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Plus Size Gal - Would like Backpack and Clothing Advice


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2009, 2013);
? (2020)
Hello all. I am valiantly trying to decrease my girth in preparation for my 3-week Pamplona—Leon trek. I’m walking every week-night several KM, and increasing up to 10 km at least one day on the weekend. Alas, the girth is not diminishing at the rate I would like. And I really would like to start training with a pack.

So my question to any plus size gals out there, or any others who may be in-the-know, is for backpack and clothing suggestions. I admit I haven’t tried on any backpacks yet, because I do so dread going into the store and not even having the hip belt do up. It would be quite mortifying. So I thought if I could go fore-armed with a list of models/suppliers that have a more generous hip belt (or an interchangeble hip belt - though I'm not really sure what that is :?: ), that would give me a fighting chance to not run, red-faced, fleeing for the exit. :oops:

Clothing suggestions too would be much appreciated. I’m in Canada, but not adverse to ordering on-line.

PS: I’m also short-waisted – lucky me (Not!) :roll:
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Well, I'm not exactly thin (see my blog for photos), but I've found that my pack fits fine around the waist. I do have to extend it quite a bit though. ;) How soon is your trip? You really should go & get a pack now. I went to Whole Earth a few months ago & tried on a Dieter bag. Didn't have problems with the waistbelt & the clerk didn't make me feel dumb because I'm fat either.

I hear you on the weight not coming off. :( Don't be too surprised if it doesn't slide off on the Camino either. :( But you will tighten up in places (thank god).

As for clothes, I bought some light-weight wicking shirts at Target & capri-style exercise pants that also have wicking in them. Very light-weight & none take up too much space (I take 3 of each & I can get all the shirts in one plastic bag & all the pants in one too). To keep warm, I have a fleece hoodie, also from Target.

Like I said, check out my blog & pics. If you have any other questions, please feel free to pm me. :)


Jakobsweg Junkie
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I sympathize. The very-lightweight packs suggested elsewhere in this forum tended to have very uncomfortable hip belts when I tried them on and hiked around REI. On the other hand, the Deuter bags were on the heavy side. I settled on the Osprey Kestrel line -- and I have been training with it for six months now -- it's quite comfortable, and the belt length looks like it could accommodate much more of me if need be. And it has an adjustable length!


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2009, 2013);
? (2020)
Thank you both for your responses. I don't fly out until May 16, so I guess I have a couple of weeks to try to reduce a bit more, and then I feel I really must start training with a pack.

It is a problem for me being short waisted to boot. I'm 5'7", but my torso length is really more in keeping with a small to medium pack, but then the hip belt is correspondingly smaller. Guess I'll just have to buck up my courage and hit the stores. Will try the Osprey line first as I know it is available locally.

Thanks again peregrinas!

PS: Kelly - great blog!


Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
Sheesh said:
It is a problem for me being short waisted to boot. I'm 5'7", but my torso length is really more in keeping with a small to medium pack, but then the hip belt is correspondingly smaller.
My wife had a similar problem, although she is a couple of inches taller, she also has a shorter body length. She tried most of the brand name packs & found the Osprey Kestrel fitted fine.

The Kestrel comes in Small/Medium & Medium/Large she has a S/M & I have the M/L.
Both are "Torso Adjustable" meaning they can be adjusted to fit a range of body lengths.

I have just measured our belts & there is no difference between S/M & L/M. I think the only difference is the amount of body length, so the S/M is a little lighter.

They are not the lightest pack on the market but have a good harness/support system.
We have the 48Ltr (because we like a bit more room to carry the same weight), but here is also a 38 Ltr which should be big enough.

Weights & Size:
Osprey Kestrel
Kestrel 48
S/M 3LB 14OZ / 1.77KG
M/L 4LB 2OZ / 1.87KG
S/M 2800CU.IN. / 46L
M/L 2900CU.IN. / 48L

Kestrel 38
S/M 3LB 7OZ / 1.57KG
M/L 3LB 11OZ / 1.68KG
S/M 2200CU.IN. / 36L
M/L 2300CU.IN. / 38L

Yes, they will be heavier than the flyweight ones people talk about, but sometimes it's easier to carry a load in a good barrow than in a flimsy bucket.

