Plus-Size Activewear

For all seasons!

June 2, 2021: This is getting a major revamp right now and will be including gear! So much to look forward to. Check back soon xo

If you’re looking for the Unlikely Hikers SHOE, go here: MERRELL x UNLIKELY HIKERS

It’s still so ridiculously hard to find good, quality plus size activewear for all seasons, especially if you’re over a size 3X. I compiled this list of leggings, activewear, baselayers, jackets, rain/snow protection, underwear & bathing suits to ease some of the anxiety and frustration of being a plus-size outdoorsperson. WE EXIST! Even if they don’t see us or, I guess, want our money? These resources are definitely coming from a femme and “women’s” perspective (quotation marks very intentional), with a few androgynous items here and there. I’m considering including “mens” stuff, but I know so many of us are tired of wearing mens clothing as alternatives to what we haven’t been able to find.

I want this list to be for us, by us. It will be updated and added-to regularly. Please add your thoughts, advice and resources and be a part of the conversation!

We’ve got A LOT to cover:

  1. We Just Want Functional Clothing That Isn’t Ugly
  2. Clothing resources up to 6X
  3. Price hacks because this stuff is EXPENSIVE
  4. Chub rub! Perennially unchill
  5. How to layer for cold temperatures
  6. Contribute to the conversation!

  1. We Just Want Functional Clothing That Isn’t Ugly

The topic of plus-size clothing tends to find its way into almost everything I write even when I’m really trying not to talk about it. I’ll write some sincere, personal post about something else entirely, but if I attach it to a selfie, the comments will be about my clothes. “What are you wearing?” “Where did you get your leggings?” “I’m trying to find a rain jacket that works.” I’ve dreaded these questions because I’ve been wearing clothing that hasn’t worked for me the way I’d like it to, like wearing mens clothes because I can actually get them on my body, though they don’t exactly fit. I don’t want to encourage people to buy more clothes that are simply halfway decent, especially with how expensive this stuff is. Until recently, I wore almost nothing that could be bought at an outdoor retailer. That feels weird and frustrating to say as I become more enmeshed in the outdoor industry and I’m being asked to speak at events for brands that don’t make clothes in my size. What’s been available to me is either only online, ugly or doesn’t fit right despite being “my size.” This is far more difficult for folks who wear bigger sizes. Do they really think we don’t get out? Or, at the very least, that we don’t need protection from rain and cold? When I walk into a retailer of any kind and my size isn’t included it shows me I’m not being considered. How do you not internalize that?

Representation & barriers

Representation matters and I know this has played a part in what took me so long to get outdoors. When we don’t see ourselves represented, it sends a subconscious message we don’t belong. Which brings me to my least favorite thing: online shopping. With the few options we’ve had, why have we been relegated to online shopping? Plus-sizes are so inconsistent in design and sizing, not being able to try something on first is a gamble some of us aren’t willing to take. I often hear folks say they buy THREE sizes of one item online and send back the two that don’t fit. Most of us don’t have the money to do that. This is especially hard for plus-size people who live outside of the U.S., as plus-sizes are even more scarce and ordering American stuff online is more expensive, with crazy high shipping and it’s more of a hassle to return and exchange things that don’t work. We want the same basic things straight-size (meaning, not plus-size) people get to have, but we’re often having to settle for things we don’t actually like or nothing at all. Not making clothes in our sizes, not carrying them in the actual stores and pricing them out of our means are forms of exclusion.

There’s often a notable gap between how much “womens” straight sizes and plus sizes cost and both cost more than “mens” options. We’re paying more because it’s considered special. Considering plus-size women and femmes are systematically paid less than our thinner peers, this doesn’t bode well. And my god, we can’t stop sizing at a 3X. According to most brands, it’s not “profitable” to make extended sizing and I’m calling bullshit on that. People can’t buy what they don’t know exists and I don’t believe most of these brands have ever been in touch with what plus-size people want. Choosing to not make bigger clothes is choosing to exclude people.


Let’s not insult our own intelligence and act like we don’t care about how we look. It’s all about function, blah, blah blah. Of course function matters, but we all care about our appearance. It’s not a bad thing and it’s not our fault. So much of our social capital is based on it. It totally matters even if it shouldn’t. We should be able to express ourselves with our clothing. For the longest time, plus-size outdoor offerings have been so drab and matronly, like grandma-on-safari or, worse, infantalizing color palettes of pinks and purples. To be clear, grandma-on-safari sounds badass, but it’s not the look I want. It’s not current and I imagine plenty of older women don’t want it either. The shapes are oversized, tent-like. I want things to fit my body, not hide it. My body is not a secret. I want function, but I also want clothes that make me feel empowered and stylish. I want them to make me want to go outside and go harder because I know I look awesome.


