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Equipment for Chubby Girls (perhaps an ongoing guide)

Sarah Fisher

Master Traveler, Novice Walker
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018 - Camino Frances
#1
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
 

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#3
Buen Camino, Sarah!

That was a very funny post :D

You don’t seem that big, but it’s good that you’re going to feel comfortable and confident :)
One of the great things about being on the Camino is that you soon cease to worry too much about how you look. You’ll be walking with all shapes and sizes, and all ages and levels of fitness.

Have you sorted your footwear out yet?
That’ll be your most important ‘clothing’ to sort out ... including your socks :)

Find comfortable, supportive shoes/sandals and keep your pack light ... and ease yourself in ...

... and have a wonderful walk!!

Ultreia!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Le Puy- St Jean Pied a Port (September 2018 )

St. Jean Pied a Port - Finisterre 2008
#5
Wonderful post and I think you already have the most important thing (except for shoes) for the Camino, and that is a sense of humour. Wish everyone had one and would bring it along and use it.
Also, the skirt idea is what I was about to suggest.
Buen Camino
 

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KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#6
The Northface Aphrodite Motion Pants...are fabulous. Not Old Navy cheap, but elastic waist with drawstring, soft , flexible fabric with deep pockets that look like joggers. They have a zippered pocket and tapered leg, so bigger thighs ( can I get an amen! ) can fit without suffocation and the leg doesn't look like clown pants. Taller women in the reviews said they seemed short in length, but at 5'4" they were perfect for me, no expense to have hemmed...and soft enough to roll up nicely for a cute ankle look. Quick, quick, dry. I've suggested to a few gals who bought and loved them. I think you've got the right attitude...I do understand, value, and appreciate your honesty. Yes, there are those among us who simply can't pull two shirts, shorts and pants off of the rack, throw them in a bag and head out. It can take months to find what fits and it's exhausting. ( and btw...if you are lucky enough to stumble upon a sporting good store in Spain, you won't find any type of size for larger gals , or even a men's cut that will fit your size . Those I know who live in Spain and require a bigger size need to order online ) I think that's good info to have before leaving.
Walk with Joy !
https://www.thenorthface.com/shop/womens-aphrodite-motion-pants-nf0a37gr?variationId=DYZ#hero=0
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#7

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#8
BTW...God gave you those big strong thighs so you can climb mountains! Have you ever seen a flamingo trekking in the Pyrenees? Most likely not, but strong, beautiful, muscular bears, and rams, horses walk up mountains with ease. ( at least that's my view...lol )
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016), CF (again but with my man this time) March/April 2018
#9
Love your post :) my favourite piece of chubby girl equipment was a pair of cut off Lycra leggings I work under shorts and skirts to stave off the dreaded thigh chafe. Yes they were ugly and my skinny sister teased me about them but I had a chafe free Camino.
Buen (chafe free) Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2017.
Camino Portuguese in planning (Sept 2018)
#10
Thank you starting this! I wish I’d found something like this for my first Camino 8 years ago (I’m about to start my 5th).
I recommend Skimmies wicking slipshorts (by Jockey), worn underneath my hiking pants, to prevent chafing.
I’m from Australia and they can be difficult to get here (either order through a US website and use a shipping service like Borderfree, or find a UK website that will ship here).
 

MaryB2624

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August/September 2018
#11
I agree about the slip shorts from Jockey! I got the Columbia Freezer III dress and I didn't want my thighs to be rubbing together so I wear the shorts under it. I sewed a pocket onto the thigh of the shorts so I have a spot for my phone.

And I agree with Old Navy! My favorite yoga pants came from there. REI has a very liberal return policy and if you won't wear the pants you got there - take them back. Even if you threw the tags away and have already worn the pants.
 

Fluffy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#12
Love your post :) my favourite piece of chubby girl equipment was a pair of cut off Lycra leggings I work under shorts and skirts to stave off the dreaded thigh chafe. Yes they were ugly and my skinny sister teased me about them but I had a chafe free Camino.
Buen (chafe free) Camino
First camino ive have lycra shorts and a lightwieght rara skirt ,shorts for chafing i dont realy light trckie trousers
Im 5.9 not skinny , not realy fit prob be huffing and puffing from spdp up and over one month to go excitmet and trepidation big girls big clothe more weight go for the most lightweight you can find xxx see you there
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 (SJPP to Burgos)
September 2016 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
May 2017 (Villafranca del Bierzo to Santiago de Compostela)
#13
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
Buen Camino!
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#15
Buen Camino. take your time and you will get there just like everyone else. Sometimes I shop in the men’s department for walking tights or pants with a drawstring. Target in US has good sizes also and on the cheap. I agree with the shoes and sock comments...really important. I use Wright socks blisterproof socks...they worked but they are not cheap. I recommend the you tube videos on how to tie your shoes..believe it or not it makes a difference. The more weight you can keep out of your pack the better...If you havent used trekking poles I would highly recommend them to help with your joints. You can do it! Go get em!
 
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ksam

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
#16
Holy moly!! 5 Caminos in and I'm learning all kindsa new stuff this morning!! Gracias Sara Fisher!! For my own input...I've found Royal Robbins comfy if your a size 14+. They have stretch and some have the ability to nip in the waist, which is usually an issue for me. The hips and things are curvy and the waist is disproportionally small...so being able to bring it is great. Especially when your walking for weeks and losing weight as you go!!

FYI don't know how the Old Navy duds will wear, but the Royal Robbins I bought for my second and have worn on all consecutive Caminos...they're doing great. SO sometimes a bit upfront ends up being cheaper in the long run. Just a thought.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#17
Pants for solid pilgrims: Royal Robbins, Orvis, and Craghoppers

One issue I have noticed for some exceptionally curvy hikers in my area is: be very careful about fitting the backpack. Most packs are built for people with relatively flat backsides. So those with a fuller backside can experience some chafing and pinching in unexpected places (mostly lower back and hips). It pays to spend time in the store with weight in the pack, marching laps around the place for a half hour or so.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#18
This is a very entertaining and informative thread. Thanks to all. My 2 or 10 cents worth...

1. You are not overweight. I consider myself ‘under-tall...’

2. Old Navy is part of the same corporate family as Athleta, the higher end yoga clothing company. I know this from seeing all the shipping bags my wife has delivered. She is a daily yoga ‘nut’ who is always looking for something. So I figure that Old Navy likely has the bargain line of Athleta gear. My wife seems to find lots of good casual wear stuff there as well.

3. The Camino is NOT a fashion parade. Beyond covering your private bits, the imperative is function over form...completely. If it is comfortable and is suitable to purpose, then that is a win-win...

4. The more important consideration is to listen to your body. Have a physical exam before you go. Make sure your doctor knows what you are going to do. Listen to him or her.

5. As you walk, pay attention to your body. Only do as much as you are comfortable doing. The Camino is NOT a race; nor is it an endurance contest.

6. If you find it advisable, use a mochila transport service to move your mochila (rucksack) from stop to stop until you are acclimated to walking every day. Pack a super-lightweight day pack to use for daily essentials to compliment using the pack moving service.

7. Enjoy the Camino! The journey IS the destination.

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 (SJPP to Burgos)
September 2016 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
May 2017 (Villafranca del Bierzo to Santiago de Compostela)
#19
Buen Camino. take your time and you will get there just like everyone else. Sometimes I shop in the men’s department for walking tights or pants with a drawstring. Target in US has good sizes also and on the cheap. I agree with the shoes and sock comments...really important. I use Wright socks blisterproof socks...they worked but they are not cheap. I recommend the you tube videos on how to tie your shoes..believe it or not it makes a difference. The more weight you can keep out of your pack the better...If you havent used trekking poles I would highly recommend them to help with your joints. You can do it! Go get em!
I used Wright socks too, but contrary to their claim they did not prevent me from getting blisters at all.
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#20
I used Wright socks too, but contrary to their claim they did not prevent me from getting blisters at all.
Hi Daniel Wow really? Which one did you use? I used the one with the camino shell on it. And used a Lowa trail runner mid height light weight gortex boot. Lacing was also important so I watched a few youtube videos make sure my feet did not slide or move in my shoe. Didn’t have any problems. I have severe knee issues and wear a giant metal brace aka cyborg turtle so I thought for sure I would get some blisters but I am fortunate. Only blister I got was on my right thumb from gripping my trekking poles to hard lol. Hope you find something that works for you.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#21
American sizes are confusing. My younger daughter is 5' 11" and is a UK size 12 (as she puts it basically a beanpole with boobs) - how tiny do you need to be to be a size 2?
 

MichelleO

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug/Sept 2018
#22
Hi Sarah,
I'm not a skinny young thing so my input is from someone who has learnt along the way.
I'm in Puente la Reina atm.
So after At Jean Pied de Port > Roncesvalles > Larresoana > Pamplona > Puente la Reina..... I would say:
*Split your days up more than we did - the suffering comes after the arduous day
*Stretchy but fitting bottoms is better than baggy, loose fitting
*Having your backpack transported to your booked accommodation is good. However, it is then a commitment and you have to reach that destination (There's a company a few doors down from the Pilgrim's Office in Stock Jean Pied de Port that were very helpful - has a picture of a burrow/donkey out the front)
*Sticks are a godsend! I hadn't used them before but they helped a lot on the descents (lightweight ones because you have to carry them too!)
*Last, but not least, Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#23
you think you are short? you have 3 inches on me. for what this is worth to you, and indeed to anyone else who reads this post... so much has been written about blisters, and socks, and friction, and what to do and what not to do. Very recently I learned that I have been planting my feet down wrongly. As in, badly. As in, causing me to get huge blisters without need. so, I watched my walking buddy, and copied her gait. I talked myself into : heel, toes, foot spread out, heel, toes, foot spread out. that was day two. The blisters from day one had no chance, they just died out And no new ones appeared over the next six days. Luck? whatever. Let's see if I can keep them all at bay in the future! and, buen camino to you. Maybe you will wear yourself down a few inches to be really short!
 

anji

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#24
Hello!

I did most of the camino last year but stopped at ponferrada. I stopped not for physical reasons but - was accosted in Burgos by a dirty old man and it took me a bit to get my headspace in the right place. Iam returning Oct. 1 to do it again, from start all the way to finish this time.

I went with a group of veterans with PTSD but - wasn't allowed to continue with them (or start, to begin with)because the leader thought I was too fat.

So, after debating life/death in a hotel room in pamplona for a week, Igot my fat arse up one day and just kept walking. In the words of my mom, "You trained for this and you're disabled and you put all this work into it WITHOUT them, just go and do it by your own self!"

Mom's are smart :)

I am 5'5, 230 pounds (240 last year) and have diabetes, thyroid (Hashimoto's disease which was only diagnosed a week before I left and I could barely keep my eyes open, it's a miracle I was able to train and do what I*did* do but it also explained why I was walking 2-3 hours at a time, six days a week and didn't lose any weight over an entire year!!), I have also Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), PTSD, CRPS(Complex regional pain syndrome, essentially every single day my pain is 9/10 or 10/10), Brachial Plexus nerve damage in my right arm/back/shoulders, a lower back injury as well as Sacroiliac joint dysfunction which feels like a bow-and-arrow shot through my arse.... Er, i think that is 'everything'!!

Why do I write this?Not for sympathy (it doesn't help, LOL)but - to give you encouragement that no matter what your physical ability, it is possible if you want it to be possible.

Here is what I did 'extra' for being a chubby-chick on the camino :D (And really, it's something all people can do.... and I'm going to do even less on the next one but - I think for your first, it's good to be prepared and drop stuff off along the way you discover you don't need, depending on your body type!)

I'll go from foot to head :D
#1) Shoes/boots/whatever you choose. I decided to go with solomon shoes instead of the boots Ihad trained in. Icouldn't train for the hills but remembered during my downhill ski days, that my thick calves (muscle, thick thick muscle!) that the boot would cut into my calve.... so I went with the shoes. I had them bigger slightly but - next time, I would have went even bigger. Iwent with a man's style as their feet are wider.... and am going to go even wider this time. Get a good sock... and I also used 'speed lacers' which I altered about 200 times a day, LOL... when I go up hills, Itighten the area around my toes to prevent slippage which stops blisters.... going down hills, Iwould ensure my heels were at the furthest part of my shoe and tighten there. This stops you slipping forward, bashing your toes and losing toe nails. I don't know about you but - Ilike my toe nails :DAnd - when walking on flat lands, I loosened my shoes so they could avoid swelling a bit.

#2) Pants and Undies -- Iwent with a man's short-style undies so that the underwear lines don't aggravate the creases... add moisture and it's a breeding ground for yeast and infection! I brought a creme for any flare-ups but - you can get it super cheap there at any pharmacy. In canada I need a prescription for it and it costs about $60 but - in spain, no prescription and 3 euros! Pharmacists love helping and they hear EVERYTHING that a pilgrim can experience... bring your trusty google-translate just in case and you're golden! I bought a powder in Canada called Anti-Monkey Butt powder... it's on amazon if you want to see what the container looks like but - it's not just regular talcolm power, it has an extra incredient which adds a silky texture to help with friction issues... is worth the extra $$ for it :)
You are on the right road with the pants -- I had a pair of small shorts Iwore every day(helped with moisture from my core), and then either a capri pant or a full-pant, depending on the weather. Sometimes Iwore all three :p In north america, fat people apparently don't exercise so we don't get the same awesome fabric that everyone else gets to use... however, a happy accident was my entire kit going missing by the airline company (grrrrr, BTW, always wear your camino shoes ON the plane in case your luggage disappears!) meant Igot to go shopping in Pamplona. Fortunately, Spanish fat ladies are worthy enough to have gym clothing made in their sizes :D I paid less than 15euros for a pair of pants that would go for $150 CDN and... I've worn them non-stop this past year and are still in perfect condition. It assists with the thigh rubbing (I had zero friction burns in my thigh region!) and I call them my Ninja pants as they are called Kalenji Ibelieve... most comfy pants Ihave ever worn and they also have a draw string for when you lose weight. The store is called "DECATHALON" which is a chain of sports store in spain (and maybe europe?)... it is a quick taxi ride in Pamplona and a cheap bus ride if you have a bit of time. I often kept an extra pair of undies that I could change during the day if it was extra sweaty (it was 40c for three weeks straight)...only did it once!

