Outdoor Clothing Fit

ogg

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
56
Is it just my imagination and ever-expanding waistline, or has the trend in outdoor clothing fit been increasingly emphasizing "athletic fit" and "trim fit," ie slim and broader in the shoulder and trim in the waist, and a body-hugging cut? Once upon a time I was pretty slim (scrawny by most accounts), but my ideal fit now would be "anti-athletic"- broad in the waist compared to the shoulder- or perhaps we could call it the "likes beer too much" cut.

At any rate, for examples of what I mean by changes in clothing fit, for almost 15 years I've been living in a Columbia lightweight fleece, half-zip top. It long ago stopped looking good enough to wear to a casual dinner or something but has held up really well. Armed with a Columbia store gift card recently, I tried to find a fresh replacement and the closest equivalent in the same size didn't fit anywhere near the same- its not too small but it is too snug to be as comfortable as the old top. Recently I purchased a Marmot Super MIca rain shell from Sierra Trading Post to replace my Marmot Phoenix, which was a shell sold thru REI that was essentially a Precip with a more elaborate hood. The Precip/Phoenix shell was a size medium, as I usually wear, and could easily be layered over my lightweight down jacket or primaloft pullover. I was nervous about ordering the Super Mica in size large since medium was not available but was glad I did as the size large Super Mica just barely layers well over my insulating layers. Its the trimmest men's large I've ever seen- except for the sleeves, which are a bit long for me but I think could be beneficial hiking in heavy rain.

I've seen folks of all sorts of body shapes and types on the trail- most of them not built like Magnum PI era Tom Selleck or Anna Kournikova- active people in good shape who can hike long miles, summit peaks, carry heavy packs for multiple days. Are they (we) not being well served by manufacturers catering to an ideal body type that doesn't accurately reflect the less than ideal body shapes of customers that can actually use their product? Or I am too bloated and slow to notice all the svelte people bounding about and past me in their sporty clothing? I realize many manufacturers do specify different fits - ie "regular", "classic", "trim", "athletic" etc. But rarely if ever are multiple fits offered for the same product. Its as if manufactures are designing lines of clothing to sell to their mannequins.
 

Opi

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
188
Holy crap... Magnum PI.... are you old or what? Lol
Maybe it's time to lay of the beer and start workin out! just teasin
Helps to be fit these days. It seems like clothes fit better.
I just looked at some old photos. Nothing looks good on a fat man.
I started working out 2 years ago. Because of this. Lost 30 lbs. it's amazing how well clothes fit now.
I can also hike my ass off too now!
 

steve

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
2,140
Nothing wrong with not having a skinny rock climbing physique, except that it's tougher to find clothes that fit. I'm in the same boat. I especially struggle to find merino tees that don't fit like they were designed for a 12 year old boy.
 

Nodust

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2013
Messages
123
What does everyone do to get in shape or keep fit for backpacking?

I just got a new ULA Catalyst pack. For the past week I have been walking 2-4 miles per day with about 20# or so loaded in it. First I did it to try out the pack and see how I wanted it adjusted for me. But I also need to get into better shape for out upcoming Colorado trip this summer. I can stay active at work and hit the stairs often. Walk when possible instead of taking a bike or truck. We have an elliptical at home and two or three times a week I will spend 30 minutes on it, but I find that boring compared to just walking outside.

This has kept me in good enough shape to hike 12 miles a day with a loaded pack with no trouble. Although I am far from perfectly fit.

Anyone have any preferred routines to keep fit.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
As a slim person, can I tell you how much I hate having all my clothing options look like inflated hot air balloons when I wear them? I get the frustration you're feeling but let's not do away with slim fitting clothing altogether.
 

toejam

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
83
I'm glad there are more trim-fitting options. Wasn't always the case. Depends on where you are looking for clothing - WalMart, Costco, Bass Pro, etc. always seem to have the wider clothes.