Plus-size people are out here. It hurts when people comment on my posts saying they wish they could be as brave as me to go hiking and post photos of myself in movement. Finding joyful movement has healed me tremendously. Learning to be in touch with my body’s abilities and disabilities and feel empowered by movement is a gift I wish for everyone who wants it. There are so many messages on a daily basis telling us we don’t look right, we don’t know how to feed ourselves, we don’t know what our bodies need, that we always need to be chasing something that costs money to make us “better.” Nobody knows what our bodies need more than we do. This messaging is trampling our intuition and not allowing us to be IN our bodies. And that goes for people of all sizes, all genders. In the outdoors, my physical being doesn’t take up too much space the way I have learned it does in daily life. I’m able to fully be in my body without all of that harmful messaging. And I deserve to feel really freaking cute and comfortable in my clothes while doing it.

Pants by, Columbia. Shirt by, Smartwool. Pack by, Granite Gear. Shoes are always Merrell.
  1. Clothing Resources

-Stay away from COTTON! Just in case some know-it-all outdoorsperson hasn’t already told you, it takes forever to dry, sticks to your skin and can be potentially dangerous in cold weather. While shopping, pay attention to fabrics. You want synthetic fabrics, for the most part, or wool. Eff the polyester stigma, it’s great!
-I’m only posting things that go up to 3X or bigger.
-Things I have personally tried have a “*” next to them.
-I can’t tell anyone what will work for them, even if they’re the same size. Surprise, plus-size bodies are diverse! I just want to present options.

Brands outside of the U.S.

Plus-size clothing is even harder to find outside of the U.S. and the shipping from buying American brands online is exorbitant. I made this a separate category so it would be easy to find.

Active Truth (up to 3X) – Australia – leggings, tights and tops.
Sportive Plus (up to 4X) – Canada – All of the things! And some Canadian brands! There are three physical locations in Quebec in Saint-Clet, Boucherville & Laval. You can also find a U.S. website.
Addition Elle (up to 4X) – Canada – Trendy activewear and bizarrely low prices… I hope they aren’t going out of business.

Special shout-out to Dia & Co (up to 32) – shop their catalog or opt for personal styling! You fill out their style quiz and they prepare a box of selected goodies in-line with the information you provided. They also offer an Active box for activewear. Plus, your purchases directly support Unlikely Hikers!

Leggings & Everyday Activewear

*Unlikely Hikers (up to 4X) – Performance Tees *wink* I desperately want these to go up to a 6X. It’s wild how difficult this is, but I’m TRYING.
*Eddie Bauer (up to 3X) – Best fit EVER! Leggings, activewear and beyond. The price points are some of the best in the industry.
*Superfit Hero (up to 5X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras. These are my FAVORITE leggings! Get yours with code “UNLIKELYHIKERS” for 15% off!
*Day Won (up to 30/32) -finally fit, style, sustainability AND sizes up to 30/32. I am obsessed with these.
*Columbia (up to 3X) – all of the things! And you can find many of these items in store.
*REI (up to 3X) – all of the things! And you can find many of these items in store.
*Walmart (up to 5X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops, light jackets. CHEAP! You can find many of these items in store.
Bombsheller (up to 6X) – THE CUTEST LEGGINGS. Not cheap, but they’re a small company and they’re not see-thru #holygrail
LightHeart Gear (up to 3X) – Cottage brand, made in the U.S., leggings, shorts, hiking skirts & dresses along with other ultralight gear.
Rsport (up to 6X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops, light jackets, accessories.
Torrid (up to 6X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops, bathing suits. You can find many of these items in store.
Old Navy (up to 4X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops.
Yogatech (up to 3X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops.
Woman Within (up to 5X) – Leggings. Not all of these are considered activewear. You don’t want anything with cotton if these are for exercise!
Lands’ End (up to 3X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops, light jackets. Cheap!
JunoActive (up to 6X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops, light jackets. Not all of these are cotton-free! Pay attention to the materials.
LIVI Active By, Lane Bryant (up to 3X) – Leggings, shorts, sports bras, active tops, light jackets, athleisure. Fancy, expensive shit. You can find many of these items in store.
Addition Elle (up to 4X) – Canadian brand with super cute activewear.
JCPenney Xersion (up to 5X) – leggings, shorts, shirts, cheap!

Sports Bras

Shefit (up to the 6Luxe, which is a 51-55” bust, 42-48” rib cage) – this looks amazing. I am def going to try it.
Enell (up to an 8, which is a 56”-60” bust, 49”-53” rib cage. They also do CUSTOM fits!)
Glamorise Sport (up to 50J)
LIVI Active By, Lane Bryant (up to 44H) –  You can find many of these items in store.
Brooks (up to 44E) – not a great size selection, but this category is feeling a little desperate.
Note: 1. I haven’t a clue about functional sports bras. Seriously, help me. I wear a $12 job from Walmart over my regular bras and it does fine, but I’d LOVE to know more about great sports bras. 2) Many of the “Leggings & Everyday Activewear” brands above carry sports bras, they’re just not as techy as these.