#3) I am an indigenous north american and one of the traits many of us have, is a flat butt. LOL... which means my pants fall off all the time. I also don't wear bras as it is hard to put on with my injuries and can affect my nerves. So through Penningtons (in canada, not sure if you have something similar)there is an undergarment which is tight and fitted so it gives me breast-support and it goes over my hips which helps keep up my pants. Not all fat girls got big butts! So this is essential for me... and helps with the jiggling of my belly, holds things in place better. Iwashed it by hand every other day.... but if you are someone who needs to wear a bra (Ihad a breast reduction so it isn't an issue for me anymore but - for many it is!), I suggest a brand called Shock Absorber, a british bra company.They have a great website and they have a variety of styles and strengths. They actually make them tough enough that a cup size G woman, can run without knocking herself out. They are sports bras but - they do not give you a mono-boob and have excellent support. They have light-weight support, all the way to like, heavy-duty! They are a bit pricy (I think about $100 cdn)but Ihave had the same two bras since 2008 and wore them heaps when Iwas in the military and whenever I need extra support. I've worn them several hundred times and they are nearly new and fit wonderfully....
I then have moisture-wicking tops and wore long-sleeves even though it was 40c. You don't need to get skin cancer from the camino which has happened to others along the way. There was a sign along the way near Hornillios where a man wrote of his mistake of not wearing sunscreen and hats and he had a horrific sunburn. It turned into cancer and he passed away. He put his story on the camino literally, as a reminder to people to not make the mistake he did...
Iwore different layers and as a chubby, I tend to overheat quickly. So find a few layers (depending on the season you go of course!) so that you can decrease the layers as the sun comes out to cook you :D

#4) neck and head wear -- this is good for all folks but - wear a hat, some sport sunscreen and have a buff ready to protect your neck/head/ears, etc.. I also sweat like crazy because 20C is my melting point.... plus, we are literally carrying upwards of an extra 100 lbs or more than the skinny folks, so go a pace you are comfy at... the buffs can sop up the extra salty sweat as it goes into your eyes... some folks bring a small gel-like product they wear under the hat, which helps cool things...

Last year Iended up with two kits (my luggage was eventually found)and with my disabilities, I used a luggage transfer company. This time around, Iwon't be but - Ido have my bag down to 10 lbs... travelling light this time!But - there will still be a few days I know, where I will pay the service for my kit to go ahead. O'cebreiro will be one of them...

Tips for going up mountains -- or tough areas -- is to go as long as you can, then stop and rest... sometimes this could be every 1.5 mins, LOL, but - don't be embarassed. You are carting more weight then they are... plus, I actually discovered when I stopped, that when you turn around, you get 'twice' the camino beauty. MOst folks don't look backwards or take the time, and the landscape is usually spectacular! Isee it as a bonus... plus, it gives me an excuse to look back at the beauty and it doesn't make it look like I'm dying for breath:p

Don't let others glances at you, hurt you emotionally. Some people just cannot fathom fat people can actually do stuff :pThey may have their pre-conceived notions but - you can help educate them and prove them wrong :D

OH!Before I forget -- my backpack! I went with Osprey and - each model usually has three options for small, medium and large 'frames'... I went with a medium frame which is built to go around your waist and wider shoulders... the small frames cut into my hips... most folks aren't aware of the sizing options as most stores don't carry all three in there - but - online, you can get the bag that fits your frame best. You do not need to have rubbing on your hips/shoulders/armpits be the thing that injures you on your trip! It should fit like a really nice glove :)

If you can (and you should!), start stretching now! While Iwould highly recommend long-practise walks, etc. for building up your cardio/muscle training, the thing that will end your camino early, is injury. It will be how sore you are in the evening and in the morning, which will be your nemisis and likely the thing that will defeat you mentally and send you home much too early, either due to fatigue or injury. Stretch as much as you can not only on the day of camino but - TODAY. If you can start stretching your muscle, it will reduce your changes for injury (and potentially disability, if you are unfortunately at a higher risk for injury and serious injuries!)... i can't stress enough. YOu will build endurance and cardio ONthe camino ... it will take about a week but you will amaze yourself at how quickly you will adapt in that sense... but there are no short-cuts for stretching your muscles... so if Ihad only ten workouts sessions to prepare for the camino?Iwould say 5 sessions I would do actual walking and the other 5, Iwould devote strictly to stretching and toning... that's how crucial I believe it to be! It can even help avoid pulled muscles but - as well, shin-splints, plantar facitius(foot/arch pain) and other potential camino-ending injuries and issues!

I hope this helps folks and - sorry it's a novel. I am sure my second camino will give me new insight!
anji
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#26
American sizes are confusing. My younger daughter is 5' 11" and is a UK size 12 (as she puts it basically a beanpole with boobs) - how tiny do you need to be to be a size 2?
Found these sizing charts. Just remember everything in the US is made to be non European ;)
 

Attachments

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#27
Hello!

I did most of the camino last year but stopped at ponferrada. I stopped not for physical reasons but - was accosted in Burgos by a dirty old man and it took me a bit to get my headspace in the right place. Iam returning Oct. 1 to do it again, from start all the way to finish this time.

I went with a group of veterans with PTSD but - wasn't allowed to continue with them (or start, to begin with)because the leader thought I was too fat.

So, after debating life/death in a hotel room in pamplona for a week, Igot my fat arse up one day and just kept walking. In the words of my mom, "You trained for this and you're disabled and you put all this work into it WITHOUT them, just go and do it by your own self!"

Mom's are smart :)

I am 5'5, 230 pounds (240 last year) and have diabetes, thyroid (Hashimoto's disease which was only diagnosed a week before I left and I could barely keep my eyes open, it's a miracle I was able to train and do what I*did* do but it also explained why I was walking 2-3 hours at a time, six days a week and didn't lose any weight over an entire year!!), I have also Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), PTSD, CRPS(Complex regional pain syndrome, essentially every single day my pain is 9/10 or 10/10), Brachial Plexus nerve damage in my right arm/back/shoulders, a lower back injury as well as Sacroiliac joint dysfunction which feels like a bow-and-arrow shot through my arse.... Er, i think that is 'everything'!!

Why do I write this?Not for sympathy (it doesn't help, LOL)but - to give you encouragement that no matter what your physical ability, it is possible if you want it to be possible.

Here is what I did 'extra' for being a chubby-chick on the camino :D (And really, it's something all people can do.... and I'm going to do even less on the next one but - I think for your first, it's good to be prepared and drop stuff off along the way you discover you don't need, depending on your body type!)

I'll go from foot to head :D
#1) Shoes/boots/whatever you choose. I decided to go with solomon shoes instead of the boots Ihad trained in. Icouldn't train for the hills but remembered during my downhill ski days, that my thick calves (muscle, thick thick muscle!) that the boot would cut into my calve.... so I went with the shoes. I had them bigger slightly but - next time, I would have went even bigger. Iwent with a man's style as their feet are wider.... and am going to go even wider this time. Get a good sock... and I also used 'speed lacers' which I altered about 200 times a day, LOL... when I go up hills, Itighten the area around my toes to prevent slippage which stops blisters.... going down hills, Iwould ensure my heels were at the furthest part of my shoe and tighten there. This stops you slipping forward, bashing your toes and losing toe nails. I don't know about you but - Ilike my toe nails :DAnd - when walking on flat lands, I loosened my shoes so they could avoid swelling a bit.

#2) Pants and Undies -- Iwent with a man's short-style undies so that the underwear lines don't aggravate the creases... add moisture and it's a breeding ground for yeast and infection! I brought a creme for any flare-ups but - you can get it super cheap there at any pharmacy. In canada I need a prescription for it and it costs about $60 but - in spain, no prescription and 3 euros! Pharmacists love helping and they hear EVERYTHING that a pilgrim can experience... bring your trusty google-translate just in case and you're golden! I bought a powder in Canada called Anti-Monkey Butt powder... it's on amazon if you want to see what the container looks like but - it's not just regular talcolm power, it has an extra incredient which adds a silky texture to help with friction issues... is worth the extra $$ for it :)
You are on the right road with the pants -- I had a pair of small shorts Iwore every day(helped with moisture from my core), and then either a capri pant or a full-pant, depending on the weather. Sometimes Iwore all three :p In north america, fat people apparently don't exercise so we don't get the same awesome fabric that everyone else gets to use... however, a happy accident was my entire kit going missing by the airline company (grrrrr, BTW, always wear your camino shoes ON the plane in case your luggage disappears!) meant Igot to go shopping in Pamplona. Fortunately, Spanish fat ladies are worthy enough to have gym clothing made in their sizes :D I paid less than 15euros for a pair of pants that would go for $150 CDN and... I've worn them non-stop this past year and are still in perfect condition. It assists with the thigh rubbing (I had zero friction burns in my thigh region!) and I call them my Ninja pants as they are called Kalenji Ibelieve... most comfy pants Ihave ever worn and they also have a draw string for when you lose weight. The store is called "DECATHALON" which is a chain of sports store in spain (and maybe europe?)... it is a quick taxi ride in Pamplona and a cheap bus ride if you have a bit of time. I often kept an extra pair of undies that I could change during the day if it was extra sweaty (it was 40c for three weeks straight)...only did it once!

#3) I am an indigenous north american and one of the traits many of us have, is a flat butt. LOL... which means my pants fall off all the time. I also don't wear bras as it is hard to put on with my injuries and can affect my nerves. So through Penningtons (in canada, not sure if you have something similar)there is an undergarment which is tight and fitted so it gives me breast-support and it goes over my hips which helps keep up my pants. Not all fat girls got big butts! So this is essential for me... and helps with the jiggling of my belly, holds things in place better. Iwashed it by hand every other day.... but if you are someone who needs to wear a bra (Ihad a breast reduction so it isn't an issue for me anymore but - for many it is!), I suggest a brand called Shock Absorber, a british bra company.They have a great website and they have a variety of styles and strengths. They actually make them tough enough that a cup size G woman, can run without knocking herself out. They are sports bras but - they do not give you a mono-boob and have excellent support. They have light-weight support, all the way to like, heavy-duty! They are a bit pricy (I think about $100 cdn)but Ihave had the same two bras since 2008 and wore them heaps when Iwas in the military and whenever I need extra support. I've worn them several hundred times and they are nearly new and fit wonderfully....
I then have moisture-wicking tops and wore long-sleeves even though it was 40c. You don't need to get skin cancer from the camino which has happened to others along the way. There was a sign along the way near Hornillios where a man wrote of his mistake of not wearing sunscreen and hats and he had a horrific sunburn. It turned into cancer and he passed away. He put his story on the camino literally, as a reminder to people to not make the mistake he did...
Iwore different layers and as a chubby, I tend to overheat quickly. So find a few layers (depending on the season you go of course!) so that you can decrease the layers as the sun comes out to cook you :D

#4) neck and head wear -- this is good for all folks but - wear a hat, some sport sunscreen and have a buff ready to protect your neck/head/ears, etc.. I also sweat like crazy because 20C is my melting point.... plus, we are literally carrying upwards of an extra 100 lbs or more than the skinny folks, so go a pace you are comfy at... the buffs can sop up the extra salty sweat as it goes into your eyes... some folks bring a small gel-like product they wear under the hat, which helps cool things...

Last year Iended up with two kits (my luggage was eventually found)and with my disabilities, I used a luggage transfer company. This time around, Iwon't be but - Ido have my bag down to 10 lbs... travelling light this time!But - there will still be a few days I know, where I will pay the service for my kit to go ahead. O'cebreiro will be one of them...

Tips for going up mountains -- or tough areas -- is to go as long as you can, then stop and rest... sometimes this could be every 1.5 mins, LOL, but - don't be embarassed. You are carting more weight then they are... plus, I actually discovered when I stopped, that when you turn around, you get 'twice' the camino beauty. MOst folks don't look backwards or take the time, and the landscape is usually spectacular! Isee it as a bonus... plus, it gives me an excuse to look back at the beauty and it doesn't make it look like I'm dying for breath:p

Don't let others glances at you, hurt you emotionally. Some people just cannot fathom fat people can actually do stuff :pThey may have their pre-conceived notions but - you can help educate them and prove them wrong :D

OH!Before I forget -- my backpack! I went with Osprey and - each model usually has three options for small, medium and large 'frames'... I went with a medium frame which is built to go around your waist and wider shoulders... the small frames cut into my hips... most folks aren't aware of the sizing options as most stores don't carry all three in there - but - online, you can get the bag that fits your frame best. You do not need to have rubbing on your hips/shoulders/armpits be the thing that injures you on your trip! It should fit like a really nice glove :)

If you can (and you should!), start stretching now! While Iwould highly recommend long-practise walks, etc. for building up your cardio/muscle training, the thing that will end your camino early, is injury. It will be how sore you are in the evening and in the morning, which will be your nemisis and likely the thing that will defeat you mentally and send you home much too early, either due to fatigue or injury. Stretch as much as you can not only on the day of camino but - TODAY. If you can start stretching your muscle, it will reduce your changes for injury (and potentially disability, if you are unfortunately at a higher risk for injury and serious injuries!)... i can't stress enough. YOu will build endurance and cardio ONthe camino ... it will take about a week but you will amaze yourself at how quickly you will adapt in that sense... but there are no short-cuts for stretching your muscles... so if Ihad only ten workouts sessions to prepare for the camino?Iwould say 5 sessions I would do actual walking and the other 5, Iwould devote strictly to stretching and toning... that's how crucial I believe it to be! It can even help avoid pulled muscles but - as well, shin-splints, plantar facitius(foot/arch pain) and other potential camino-ending injuries and issues!

I hope this helps folks and - sorry it's a novel. I am sure my second camino will give me new insight!
anji
Wonderful post @anji it has everything the good, the bad, and the ugly...you are truly my sister from another mother.:)
 

tjb1013

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#28
I'm a gear snob (not a good thing), yet I can't remember anything any of the people who I spent hours (and sometimes days) with were wearing on the Camino last fall, save one man's long red velvet cape.

If you can find what works, you really don't need to be concerned with the logos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#29
Hello!

I did most of the camino last year but stopped at ponferrada. I stopped not for physical reasons but - was accosted in Burgos by a dirty old man and it took me a bit to get my headspace in the right place. Iam returning Oct. 1 to do it again, from start all the way to finish this time.

I went with a group of veterans with PTSD but - wasn't allowed to continue with them (or start, to begin with)because the leader thought I was too fat.

So, after debating life/death in a hotel room in pamplona for a week, Igot my fat arse up one day and just kept walking. In the words of my mom, "You trained for this and you're disabled and you put all this work into it WITHOUT them, just go and do it by your own self!"

Mom's are smart :)

I am 5'5, 230 pounds (240 last year) and have diabetes, thyroid (Hashimoto's disease which was only diagnosed a week before I left and I could barely keep my eyes open, it's a miracle I was able to train and do what I*did* do but it also explained why I was walking 2-3 hours at a time, six days a week and didn't lose any weight over an entire year!!), I have also Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), PTSD, CRPS(Complex regional pain syndrome, essentially every single day my pain is 9/10 or 10/10), Brachial Plexus nerve damage in my right arm/back/shoulders, a lower back injury as well as Sacroiliac joint dysfunction which feels like a bow-and-arrow shot through my arse.... Er, i think that is 'everything'!!

