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Backpacking is a low-cost recreational activity that allows you to connect with nature uniquely. It is no wonder that the popularity of backpacking is surging as an increasingly health-conscious population seeks out new ways to stay fit and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Unfortunately, due to different heights and body sizes, some people have a hard time finding proper gear for backpacking and hiking. Backpacking and camping equipment that is too small for your body size is not only an uncomfortable experience, but it can also be downright miserable. Whether you are talking about a tent, backpack, sleeping pad, or sleeping bag, if your gear is too small, your backpacking trip will be far less enjoyable than it should be. Nobody wants their feet to dangle onto the cold, rocky ground, or for their shoulders to be exposed to the cold air because they do not fit in their sleeping bag.
That said, everyone deserves to experience the outdoors and the joys that backpacking through nature can offer, regardless of body size.
When it comes to backpacking gear, big and tall people no longer have to feel frustrated or left out. While the amount of appropriate backpacking gear available can be limited when compared to traditional sizes, there are plenty of manufacturers that consider all body sizes.
There are a few things to think about when searching for the appropriately sized backpacking gear. To make things easier for you, let’s look at a few tips and tricks for finding big and tall backpacking gear.
What Should You Consider When Shopping for Big and Tall Backpacking Gear?
What Sort of Backpacker Are You?
Whenever you are backpacking, you have to carry all of your gear on your back. Therefore, you have to make sure it all fits. Your pack should be as lightweight and compact as possible. Unfortunately, wearing and carrying larger sized gear makes it more challenging to keep your pack weight down. Finding ways to reduce the weight of your pack makes the hiking portion of your trip far more comfortable.
The amount of gear and supplies you need to pack varies greatly depending on the duration of your backpacking trip as well as the climate you’re backpacking in. A short, overnight hike during the late spring or summer requires far less gear than a multi-night trek during the colder months. Even though the backpack’s straps should be longer to accommodate a more significant framed person, using a pack designed to carry only required gear saves a lot of weight. No matter the length of the straps and belt, a 30-liter daypack weighs significantly less than an 80-liter expedition backpack.
Make Sure Your Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Pad Are the Correct Sizes
Sealing in body heat when you sleep is critical for a comfortable and safe overnight trip. For taller people, finding the appropriately sized sleeping gear that is not overly heavy can be challenging.
As you may expect, one of the most important things to keep in mind is making sure your sleeping bag is long and wide enough for your body type. Even if you manage to curl yourself into a smaller sleeping bag, heat escapes as you move overnight.
There are lightweight sleeping bags as large as seven feet in length. Keep in mind that larger sleeping bags can be slightly more expensive but consider the extra cost an investment. The last thing you want is to lose sleep on your backpacking trip because you are uncomfortable and cold during the night. Look for a sleeping bag that accommodates your size without being overly bulky. Down-filled sleeping bags are more expensive, but they retain heat well and are lighter than synthetic-filled bags. Plus, they are more easily compressed.
What you sleep on at night is also extremely important. You can lose a significant amount of body heat to the ground if your sleeping pad is insufficient. If you are taller than average, you need a longer sleeping pad. To compensate for the added weight of an extra length pad, consider an air pad. They are far more portable and lightweight than foam pads, and many are available with added length and width.
Choose the Right Tent
Finding a tent to accommodate your body type comfortably is essential. Although it may be tempting to assume you can curl up and make a smaller tent work, you may regret that decision after a long day of hiking with a heavy pack. Hiking, especially on rugged terrain, takes a toll on your knees. It is essential to stretch out at night properly so you do not cramp up during your hike the following day.
Your primary goal should be finding a tent that is long enough for you to lay straight. Although it may be slightly uncomfortable having to crouch in your tent, you should prioritize the length and width of your shelter over the height.
Luckily, there are plenty of large tents that are specifically designed for backpacking. Their lightweight, collapsible poles make a big difference to your comfort level while carrying your pack.
You can always consider a two-person tent if you cannot find a one-person tent that is suitable. It is much better to have an extra sleeping room than not enough.
Extras to Keep in Mind
Appropriate footwear is essential on a backpacking trip. Hiking can be excruciating if your hiking boots are too small. Many outdoor equipment stores do not carry larger sizes. If you need to order boots and knee-high hiking socks online, do it! Your feet will thank you on the trail.
Hiking poles are also an excellent way to reduce the stress your knees endure on the trail. Remember, you’ll be carrying a heavy backpack along rugged terrain, so your knees and ankles deal with more weight than they usually do. There are plenty of collapsible hiking poles available in large sizes. A bonus of using hiking poles is that they can be used to prop up a tarp for additional shelter.
If you’re a bigger person, you likely live in fear of having a chair break underneath you. Big and tall camping chairs alleviate this concern. They are heavy duty and able to seat comfortably someone who is taller and/or heavier.