Base Layers (Basically, long johns. Scroll down for winter layering guide!)

For more in depth reviews of winter layers up to 3x, check out my Outside Magazine article, Winter Layering for the Plus-Size Hiker.

*Columbia (up to 3X) – the Midweight Stretch Long Sleeve Shirt and Tight are my favorite! You might find these in store.
*Smartwool 250 Base Layers (up to 3X) – Expensive, but gorgeous. They’re stretchy and would likely fit someone up to 4X. I am very excited to say Smartwool updated their previous plus-size fit and I LOVE THEM! Currently, only available through REI, I believe.
Land’s End (up to 3X) – more affordable.
AlpineCurves (up to 4X)
DSG Outwerwear (up to 4X)
Notes: 1. I couldn’t find anything above a 4X even in men’s sizes. This sucks. 2. Most of these are extremely stretchy and could likely fit a person at least one size bigger. 2. Base layers can also be like leggings, long sleeve active tops, long johns all things without cotton but you don’t want them to be too tight.

Outer Layers aka Soft Shells (Jackets & Pants)

*Eddie Bauer (up to 3X) – Best fitting outerwear and they even have snow options. EB might be the holy grail.
*Columbia (up to 3X) – The Anytime Casual Pull On Pant and Pike Lake Hooded Vest are personal favorites. You might find these in store.
*REI (up to 3X) – the Co-Op 650 Down Jacket & Vest are classic. You can find these in store!
AlpineCurves (up to 5X in some styles)
DSG Outerwear (up to 5X in some styles) – many options for snow activities
Woman Within (up to 6X in some styles) – not very techy, but many cute styles for everyday wear AND rain/wind/cold protection.
Lands’ End (up to 3X) – not very techy, but many cute styles for everyday wear AND rain/wind/cold protection.
Pulse (up to 6X in some styles) – Jackets. Everywhere I looked, Pulse jackets were mostly sold out. Worth an extensive Google. I found the best selection on Amazon, but when I clicked on the brand page, it took me a to a lube brand, lolz.

Shell aka Hard Shell (Rain Jackets & Pants for Weather Protection)

*REI (up to 3X) – the Co-Op Rainier Rain Jacket is my favorite everyday rain jacket and they come in great colors! For more heavy duty activities, the Co-Op XeroDry GTX Pants and Jacket are THE BEST. More function than fashion, but sometimes that’s what you need. You can find these in store!
Columbia (up to 3X) – sooo many options and colors! Columbia’s ahead of the game. You can find these in store!
AlpineCurves (up to 5X in *some* styles)
DSG Outerwear (up to 5X in *some* styles) – many options for snow activities.
Woman Within (up to 6X in some styles) – not very techy, but many cute styles for everyday wear AND rain/wind/cold protection.
Lands’ End (up to 3X) – not very techy, but many cute styles for everyday wear AND rain/wind/cold protection.
Pulse (up to 6X in some styles) – Jackets. As stated elsewhere, everywhere I looked, Pulse jackets were mostly sold out. Worth an extensive Google. I found the best selection on Amazon.


*Duluth Trading Company (up to 3X) – these are my favorite underwear, especially the Buck Naked boy shorts. The Armachillo unders are awesome, too. I heard a rumor these may be going up to a 4X. You can find them in store!
Undersummers (up to 5x) – most of these only go to 4X, so dig a little for the 5Xs. These are mostly for chafing protection than being actual underwear, but they do have a few underwear options. Not shape wear!
JunoActive (up to 6X in some styles)
TomboyX (up to 4X) – the MicroModal collection is cotton-free and the Active Drirelease collection contains only 15% cotton.
ExOfficio (up to 3X) – Linked is the only style I found going up to a 3X, which made me kind of not want to list it, but folks have been raving about these.
Fruit of the Loom (up to 13)
Lane Bryant (up to 28) – the seamless stuff is all cotton-free. So are these “cooling” options. You can find these in store!
Note: Remember, the fabric just needs to be cotton-free so it dries faster. You can find cotton-free underwear in many places you’d normally shop. Pro-tip: nylon dries best.

Bathing Suits

*Swimsuits For All (up to size 26) – my favorite. Especially the GabiFresh and Ashley Graham collections.
Gyv Me Body (up to 4X) – Sexy ass thotwear. Like, I want to wear these at the nude beach and in the club. Woman of color owned!
Torrid (up to 6X) – SO CUTE. So many styles. I will definitely be nabbing one (or more of these) soon. You can find these in store!
Beefcake Swimwear (up to 4X) – One-piece, 1920s style, androgynous bathing suits. So cute!
TomboyX (up to 4X) – gender-free swimwear!
Lane Bryant (up to size 28) – Impressed with all of these cute styles. Different coverage levels for all preferences! You can find these in store!
Unique Vintage (up to 4X) – These bathing suits are SO HOT.
Mod Cloth (up to 4X in some styles) – These are so cute, but I am disturbed by all of the backviews being of thin people. Go look! It’s so weird. Like, hot fat babe from the front, thin babe from the back.
Note: I focused on fashion more than function as that’s where *I’m* coming from, but I’d love some functional suggestions from you hardcore swimmers and divers.