Why do I write this?Not for sympathy (it doesn't help, LOL)but - to give you encouragement that no matter what your physical ability, it is possible if you want it to be possible.

Here is what I did 'extra' for being a chubby-chick on the camino :D (And really, it's something all people can do.... and I'm going to do even less on the next one but - I think for your first, it's good to be prepared and drop stuff off along the way you discover you don't need, depending on your body type!)

I'll go from foot to head :D
#1) Shoes/boots/whatever you choose. I decided to go with solomon shoes instead of the boots Ihad trained in. Icouldn't train for the hills but remembered during my downhill ski days, that my thick calves (muscle, thick thick muscle!) that the boot would cut into my calve.... so I went with the shoes. I had them bigger slightly but - next time, I would have went even bigger. Iwent with a man's style as their feet are wider.... and am going to go even wider this time. Get a good sock... and I also used 'speed lacers' which I altered about 200 times a day, LOL... when I go up hills, Itighten the area around my toes to prevent slippage which stops blisters.... going down hills, Iwould ensure my heels were at the furthest part of my shoe and tighten there. This stops you slipping forward, bashing your toes and losing toe nails. I don't know about you but - Ilike my toe nails :DAnd - when walking on flat lands, I loosened my shoes so they could avoid swelling a bit.

#2) Pants and Undies -- Iwent with a man's short-style undies so that the underwear lines don't aggravate the creases... add moisture and it's a breeding ground for yeast and infection! I brought a creme for any flare-ups but - you can get it super cheap there at any pharmacy. In canada I need a prescription for it and it costs about $60 but - in spain, no prescription and 3 euros! Pharmacists love helping and they hear EVERYTHING that a pilgrim can experience... bring your trusty google-translate just in case and you're golden! I bought a powder in Canada called Anti-Monkey Butt powder... it's on amazon if you want to see what the container looks like but - it's not just regular talcolm power, it has an extra incredient which adds a silky texture to help with friction issues... is worth the extra $$ for it :)
You are on the right road with the pants -- I had a pair of small shorts Iwore every day(helped with moisture from my core), and then either a capri pant or a full-pant, depending on the weather. Sometimes Iwore all three :p In north america, fat people apparently don't exercise so we don't get the same awesome fabric that everyone else gets to use... however, a happy accident was my entire kit going missing by the airline company (grrrrr, BTW, always wear your camino shoes ON the plane in case your luggage disappears!) meant Igot to go shopping in Pamplona. Fortunately, Spanish fat ladies are worthy enough to have gym clothing made in their sizes :D I paid less than 15euros for a pair of pants that would go for $150 CDN and... I've worn them non-stop this past year and are still in perfect condition. It assists with the thigh rubbing (I had zero friction burns in my thigh region!) and I call them my Ninja pants as they are called Kalenji Ibelieve... most comfy pants Ihave ever worn and they also have a draw string for when you lose weight. The store is called "DECATHALON" which is a chain of sports store in spain (and maybe europe?)... it is a quick taxi ride in Pamplona and a cheap bus ride if you have a bit of time. I often kept an extra pair of undies that I could change during the day if it was extra sweaty (it was 40c for three weeks straight)...only did it once!

#3) I am an indigenous north american and one of the traits many of us have, is a flat butt. LOL... which means my pants fall off all the time. I also don't wear bras as it is hard to put on with my injuries and can affect my nerves. So through Penningtons (in canada, not sure if you have something similar)there is an undergarment which is tight and fitted so it gives me breast-support and it goes over my hips which helps keep up my pants. Not all fat girls got big butts! So this is essential for me... and helps with the jiggling of my belly, holds things in place better. Iwashed it by hand every other day.... but if you are someone who needs to wear a bra (Ihad a breast reduction so it isn't an issue for me anymore but - for many it is!), I suggest a brand called Shock Absorber, a british bra company.They have a great website and they have a variety of styles and strengths. They actually make them tough enough that a cup size G woman, can run without knocking herself out. They are sports bras but - they do not give you a mono-boob and have excellent support. They have light-weight support, all the way to like, heavy-duty! They are a bit pricy (I think about $100 cdn)but Ihave had the same two bras since 2008 and wore them heaps when Iwas in the military and whenever I need extra support. I've worn them several hundred times and they are nearly new and fit wonderfully....
I then have moisture-wicking tops and wore long-sleeves even though it was 40c. You don't need to get skin cancer from the camino which has happened to others along the way. There was a sign along the way near Hornillios where a man wrote of his mistake of not wearing sunscreen and hats and he had a horrific sunburn. It turned into cancer and he passed away. He put his story on the camino literally, as a reminder to people to not make the mistake he did...
Iwore different layers and as a chubby, I tend to overheat quickly. So find a few layers (depending on the season you go of course!) so that you can decrease the layers as the sun comes out to cook you :D

#4) neck and head wear -- this is good for all folks but - wear a hat, some sport sunscreen and have a buff ready to protect your neck/head/ears, etc.. I also sweat like crazy because 20C is my melting point.... plus, we are literally carrying upwards of an extra 100 lbs or more than the skinny folks, so go a pace you are comfy at... the buffs can sop up the extra salty sweat as it goes into your eyes... some folks bring a small gel-like product they wear under the hat, which helps cool things...

Last year Iended up with two kits (my luggage was eventually found)and with my disabilities, I used a luggage transfer company. This time around, Iwon't be but - Ido have my bag down to 10 lbs... travelling light this time!But - there will still be a few days I know, where I will pay the service for my kit to go ahead. O'cebreiro will be one of them...

Tips for going up mountains -- or tough areas -- is to go as long as you can, then stop and rest... sometimes this could be every 1.5 mins, LOL, but - don't be embarassed. You are carting more weight then they are... plus, I actually discovered when I stopped, that when you turn around, you get 'twice' the camino beauty. MOst folks don't look backwards or take the time, and the landscape is usually spectacular! Isee it as a bonus... plus, it gives me an excuse to look back at the beauty and it doesn't make it look like I'm dying for breath:p

Don't let others glances at you, hurt you emotionally. Some people just cannot fathom fat people can actually do stuff :pThey may have their pre-conceived notions but - you can help educate them and prove them wrong :D

OH!Before I forget -- my backpack! I went with Osprey and - each model usually has three options for small, medium and large 'frames'... I went with a medium frame which is built to go around your waist and wider shoulders... the small frames cut into my hips... most folks aren't aware of the sizing options as most stores don't carry all three in there - but - online, you can get the bag that fits your frame best. You do not need to have rubbing on your hips/shoulders/armpits be the thing that injures you on your trip! It should fit like a really nice glove :)

If you can (and you should!), start stretching now! While Iwould highly recommend long-practise walks, etc. for building up your cardio/muscle training, the thing that will end your camino early, is injury. It will be how sore you are in the evening and in the morning, which will be your nemisis and likely the thing that will defeat you mentally and send you home much too early, either due to fatigue or injury. Stretch as much as you can not only on the day of camino but - TODAY. If you can start stretching your muscle, it will reduce your changes for injury (and potentially disability, if you are unfortunately at a higher risk for injury and serious injuries!)... i can't stress enough. YOu will build endurance and cardio ONthe camino ... it will take about a week but you will amaze yourself at how quickly you will adapt in that sense... but there are no short-cuts for stretching your muscles... so if Ihad only ten workouts sessions to prepare for the camino?Iwould say 5 sessions I would do actual walking and the other 5, Iwould devote strictly to stretching and toning... that's how crucial I believe it to be! It can even help avoid pulled muscles but - as well, shin-splints, plantar facitius(foot/arch pain) and other potential camino-ending injuries and issues!

I hope this helps folks and - sorry it's a novel. I am sure my second camino will give me new insight!
anji
Fantastic Post!!!

Although I do not fit the parameters and the focus of this essay, I am very much the wiser for having taken the time to read it. Thank you.

What specifically I will respond to are the inclines. I have always been challenged by ascents. I believe there is a lot of 'negative psychology' that I carry as I approach hills and it affects my performance and my mental equilibrium. Last year, when on a long grade, I found myself stepping off to the side, to not impede traffic, and turning back to enjoy the view. The climb after leaving Castrojeriz, crossing the valley to the west and heading up a long slog with many false summits comes to mind. The first time I thought I was in a time warp. Will it ever end? Last year I would turn, breathe slowly, enjoy the view, take a minimum of 30 seconds to a maximum of 45 seconds, (I didn't want the body to cool down to much) turn and begin again. When I felt tired or frustrated (no matter how long since the last stop), or whatever bit of negativity arose I would repeat. I felt great. There was no sense of failure or lack of ability.

On our way to Santiago as pilgrims we are adjusting our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies constantly. Sometimes we're aware of it while it's happening, and sometimes the awareness of the challenge becomes evident some time later. We accommodate our activities and thinking to a new way of behaving and begin again, always refining the process.

Oh yes, if you haven't worked with poles it would be a good idea to start familiarizing yourself with them. They are great aides both going up, down, and when you are cruising through the Mesata.

Peace be with you.
 

P Rat

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP april (april2019)
#31
Been reading this post with a feeling of awe. Underneath all the humour and jokes at oneselves, making light of injuries or body shape because self pity doesn't help (you're right off course), is a huge amount of will power! I am a PT in Australia, and have nothing but respect for large people who get out and make the effort to be active and do amazing physical work that is so easily perceived to be the playing ground for fit/smaller (not the same!) people.
All I want to reinforce is: get out there is you want to it, don't let anyone anywhere make you feel less worthy, and have fun! It is your experience, you are the one having to get through the day, so it is only right yo do it your way! Kudos to you, not only on the camino but in your future travels too! Buen Camino sister(s) and brothers
Patty
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 (SJPP to Burgos)
September 2016 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
May 2017 (Villafranca del Bierzo to Santiago de Compostela)
#33
Hi Daniel Wow really? Which one did you use? I used the one with the camino shell on it. And used a Lowa trail runner mid height light weight gortex boot. Lacing was also important so I watched a few youtube videos make sure my feet did not slide or move in my shoe. Didn’t have any problems. I have severe knee issues and wear a giant metal brace aka cyborg turtle so I thought for sure I would get some blisters but I am fortunate. Only blister I got was on my right thumb from gripping my trekking poles to hard lol. Hope you find something that works for you.
Hi Iriebablel. I don't recall a specific type but I bought them at REI in the states. I did the Camino Frances in three segments over 18 months and had blisters and lost a big toe nail on all three. LOL I think that I was pushing myself to hard.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#34
So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
I've been meaning to write a post about something similar for a while but never quite got round to it. My last few trips I've been taking ordinary clothes and feeling much better about stuff. I take my jeans for the evening - bit of an indulgence but I feel comfortable, I've dropped the fleece for a wool cardigan (lighter, much more versatile and it doesn't make my hair go static) and a chiffon scarf , fancy wicking t-shirts have been replaced by cheap lightweight cotton ones from Lindex, fancy underwear has been replaced by supermarket own brand stuff. To walk in I have a pair of shorts from a normal shop and some Nike Lycra capri bottoms that are my standard gym attire. (Personally I go for tight fitting bottoms to avoid chaffing). My posh hiking umbrella broke and got replaced by a £1 shop umbrella that was lighter and smaller.

I do have some expensive gear including a very nice, lightweight down sleeping bag and a fancy lightweight poncho but on the clothing front, taking what I already have is working for me.

I have curves and avoid most hiking clothes like the plague, especially those grey/beige trousers that have zip off bottoms (does anyone who isn't slim look good in those?). The camino isn't a fashion parade but at the same time, if you feel comfortable you're usually happier. The nice thing about taking normal clothes, especially, if they are getting towards end of life, is that if they get lost or stolen it's irritating but no big deal. Unless you are totally obsessed by rucksack weight the difference between normal clothes and hiking clothes isn't necessarily that different.

Hope you have a fantastic trip!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#35
, I've dropped the fleece for a wool cardigan (lighter, much more versatile
I've brought a merino wool cardigan from Uniqlo on each of my Caminos. This one is a crew neck, but mine is a V neck cardigan, which can be found in their stores. I also have this lightweight hoodie from Uniqlo that I can layer over the sweater for colder days.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first Fall 2018
#36
I agree clothes for women who are a little large are hard to find especially inexpensive options! I’ve bought a few things from Columbia that fit great got them on sale but regardless we’re still expensive. The only alternative is men’s clothes which don’t always fit well. Luckily only had to get two sets!
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#37
Hi Iriebablel. I don't recall a specific type but I bought them at REI in the states. I did the Camino Frances in three segments over 18 months and had blisters and lost a big toe nail on all three. LOL I think that I was pushing myself to hard.
The reason I ask is because they make different types. Some are thinner than others....I love them and will use them again . The loss of a toe nail /blisters leads me to believe that your foot was sliding. ...i suggest to check out different lacing methods, good insoles and a little more room in the toe of your shoes ...hope that helps.
 

spagirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances(Sept 2018)
#38
Great post....
I was pretty sure i wasn’t the only short , chubby walker out there!
I have the boobs to match the Ruebenesque figure which with my pack straps creates a nasty looking mono boob silhouette.
I’m hoping the fashion police don’t make an appearance!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VDLP Autumn 2019
#39
@Sarah Fisher & @anji, Thank-you for your posts! What a great thread and discussion! I, too, see your will power and more importantly, your sense of humor. I sense that your Camino is already something of a success with that will power and sense of humor.

I'm older and do not walk as fast, but it is not about walking fast or climbing the hills fast - it is about being out there, enjoying nature, enjoying the history all around you. Sometimes walking quietly and being introspective, smelling the fields, hearing the birds, the crunch of your shoes of the path, enjoying the company of people from all over the world, sometimes not even sharing a language, but sharing the difficulty of the hill and then sharing the beauty at the top. Being meditative, and smiling... It can be difficult to walk 6-7 hours a day, day after day after day, but I found it far more uplifting than I ever thought possible. Every day was the same in some ways, every day was different, but every day was beautiful. May your Camino be magical!

