Before you even go on a hike, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you have the correct gear and hiking clothes. For Aussie plus size people, that’s always been the biggest challenge.


Until recently, stepping into outdoor or sports retail stores was never an option. Many brands are finally realising the importance of inclusivity and starting to cater for bigger bodies.

I’m feeling encouraged, but more importantly, included, in activities like exploring the great outdoors. It hasn’t always been this way.

Going At My Own Pace

I remember being in tears before my trip to Nepal because I couldn’t find any pants to fit my size 20 body and ended up having to wear mostly men’s clothing for my trip.

Whilst other female hikers had colourful, perfectly-fitting outfits, I felt like I had the opposite. It’s daunting enough tackling solo overseas travel, let alone doing it without being able to wear clothes you feel comfortable and confident in.

Nepal was certainly my most memorable hiking experience. I wasn’t there to climb Everest, I just wanted to give multi-day hiking a go in the outer regions of Pokhara.



I spent the first couple of weeks at a yoga retreat and booked a private hiking guide just so I could go at my own pace. Mainly because I really didn’t want others waiting for me or having anyone have to hear me trying to catch my breath constantly.

I ended up making so many wonderful friends at the retreat that they ended up coming with me. I was upfront about my feelings and limitations, and it made me feel more comfortable with them understanding where I was at.

Unfortunately my Nepalese guide thought I said I wanted to do a harder trail when I meant I wanted to go for a longer distance.

So we started at the bottom of a 15,000 step incline. Every corner I turned I asked how many more steps there were, because it didn’t feel like a beginners trail. It’s still  the hardest hike I’ve ever done.

Sure, I had a few melt downs along the way, but I learnt a big lesson about going at my own pace and letting go of the shame of arriving last.

My hiking companions were the most wonderful supportive people to have around. It was such a wholesome experience to have with a bunch of strangers.



The locals on the other hand, had no problems with telling me I was a big girl and should do yoga. HA. Honestly, they would actually stop me whilst hiking to tell me!

That’s just the reality of what it’s like being plus size while hiking in some countries. You’ve just got to build up mental toughness to get you through.

Founding CurvyAu – A Plus Size Community

When I returned to Australia, I founded a plus size community called CurvyAu and I now host activities and events specifically for plus size people.

I was inspired by my trip to Nepal to create something amazing in Aus. Sometimes you just need to be around like-minded, similar-bodied people who can uplift and encourage you.

Plus size folks tend to feel embarrassed or isolated because they can’t keep up. One thing I started doing with my walking groups is setting the pace.

This had a big impact – it got me out of my head and allowed me to start enjoying myself on the trails with people.

Since my Nepal trip I’m much more comfortable hiking at my own pace, because when I do, I feel more in control and capable of completing the hike.

If you’re nervous about getting started, consider going to a local park or even walking around your neighbourhood. Each walk, challenge yourself a little with distance or speed or terrain.

This will help you prepare and build your stamina up but most importantly it will definitely help build your confidence.

Brands Are Finally Getting On Board

Plus size people hiking wasn’t something you saw in the early 2000s. But as inclusivity has begun to trend on social media we’re starting to see more imagery of plus size hikers exploring the outdoors.

Due to that, brands have also been extending their sizing and I’m super happy to report that in the last year I’ve found it much easier to find outdoor gear to wear.

Osprey recently released an Extended Fit collection that includes their core series of Aether/Ariel, Volt/Viva, Talon/Tempest and Osprey Sportlite packs. I’ve found the women’s Ariel 65 Extended Fit super comfortable to wear and fit all of my gear.



Whether you’re embarking on a long journey into the wilderness or planning a weekend of luxurious camping, the Ariel 65 Extended Fit backpack, which is designed specifically for women, is constructed to bear even the heaviest of loads while accommodating a wider range of body types.

The refined design features include an extended hipbelt designed to fit up to 70-inch hips, extended shoulder straps, repositioned pockets and longer sternum strap – optimising the performance for bigger bodies.

Having hiking gear that fits properly is crucial for a number of reasons. There’s nothing worse than feeling discomfort and pain during your hike, which can detract from the overall experience and even lead to injuries.

In addition to physical discomfort, poorly fitting gear can also impact your confidence on the trail. When you’re constantly adjusting your gear or dealing with discomfort, it can be difficult to focus on the trail and fully enjoy your surroundings (read: notice the best spot for a cute Instagram photo).

On the other hand, gear that fits well and is comfortable allows you to focus on the experience and feel more confident in your abilities as a hiker. Confidence is everything!

My Top Tips for Plus Size Hiking

1. Where To Start

Always make sure you are comfortable. I pack various layers of clothes and even a small handheld fan. In those moments of overwhelm with not much breeze, a bit of airflow does wonders. I like to call mine my emotional support fan. Ha! Zero shame around it, I love my fan.

It’s not easy to find plus size clothing to wear, with many outdoor retailers still not stocking much in stores, I highly recommend checking out online options like Plus Outdoor, Plus Snow, and Active Truth who have amazing leggings.

Of course for backpacks Osprey’s Extended fit packs are made with bigger bodies in mind and fit and work like they should. Also, pack snacks. It’s like a reward.

2. Know Your Limits

Make sure that the location you choose to hike in is achievable. I recently misread a map and ended up on a black trail heading up Mt Barney QLD and it really wiped me out physically. Plan your trips ahead of time…and read the map properly because even if it says the trail goes for three hours, that could be an epic vertical climb.


3. Go at Your Own Pace

Hiking at your own pace is a positive and rewarding experience that allows you to connect with nature, prioritize your well-being, and build confidence and mindfulness.

Hiking at your own pace can also be a confidence booster. When you hike at a pace that feels comfortable, especially for plus-sized hikers who may face stigmas or negative attitudes towards their size.



Being plus-size doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of enjoying the outdoors and sport of hiking. However, it can be challenging to get started.

Whether it is stereotypes or lack of knowledge, the fear of hiking as a plus-size individual is very real. But if you prepare yourself correctly you can make for an enjoyable experience.

Personally, I don’t hike at all in Queensland Summer. But as the temp drops in April, you’ll see me venturing out more. Taking it slow and steady, getting some great Insta photos along the way. And yes, I’m that kind of person!