My preferred workout routine is running on the beach augmented by hiking in the mountains on weekends. It was a lot harder living in Texas fighting the weather & pickup trucks to run. But it makes a big difference in the mountains. Make firm plans for a trip and keep a workout log.
 

steve

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
2,140
you're always going to have trim-fitting options in atheletic clothing. most athletic people are trim, so no need to worry about those going away.
 

fiber

Member
Joined
May 18, 2013
Messages
74
JCPenny and other mainstream retailer cloths are all too baggy for me. REI and the like are the only places where the cloths fit. The average person in the US is large, and average clothing in mainstream stores reflect that. Unlike the OP, I almost never see heavy people in the wilderness further then a days hike of a trailhead. Most heavy people are not fit enough to walk 12 plus miles a day. If they were, they would slim down once the snow started to melt. Long distance hiking is one of the best ways to lose weight and increase your metabolism.

Heavy friends of mine that started to walk 2-4 miles a day lost a pound a week without changing their diet. I believe that people of all fitness levels can enjoy the wilderness, but not all of them need $150 dollar rain jackets and other highend outdoor clothing that is meant to be used in environments that most people will never be in. Columbia is an excellent example of an "outdoor" clothing manufacturer that targets the mainstream market. Many of their clothes are way to baggy for me. While Marmot and Mammut fit perfectly.
 

steve

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
2,140
Of all the hikers I know who are capable of pounding out serious miles, about 50% are big guys who most would consider "overweight". I understand what the skinny guys are trying to say, but don't forget we have big guys on here on this forum who love the outdoors, can pound out the mileage, and deserve to stay dry as much as the skinny guys.

For many, losing weight is not as simple as hiking more. It's a very personal thing with many contributing factors and each person is different. It'd be great to have have clothing options for all sizes, and I think we do have a pretty good selection for bigger guys. I don't expect every clothing company should to make all their clothes in every body shape and size; they'd go out of business. Patagonia, mammut, etc is always going to fit trim. It's part of their design and their customer base.

Other companies, like mountain hardware, columbia, eddie bauer (not that amazing), north face, etc. have good options for bigger people. The trick is actually trying it on before you buy, something that's getting harder and harder these days.

Of all the people who buy North Face, what percentage of them do you think actually spend more than 2 nights a year in a sleeping bag? I'm guessing 5% max. Most outdoor clothing is sold to people who don't spend a ton of time outdoors. It's more of a fashion and status statement than a need to have 900 fill down to keep you alive in the middle of a blizzard.
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
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Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,692
Of all the hikers I know who are capable of pounding out serious miles, about 50% are big guys who most would consider "overweight". I understand what the skinny guys are trying to say, but don't forget we have big guys on here on this forum who love the outdoors, can pound out the mileage, and deserve to stay dry as much as the skinny guys.

For many, losing weight is not as simple as hiking more. It's a very personal thing with many contributing factors and each person is different. It'd be great to have have clothing options for all sizes.

As a bigger girl that hikes and backpacks a lot, I agree with what Steve says. My mom always tells me she can't understand why I'm not trim with how much I go hiking. My doctor tells me I have thyroid issues and am a poor metabolizer. It isn't always as simple as just hiking more often. I see all shapes and sizes of people on the trail. I think larger females may be more of a minority on the trail, however, which explains why I have so much trouble finding clothing that fits. Slim cut clothing is definitely not going away, nor should it. It would be great to see more options available for larger ladies, though.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
Apparently I need to clarify my comment. I'm in no way against having clothing of any size available. Nor do I support the idea that someone can just hike their way skinny.

I don't wear much "athletic" clothing. Most of my outdoor attire is sourced from thrift shops and military surplus. But in my day-to-day life, I can't wear a regular men's dress shirt without looking ridiculous. I'm 5'11", have a 32 inch waist and weigh about 160 pounds. That is trim, but not lanky. But it's outside the range of average in modern American society.

My point is that we need more variability in size and fit, for both wider and thinner individuals.
 
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