Buen Camino!
--jim--
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2017 October)
#40
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
Buen Camino, and know you are supported by me, and I am sure many others. Glad you found clothes that (almost) fit. I am inspired that you are doing this! Ultreia
Jane
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#41
Wonderful thread, Sarah! And Thank you @anji for your honest and super post - @Iriebabel said it best:
Wonderful post @anji it has everything the good, the bad, and the ugly...you are truly my sister from another mother.:)
Those of us who are bigger have a harder row to hoe than the beanpoles.
Avanti, and to heck with the detractors. Fortunately there are probably fewer of them on the Camino than elsewhere.
One thing to say 'here here' to that someone mentioned already: skirts.
I have thunder thighs. And I find skirts are much more comfortable than pants - the potential for chub rub being the only downside. For that I use an anti-chafing stick - it looks like a small version of solid deodorant - and it works surprisingly well. Undies that look like a sheer version of bike shorts are actually better, but only when it's not too hot. And with only a bit of googling, I found thigh bands. You learn something every day...
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2017 October)
#42
This is a very entertaining and informative thread. Thanks to all. My 2 or 10 cents worth...

1. You are not overweight. I consider myself ‘under-tall...’

2. Old Navy is part of the same corporate family as Athleta, the higher end yoga clothing company. I know this from seeing all the shipping bags my wife has delivered. She is a daily yoga ‘nut’ who is always looking for something. So I figure that Old Navy likely has the bargain line of Athleta gear. My wife seems to find lots of good casual wear stuff there as well.

3. The Camino is NOT a fashion parade. Beyond covering your private bits, the imperative is function over form...completely. If it is comfortable and is suitable to purpose, then that is a win-win...

4. The more important consideration is to listen to your body. Have a physical exam before you go. Make sure your doctor knows what you are going to do. Listen to him or her.

5. As you walk, pay attention to your body. Only do as much as you are comfortable doing. The Camino is NOT a race; nor is it an endurance contest.

6. If you find it advisable, use a mochila transport service to move your mochila (rucksack) from stop to stop until you are acclimated to walking every day. Pack a super-lightweight day pack to use for daily essentials to compliment using the pack moving service.

7. Enjoy the Camino! The journey IS the destination.

Hope this helps.
This is all great advice. As to #6, Do use the mochila transport service, and for a daypack I have (used on the Camino and now for daily shopping) a Sea to Summit bag that weighs almost nothing and wads up into its own wee bag.
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#43
Wonderful thread, Sarah! And Thank you @anji for your honest and super post - @Iriebabel said it best:
Those of us who are bigger have a harder row to hoe than the beanpoles.
Avanti, and to heck with the detractors. Fortunately there are probably fewer of them on the Camino than elsewhere.
One thing to say 'here here' to that someone mentioned already: skirts.
I have thunder thighs. And I find skirts are much more comfortable than pants - the potential for chub rub being the only downside. For that I use an anti-chafing stick - it looks like a small version of solid deodorant - and it works surprisingly well. Undies that look like a sheer version of bike shorts are actually better, but only when it's not too hot. And with only a bit of googling, I found thigh bands. You learn something every day...
Hahahha. Where did you find Thigh bands? ..not sure they are practical on the camino and may would stay up long. I use compression shorts under my running tights they work well for soaking up the sweat and chaffing. I buy them in mens department of the discount store..dont cost much. I bought Hanes women mesh sport underwear they are light, dry quickly, dont ride up and I didn't feel overheated..in the US you can find them in target, walmart...etc. about $10 for 4 I think Fruit of the Loom make some simular with same mesh light weight materia.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#44
Where did you find Thigh bands?
:DMs Google told me about them. There was a review that said they actually did stay up, so they must be snug. For me so far so good with what I do already, and I'll pass too. But I would be curious to know if anyone ever tried them...
 
#46

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#48
Ladies... or gents if you know... Along the same lines do any of you have recommendations for “sports wicking” bra? Thanks
I wore my regular bra with no problems and will again next camino. I had one sports bra which was heck to get on and off...not too long after i started it was in the garbage
 
#49
I wore my regular bra with no problems and will again next camino. I had one sports bra which was heck to get on and off...not too long after i started it was in the garbage
My regular bras are comfortable ... they’re what I’m used to ... I threw out the only sports bra I’ve ever bought about 27 years ago!
And they’ve always worked with my ‘wicking’ vest tops, whether artificial fibre or any of my merino ones ... which I prefer by far :)
 

JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
#50
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
This is a great post! FYI, I have some older Old Navy yoga type bottoms....and they are comfy, AND have worn super well. You are right....they were a whole lot cheaper than the Athleta, Lulu, well, you name it....other ones. AND they are made for actual women, not Barbie dolls. Go! Be comfy and have a great Camino. PS - Target stuff is actually pretty good too especially the Champion stuff.
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#51
I wore my regular bra with no problems and will again next camino. I had one sports bra which was heck to get on and off...not too long after i started it was in the garbage
Something to take into consideration : ladies who are bigger in the chest area can experience some redness under the breasts. Even when you shower daily with a a neutral soap and change bra daily it still can occur. So do not feel embarrassed. Especially with the hot weather and when you are experiencing hormonal changes.

Does not need to be an infection or candida but the irrititation can be as annoying.
You can use a cortisone ointment but this is not advisable for long periods.

Now I use the cicalfate creme from this brand but I guess other companies produce it to.
https://www.eau-thermale-avene.be/n...eirriteerde-huid/cicalfate-herstellende-creme
It also does wonders for mending some small scars.

Another tip : use clean cotton handkerchief as a kind of protection between bra and under the chest . It really helps to keep you dry.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Le Puy- St Jean Pied a Port (September 2018 )

St. Jean Pied a Port - Finisterre 2008
#52
I've been meaning to write a post about something similar for a while but never quite got round to it. My last few trips I've been taking ordinary clothes and feeling much better about stuff. I take my jeans for the evening - bit of an indulgence but I feel comfortable, I've dropped the fleece for a wool cardigan (lighter, much more versatile and it doesn't make my hair go static) and a chiffon scarf , fancy wicking t-shirts have been replaced by cheap lightweight cotton ones from Lindex, fancy underwear has been replaced by supermarket own brand stuff. To walk in I have a pair of shorts from a normal shop and some Nike Lycra capri bottoms that are my standard gym attire. (Personally I go for tight fitting bottoms to avoid chaffing). My posh hiking umbrella broke and got replaced by a £1 shop umbrella that was lighter and smaller.

I do have some expensive gear including a very nice, lightweight down sleeping bag and a fancy lightweight poncho but on the clothing front, taking what I already have is working for me.

I have curves and avoid most hiking clothes like the plague, especially those grey/beige trousers that have zip off bottoms (does anyone who isn't slim look good in those?). The camino isn't a fashion parade but at the same time, if you feel comfortable you're usually happier. The nice thing about taking normal clothes, especially, if they are getting towards end of life, is that if they get lost or stolen it's irritating but no big deal. Unless you are totally obsessed by rucksack weight the difference between normal clothes and hiking clothes isn't necessarily that different.

Hope you have a fantastic trip!
So glad someone else is of my mindset "take what you have!" I've been feeling a bit intimidated and like a poor relation at the thought of taking just some regular old socks that I have... my old sandals... old trousers and flea market runners. I'm sure it will work and at bottom, I feel better for not having spent loads of dosh on fancy specialty goods. Seems a marketing hype to me, but then if it makes others happy? Best I don't go into the matter of conspicuous consumption, as I've always chosen the opposite route.

Money I'm not spending on that sort of stuff I want to use to make some donation for a Good Cause before heading out. Have been having trouble deciding what or which. Thinking ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Tree planting- types of things. If anyone has any suggestions I'd welcome them.
thanks.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#53
Money I'm not spending on that sort of stuff I want to use to make some donation for a Good Cause before heading out. Have been having trouble deciding what or which. Thinking ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Tree planting- types of things. If anyone has any suggestions I'd welcome them.
thanks.
I'd try: https://www.peaceableprojects.org/ and give something practical back to the camino. Nice idea BTW.
 

P Rat

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP april (april2019)
#54
I've been meaning to write a post about something similar for a while but never quite got round to it. My last few trips I've been taking ordinary clothes and feeling much better about stuff. I take my jeans for the evening - bit of an indulgence but I feel comfortable, I've dropped the fleece for a wool cardigan (lighter, much more versatile and it doesn't make my hair go static) and a chiffon scarf , fancy wicking t-shirts have been replaced by cheap lightweight cotton ones from Lindex, fancy underwear has been replaced by supermarket own brand stuff. To walk in I have a pair of shorts from a normal shop and some Nike Lycra capri bottoms that are my standard gym attire. (Personally I go for tight fitting bottoms to avoid chaffing). My posh hiking umbrella broke and got replaced by a £1 shop umbrella that was lighter and smaller.

I do have some expensive gear including a very nice, lightweight down sleeping bag and a fancy lightweight poncho but on the clothing front, taking what I already have is working for me.

I have curves and avoid most hiking clothes like the plague, especially those grey/beige trousers that have zip off bottoms (does anyone who isn't slim look good in those?). The camino isn't a fashion parade but at the same time, if you feel comfortable you're usually happier. The nice thing about taking normal clothes, especially, if they are getting towards end of life, is that if they get lost or stolen it's irritating but no big deal. Unless you are totally obsessed by rucksack weight the difference between normal clothes and hiking clothes isn't necessarily that different.

Hope you have a fantastic trip!
Couldn't agree more, sometimes we all get a little precious but normal clothes do the job! I am thinking of walking in my fav old jeans skirt....
 

P Rat

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP april (april2019)
#55
Couldn't agree more! Easy to get all precious about the clothing details, but no need! I am thinking of walking in my fav old jeans skirt! back up a pair of zip offs....
 
Camino(s) past & future
August to September 2016
#56
This is a very entertaining and informative thread. Thanks to all. My 2 or 10 cents worth...

1. You are not overweight. I consider myself ‘under-tall...’

2. Old Navy is part of the same corporate family as Athleta, the higher end yoga clothing company. I know this from seeing all the shipping bags my wife has delivered. She is a daily yoga ‘nut’ who is always looking for something. So I figure that Old Navy likely has the bargain line of Athleta gear. My wife seems to find lots of good casual wear stuff there as well.

3. The Camino is NOT a fashion parade. Beyond covering your private bits, the imperative is function over form...completely. If it is comfortable and is suitable to purpose, then that is a win-win...

4. The more important consideration is to listen to your body. Have a physical exam before you go. Make sure your doctor knows what you are going to do. Listen to him or her.

5. As you walk, pay attention to your body. Only do as much as you are comfortable doing. The Camino is NOT a race; nor is it an endurance contest.

6. If you find it advisable, use a mochila transport service to move your mochila (rucksack) from stop to stop until you are acclimated to walking every day. Pack a super-lightweight day pack to use for daily essentials to compliment using the pack moving service.

7. Enjoy the Camino! The journey IS the destination.

Hope this helps.
t2andreo-
Thank you for #1... LOL, I love it! Something I plan to use in the future. :cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#60
Loving the thread. It's easy to assume that personal experience is the same as universal truth but it's all I have to go on and I can say, as someone who by @t2andreo 's reckoning should be at least 7ft tall, that I never felt less judged about what I was wearing or how I looked than on the camino. The fact that everyone looks a wreck by the end of a long day certainly helps.

Just a quick practical note. As @KJFSophie mentioned finding larger sizes in Spain isn't so easy but I did find that the Joluvi brand that is stocked in the chain of outdoor stores (alas I forget the name) you find dotted along the camino did come in sizes for the more genorously proportioned and at least on the men's side fitted well and were comfortable.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2017 October)
#62
Something to take into consideration : ladies who are bigger in the chest area can experience some redness under the breasts. Even when you shower daily with a a neutral soap and change bra daily it still can occur. So do not feel embarrassed. Especially with the hot weather and when you are experiencing hormonal changes.

Does not need to be an infection or candida but the irrititation can be as annoying.
You can use a cortisone ointment but this is not advisable for long periods.

Now I use the cicalfate creme from this brand but I guess other companies produce it to.
https://www.eau-thermale-avene.be/n...eirriteerde-huid/cicalfate-herstellende-creme
It also does wonders for mending some small scars.

Another tip : use clean cotton handkerchief as a kind of protection between bra and under the chest . It really helps to keep you dry.

I use a men's size cotton hanky for all kinds of things. And a cotton (diaper type) dish towel for a bigger all-purpose "rag".
 

Kaleo

Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Camino(s) past & future
Planned for 2018
#63
I am about the same size as you. Here is what worked for me earlier this year. I only walked from Sarria, so didn't encounter any difficult terrain.

Liner socks:
Wigwam Ultimate Liner PRO F6089
Available in white and black at Redwood Trading Post in Redwood City. Great family-owned store! REI does not carry these socks. Everyone I know who has used these liner socks likes them. I hiked for about 10 days in a wet jungle, and these socks held up very well. They come up to mid-calf on me, and I roll them down over the outer socks.

Outer socks that work for me:
REI Co-op Coolmax Ultralight Hiking Quarter Socks
https://www.rei.com/product/118952/rei-co-op-coolmax-ultralight-hiking-quarter-socks
But—if you can wear wool you might find some wool socks that work better for you. Depends on what shoes you decide to wear, and how thick you want your socks. These outer socks aren’t the greatest, but they were thin and strong enough to work for me. Assume you know not to wear socks with any cotton content.

Shoes:
For the last 100K or so on the Camino, I think it is important to have shoes that are very cushioned in the soles. Cushioning may be even more important than support especially for those of us over 30 years old. If you do go with high cushioning, you want to be sure that the cushioning extends out beyond the footbed so you won’t roll an ankle. You’ll need good traction, too, and Trailbenders have great traction even on slippery rocks, but don’t keep mud caked in the soles like traditional Vibram soles. Also, you’ll need shoes that hold up over distance. The reviews I read said that Hoka Hoka Ones tend to come apart—the toe cap comes unglued, the sole doesn’t hold up. I went with the Vasque Trailbenders, Men’s size 7.5 and they were excellent. I bought a pair in size 8 also. I normally wear size 8 in women’s dress shoes, and Euro 39.5 or 40 in athletic shoes. https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/132643/vasque-trailbender-trail-running-shoes-mens
The Trailbenders might work for you, but you’d need to order from REI Garage, and if they don’t fit, return them. Here is a review: https://www.irunfar.com/2017/01/vasque-trailbender-review.html

I also took along Altra mid-height boots, with a toe box that looks like a baby’s shoe. https://www.rei.com/product/113573/altra-lone-peak-30-neoshell-mid-hiking-boots-mens I thought the Camino would be more rugged—really more hiking and bouldering, than the gravel and dirt paths we were on most of the time. As a result, I never wore the Altra’s on the trip. They aren’t nearly as cushioned as the Trailbenders.