Bathing suit by, Swimsuits For All.

Entire outfit by, Walmart except for leg brace and backpack. Photo by, Isaac Lane Koval
  1. Price Hacks

As long as you know that cotton is a NO (how many times can I say this?!), you can find good enough clothing at most of your big name stores. They might be less technical, more weighty and maybe not compress as well in your pack (I’m thinking about cold layers like puffy coats, in particular), but you don’t need all of the bells and whistles for a day hike. You just want to be dry, warm enough and unencumbered. Synthetic fabrics are important for all weather. Wool works well for cold weather. I know I’m not supposed to encourage shopping at Walmart, but not all of us have the financial privilege of making that decision and they actually make plus sizes. Target, Kohl’s, and anywhere else you buy your plus sizes are great places to bargain shop now that you know what to look for (Avenue, Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Rainbow, etc). Online: Amazon and eBay are great resources AND you might be able to find the high-end stuff cheaply. If you like shopping online, looking for these items off season, or better, the end of a season can yield some amazing deals. Thrifting is another great option, though I find plus sizes scarce, especially anything over a 2X or 18/20. Still, if you’ve got the will, you might find some amazing stuff. In Portland, we have this great store, Next Adventure, with a bargain basement of used clothing and gear. I’ve gotten a bunch of stuff there!

Shorts by, Superfit Hero. Shirt by, me, obv. Get your Superfits with code “UNLIKELYHIKERS” for 15% off!
  1. Chub Rub

I had no idea where to put this, but it’s SO IMPORTANT. My m.o. is to keep my sweaty skin from rubbing against other sweaty areas, especially inner thighs, by wearing leggings or bike shorts long enough to keep skin from touching. When this isn’t possible because of shorter shorts, skirts, dresses and bathing suits, I’ll use an anti-chafing product. Body Glide is my go-to. It’s longer lasting, not messy and holds up while sweating. Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel is another good option, but the tube is small and it doesn’t last as long for me. I am really sweaty. Powders, like Goldbond don’t work for me at all if I’m sweating and I’m also worried about the talc factor (cancer, but what doesn’t give us cancer these days…). I’ve heard great things about ChafeZone, but haven’t tried it. Another good option are garments specifically made for inner thigh chafe, like Undersummers (up to 5x).

IMG_2844 2
Leggings, Superfit Hero. Vest, Columbia. Shirt, Smartwool. Get your Superfits with code “UNLIKELYHIKERS” for 15% off!
  1. How to layer for colder weather

For more in depth reviews of winter layers up to 3x, check out my Outside Magazine article, Winter Layering for the Plus-Size Hiker.

I didn’t know what a base layer was until this year. Seriously. I grew up in San Diego and I’ve never been a snow person. Layering is about more than staying warm. Wearing the right materials helps regulate your comfort as your activity level or the weather changes. When you get sweaty and stop for a break or a snack, you can get cold fast and run the risk of hypothermia, especially in windy conditions. How many times can I say “no cotton?” It clings when you sweat and doesn’t dry as quickly as wool or synthetic materials, leaving you shivering in cold, soggy layers longer. Note: I’ve never had to layer for temps colder than 10 degrees fahrenheit.I welcome suggestions! Here are the basics:

  • Base layer: A thin, lightweight, moisture-wicking layer between your skin and winter wear to keep you from steeping in your own sweat. Think long-sleeved tops, long johns and legging-style pants that conform to your body but aren’t too tight or restrictive.
  • Midlayer: Clothing that holds your body heat in. What types of midlayer you choose, if any, are a little more dependent on weather conditions: How cold is it? How long will you be out? Think flannels, fleeces, sweaters, light jackets, and puffy vests.
  • Outer layer aka soft shell: Designed to keep cold and wind out. Think puffy coats and waterproof pants. The warmness level of puffy coats varies based on their fill. If it’s not pouring rain, I prefer a rain-resistant pant, which is lighter and more breathable. Snow pants are too warm for me, but they’re a good idea if you run cold or if you’re participating in snow sports rather than hiking snowy trails.
  • Shell aka hard shell: A piece that shields you from rain, wind, and snow. A hooded waterproof jacket is essential. My jam? A puffy coat under a rain jacket, which are generally thin and only protect from wind and rain. Waterproof puffy coats also exist. Make sure your shell is big enough to fit over all your layers.
  • Accessories: I suggest wearing a knit cap long enough to cover your ears or a fleece-lined cold-weather headband. Waterproof gloves are a must. I prefer the kind that transition from mittens to fingerless gloves for dexterity. A buff is great for face coverage, especially in the wind.

