to REI/Galyans-Dicks/Bass Pro Shop and try on items, so there’s a lot of online shopping.  And a lot of returns.  Which stinks if you are hiking next week, purchase something from REI, get it 3 days later, and have to return it  (Although Anchorage has a decent sized REI and 2 larger outdoors stores + Sports Authority – Anchorage is a 90 minute flight @ $350 roundtrip away.).

For example, certain Columbia shirts/fleece – I can fit in SOME 2XLs, and others won’t even make it past my torso… and another brand I had to jump up to 4X, while North Face I’ve been comfortable in a simple XL!

Since you are staff here, I do plan on having a link to Trailspace – any chance you guys have a 150 x XX icon hiding ?

While most people who are fat are embarrassed to talk about it, I think as people are getting bigger its becoming more and more normal and shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.  In the past 9 years, I’ve seen some very interesting posts about this, and they are very passive about it. 

12:07 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Seth said:

I think a lot of folks that have never had the experience of carrying more weight than they want to can't understand how uncomfortable it can be.

 I think this is spot on, Seth. Before I gained my current "cargo," I couldn't have imagined how negatively being overweight would effect me and hinder the pursuits I love. I also never dreamed it would be so difficult to get back "into shape."  I will get there, though. 


Getting into shape is easier said than done.  Granted I've dropped 100 pounds, I feel I'm plateauing.   I've been hanging around more vegans and health food 'nuts' and I can proudly say that I have done 5 trips now without taking any of that dehydrated food crap!! ^_^   (i think its ironic we will hike for 3 days for exercise yet eat a 2,000 calorie meal x 3 a day!)

7:30 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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As the years added up, so did the pounds. I've lost 20 pounds since March. One pound to go and I will be officially NOT be in the "standard guidelines for my short height" overweight category. Every chance I get, I opt for a hike with a hill. It sure make hills easier to climb. I figure 20 pounds off my behind is more pounds of extra luxury stuff I can carry in my backpack.

7:32 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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And now I am wondering how I can stay on the Weight Watchers plan and use freezer bag meals to eat in my campsite .

10:16 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I am doing Paleo and much healthier with the restrictions on certain carbs. Easy to find great things to cook too!

10:48 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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The link still doesn't work. No site at that addy.

12:13 a.m. on June 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I think a big change came for me when I bought a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer. I can make my own healthy meals that are still boil,pour and eat. I didnt cut out carbs cause I think you need some, but I control the ratio of carbs to veg and meat. I buy almost no camping food except the tuna or chicken in bags. I also think drinking tons of water helps a lot, I might have to pee three times in the night, but im not eating a sarah lee cheesecake at night on the couch anymore. Im not a dietician or nutritionist like some people on this site, but ive learned that moderation is the only rule that works, if you tell me I cant have a slice of pizza I will eat the whole pie. Now I order a salad to come first, fill up on that then I can have one slice. Im around food at work so it is very hard for me to avoid overeating. I love food, but I have learned to gorge myself on smart food choices. Who doesnt love that overstuffed after thanksgiving dinner feeling. Anyway, great topic nate. I love my gregory baltoro pack, that just shows that people gain weight diffrently. I get wide with a somewhat high belly. I bought that pack online after trying on 30 packs at several stores. Someone on here found it for half price for me. It was almost in the middle of my weight loss when I got it. From235 to 190 back up to my current 210 or so and I have loved it every step of the way. I really think the secret to buying some clothes is to look for the words relaxed fit. If you can find those words the cut of the garmet seems to be more generous. I have also found that you can buy cold weather gear for snowboarding, it will have a much more generous cut than hiking specific clothes, while still having the warmth,waterproofing and breathability you need. Good luck on your weight loss and keep sending those alaska pics.

1:19 a.m. on June 15, 2012 (EDT)
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giftogab, the site should be up before the 4th of July holiday.... I'm working on the layout and content!