Running/Athletic bra and underwear:
I like this Champion bra: https://www.champion.com/shop/champion/champion-full-support-sports-bra-ch1602?fromSearchResult=true It is wire-free, has padded straps, can be worn under regular clothes on the Camino, and dries fairly quickly. If you prefer wired, you’ll likely find one on the Champion site. For marathons and long hiking days, I avoid racerback bras because the straps come too close to my neck arteries and the straps show at the neckline. Ok in a running race, not so attractive under a non-runners shirt. For undies, I find the Bali Skimp Skamp are the least irritating, and dry quickly. I wear black since they don't show dirt. Might not be a style that appeals to younger folks though!

Pants and shorts:
Royal Robbins used to make nylon hiking pants that come to the waist--not low cut. They are often available on eBay. Kohls carries Dana Buchman brand pants that are rayon, nylon, spandex, with a stretchy waist, so they pull on, without gathers/wrinkles. Flat in front and back. Pretty rugged and comfortable, and dry quickly. https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2...-pull-on-pants.jsp?color=Heather Gray&prdPV=1 I'm 5'3" and wear a size Large Short that has a 28.5 inseam. For shorts, I like the old Nike Golf shorts that are cotton/polyester and come to the waist. I get those on eBay also.

Have fun!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Le Puy- St Jean Pied a Port (September 2018 )

St. Jean Pied a Port - Finisterre 2008
#64
I use a men's size cotton hanky for all kinds of things. And a cotton (diaper type) dish towel for a bigger all-purpose "rag".
Ah, I remember the days when I had nappies available for all purpose use! Long gone, now I use a sheer cotton dupatta for same tasks.
 
#65
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
 
#66
Hi i am short 5 foot and a little overweight. I find it very comfortable walking in a skirt with chaff free underwear so my legs dont chaff. They can be washed and dried easily and the skirt doesnt get smelly so only needs washinh when it is dirty. I can look smart when we are in town. It is cool when hiking. I have a skirt with large pockets which are handy
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
#67
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
Hello from a size 14 who is 2 inches shorter than you! Ihave found the hiking pants at eastern mountain sports to be roomy, they have pockets, fit well, but in drab colors and a bit heavy for packing, thats all i got to offer. Where do you depart and on what day?
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#68
There is an American brand called "Katie K" just for plus size fitness wear. www.KatieKactive.com. You can look it up and order on the internet. I love some of their stuff and have been wearing the same shirt (I bought 3 identical except for color) on camino several walks since 2014.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June/ July (2015) - incomplete
Frances June (2018)
#69
For skirts, I highly recommend the Macabi Skirt. Not so cheap but very durable and comfortable. I love mine.

Oh also, my daughter and I are both chubby (more on some days). We did the Camino together. We took it easy, pausing when the muscles burned or the breathing got hard...and enjoyed the views. You will see many many ... many ...other people doing the same.

Buen Camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles August 2016
Camino Frances June 2017 (SJPP to Logrono)
#70
Wow! What a n amazing thread!

I am a curvy woman (wear XL or US size 16) and have walked the Camino Ingles and the first section of the Camino Frances (SJPDP to Logroño). Some much good advice so far but I'd thought I'd share what I wore on my Caminos! First off, Old Navy all the way! Cute tops that quick dry and at least one pair of their compression athletic pants were always in my pack. I also found that Exofficio has quick dry dresses up to size 16 which was a big staple on my Camino. I'm currently 7 months pregnant and the dress still fits! I wore a pair of old navy athletic shorts with the dress to avoid the thigh rub. Also check out JCPenney for athletic wear. A lot of their material is quick dry with larger sizing (and some petites!). I took one shirt from here during my last Camino. I found a XL hiking skirt on Amazon and again used old navy shorts under it. There are lots of options we just have to dig a little! You can dress practical, comfortable, and we'll put together no matter your size! I'm so excited to hear about your Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None
#71
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
Good for you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
First time pilgrim and walking solo. Leaving SJDP around April 5, 2018.
#72
What fantastic advice that has been shared in this thread! I really wish I had seen a thread like this this time last year as I was starting to prepare for my Camino last April. I am also a very curvy girl, but I am much taller than you (6 foot Amazonian woman). Almost all of the activewear brands that have been listed did not fit me because of my height, which also means my bone structure is much larger than what they are used to fitting. I left SJPDP completely decked out by Lane Bryant: one pair of yoga pants, one pair of leggings, two quick dry shirts, two quick dry sports bras, and even their quick dry activewear undies. Yes, I was a walking billboard for Lane Bryant, but they were the only activewear clothes that fit both my height and my frame. No pockets in anything but a LB hoodie, of course. I had great luck acquiring two additional pieces of clothing on the Camino: a fleece jacket in Pamplona (with an angry looking bull named Bunny on the back), and a very lightweight men’s long sleeve active shirt from the Declathon in Estella.

The more important advice I can offer is to take the time to find the right backpack. Despite warnings from everyone, I still left Seattle with a North Face 65L pack because it was the only pack that felt like it fit my long torso and wide shoulders, with good strap padding and a chest strap that didn't feel like it was choking me. I mean, the only one that was under $400. Just wearing that pack between planes, trains, and automobiles to get to SJPDP taught me that it was really, really too heavy. The pack itself was 4 1/2 pounds empty. For two months before departure I had told everyone, including myself, that I am a big strong girl and therefore the pack was fine, yet I found myself in the SJPDP hiking store the night before I started buying a new pack. I loved my new 40L pack because it did its job, but the straps really did not fit me very well (and the waist strap kept riding up to under my chest).

Buen Camino!
 
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CatherineAnn

CF summer 2016
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012)
Camino Frances (2016)
#75
In 2012 I found two pair of REI capris on the sale rack that must have been returned from an online purchase. As you can see by my profile photo I have some hips. They worked for two Caminos so far and still going. Lightweight, stretchy , fast drying, pockets, and adjustable waist. The pants were loose fitting to prevent thigh chafing. I tried several pairs until I found what worked. Buy a lightweight pack no larger than 30L and use a pack service on hard sections. The extra weight is like carrying a pack already, before you add the pack. Start slow! Do half of what you think you can for a few days to avoid injury and a tiredness that prevents enjoying the walk.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances sections (2012, 2014, 2015)
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino del Norte (2019)
#76
Great thread! Always remember that, three days into the Camino Frances, you will be in Pamplona, and will have ample opportunity to buy anything you find you need.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Portuguese (2017)
#77
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
I'm overweight and I work out. I buy my workout clothes at JC Penneys. I usually buy the tights style bottoms in a size larger than I actually wear because I prefer them not to be skin tight.
You'll do fine, just do it at your own speed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk May 2017
#78
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
You sound a scream, and good fun to walk with...hope you have a brilliant Camino.xx
Y
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#79
Having walked the Camino for the first time last year at first it was interesting what people were wearing taking notes for future Camino and also wishing I was a bit smaller.

I put that aside to focus on why I was there in the first place to walk the Camino not for a fashion show as long as I was comfortable and as I walked I lost any self doubt because at the end of the day it does not matter what size or height you are, you are amazing, knowing that you have walked the Camino it gives you a new perspective of who you are and learning to accept who you are.

Realising that your body no mater what shape helped you walk the Camino so give it a break and learn accept who you are. As the friends you make accept you for who you are not the size you are as the all have something in common the Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2017.
Camino Portuguese in planning (Sept 2018)
#80
We also use wright socks - my husband has had one blister in 4 caminos (oh the drama), whereas I will always blister. I wear injinji toe socks under my wright socks, which does a great job - but I know I'll still get a couple of small blisters each camino (despite great shoes, sportsshield etc). Its just the shape of my toes and how hot my feet get. We start our 5th camino in two weeks time and this time I'm trying non-waterproof shoes in the hope that they are a little cooler.
So the lesson I take from this is, there are lots of great things you can do to prevent blisters that work for lots of people, but some people will get blisters anyway; and if/when you do, try to minimise how many you get, manage them and keep walking :)
 

Sarah Fisher

Master Traveler, Novice Walker
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018 - Camino Frances
#82
Thanks for all the good advice and sharing @anji as I've been in a major depressive funk this last year as my business slowly failed. And my training has been kind of non-existent because of it. But nows my time to do it before diving into new projects so if I ended up training on the trail, so be it. My return ticket is out of London with around 40 days total.

Also, I just call myself chubby because I've gained tons of weight in the last few years (anxiety! Too much beer! Stress!) and even when I weight 50 pounds less I got made fun of for weight. I've got PCOS. So I've always gained weight more like a man. I have a flat butt. Some substantial thighs, huge middle section and disproportionately small boobs and narrow shoulders. I also don't plan on losing all that weight because I love food and trying new things. Backpacked around Europe extensively in college (WITH A 40 pound + PACK) and the one thing I have is endurance to keep on keeping on (I think).

ANYWAYS, for everyone else, I went to Kings Island Amusement Park today in my moisture wicking outfit including the underwear. Got soaked on one of those canyon rides and WOW. My clothes WERE soaking wet, but they didn't FEEL wet and got to the "just damp" stage surprisingly quick. Also dried out quickly after a small rain shower. Also, all sizes are a lie in some way. One of my shirts from Old Navy is an XXL and fits tighter than the L. Certainly not on the camino to look good, but I love knowing that my pants aren't sliding down my butt at the same time a too tight shirt starts creeping upwards! Just want clothes that stay put and make me feel a bit less lumpy for my own confidence.

Only bringing two total pairs of clothes. One is ankle length but both can roll up easily. I do have Merrill shoes I like. Merrils have always fit my feet perfectly. I upgraded to a more full "boot" with ankle support and it has made a huge difference for me. Ankles were always a weak spot.

Also will be walking with poles. Recently did some short hikes in Hocking Hills for those that know Ohio. All the paths were very short but with incredibly uneven and steep carved steps. I'm not known for my balance and I regretted not having poles on those days. True story, I once fell flat on my face onto a railroad track and broke my nose. So safety all the way!

I WILL be starting in St. Jean but have a reservation for Kayola. Bit of a completionist. I've never been to Spain and will be flying into London, then to Biarritz so I like the idea of crossing that imaginary borderline on foot. If I get really delirious, I'll be the one at the top pretending I'm in the Sound of Music escaping over the Alps to get away from the Nazis. (Yes....I know these aren't the Alps)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#83
We also use wright socks - my husband has had one blister in 4 caminos (oh the drama), whereas I will always blister. I wear injinji toe socks under my wright socks, which does a great job - but I know I'll still get a couple of small blisters each camino (despite great shoes, sportsshield etc). Its just the shape of my toes and how hot my feet get. We start our 5th camino in two weeks time and this time I'm trying non-waterproof shoes in the hope that they are a little cooler.
So the lesson I take from this is, there are lots of great things you can do to prevent blisters that work for lots of people, but some people will get blisters anyway; and if/when you do, try to minimise how many you get, manage them and keep walking :)
Get yourself some Omnifix or Hypafix tape and put it on those blister prone areas every day.
 
#84
Thanks for all the good advice and sharing @anji as I've been in a major depressive funk this last year as my business slowly failed. And my training has been kind of non-existent because of it. But nows my time to do it before diving into new projects so if I ended up training on the trail, so be it. My return ticket is out of London with around 40 days total.

Also, I just call myself chubby because I've gained tons of weight in the last few years (anxiety! Too much beer! Stress!) and even when I weight 50 pounds less I got made fun of for weight. I've got PCOS. So I've always gained weight more like a man. I have a flat butt. Some substantial thighs, huge middle section and disproportionately small boobs and narrow shoulders. I also don't plan on losing all that weight because I love food and trying new things. Backpacked around Europe extensively in college (WITH A 40 pound + PACK) and the one thing I have is endurance to keep on keeping on (I think).

ANYWAYS, for everyone else, I went to Kings Island Amusement Park today in my moisture wicking outfit including the underwear. Got soaked on one of those canyon rides and WOW. My clothes WERE soaking wet, but they didn't FEEL wet and got to the "just damp" stage surprisingly quick. Also dried out quickly after a small rain shower. Also, all sizes are a lie in some way. One of my shirts from Old Navy is an XXL and fits tighter than the L. Certainly not on the camino to look good, but I love knowing that my pants aren't sliding down my butt at the same time a too tight shirt starts creeping upwards! Just want clothes that stay put and make me feel a bit less lumpy for my own confidence.

Only bringing two total pairs of clothes. One is ankle length but both can roll up easily. I do have Merrill shoes I like. Merrils have always fit my feet perfectly. I upgraded to a more full "boot" with ankle support and it has made a huge difference for me. Ankles were always a weak spot.

Also will be walking with poles. Recently did some short hikes in Hocking Hills for those that know Ohio. All the paths were very short but with incredibly uneven and steep carved steps. I'm not known for my balance and I regretted not having poles on those days. True story, I once fell flat on my face onto a railroad track and broke my nose. So safety all the way!

I WILL be starting in St. Jean but have a reservation for Kayola. Bit of a completionist. I've never been to Spain and will be flying into London, then to Biarritz so I like the idea of crossing that imaginary borderline on foot. If I get really delirious, I'll be the one at the top pretending I'm in the Sound of Music escaping over the Alps to get away from the Nazis. (Yes....I know these aren't the Alps)
Buen Camino, Sarah ... glad you have those poles! ;)

It’s great when you find a shoe made from a last which is ideal for your foot.

Put one foot in front of the other, at a pace that suits you ... and ...
Enjoy!
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#86
….But if I was a larger girl and knew then what I know now, I would have brought a fabulous bright colored Hawaiian MuuMuu

This hasn’t been mentioned so maybe it’s not a concern but the thought went through my head a number of times that I would want/need a very loose fitting, very easy to pull over smock or MuuMuu if I was extra wide/round and a female.

It might be a nice luxury for just airing oneself out at the end of the day and for getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, the necessity angle for this garment revolves specifically around showering in Albergue Co-ed bathrooms. (skip to second to last paragraph if you don’t need the background on Albergue bathroom inefficiencies…but you might enjoy some of these recollections)

I was very surprised regarding the lack of space in the Co-ed, unisex, both sexes in the same, bathrooms…on the Camino. It is not unusual for the layout to be a narrow aisle or walking space with sinks attached to the wall on one side and shower stalls and toilet stalls on the other. If you walked the aisle with your elbows out, you could touch the stalls and the edges of the sinks (if they were at elbow height). This initially seems to be a very efficient use of space and theoretically it is, you can have 12 people in a room 6’ wide by 12’ long using the facilities, 6 washing hands at the sinks, 3 in toilet stalls and 3 in shower stalls but for this to work, the bathroom would have to be filled in order. First each shower taker would have to walk in one at a time, naked, holding their towel, shampoo and soap. Once those three are loaded into the stalls, like the start of the Kentucky derby, the next three toilet stalls get loaded one at a time. Each person walks in with their own roll of toilet paper, the clothes on their back and nothing else. Then each of the six hand washers can march in single file and line up in front of their sinks. And now, 12 people can use this efficient facility maximizing the space. All 6 of the stall occupants can leave their stall at the same time if all 6 of the hand washers have left the bathroom. Since there is no “bath monitor” who completely loads and unloads the bathroom occupants in their respective order every 7 minutes, this 12 person bathroom cannot function, unattended with more than 6 people in it at a time. Why not keep the same space with facilities for 6 people and then add some of the luxuries lacking and described in the next paragraph.