I rarely put on all of these things at the outset of a hike. Usually, I start out with my base layer, midlayer, rain-resistant pants or, if it’s raining or snowing, a shell and rain pants. When I get moving, I heat up fast. I put on my top-half outer layers as I need them. Don’t let yourself get soaked before putting them on!

Layering close-up: Base layer, Columbia. Shirt, Smartwool. Puffy, REI. Shell, REI.

  1. Contribute to the Conversation

Please make your own suggestions in the comment box below and I will likely add them to the lists as long as suggestions are for sizes over 2X. There are too many things that stop at a 2X and I’m not trying to promote that. Any hacks, ideas, etc. welcome! Let’s build this out.

[Title image outfit: base layer and flannel by, Columbia. Bottoms are Smartwool. Merrell shoes and Carhartt beanie.]
If you use or enjoy the content I create, please consider making a donation to sustain my work. Thank you for the support!
More writing of mine you may find of interest:
Outside: Winter Layering for the Plus-Size Hiker
Outside: I Don’t Hike to Lose Weight. I Hike Because I Love It.
Does this Mountain I Just Climbed Make Me Look Fat?


  1. Active Truth is an Australian brand that do leggings and crop tops and bathing suits to 3XL. They’re high waisted with the best waistbands, have cool prints and not see through 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! Love this list, especially for the base layers and outer layers as that’s what I need to get. Don’t forget the Xersion line at JCPenny is awesome and cheap, plus I’ve found a packable puffy jacket from there in my price range. I’ve been reluctant to try rei brands (because plus size isn’t in store here, order only) until I found a 3x top at their garage sale that not only ran true to size but was super comfy. So now I’d like to know if anyone has tried their down jacket in a 3x and think it’s true to size with enough room for layering?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Brandie, I find the REI down jacket true to size, but whether it’s roomy enough for layering I think depends from person to person. I wear the 2X, personally, but I don’t feel like it’s big enough to have anything more than a base layer and a light mid layer underneath.


  3. I got a wool minus 33 base layer too from amazon and I love it. They go up to 3X. They’re similar to smart wool but less expensive. They also make pants.


  4. This list is fantastic! Thank you!

    Lightheart Gear is a small woman owned company that carries rain gear and “women’s” clothing up to 3x. She has filled custom orders for people above the size range, although she doesn’t advertise it on the website. I have a rain jacket and it’s awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you SO much for this list!

    I’m 5’6” and a size 18 and I’ve had great luck with Mountain Hardware brand mountaneering pants in men’s 42 short. Also – Patagonia does their own in-house alterations on certain technical gear. Their men’s XXL ski pants are fantastic – they have some stretch – but they’re too long. Off season I had them shortened (it took 6 weeks) and they’re perfect now. I use them for snowshoeing.

    It would be great if you could add equipment to your list as well. I’m a paddler and I can tell you that there are two companies who make kayaks with taller decks that accommodate bigger thighs. I paddle an Eddyline Denali. Wilderness Systems also makes a Tsunami with a taller deck and higher weight limit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loving the list and thanks for compiling! Another website that has a comparable list is: She also wanted to include high end and entry price point possibilities for every athlete and is based in Canada. A new company that does underwear up to 6x is Kade & Vos ( (though the underwear is made from organic cotton, athlete beware). Additionally, Rsport builds soft-shell convertible water-resistant jackets and triathlon kits (full disclosure, I’m the founder). Great list add on Jenny!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whoa, this list from Born to Reign just exploded my reality. Thank you! I’ve got my work cut out for me… so excellent. Thank you, CJ! I love Rsport and really appreciate what you’re doing.


  6. Oh, I SWEAR by Shock Absorber sports bras – can get on Amazon, Bare Necessities, or HerRoom. Goes up to a K size. They are spendy but worth it and last.

    Also, I would flag on Shefit – I love this idea, but to fit my bust I had to get a 6L, while my rib cage is more like a 4. I end up with a lot of folded up fabric on the ribcage, and don’t really wear it, esp. since I have the Shock Absorber.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I can’t find the Shock Absorber in bigger sizes on any of those websites. I’m finding the larger cup sizes, but not band sizes. I see sizing charts that say it goes up to a 51″ ribcage, but not finding anything in stock anywhere that comes remotely close to that. I’m gonna look again another time. Thank you!


    2. I agree with putting a caveat on the SheFit. They say the rib cage band doesn’t roll, but it for sure does, if your body doesn’t go straight down from your ribs. I wear a 42DD/4Lux in SheFits. They are comfortable enough, I suppose, but the rolling rib cage really bothers me. It’s nice not to have to wrestle it over my head when I put it on, though.


  7. Adding to the list! Athleta (Old Navy sister brand) is absolutely amazing; great customer service; purchased items basically have a lifetime warranty. There Stealth leggings are my favorite to workout in. Also my new favorite company is this Canadian company named Knixwear. Last year they launched this high impact sports bra named the Catalyst and oh my god, it is worth every penny. It’s absolutely a dream for heavier chested women and overall the company supports body inclusivity and continues to work towards it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I was trying to find base layers a few years ago I was so jealous to see that American Cabela’s have way more sizing options on their brand name and in house brand clothing options.