I am fairly sure the 38Ltr & 48Ltr have the same hipbelt, as my wife was origionally fitted with the 38Ltr, then we bought the 48Ltrs.

However, I think you should go into an Osprey store & have it fitted, just be patient, my wife spent hours in heaps of trekking stores until we got it right. Also when you look at hip belts, whatever you do, dont expect the foam section & side pockets to wrap around to the front, they don't unless your a "bean pole". If they sit toward the back fine, my wifes do, mine do & so will lots of other people's.

I suggest that if you buy online, we did, as mentioned get it fitted in store first. Get them to put some weight in it, walk around the store to make sure it feels OK.

You can check them out on this link.
http://www.ospreypacks.com/Packs/Kestre ... djustable/

Good luck with the training, enjoy the planning & endure the backpack fitting.

Buen Camino

Col & Helen
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You sound like me---I'm 5'7" & can wear petite pants! That still shocks my cousin who is 5'2". What you should really focus on now is your stamina. Try to walk twice a day, now that you're getting so close. I can't remember who, but someone on the forum recommended doing what we called "Stadiums" in high school---find a stadium somewhere (usually the schools are open to the public) & start climbing them, to get used to going up hill. It seems the camino is all uphill sometimes. ;) I think his suggestion was slowly walk up all the rows in one section, then walk on the flat part to the end of the stadium, walk up to another tier, then walk across, until you reach the top. Might help get your "granny gear" in shape for the climb up the mountains. :)



Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
You might also want to consider the amount of chaffing on your thighs that can result from the combination of moisture and rubbing skin This is no small issue! If your thighs touch/rub when you walk, the potential is there. Throw in a little fabric--especially fabric that may be moving in different directions all at once--and you have all the makings of burning pain. There are runner creams that can help but as you try longer and longer miles, be very watchful of any tendency to chaf with the clothing you are wearing. While hiking the AT, I wore long compression shorts as my underwear under my hiking shorts. This made a huge difference. Not an especially fetching look but I valued my comfort more than making a fashion statement. The compression shorts provided a fixed, slick surface rather than using my skin! Chaffing is like foot blisters. Once it starts, you must stop and tend to it or you will be sorry.


New Member
Sheesh said:
Hello all. ......

So my question to any plus size gals out there, or any others who may be in-the-know, is for backpack and clothing suggestions. ....

Clothing suggestions too would be much appreciated. I’m in Canada, but not adverse to ordering on-line.

PS: I’m also short-waisted – lucky me (Not!) :roll:


I had trouble with the fit of women's convertible pants so I simply went across the aisle to the men's section where my options and color choices were better.

I wish you well for your journey.



Past OR future Camino
I tried in 09, it went horribly. Gonna try again. Aug/Sept this year
Howdy all....

When I went to get my pack, I had specific one's in mind.... color, name, weights... when I hit a "Mountaineering" store and started trying on these packs... and once they added the 20 lb weights in them, I felt like I was hauling an elephant!! The store clerk told me that you don't decide which pack you buy... your body picks your pack!

He started trying on ones that I didn't like the colors or details about them... esp. the one that loves me. The Osprey Aura 50(I've moved up to a 65 just for ease of packing) as soon as he added the weight... I didn't even feel the pack on my back. I knew I'd found the perfect pack!!! I don't esp. like the looks of it (maroon and grey) but that was it. I waited until I saw it on sale. Then I went to REI to have the man fit the pack to my body (not trusting myself) and ended up exchanging my pack for the next size up. Same weight, but a different color (silvery blue) and easier to pack. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed to go be fitted, they are professionals... and you will get nothing but "good for you" when you talk about walking 500 miles across Spain.