To make things even more efficient and cost effective and eliminate unnecessary maintenance the designers eliminated hot water at the sinks, the sink bowls are small with no countertop or ledge to put anything on, they got rid of soap dishes on the wall, there are no shelves or hooks on the walls, there are no chairs or stools to put your “stuff” on, but there is plenty of room on the cold wet floor around your feet and under the sink bowl where the showers seem to drain to. In some bathrooms, the only place to put your stuff was draped over the shower door and sometimes that shower door did not even stay closed…another genius of efficiency. Increase duration of shower by factor of 2 or 3 due to one handed washing while other hand holds shower door closed…sort of.

Believe me I will get to the point but the portrait has not been completely painted. As inferred earlier, this bathroom design is workable for a nudist camp where you and 11 others interact with water be it showering, flushing a toilet and putting water on your hands at the sink. Everything else associated with these functions and normally completed in a bathroom of normal size is difficult if not impossible to do in the confines of this wet floored, humid slippery space when sharing it with just a few others. Dry you hands after washing them? …well go back to your bunk and find your travel size microfiber towel unless you were smart enough to bring it with you along with your soap. Clever pilgrims drape their towel around their neck or tuck them into their pants and if they are lucky enough the towel does not fall on the wet floor or into the sink before they need it for drying their hands.

If you are already experienced showering in a telephone booth or a RV (recreational motorized camping vehicle) then you will do fine cleaning yourself in the cozy shower stalls along the Camino. If it’s your lucky day, your shower door stays closed when you pull it shut. Now get undressed. If you are smart and confident and male, you leave your bunk wearing one piece of clothing, your underwear plus your flip flops. You carry your towel and toiletries inside a dry-bag with a hook you hope will fit over the top of the shower door. Upon entering the bathroom, there are two ladies at the sinks who will not be favorably impressed if you take off your underwear before getting into your shower stall. So, you enter the stall, you can’t bend over, the floor is wet and your underwear is damp from sweating in it all day. All your other clothes are dirty and it’s been raining the last 5 days so washing anything tonight will never dry by morning. You decide to reuse this underwear for one more day but getting it off without it touching the puddle you’re standing in can only be accomplished with a prayer to St. James who hopefully will also spare you from an artic blast or molten hot water from the shower head but wait….there is no shower head.

In a normal shower space, you bend over and your hands meet your feet at the floor, where you clumsily clean them. In a Camino shower, you can’t bend over that far. Your head or you butt or both will hit the opposite walls at the point where you can reach your knees. You need to stand on one foot and like a double jointed contortionist, bring your other foot up to waist height where you can clean the bottom of it while inspecting your awesome collection of blisters. Or like most of us, instead of bending over, you do a deep squat and wash the tops of your feet. There is barely enough room to hug yourself and that’s what it will feel like you are doing if you try to wash any thing more than your hair, face, chest and crotch. You will be wishing you brought that “Soap-on-a-Rope” you got as a gag gift 20 years ago…they should really hand these out at the front desk when they give you the set of sexy see through sheets and pillow cases.

You feel victorious, the shower is done, you are clean and your spirit is refreshed but now the hardest part. You can’t just open the door and step into the spacious aisle to dry off and get dressed in this Co-ed space. Your body is wet, the walls are wet, the walls are very close to your body. Carefully, remove your towel from your dry-bag. Like the soap, you can do a decent job of drying your face, chest and crotch. Every other area you attempt to dry will be futile due to the water collected on the towel from inadvertently scraping it along the wet walls of the shower stall.

It was a sad sight to step out of the shower one day on the Camino and see a naked, extra large woman sitting on a metal mop bucket in the corner of this tiny bathroom. It was just the two of us. Her legs were squeezed together and her underwear was rolled up like a tight rubber band around her calves. She was bent over forward at the waist to hide her chest and face which were buried in her towel across her lap. She was very still and quiet, she was obviously embarrassed. I only felt compassion towards her and completely understood that there was no way she could pull on a pair of underwear, over her damp/wet skin in that tiny shower stall much less while standing on a cold, wet, slippery floor outside of the shower. I am of average size and completing this task for myself was as tough as any Yoga class I’ve taken. I squeezed past her and said I would guard the entry way. I never saw her face nor did she see mine. I did not hear her voice but I felt her humiliation. A smock type dress that can be put on from the top down I think would be easier than trying to pull clothing up from the feet in an ideal environment. Add the wet slippery floor, no room to bend over, high humidity on the skin and garment… I really don’t know how most people above average size do it. Back to my efficiency criticisms, I can tell you the amount of time a pilgrim spends in the shower stall is silly compared to the amount of time the water is running while in the stall. The story about this woman is 100% true. My descriptions of the bathrooms apply to 25% of the Albergues I experienced. A few had all of the deficiencies I described but most had closer to 50% – 75% of the deficiencies at one time. I loved the Camino. The bathrooms were just part of a new experience for me and I like new experiences, even when they cause some discomfort and inconvenience. I would not change any of the experiences I had on my 2018 Camino. But if I was a larger girl and knew then what I know now, I would have brought a fabulous bright colored Hawaiian MuuMuu.

Sarah, I think you will really like the Camino. If arriving at the Camino alone, it provides a unique opportunity to experience who you really are when all the friend and family and job roles and dynamics are absent. Pilgrims have a unique chance here to strip off all the baggage and noise and history and expectations and responsibilities of family, friends and job and just BE themselves among this loving group of new friends you haven’t met yet. You don’t have to fit into the box everyone back home has built for you and thus expects of you. And even bigger, you don’t have to fit into any boxes or definitions of yourself that you have unknowingly built for yourself…especially the negative ones. You can let all of that “stuff” go and just BE. I really don’t think there is any other place in the world you can do this. Sure you can have a private nature retreat just about anywhere and try out new ideas in your head but the Camino gives you that plus the positive reinforcement from everyone else around you that encourages you to keep thinking or BEING this way because they are too. You can’t find that at home from your friends, family and co-workers even if they all love you dearly…because you can’t escape the roles and dynamics they expect of you and you expect of yourself when around them. And it’s not an Either/Or predicament. You can leave all that complicated stuff behind for 6 weeks and you will probably go back to most of it eagerly…running to embrace your friends and family upon return and settling back in to “normal” life again but having a had a glimpse of something else that is so special or sacred. It’s like you won a lottery to see some extremely exclusive movie and it turns out that special movie is about you, giving you a glimpse into yourself, the essence of who you are separate from all the “things” and “stuff” that are normally attached to you. Your clothes, your weight, your education, religion, politics, wealth, makeup, hair, history, body type are not important definers of Sarah on the Camino. People are interested in each other in the present moment and what kind of experiences you are having on the Camino. The more you get to know certain people the more your “other” life will creep into the conversations but you can control how far that goes and most like minded people prefer to keep that part of it “light” for lack of a better word and stay with the incredible “present” they too are experiencing. Briefly, let go of everything at home, be open to anything and expect nothing on your Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are planning to do the Camino Portuguese in May!!
#87
I’m shorter and fatter than you when I started. I actually did lose weight walking the Camino. I lost about 20 lbs. Came home and had to buy clothes a size smaller. I walked in Columbia brand long shorts and capris. Columbia brand has plus sizes. And a couple XL REI tops.
You can get Columbia brand thru their website and also Macy’s online is always having a sale!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#88
Gosh I agree with you @twh - about the difficulties of getting dry and dressed in albergue bathrooms. One reason why I like a Macabi skirt. You can pull it down over your head and it is long enough to wear, with the waist draw string pulled in above the chest, to cover the essentials while getting out of the bathroom and back to the bunk. Where underclothes can be pulled on while hiding inside a sleeping bag!

The machinations we go to for the sake of modesty.
 

Slav

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August(2018)
#89
I use a men's size cotton hanky for all kinds of things. And a cotton (diaper type) dish towel for a bigger all-purpose "rag".
I used “ GLIDE “ stick ( available in the US in sport stores) under my bra line and my upper arms to prevent chaffing , it works well ! I just use a regular bra .. i have 1 sport bra but big girl spirt bras take way too long to dry !!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
#90
Hello!

I did most of the camino last year but stopped at ponferrada. I stopped not for physical reasons but - was accosted in Burgos by a dirty old man and it took me a bit to get my headspace in the right place. Iam returning Oct. 1 to do it again, from start all the way to finish this time.

I went with a group of veterans with PTSD but - wasn't allowed to continue with them (or start, to begin with)because the leader thought I was too fat.

So, after debating life/death in a hotel room in pamplona for a week, Igot my fat arse up one day and just kept walking. In the words of my mom, "You trained for this and you're disabled and you put all this work into it WITHOUT them, just go and do it by your own self!"

Mom's are smart :)

I am 5'5, 230 pounds (240 last year) and have diabetes, thyroid (Hashimoto's disease which was only diagnosed a week before I left and I could barely keep my eyes open, it's a miracle I was able to train and do what I*did* do but it also explained why I was walking 2-3 hours at a time, six days a week and didn't lose any weight over an entire year!!), I have also Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), PTSD, CRPS(Complex regional pain syndrome, essentially every single day my pain is 9/10 or 10/10), Brachial Plexus nerve damage in my right arm/back/shoulders, a lower back injury as well as Sacroiliac joint dysfunction which feels like a bow-and-arrow shot through my arse.... Er, i think that is 'everything'!!

Why do I write this?Not for sympathy (it doesn't help, LOL)but - to give you encouragement that no matter what your physical ability, it is possible if you want it to be possible.

Here is what I did 'extra' for being a chubby-chick on the camino :D (And really, it's something all people can do.... and I'm going to do even less on the next one but - I think for your first, it's good to be prepared and drop stuff off along the way you discover you don't need, depending on your body type!)

I'll go from foot to head :D
#1) Shoes/boots/whatever you choose. I decided to go with solomon shoes instead of the boots Ihad trained in. Icouldn't train for the hills but remembered during my downhill ski days, that my thick calves (muscle, thick thick muscle!) that the boot would cut into my calve.... so I went with the shoes. I had them bigger slightly but - next time, I would have went even bigger. Iwent with a man's style as their feet are wider.... and am going to go even wider this time. Get a good sock... and I also used 'speed lacers' which I altered about 200 times a day, LOL... when I go up hills, Itighten the area around my toes to prevent slippage which stops blisters.... going down hills, Iwould ensure my heels were at the furthest part of my shoe and tighten there. This stops you slipping forward, bashing your toes and losing toe nails. I don't know about you but - Ilike my toe nails :DAnd - when walking on flat lands, I loosened my shoes so they could avoid swelling a bit.

#2) Pants and Undies -- Iwent with a man's short-style undies so that the underwear lines don't aggravate the creases... add moisture and it's a breeding ground for yeast and infection! I brought a creme for any flare-ups but - you can get it super cheap there at any pharmacy. In canada I need a prescription for it and it costs about $60 but - in spain, no prescription and 3 euros! Pharmacists love helping and they hear EVERYTHING that a pilgrim can experience... bring your trusty google-translate just in case and you're golden! I bought a powder in Canada called Anti-Monkey Butt powder... it's on amazon if you want to see what the container looks like but - it's not just regular talcolm power, it has an extra incredient which adds a silky texture to help with friction issues... is worth the extra $$ for it :)
You are on the right road with the pants -- I had a pair of small shorts Iwore every day(helped with moisture from my core), and then either a capri pant or a full-pant, depending on the weather. Sometimes Iwore all three :p In north america, fat people apparently don't exercise so we don't get the same awesome fabric that everyone else gets to use... however, a happy accident was my entire kit going missing by the airline company (grrrrr, BTW, always wear your camino shoes ON the plane in case your luggage disappears!) meant Igot to go shopping in Pamplona. Fortunately, Spanish fat ladies are worthy enough to have gym clothing made in their sizes :D I paid less than 15euros for a pair of pants that would go for $150 CDN and... I've worn them non-stop this past year and are still in perfect condition. It assists with the thigh rubbing (I had zero friction burns in my thigh region!) and I call them my Ninja pants as they are called Kalenji Ibelieve... most comfy pants Ihave ever worn and they also have a draw string for when you lose weight. The store is called "DECATHALON" which is a chain of sports store in spain (and maybe europe?)... it is a quick taxi ride in Pamplona and a cheap bus ride if you have a bit of time. I often kept an extra pair of undies that I could change during the day if it was extra sweaty (it was 40c for three weeks straight)...only did it once!

#3) I am an indigenous north american and one of the traits many of us have, is a flat butt. LOL... which means my pants fall off all the time. I also don't wear bras as it is hard to put on with my injuries and can affect my nerves. So through Penningtons (in canada, not sure if you have something similar)there is an undergarment which is tight and fitted so it gives me breast-support and it goes over my hips which helps keep up my pants. Not all fat girls got big butts! So this is essential for me... and helps with the jiggling of my belly, holds things in place better. Iwashed it by hand every other day.... but if you are someone who needs to wear a bra (Ihad a breast reduction so it isn't an issue for me anymore but - for many it is!), I suggest a brand called Shock Absorber, a british bra company.They have a great website and they have a variety of styles and strengths. They actually make them tough enough that a cup size G woman, can run without knocking herself out. They are sports bras but - they do not give you a mono-boob and have excellent support. They have light-weight support, all the way to like, heavy-duty! They are a bit pricy (I think about $100 cdn)but Ihave had the same two bras since 2008 and wore them heaps when Iwas in the military and whenever I need extra support. I've worn them several hundred times and they are nearly new and fit wonderfully....
I then have moisture-wicking tops and wore long-sleeves even though it was 40c. You don't need to get skin cancer from the camino which has happened to others along the way. There was a sign along the way near Hornillios where a man wrote of his mistake of not wearing sunscreen and hats and he had a horrific sunburn. It turned into cancer and he passed away. He put his story on the camino literally, as a reminder to people to not make the mistake he did...
Iwore different layers and as a chubby, I tend to overheat quickly. So find a few layers (depending on the season you go of course!) so that you can decrease the layers as the sun comes out to cook you :D

#4) neck and head wear -- this is good for all folks but - wear a hat, some sport sunscreen and have a buff ready to protect your neck/head/ears, etc.. I also sweat like crazy because 20C is my melting point.... plus, we are literally carrying upwards of an extra 100 lbs or more than the skinny folks, so go a pace you are comfy at... the buffs can sop up the extra salty sweat as it goes into your eyes... some folks bring a small gel-like product they wear under the hat, which helps cool things...