    Additionelle is Canadian based but has lots of options that can be adapted. They go up to 5x in some things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kae, the Cabela’s website is sooo hard to dig through and I only found a few items that went up to 3X.

      I am adding Addition Elle, though, along with a section for brands and stores outside of the U.S. Thank you!


  9. For thigh chafing – love my Undersummers. Used these last year in stupid humid summer weather and they were amazingly comfortable, and cute! Sadly only available in US (and I’m Canadian), but it was worth paying the border fee. Up here in Canada, there’s a fabulous store for plus sized women in Quebec, Sportive Plus; they ship. If I’ve gotten something that doesn’t fit, they are really good with their return policy. And everything Columbia; they seem to be one of the only sports companies that understand not all women who go outside have no hips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, Lori, Undersummers seem awesome! I will def add them to the list. Question, if you don’t mind answering, do you wear underwear underneath or just wear them as underwear? Also, you are bringing up an excellent point about how expensive it is to shop for plus sizes outside of the U.S. and I need to acknowledge that. I’m going to add Sportive plus to the list, too!


      1. i LURVE my undersummers, have 3 pairs. I wear underwear with mine, because I wear them literally every day in the summer.


  10. Hey Jenny, I just picked up a 5pk of Just My Size microfiber mesh ultralight wicking briefs ($12.49 @Target). Haven’t tried them out yet but will let you know. Sizing is odd (posted on back of package) but offered in 9 (14-16) thru 14 (34-36). I bought the “11”s and they fit me (22) true to size. Stay tuned.

    Also, 3 cheers for Addition Elle in Canada! (Hello sexy AF Ashley Graham lingerie! ) Just wanted to let you know they’ll be carrying Columbia Sportswear product – I think mostly outerwear – soon. Stoked!


  11. Hey Jenny, I just picked up a 5pk of Just My Size microfiber mesh wicking briefs at Target ($12.49). Sizing is interesting but explained clearly on packaging. They run from 9 (14-16) to 14 (34-36). I got 11s and they run true to size on 22 sized me. Haven’t tested them out yet but will let you know. Stay tuned.

    Also, 3 cheers for Addition Elle in Canada! (Hello Ashley Graham sexy AF lingerie!). Excited to let you know they’ll be carrying Columbia Sportswear products – mostly outerwear I think – soon. Stoked!


  12. Jenny, thank you for all your time and energy spent putting this together!

    A quick note on layering for colder weather: I try whenever possible to wear items with at least a partial length opening (ex- zip-neck top instead of solid crew neck, longer zippers on rain pants).
    Then when I’m hiking and, say, I hit a steep uphill section, I can open up my layers some to let off some of the extra heat I’m producing.
    In cold weather, sweat is the enemy (sweat + wind = hypothermia), so I’m assuming to keep a comfy body temp that stays short of getting sweaty.

    Cheers, y’all, and happy hiking! 😃


  13. praise and bless you for this list. everything you said in your first section spoke right to my heart, as i’ve realized the only time I feel bad about myself and my body is when I’m shopping. so being able to go directly to sites/stores that i know will have my size is good for my mental health.

    I want to add Universal Standard for leggings. they’re $$$$, but good quality and have a large size range. I have a pair and want to replace my entire wardrobe with US pieces!


  14. Also, Panache for sports bras. I have 2, one wired and one not, both great. The unwired bra is more compression than the wired, but not a terrible uniboob effect. I wear a 40J and while i can’t remember what size I got, I did get something that fit me.


  15. Please consider adding They have tops, bottoms, and accessories! They appreciate ALL women, regardless of ethnicity, body type, beliefs, religion or abilities. They also don’t use traditional sizing but rather you find an athlete built like you! I found them through powerlifting but they support so many interests.


  16. ‘Yours’ is a UK brand for sizes 16-36. They have (at least in the right season) a great selection of different types of swimwear and activewear. I never thought I’d get in a pool again, but then I discovered ‘swim shorts’ (bike shorts made of swimsuit material) which I can even wear with a cunningly designed to be flattering one piece or tankini. It was a revelation! They also do all the other types of clothes including outerwear – not technical clothing, but still useful for not too challenging environments.


  17. You should definitely give the shefit bras a try. I cringe at the price of them, but I purchased a color that was on clearance, and it wasn’t too bad. The fit however is phenomenal! I joke with my friends that I’m wearing my boob armor. It is the only bra I will wear when doing “bouncy” exercises, and because it hikes the girls up when you adjust the shoulder straps, I have less under breast redness and irritation after a long sweaty day of hiking.


