Outdoor gear for the morbidly obese

In order to travel the 11 km into the backcountry for my January challenge, I had a choice: cross country ski or snowshoe.

I’m an amateur cross country skier, never properly trained, with a tendency to fall over randomly whether I’m in motion or not. Not so promising.

I’ve heard that “if you can walk, you can snowshoe” so I figured snowshoeing would be the best bet for the mountain adventure. And it can burn up to 600 calories an hour! Woot!

Off I went shoe shopping online. Reading, reading and more reading, I went from the idea of picking up a cute set of snowshoes, poles and matching travel bag for about $100 to realizing that I was screwed.

I weigh 235 lbs. Snowshoes have weight limits, I learned. Every women’s snowshoe I saw was listed as maxing out at 160, 170 or at the very most 200 lbs. What the fuck? Is this another case of fat people don’t leave the house (jus’ layin’ on the couch eatin’ my bon bons and watchin’ my stories)? Am soooo sick of that.

This issue has already plagued me in finding outdoor clothing. I love Eddie Bauer, for example, and they offer loads of plus size stuff in their casual outdoor wear; however, in their higher end technical clothing line of First Ascent, the cut is slim, and the women’s options end at a skinny XL.  I want the Backdraft jacket, the lined Travex pants, etc, but I simply can’t squeeze into any of it.  (Oh – I can fit the gloves)  For long underwear, I gave up and bought a men’s XXL from MEC. And even then, I had to mail order because my local store didn’t carry the bigger sizes.

I know – lose weight and I can fit the clothing. I get that. But I need to wear something  while losing all this weight outside!! No one wants to see a nudist weight loss project in Canada when it’s below zero.

Back to snowshoes… I settled on a unisex pair from the good folks at the Atlas Snow Shoe Company of Seattle, WA.  The Atlas 1235 are uber light mountain hiking snowshoes that can handle up to 300 lbs.  (That ought to cover both me and my backpack full of donuts).  The price jumped from average joe to the best of the best at $280 CAD.  Wowsers.  But they are beee-ooo-tiful.  They are like budd-ah. They keep me from sinking up to my waist in the 83 cm of fluffy stuff we’ve had so far this winter here in the Great White North.

So, with clothing and snowshoes, let the games begin!

2 thoughts on “Outdoor gear for the morbidly obese

  1. I hear ya! I’m short and muscular (OK, fat), but work out regularly and struggle with the skin-tight workout wear. I like to cross country ski, but do I get 16 foot long skis to fit my weight or 2 foot skis to fit my height? Biking gear is worse. All of it is skin tight on tiny people! I’d love to be tall and thin, but it isn’t going to happen. I can be short and fit if I can find decent work-out gear! (And yes…large size workout gear can be flattering. We are heavy athletes, not circus clowns.) Hear me, sportswear industry! You are missing a huge (every pun intended) portion of the market.

  2. Well I am not alone….. I have been told “don’t let your weight hold you back!” Well it’s not my weight holding me back ! It’s finding the equipment !! Thanks for your post…. I hope the same store has equipment for my size! … and let us know how much fun snow shoeing is!!

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