Last year Iended up with two kits (my luggage was eventually found)and with my disabilities, I used a luggage transfer company. This time around, Iwon't be but - Ido have my bag down to 10 lbs... travelling light this time!But - there will still be a few days I know, where I will pay the service for my kit to go ahead. O'cebreiro will be one of them...

Tips for going up mountains -- or tough areas -- is to go as long as you can, then stop and rest... sometimes this could be every 1.5 mins, LOL, but - don't be embarassed. You are carting more weight then they are... plus, I actually discovered when I stopped, that when you turn around, you get 'twice' the camino beauty. MOst folks don't look backwards or take the time, and the landscape is usually spectacular! Isee it as a bonus... plus, it gives me an excuse to look back at the beauty and it doesn't make it look like I'm dying for breath:p

Don't let others glances at you, hurt you emotionally. Some people just cannot fathom fat people can actually do stuff :pThey may have their pre-conceived notions but - you can help educate them and prove them wrong :D

OH!Before I forget -- my backpack! I went with Osprey and - each model usually has three options for small, medium and large 'frames'... I went with a medium frame which is built to go around your waist and wider shoulders... the small frames cut into my hips... most folks aren't aware of the sizing options as most stores don't carry all three in there - but - online, you can get the bag that fits your frame best. You do not need to have rubbing on your hips/shoulders/armpits be the thing that injures you on your trip! It should fit like a really nice glove :)

If you can (and you should!), start stretching now! While Iwould highly recommend long-practise walks, etc. for building up your cardio/muscle training, the thing that will end your camino early, is injury. It will be how sore you are in the evening and in the morning, which will be your nemisis and likely the thing that will defeat you mentally and send you home much too early, either due to fatigue or injury. Stretch as much as you can not only on the day of camino but - TODAY. If you can start stretching your muscle, it will reduce your changes for injury (and potentially disability, if you are unfortunately at a higher risk for injury and serious injuries!)... i can't stress enough. YOu will build endurance and cardio ONthe camino ... it will take about a week but you will amaze yourself at how quickly you will adapt in that sense... but there are no short-cuts for stretching your muscles... so if Ihad only ten workouts sessions to prepare for the camino?Iwould say 5 sessions I would do actual walking and the other 5, Iwould devote strictly to stretching and toning... that's how crucial I believe it to be! It can even help avoid pulled muscles but - as well, shin-splints, plantar facitius(foot/arch pain) and other potential camino-ending injuries and issues!

I hope this helps folks and - sorry it's a novel. I am sure my second camino will give me new insight!
anji
Wow, Anji. Thanks for such an informative post!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#91
Thanks for all the good advice and sharing @anji as I've been in a major depressive funk this last year as my business slowly failed. And my training has been kind of non-existent because of it. But nows my time to do it before diving into new projects so if I ended up training on the trail, so be it. My return ticket is out of London with around 40 days total.

Also, I just call myself chubby because I've gained tons of weight in the last few years (anxiety! Too much beer! Stress!) and even when I weight 50 pounds less I got made fun of for weight. I've got PCOS. So I've always gained weight more like a man. I have a flat butt. Some substantial thighs, huge middle section and disproportionately small boobs and narrow shoulders. I also don't plan on losing all that weight because I love food and trying new things. Backpacked around Europe extensively in college (WITH A 40 pound + PACK) and the one thing I have is endurance to keep on keeping on (I think).

ANYWAYS, for everyone else, I went to Kings Island Amusement Park today in my moisture wicking outfit including the underwear. Got soaked on one of those canyon rides and WOW. My clothes WERE soaking wet, but they didn't FEEL wet and got to the "just damp" stage surprisingly quick. Also dried out quickly after a small rain shower. Also, all sizes are a lie in some way. One of my shirts from Old Navy is an XXL and fits tighter than the L. Certainly not on the camino to look good, but I love knowing that my pants aren't sliding down my butt at the same time a too tight shirt starts creeping upwards! Just want clothes that stay put and make me feel a bit less lumpy for my own confidence.

Only bringing two total pairs of clothes. One is ankle length but both can roll up easily. I do have Merrill shoes I like. Merrils have always fit my feet perfectly. I upgraded to a more full "boot" with ankle support and it has made a huge difference for me. Ankles were always a weak spot.

Also will be walking with poles. Recently did some short hikes in Hocking Hills for those that know Ohio. All the paths were very short but with incredibly uneven and steep carved steps. I'm not known for my balance and I regretted not having poles on those days. True story, I once fell flat on my face onto a railroad track and broke my nose. So safety all the way!

I WILL be starting in St. Jean but have a reservation for Kayola. Bit of a completionist. I've never been to Spain and will be flying into London, then to Biarritz so I like the idea of crossing that imaginary borderline on foot. If I get really delirious, I'll be the one at the top pretending I'm in the Sound of Music escaping over the Alps to get away from the Nazis. (Yes....I know these aren't the Alps)

You are not alone. I have a sister and two nieces with PCOS. I know well the difficulties you have faced throughout life. Sometimes, it seems like life is not fair. But, my best advice is to play the hand you are dealt as skillfully as you can manage.

As to the Camino, take it literally one step at a time. Take that step, breathe, admire the view, take in your surroundings, then repeat. Continue to repeat this process each day, and each step until you reach the Plaza Obradoiro (in front of the Cathedral).

If you are starting at St. Jean Pied de Port, try to stay in the village for a day or two before you start out. This helps with jet lag, packing, and mental preparation. IMHO, it is a truly wonderful and magical place. They have been preparing and outfitting pilgrims for more than 1100 years. Attend the nightly pilgrim Mass in the Catholic Church at the bottom of Rua de la Citadelle. Check with the Pilgrim Office at #39, same street, to verify the time.

The first day out of St. Jean is for most first-time pilgrims exremely difficult. Even though you will walk 500 miles to Santiago (799 official km) the first 8 - 10 km (to Kayola and then Orisson) is the single most steep ascent. There are longer hill climbs and higher hills to be handled farther along. But that first day, it comes as a rude awakening to most. It is much more difficult than it looked in "that movie."

As an aside, a few weeks ago, my wife joined me in Spain after I finished working at the PIlgrim Office. We rented a car and drove across northern Spain, visiting Bilbao, Guernica, and Pamplona. While at Pamplona, we made a side trip over the Pyrenees by car to St. Jean Pied de Port. Although my wife is not likely to ever walk a Camino, I wanted her to see want I had experienced, on several Caminos. This included lunch on the deck at Orisson on a bright sunny day.

On the drive down from Orisson, past Kayola to St. Jean, I was flagged down by a pilgrim walking up, on her first day. This was a young lady from South Korea on her own.

She said she ran out of water, and would I give her a ride back into St. Jean. I gave her several water bottles than we had in the car, which she promptly consumed, and offered to drive her to Orisson, up the hill. It was only about 1.5 km farther.

The young woman had already done the worst bit of the day's climb. However, she was adamant that she return to St. Jean. We were going there anyway, so it was no inconvenience for me. So, of course we obliged.

I explained who I was and what I was doing there. I encouraged her to not give up. If the walk up the hill was simply too much for her, not to give up entirely, but to arrange a ride either to the top of the hill, where she could continue on almost level then down to Roncesvalles. Alternatively, I suggested she check in at the PIlgrim Office to seek a ride over to Roncesvalles. Taxi's do this all the time, all day from St. Jean. Perhaps she could share the ride.

We left her at the gate leaving St. Jean and directed her to the Pilgrim Office at #39. I hope she persevered.

Hope this adds to the dialog.
 

cowolter1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#92
I used Columbia convertible pants that zip off to shorts. Easy to hand wash. My shirts were all polyester running t-shirts. I had a light yoga zip up jacket. A good wide brim hat is important for the sun and the rain, because you can get both in the same day.
As for other clothes: think in three layers. First a layer of breathable, fast drying underwear, for the colder days and nights a fleece or something similar and softshell pants. In the case of rain you should have a Goretex rain jacket and pants (or a similar breathable technology). If you get cheap, plastic rain clothes you will ruin the effect of all your other clothes- it will be damp and sweaty.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
#93
….But if I was a larger girl and knew then what I know now, I would have brought a fabulous bright colored Hawaiian MuuMuu

This hasn’t been mentioned so maybe it’s not a concern but the thought went through my head a number of times that I would want/need a very loose fitting, very easy to pull over smock or MuuMuu if I was extra wide/round and a female.

It might be a nice luxury for just airing oneself out at the end of the day and for getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, the necessity angle for this garment revolves specifically around showering in Albergue Co-ed bathrooms. (skip to second to last paragraph if you don’t need the background on Albergue bathroom inefficiencies…but you might enjoy some of these recollections)

I was very surprised regarding the lack of space in the Co-ed, unisex, both sexes in the same, bathrooms…on the Camino. It is not unusual for the layout to be a narrow aisle or walking space with sinks attached to the wall on one side and shower stalls and toilet stalls on the other. If you walked the aisle with your elbows out, you could touch the stalls and the edges of the sinks (if they were at elbow height). This initially seems to be a very efficient use of space and theoretically it is, you can have 12 people in a room 6’ wide by 12’ long using the facilities, 6 washing hands at the sinks, 3 in toilet stalls and 3 in shower stalls but for this to work, the bathroom would have to be filled in order. First each shower taker would have to walk in one at a time, naked, holding their towel, shampoo and soap. Once those three are loaded into the stalls, like the start of the Kentucky derby, the next three toilet stalls get loaded one at a time. Each person walks in with their own roll of toilet paper, the clothes on their back and nothing else. Then each of the six hand washers can march in single file and line up in front of their sinks. And now, 12 people can use this efficient facility maximizing the space. All 6 of the stall occupants can leave their stall at the same time if all 6 of the hand washers have left the bathroom. Since there is no “bath monitor” who completely loads and unloads the bathroom occupants in their respective order every 7 minutes, this 12 person bathroom cannot function, unattended with more than 6 people in it at a time. Why not keep the same space with facilities for 6 people and then add some of the luxuries lacking and described in the next paragraph.

To make things even more efficient and cost effective and eliminate unnecessary maintenance the designers eliminated hot water at the sinks, the sink bowls are small with no countertop or ledge to put anything on, they got rid of soap dishes on the wall, there are no shelves or hooks on the walls, there are no chairs or stools to put your “stuff” on, but there is plenty of room on the cold wet floor around your feet and under the sink bowl where the showers seem to drain to. In some bathrooms, the only place to put your stuff was draped over the shower door and sometimes that shower door did not even stay closed…another genius of efficiency. Increase duration of shower by factor of 2 or 3 due to one handed washing while other hand holds shower door closed…sort of.

Believe me I will get to the point but the portrait has not been completely painted. As inferred earlier, this bathroom design is workable for a nudist camp where you and 11 others interact with water be it showering, flushing a toilet and putting water on your hands at the sink. Everything else associated with these functions and normally completed in a bathroom of normal size is difficult if not impossible to do in the confines of this wet floored, humid slippery space when sharing it with just a few others. Dry you hands after washing them? …well go back to your bunk and find your travel size microfiber towel unless you were smart enough to bring it with you along with your soap. Clever pilgrims drape their towel around their neck or tuck them into their pants and if they are lucky enough the towel does not fall on the wet floor or into the sink before they need it for drying their hands.

If you are already experienced showering in a telephone booth or a RV (recreational motorized camping vehicle) then you will do fine cleaning yourself in the cozy shower stalls along the Camino. If it’s your lucky day, your shower door stays closed when you pull it shut. Now get undressed. If you are smart and confident and male, you leave your bunk wearing one piece of clothing, your underwear plus your flip flops. You carry your towel and toiletries inside a dry-bag with a hook you hope will fit over the top of the shower door. Upon entering the bathroom, there are two ladies at the sinks who will not be favorably impressed if you take off your underwear before getting into your shower stall. So, you enter the stall, you can’t bend over, the floor is wet and your underwear is damp from sweating in it all day. All your other clothes are dirty and it’s been raining the last 5 days so washing anything tonight will never dry by morning. You decide to reuse this underwear for one more day but getting it off without it touching the puddle you’re standing in can only be accomplished with a prayer to St. James who hopefully will also spare you from an artic blast or molten hot water from the shower head but wait….there is no shower head.

In a normal shower space, you bend over and your hands meet your feet at the floor, where you clumsily clean them. In a Camino shower, you can’t bend over that far. Your head or you butt or both will hit the opposite walls at the point where you can reach your knees. You need to stand on one foot and like a double jointed contortionist, bring your other foot up to waist height where you can clean the bottom of it while inspecting your awesome collection of blisters. Or like most of us, instead of bending over, you do a deep squat and wash the tops of your feet. There is barely enough room to hug yourself and that’s what it will feel like you are doing if you try to wash any thing more than your hair, face, chest and crotch. You will be wishing you brought that “Soap-on-a-Rope” you got as a gag gift 20 years ago…they should really hand these out at the front desk when they give you the set of sexy see through sheets and pillow cases.

You feel victorious, the shower is done, you are clean and your spirit is refreshed but now the hardest part. You can’t just open the door and step into the spacious aisle to dry off and get dressed in this Co-ed space. Your body is wet, the walls are wet, the walls are very close to your body. Carefully, remove your towel from your dry-bag. Like the soap, you can do a decent job of drying your face, chest and crotch. Every other area you attempt to dry will be futile due to the water collected on the towel from inadvertently scraping it along the wet walls of the shower stall.

It was a sad sight to step out of the shower one day on the Camino and see a naked, extra large woman sitting on a metal mop bucket in the corner of this tiny bathroom. It was just the two of us. Her legs were squeezed together and her underwear was rolled up like a tight rubber band around her calves. She was bent over forward at the waist to hide her chest and face which were buried in her towel across her lap. She was very still and quiet, she was obviously embarrassed. I only felt compassion towards her and completely understood that there was no way she could pull on a pair of underwear, over her damp/wet skin in that tiny shower stall much less while standing on a cold, wet, slippery floor outside of the shower. I am of average size and completing this task for myself was as tough as any Yoga class I’ve taken. I squeezed past her and said I would guard the entry way. I never saw her face nor did she see mine. I did not hear her voice but I felt her humiliation. A smock type dress that can be put on from the top down I think would be easier than trying to pull clothing up from the feet in an ideal environment. Add the wet slippery floor, no room to bend over, high humidity on the skin and garment… I really don’t know how most people above average size do it. Back to my efficiency criticisms, I can tell you the amount of time a pilgrim spends in the shower stall is silly compared to the amount of time the water is running while in the stall. The story about this woman is 100% true. My descriptions of the bathrooms apply to 25% of the Albergues I experienced. A few had all of the deficiencies I described but most had closer to 50% – 75% of the deficiencies at one time. I loved the Camino. The bathrooms were just part of a new experience for me and I like new experiences, even when they cause some discomfort and inconvenience. I would not change any of the experiences I had on my 2018 Camino. But if I was a larger girl and knew then what I know now, I would have brought a fabulous bright colored Hawaiian MuuMuu.