  18. Swimsuits for swimmers can be really hard to find in plus sizes! Trust me, I’ve searched high and low for the last four years. The two best sites I’ve found for suits for lap swimming so far are Junonia and H2OWear. Junonia has suits up to 6x and their one piece aquatard is all I wear anymore. I’ve had four of them so far and yes, they’re pricey but mine last me at least 10 months and I swim four times a week – nearly a miracle for those who swim often. Their swim shorts and swim tank tops are just as flattering and stand up to heavy swimming just as well. H2OWear is another place to look for lap swimmers. They come up to a 4x. My only reservation is I bought their triathlon aquatard and since it’s much more restrictive in the shoulders and shorter in the torso for me, it’s better for swimmers who have a shorter torsos and narrower shoulders.


  19. I suggest checking out Uniqlo – when I was living in Japan they were the only brand I could consistently get activewear from, and their ultralight down collection is pretty well rated by ultralight hikers on a budget. Their airism collection in summer, and heat tech in winter make awesome base layers! I grabbed a bunch to bring back stateside, and I practically live in their fleece jacket. However, upon checking out their US site, I saw they only go to 2x here, so not listworthy, but still commenting here in case someone in Japan with few options wants to check it out. (The Japanese site carries up to 3x. Believe it or not, this was actually very impressive and innovative over there – often I noticed you could only find sizes S/M as options in stores unless you went to specific plus size stores or specialty stores. What is considered plus over there is very different to here. Even at my trimmest 14/16 over there, I couldn’t find any bottoms there that fit properly, and eventually ended up with a wardrobe full of dresses as my pants all wore holes through the thighs!)

    I work at REI now since coming back from Japan, and I’ve been very dissappointed at the lack of plus options in my store. I’ve ordered a million things online, though including that same 650 puffy & Rainier jacket combo! Love it. Though I wish REI had more bright color options for their other clothes and not just black/orange/periwinkle. I love the Patagonia pallette but I can’t squeeze into their stuff anymore. 😦

    For my recent Costa Rica trip, I LOVED the Columbia Tamiami Short Sleeve Shirt. Very soft and comfy, didn’t stick to me at all when I sweated in the jungle, and best of all, NO BUTTON GAP! I’m going to get the long sleeve one in a few colors for my spring hikes. I love that Columbia offers so much selection, especially colors!!

    I also second Knix-wear, I really liked how soft and quick drying their stuff was!


  20. Gregory makes backpacks with some really nice features for a custom fit. I have a very short torso and wide hips, so “standard” sizes almost never fit me. I don’t think the features are available on all of their backpacks but they do have several models of their backpacking packs that do. I have the Gregory Maven 65L. It has an adjustable waist belt that allows for the hip pads and side pockets to be moved for a custom fit. It also has an adjustable back panel, which accommodates a pretty big range of torso lengths.

    Also, Granite Gear packs can be modified with larger or smaller shoulder straps and waist belts. If you send in the standard, unused straps and/or belts, they will exchange them for the desired size and they only charge shipping.


  21. Hi Jenny,

    Great list, thank you for taking the time to put it together. I have a non-clothing-related question…. sleeping bags. I need to buy one for an upcoming camping trip in my Naturalist class, but I am so afraid to buy online… and cannot imagine myself lying in the floor at REI, wriggling into one. Do you have any “generously-sized” sleeping bag suggestions? I am a size US 20, and definitely do not want a mummy bag. I get short of breath just thinking about not being able to move around. 🙂

    Thank you!



    1. Hey Jennifer, I am DEF working on a gear section too, but I have to be honest: I’m clueless! I know a lot of plus size folks like backpacking quilts and I’ve also heard great things about Big Agnes for larger bags.


      1. I’m 5’9 and 250 lbs. I just bought a new sleeping bag, the NEMO Disco. It’s advertised as being for side sleepers so it has more room in the hip-to-shoulder area. It’s the first sleeping bag I’ve ever been able to rotate all around in while inside. It was expensive (almost $300) but I have used every sleeping bag I have ever had a ton– like, 50+ nights a year– and kept them for 10+ years. So it’s worth it.


      2. Thanks, Jenny and Missoulagrace! I had purchased the REI backpacking tent/sleeping bag/sleeping mat combo set, and thank God I decided to test out the sleeping bag before I left for camping. It was absolutely a no go. Once it was zipped up, moving around was out of the question. I ended up using a Coleman brand bag I purchased at Costco, which was bigger, just by virtue of not being a mummy bag, but it was pretty heavy, and only good for car camping.

        I’ve been reading about camping quilts, too, and I definitely think that’s going to be the way to go! I am such a hot sleeper anyway, I think a quilt would be a good solution. Rumpl is having a 30% off sale this weekend!

        _whereishome_ on IG


  22. Thank you so much for these resources!

    I’m wondering, especially since you’re an Unlikely Hiker blogger, if you might be willing to change the font on your text default to something more readable for accessibility? Either making the text a true black and using a thicker, serif font is fare more readable. Thanks so much!


  23. I know a lot of people who like Sewciopath. She sews clothes for roller derby players. Acccording to her website she has up to 4x, but i know she also does custom things, so maybe up to 6x, but i don’t know for sure.