1:50 p.m. on June 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Current wisdom in the fitness world is that people burn more fat at lower heart rates. A sprinter burns sugars first because they can so easily be converted into energy, but never really gets going long enough to burn anything else. A runner who goes longer (like 1500 metres) starts burning carbs then proteins. A marathoner uses up the calories that are more readily available and only then starts burning fat. At least the theory is that a pulse rate around 110-120 is optimal for getting rid of fat.

Regardless, the bottom line is that a hiker burning say 350 calories per hour can go all day (2800/8 hr day), while  runner might burn 550 per hour, but will be worn out in perhaps an hour.

In addition, muscle burns energy, while fat just sits there. The more muscle you can build up by doing whatever exercise you are physically able to do will burn more calories (even when you're not exercising) so you don't have to be a marathon runner to slim down.

1:54 p.m. on June 15, 2012 (EDT)
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When I am hitting the trail in the winter I typically start out around 230lbs. I am 5'9" just to give ya an idea. 

On a 70+ mile thru-hike I typically drop no less than 30lbs. 

My normal weight is around 210-215lbs. 

4:01 p.m. on June 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Fluffy Hiker, LOL!  I don't think of myself as Fluffy, just way to fricken big! Fat yes, but hey i know it and really am trying to work on it.  At 6'6" and over 280 sizing is always an issue for me.  I don't know what I would do if I had to buy clothing on line. 

Packs and bags, yea they don't seem to fit the larger crowd too. 

On my WCT I think actually gained weight!  The night before I left I was at 275 but when I got back I was at 286!  Go figure?  It might have been something to do with the three large meals I ate from the time I got off the trail and I got home, about 24 hours.  I was also drinking a lot more water then I normally do.  I always drink more hiking. 

Had to laugh at Seth's sweating and chafing! major issues for me too.  One of the main reasons I took two baths on the WCT in 38 degree water,well it was damn cold, not really sure what the temp was.  But felt much better after both.


I look forward to your site and any help I could be let me know.  I am in Everett, WA, Seattle area, so I am just a hop down the cost, right!  Although I would love to visit that area and do some hiking in the summer.  Not so much in the winter! 

6:33 p.m. on June 16, 2012 (EDT)
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The site still seems not to work. I have to try so hard getting to the site that I might not be fluffy by the time I find it.......

3:52 a.m. on June 17, 2012 (EDT)
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We're working on some different scripting before we go live with anything.   I'm working with a programming buddy and figuring out the better direction to go with the site.... ie - dynamic reviews/comments vs static pages with commentary/blogs/articles. 

then comes the fun job of combing the web for articles for larger hikers and trying to include those!

I'm hopeful you'll see content showing up around the 4th of July.


4:30 a.m. on June 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I think the site is a great idea!

Always thought it would be cool if you pick a virtual body type by entering your measurements(of course kept private).. but then it would match body types of from other similar shaped profiles(also kept private). Brand names and specific clothing items could the be suggested as a more/less likely to fit.

It would make on-line shopping less like playing darts blindfolded.

8:46 a.m. on June 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Nate, you are doing a great thing herre. Keep it up...

Back to the trail(only 9 miles today.) :p

4:14 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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two years ago, I was 65 more pounds than I am now. at my heaviest, I was 100 pounds overweight. I never let the weight stop me. but now that I have lost 2 backpacks worth of weight, I am stronger, faster, fitter than I was 15 years ago. today at the doc, my bp was 112/70 and my heart rate was 60. I will turn 51 this summer :D.

I am biking , hiking, walking, canoeing, backpacking gardening.... I leave for Uganda in 7 days for a medical mission trip. while I did all that 65 pounds ago, the vigor and energy is so much better. And I have happier joints.

Whatever you do, don't stop! Keep moving! 65 pounds and two years ago I did a 55 mile canoe trip. it was some of the toughest Most demanding outdoorsy thing I have EVER done!

Keep at it, and best wishes!

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