Sarah, I think you will really like the Camino. If arriving at the Camino alone, it provides a unique opportunity to experience who you really are when all the friend and family and job roles and dynamics are absent. Pilgrims have a unique chance here to strip off all the baggage and noise and history and expectations and responsibilities of family, friends and job and just BE themselves among this loving group of new friends you haven’t met yet. You don’t have to fit into the box everyone back home has built for you and thus expects of you. And even bigger, you don’t have to fit into any boxes or definitions of yourself that you have unknowingly built for yourself…especially the negative ones. You can let all of that “stuff” go and just BE. I really don’t think there is any other place in the world you can do this. Sure you can have a private nature retreat just about anywhere and try out new ideas in your head but the Camino gives you that plus the positive reinforcement from everyone else around you that encourages you to keep thinking or BEING this way because they are too. You can’t find that at home from your friends, family and co-workers even if they all love you dearly…because you can’t escape the roles and dynamics they expect of you and you expect of yourself when around them. And it’s not an Either/Or predicament. You can leave all that complicated stuff behind for 6 weeks and you will probably go back to most of it eagerly…running to embrace your friends and family upon return and settling back in to “normal” life again but having a had a glimpse of something else that is so special or sacred. It’s like you won a lottery to see some extremely exclusive movie and it turns out that special movie is about you, giving you a glimpse into yourself, the essence of who you are separate from all the “things” and “stuff” that are normally attached to you. Your clothes, your weight, your education, religion, politics, wealth, makeup, hair, history, body type are not important definers of Sarah on the Camino. People are interested in each other in the present moment and what kind of experiences you are having on the Camino. The more you get to know certain people the more your “other” life will creep into the conversations but you can control how far that goes and most like minded people prefer to keep that part of it “light” for lack of a better word and stay with the incredible “present” they too are experiencing. Briefly, let go of everything at home, be open to anything and expect nothing on your Camino.
Oh TWH! I haven’t laughed that hard in ages!!! What a great description of showering on the Camino. I’m going to save this forever for those who quiz me about it! I laughed until I had to wipe my eyes, then continued reading until I had to stop again! I would love to meet you on the Camino! Ultrea and keep posting, please!
 

Moll1e

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 St. jean to Logrono
#94
Hey, yall. I'm about to embark on my first camino. And I've already learned a lot from some friends AND on here. The thing is, I'm short and fat. A bit too fat and not enough in shape but, the plane tickets are booked so....it's now or never. But I recently addressed the issue on facebook and a lot of hikers and two previous camino walkers (one JUST finished) gave me some tips on being short and fat, tall and fat, or just being that type of girl who has curves that "active lifestyle" brands like to leave out. Like...what use is an XXXL pant if you only make it available in skinny leg?!? I HAVE THIGHS!!!!!!

So here's a place to give your own tips and maybe skip all the trying on sessions I did. Be aware, I'm based out of the US. I am a pant size 14/16 or, in "active lifestyle brands" I'm an 18-350 or something. I need to lost some weight. But I'm also realistic and I have curves. I'm naturally around 10/12 pants and medium sized shirts (curse of the small boobed). I don't really buy plus sized because I find myself swimming in extra cloth and I'm only 5 foot 4. But the top range of "normal" seems based upon a size 2 model so that doesn't translate well either.

The point about giving those stats is that, let's all be honest and reasonable and share what the hell DOES work for us!

For example, I've been looking around REI for not skin close yoga pants that have a drawstring. Because I'm going to lose some weight. And some of that other weight is going to disappear in one area and show up in another. I need flexibility. I ended up with an XL drawstring super fast drying pant in size 14. It fit but made me look all bubbly and uneven.....but it fit. AND DRAWSTRING. Except for, the pants had 6 extra inches that would have to be hemmed in because to be that size, I should be half a foot taller.

Anyways, off the advice of very tall and solid girl that just finished her camino, OLD NAVY. I completely forgot they had a lifestyle brand. And that they carry all sizes (at least online for bigger than me). Tonight, I bought my entire camino "wardrobe" of two shirts and two pants for less than $70. Those REI pants I mentioned? Those were $70. One of those pairs of pants said $30 but rung up for $5! But that's not even the most important thing. This is "athletic" gear. It fits snug to the body. I thought I would be horrified except....they really don't look like crap on and I felt 200% more confident than in the ill fitting but looser looking REI pants.

I had it frozen in my mind that I would be "that shlubby person" attempting the camino. I won't be going fast. I'll probably be huffing and puffing but these are simple athletic, quick drying clothes that make me feel confident and that "not too much" is overly out there on display. And I think that's definitely important!

So here's to a thread for chubby women (and men if they want to chime in) about equipment that makes them feel confident and awesome heading out!
Hi Sarah,
I don't have any great tips, I just really admire you for posting this because it's a concern for most people as to what to wear that'll be light, warm enough, loose enough and above all - comfortable! You will see all body shapes and sizes on the Camino, and it doesn't necessarily follow that the skinniest are the fittest ! You'll love it. Buon Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
#96
….But if I was a larger girl and knew then what I know now, I would have brought a fabulous bright colored Hawaiian MuuMuu

This hasn’t been mentioned so maybe it’s not a concern but the thought went through my head a number of times that I would want/need a very loose fitting, very easy to pull over smock or MuuMuu if I was extra wide/round and a female.

It might be a nice luxury for just airing oneself out at the end of the day and for getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, the necessity angle for this garment revolves specifically around showering in Albergue Co-ed bathrooms. (skip to second to last paragraph if you don’t need the background on Albergue bathroom inefficiencies…but you might enjoy some of these recollections)

I was very surprised regarding the lack of space in the Co-ed, unisex, both sexes in the same, bathrooms…on the Camino. It is not unusual for the layout to be a narrow aisle or walking space with sinks attached to the wall on one side and shower stalls and toilet stalls on the other. If you walked the aisle with your elbows out, you could touch the stalls and the edges of the sinks (if they were at elbow height). This initially seems to be a very efficient use of space and theoretically it is, you can have 12 people in a room 6’ wide by 12’ long using the facilities, 6 washing hands at the sinks, 3 in toilet stalls and 3 in shower stalls but for this to work, the bathroom would have to be filled in order. First each shower taker would have to walk in one at a time, naked, holding their towel, shampoo and soap. Once those three are loaded into the stalls, like the start of the Kentucky derby, the next three toilet stalls get loaded one at a time. Each person walks in with their own roll of toilet paper, the clothes on their back and nothing else. Then each of the six hand washers can march in single file and line up in front of their sinks. And now, 12 people can use this efficient facility maximizing the space. All 6 of the stall occupants can leave their stall at the same time if all 6 of the hand washers have left the bathroom. Since there is no “bath monitor” who completely loads and unloads the bathroom occupants in their respective order every 7 minutes, this 12 person bathroom cannot function, unattended with more than 6 people in it at a time. Why not keep the same space with facilities for 6 people and then add some of the luxuries lacking and described in the next paragraph.

To make things even more efficient and cost effective and eliminate unnecessary maintenance the designers eliminated hot water at the sinks, the sink bowls are small with no countertop or ledge to put anything on, they got rid of soap dishes on the wall, there are no shelves or hooks on the walls, there are no chairs or stools to put your “stuff” on, but there is plenty of room on the cold wet floor around your feet and under the sink bowl where the showers seem to drain to. In some bathrooms, the only place to put your stuff was draped over the shower door and sometimes that shower door did not even stay closed…another genius of efficiency. Increase duration of shower by factor of 2 or 3 due to one handed washing while other hand holds shower door closed…sort of.

Believe me I will get to the point but the portrait has not been completely painted. As inferred earlier, this bathroom design is workable for a nudist camp where you and 11 others interact with water be it showering, flushing a toilet and putting water on your hands at the sink. Everything else associated with these functions and normally completed in a bathroom of normal size is difficult if not impossible to do in the confines of this wet floored, humid slippery space when sharing it with just a few others. Dry you hands after washing them? …well go back to your bunk and find your travel size microfiber towel unless you were smart enough to bring it with you along with your soap. Clever pilgrims drape their towel around their neck or tuck them into their pants and if they are lucky enough the towel does not fall on the wet floor or into the sink before they need it for drying their hands.

If you are already experienced showering in a telephone booth or a RV (recreational motorized camping vehicle) then you will do fine cleaning yourself in the cozy shower stalls along the Camino. If it’s your lucky day, your shower door stays closed when you pull it shut. Now get undressed. If you are smart and confident and male, you leave your bunk wearing one piece of clothing, your underwear plus your flip flops. You carry your towel and toiletries inside a dry-bag with a hook you hope will fit over the top of the shower door. Upon entering the bathroom, there are two ladies at the sinks who will not be favorably impressed if you take off your underwear before getting into your shower stall. So, you enter the stall, you can’t bend over, the floor is wet and your underwear is damp from sweating in it all day. All your other clothes are dirty and it’s been raining the last 5 days so washing anything tonight will never dry by morning. You decide to reuse this underwear for one more day but getting it off without it touching the puddle you’re standing in can only be accomplished with a prayer to St. James who hopefully will also spare you from an artic blast or molten hot water from the shower head but wait….there is no shower head.

In a normal shower space, you bend over and your hands meet your feet at the floor, where you clumsily clean them. In a Camino shower, you can’t bend over that far. Your head or you butt or both will hit the opposite walls at the point where you can reach your knees. You need to stand on one foot and like a double jointed contortionist, bring your other foot up to waist height where you can clean the bottom of it while inspecting your awesome collection of blisters. Or like most of us, instead of bending over, you do a deep squat and wash the tops of your feet. There is barely enough room to hug yourself and that’s what it will feel like you are doing if you try to wash any thing more than your hair, face, chest and crotch. You will be wishing you brought that “Soap-on-a-Rope” you got as a gag gift 20 years ago…they should really hand these out at the front desk when they give you the set of sexy see through sheets and pillow cases.

You feel victorious, the shower is done, you are clean and your spirit is refreshed but now the hardest part. You can’t just open the door and step into the spacious aisle to dry off and get dressed in this Co-ed space. Your body is wet, the walls are wet, the walls are very close to your body. Carefully, remove your towel from your dry-bag. Like the soap, you can do a decent job of drying your face, chest and crotch. Every other area you attempt to dry will be futile due to the water collected on the towel from inadvertently scraping it along the wet walls of the shower stall.

It was a sad sight to step out of the shower one day on the Camino and see a naked, extra large woman sitting on a metal mop bucket in the corner of this tiny bathroom. It was just the two of us. Her legs were squeezed together and her underwear was rolled up like a tight rubber band around her calves. She was bent over forward at the waist to hide her chest and face which were buried in her towel across her lap. She was very still and quiet, she was obviously embarrassed. I only felt compassion towards her and completely understood that there was no way she could pull on a pair of underwear, over her damp/wet skin in that tiny shower stall much less while standing on a cold, wet, slippery floor outside of the shower. I am of average size and completing this task for myself was as tough as any Yoga class I’ve taken. I squeezed past her and said I would guard the entry way. I never saw her face nor did she see mine. I did not hear her voice but I felt her humiliation. A smock type dress that can be put on from the top down I think would be easier than trying to pull clothing up from the feet in an ideal environment. Add the wet slippery floor, no room to bend over, high humidity on the skin and garment… I really don’t know how most people above average size do it. Back to my efficiency criticisms, I can tell you the amount of time a pilgrim spends in the shower stall is silly compared to the amount of time the water is running while in the stall. The story about this woman is 100% true. My descriptions of the bathrooms apply to 25% of the Albergues I experienced. A few had all of the deficiencies I described but most had closer to 50% – 75% of the deficiencies at one time. I loved the Camino. The bathrooms were just part of a new experience for me and I like new experiences, even when they cause some discomfort and inconvenience. I would not change any of the experiences I had on my 2018 Camino. But if I was a larger girl and knew then what I know now, I would have brought a fabulous bright colored Hawaiian MuuMuu.

Sarah, I think you will really like the Camino. If arriving at the Camino alone, it provides a unique opportunity to experience who you really are when all the friend and family and job roles and dynamics are absent. Pilgrims have a unique chance here to strip off all the baggage and noise and history and expectations and responsibilities of family, friends and job and just BE themselves among this loving group of new friends you haven’t met yet. You don’t have to fit into the box everyone back home has built for you and thus expects of you. And even bigger, you don’t have to fit into any boxes or definitions of yourself that you have unknowingly built for yourself…especially the negative ones. You can let all of that “stuff” go and just BE. I really don’t think there is any other place in the world you can do this. Sure you can have a private nature retreat just about anywhere and try out new ideas in your head but the Camino gives you that plus the positive reinforcement from everyone else around you that encourages you to keep thinking or BEING this way because they are too. You can’t find that at home from your friends, family and co-workers even if they all love you dearly…because you can’t escape the roles and dynamics they expect of you and you expect of yourself when around them. And it’s not an Either/Or predicament. You can leave all that complicated stuff behind for 6 weeks and you will probably go back to most of it eagerly…running to embrace your friends and family upon return and settling back in to “normal” life again but having a had a glimpse of something else that is so special or sacred. It’s like you won a lottery to see some extremely exclusive movie and it turns out that special movie is about you, giving you a glimpse into yourself, the essence of who you are separate from all the “things” and “stuff” that are normally attached to you. Your clothes, your weight, your education, religion, politics, wealth, makeup, hair, history, body type are not important definers of Sarah on the Camino. People are interested in each other in the present moment and what kind of experiences you are having on the Camino. The more you get to know certain people the more your “other” life will creep into the conversations but you can control how far that goes and most like minded people prefer to keep that part of it “light” for lack of a better word and stay with the incredible “present” they too are experiencing. Briefly, let go of everything at home, be open to anything and expect nothing on your Camino.
Brilliant post! Thank you, loved it! :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
all
#97
Oh, and sarongs.... Find a large long piece of fabric, but of a light cotton. It is your after shower wrap, shawl, towel, privacy shield to hang on your bunk (when you are in the bottom bunk ), picnic blanket, someting to wear when everything is in the wash, protective sheet, and much more. It keeps fitting if you loose weight. So versatile.
 

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