    I do know her outfits are spandex/polyester or spandex/nylon, pretty durable and comfortable, and she has all sorts of fun fabrics.

    You might like to check out her website or Instagram for more info. I don’t know her, but i do know friends who liked her clothes.


  24. SmartWool now makes merino baselayers for llpus size. Available direct and through REI. I practically cried when I put on my set– the first REALLY warm, REALLY fitting base layers I’ve ever had.


  25. Thank you! I just found your blog (and the group – which i wish had a chapter near me). The list of clothing resources is so important because it can be a major barrier for some of us (me) who will use it as just another excuse not to get out there.
    I do have one suggestion for clothing as I recently discovered that Eddie Bauer is offering larger size clothing. Might now go up to 3xxx though. I’ve bought pants in size 24 and wear them now pretty much at all times. Lovely stretch in the right places while still being fitted. And I’ve received really great comments on them.


  26. 1) I just discovered you/this blog thanks to your Merrell ad on Insta! YAYAYAYAY! I feel …validated. I’ve been on my own quest for plus outdoor gear 4EVER 2) I would add some socks that accommodate wide calf or feet larger than size 11: Sockdreams has many brands, they are SUPER cute–wool, poly, sexy, sporty, you name it; Happy Socks-not for outdoor stuff per se, but cute, affordable and fit larger feet; Columbia (I love their wool/acrylic blend socks but honestly the toes wear out pretty fast, so that’s a bummer; Smartwool (I admit to failing at caring for these properly and all have shrank to toddler size, but overall a good brand). Not exhaustive but some additions to the basics.


  27. I just discovered this list, thank you so much for putting it together. The Noga pants at Duluth Trading Company are my favorite pants for the gym and the yoga studio, they come up to 3X and seem to run big. I also like the Duluth Dry on the Fly pants for hiking and general travel pants. These run up to 26W.


  28. Jenny, can you recommend some gear? I’ve been trying to find a waist hydration pack to use on walks and hikes (I’m not much of a back hydration pack person because it gets so hot), but I can’t find anything that will fit because my waist circumference is larger than most hydration packs designed for smaller folks.


    1. I just got a waist pack from Walmart. Outdoor product. I made it as large as possible. I also sometimes wear it like a cross body bag.


  29. Hi Jenny, can you recommend some brands for waist hydration packs? I’m not a backpack hydration person, it gets too hot and uncomfortable on my walks and hikes, but I’m finding there aren’t a lot of option for people with a waist circumference that is larger than most of the current waist hydration packs designed.


  30. Not sure if anyone else has shared but Elomi “energize” is great sports bra with underwire. Great support and the ladies stay put. I work out, run and hike in them with no problem. I’m currently wearing 36 HH(European sizes) but I had been previously in a 44hh. I believe they have larger band sizes. And they have a great range of cup sizes. Their pricey, but worth the investment.
    Also, I have had success with Reebok and RBX in plus size leggings. Both go up to 3x and decently sized. I get mine at Marshalls or Ross and they range about 12-19$. Same with Tops.
    Wish REI had more of a selection of sizes & clothes, but what I have found is great. I tend to only by their own brand. Or Columbia.


  31. Girlfriend Collective is another one to add for generic athletic wear – up to size 6X, and available in selected Nordstroms too.

    Fabletics also works for regular workout clothing and I think goes up to 3X.


  32. This is amazing! For years I’ve had a really hard time finding pants for downhill skiing that are my size (FAT PEOPLE SKI TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and were not over $300. Land’s End came through this year. They are still not super cute, but they are functional and they fit, so it’s a start. I can’t WAIT to hit the slopes.
    Thank you for this resource. It’s a breath of fresh air. (pun intended)


  33. Duluth Trading Company goes up to a 4x/30W in some women’s styles. The Flexpedition pants are awesome hiking style pants with stretch (but they don’t end up saggy by the end of the day). They have functional pockets and come in different inseam lengths. My hips are 64” and the 30 fits with a tiny bit of room.


  34. Great comprehensive list – Can you please add my business? @PlusSnow ? We do plus sized snow gear, and rain and outdoor gear for sizes 18-30 and up to 10XL for me. Thank you, Mon 🙂


  35. Awesome list, thanks for sharing. Love Megababe products, especially their Thigh Rescue (anti-friction stick) it lasts a long time. Also a big fan of their body dust powder.


  36. Another anti- chafe product is Chamois Butter. It is made for cyclists but I’ve used it in other hot sweaty walking/hiking situations and it works well and is not messy.


  37. Hi, I would like to add that the Girlfriend Collective brand carries leggings and sports bras that are amazing quality and up to 6x. They also are ethically and sustainably made.


  38. Plussnow for snow gear. Women owned, located in BC, Canada. Sizing is extensive if confusing – but if you email your measurements, a real human will email you back with suggestions!


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