As far as clothing... BUY WICKING UNDERWEAR!!! ExOffico is the brand I bought... $ 18 a pair here in Oregon... but WELL WORTH THE MONEY!!! I've bought three more pair and it's pretty much all I wear. I LOVE THEM!!

I don't know if Goodwills are plentiful around you, but I've found tons of wicking clothing there...and REI is AWESOME for clothing, esp, when you hit the sales. They have an online store. I've ordered several things (to be delivered to the store...no shipping charges) in several sizes. When they arrive, I go to the store.... try them on, and send back what I think looks horrible on me. Wicking clothes are not the most flattering unless you have a Barbie figure... not me... 5'10 204 lbs this morning. I've decided it's most about being comfortable and to heck with what ANYONE else thinks! If you don't like the way I look.... turn your freakin head!!!

As you walk, tell your body and esp. those pesky fat cellls... "I release you, and am flushing you out of my system" or whatever words feel right for you.

How incredibly BLESSED are we to be making this most amazing journey in our life !?! Enjoy every minute of it and let those issues go by the wayside.

I'm not leaving until August 4th... but have a friend leaving TOMORROW!!! I AM envious.....
Okay, I went & did it. I bought a new pack, an Osprey Kestrel 38, in a nice green color. :) Did you know back packs come in small/medium/large? I didn't. :blush: but they do. I first tried on a small & thought OMG how do people stand this? Then the clerk came over & asked if I needed help. LOL duh. I then explained what I was after & he pointed out that I was trying on a "small" & looked for a medium, which fit me. I love my new pack! It has a zipper on the bottom so I can slide my sleeping bag in, & has its own rain cover (after I spent all that $ on an Altus :sigh: ) Yes it's smaller than what others are buying, but I tend to pack more than I need so this will help keep my pack weight down. It is the same size, though, as my Aarn pack & I did okay with that one.

So, it's got room for my clothes (3 each of the following--pants, shirts, bras, socks, cotton undies), a sham-wow type towel (yes, they do work), some toiletries, & food. I know I'm not leaving until September, but I'm already getting excited. :)

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New Member
Congratulations on your pack! That sounds like you found a great one! I am going shopping tomorrow, and I'm nervous because not only am I a plus sized girl in a country full of tiny women, but I'm going to have to do all of my shopping in a foreign language. Eek! Your success gives me more confidence though!

I hope the original poster won't mind me asking one more related question on her thread. The people helping me with my pack and shoe purchase are Czech guys, and while they know a lot about the outdoors I don't really feel comfortable asking them about bras....haha. So, I was wondering if any of you ladies have some suggestions for good, supportive bras for women with bigger cup sizes? I am in the Czech Republic so European brands that are available online would be a preference, but I can also order things, and have them shipped to my mom in the US and then she can send them on. Everything else I should be able to get here easily, but I am super worried about the bra issue.

Megan, unless you're going to be running the camino, the girls won't be bouncing around a lot, so a sports bra will do fine. I got some at Target, about $16 each. I like them & the fact that they come in colors other than white is a plus. :)



Active Member
Hi. I would go for clothing that feels comfortable. Definately try walking in the clothes first wearing a backpack to check out any potential rubbing/chaffing. I've actually found a pair of trousers I bought in evans (outsize clothing store - UK) far far better for walking in both lightweight and more comfortable than any of the much more expensive fancy walking trousers I've bought in outdoor specialist stores.
As for bras I'd swear by the sportjock (the most supportive/large sizes they have) range. They hold me in place and look more like a sports top than a bra.

And don't worry you will lose weight! That said I find it usually takes 1-2 months of camino (i.e. walking everyday) to make a noticeable difference. But I'm sure after 3 weeks you will be feeling much fitter. Keep training and don't push yourself too early on! :)


what a great thread! I'm off to read it at length and in great detail, then I'm sure I shall have questions (and maybe some answers) of my own

I chose an Osprey Aura 35, medium fit, and it feels very comfortable. But it took me ages to find the right pack and many trips to the outdoor shop for trying on sessions.

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