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Receive a free resource: Hiking Layering System Explained
By Diane Spicer
When you hit the trail, you want to wear the best extended size hiking clothing you can find for lots of reasons:
Trouble is, it can be hard to find.
Let's solve that little problem right here and now.
As our starting point: REI, the gear co-op with great customer service and an ever expanding selection of top brands.
Hiking For Her is an REI affiliate as well as a co-op member (since 1977).
This means two things:
It can be overwhelming to make decisions about fabric, styles, and performance features as you wade through your choices for high performance outdoor clothing.
Where to start with what to wear on a hike?
A clothing layering system is the tried and true approach for versatility, durability, and comfort.
Get up to speed with this information:
As mentioned, Hiking For Her only recommends what works and keeps working, season after season.
If you're just beginning your hunt for the best extended size hiking clothing, here's why starting with REI makes sense.
REI has a straightforward, easy to navigate website.
To find all of their plus size clothing options for women, do this:
This is a smart approach for doing your background research on color and size availability.
But sometimes you just have to run your hands over the fabric, scope out whether the navy blue is too dark or light for your taste, and get into that dressing room with an armful of options.
REI stores are a dream to wander through.
Make a beeline for the women's clothing so you don't end up looking at backpacking tents for two hours.
Choose a week day, and time of day, when the store won't be swamped with holiday or peak season shoppers.
This gives you the highest probability of a sales associate having plenty of time to dedicate to your personal shopping quest:
The following recommendations are chosen carefully to focus your time and attention on top brands that pay attention to not only sizing, but details that really matter to a hiker.
And they are all brands that Hiking For Her can heartily recommend, based on decades of trail experience.
We're going to build a layering system to keep your neck and torso comfortable during your hike.
And because seasonal variations in temperature are going to impact your perception of a great hike, we'll start with great layers for cool weather hiking
Layering in cold weather can get tricky, because you want to be warm when you start hiking without getting too warm as you begin to generate body heat.
You also want to choose a shirt fabric that can wick away your perspiration.
This REI Co-op quarter-zip shirt makes a great choice.
Lots of reasons!
Now you can turn your attention to a versatile piece of mid layer clothing to remove, or don, according to your comfort level and changing trail conditions.
This zip up down vest has so many great things going for it, besides thermoregulation:
Just some of the reasons why a vest from REI Co-op is one of the best extended size hiking clothing choices you can make!
You want to keep all of your other layers dry, so put some thought into your choice for an outer layer.
For cold, dry and/or windy conditions, down jackets can get the job done.
This one from REI Co-op, for example:
Why is it trail worthy?
Now that we've built a bomb proof top layering system, let's explore good clothing options for the lower half of your body.
The same trail challenges apply to your hard working legs, with a few extras:
Moisture wicking fabric delivers all the benefits you want while working up a sweat but can't take off layers:
These REI Merino base layer bottoms get it done for you.
This women's base layer top dials in comfort due to its flat seams, moisture wicking fabric, and stretchiness.
Want to splurge a little for additional comfort and moisture wicking?
Leggings are another great choice for your base layer.
They have a lot of give and freedom of movement, while insulating and protecting your waist and legs - like these REI Flash Hybrid leggings.
High rise, 3 layer waistband gives you freedom of movement.
These have a pocket for stashing something important.
And on milder days, they stand alone for running errands or walking the dog!
Over your base layer, pull on these seam sealed, adjustable waist waterproof Columbia Storm Surge rain pants:
If this doesn't seem like enough layering for cold weather hiking, consider this fact:
Your skeletal muscle contractions are going to generate a lot of heat, which will be trapped beneath these pants and your base layer(s).
If you're a beginner hiker, trust me on this.
These are great pants to bring along on every hike, regardless of season.
These warm REI Co-op Powderbound insulated snow pants will accomplish your objective of staying warm and dry with just one layer, thanks to some excellent features.
Fabulous for snowshoeing adventures, too!
You came seeking the best extended size hiking clothing for cool weather hikes, and you found it.
Except for one or two little things ...
Critical components for a comfortable hike, right?
And on the bottom?
Choose wicking fabric that moves with you, and just enough coverage to prevent chafing from other layers and your backpack.
Explore your ExOfficio options, a brand known to tick all the boxes for hiking women:
REI Co-op is carrying more and more extended sizing options for women, and this page will be updated for you as the seasons roll along.
Contact me here if you'd like more information on technical details, or how this clothing would perform on your preferred hiking trails. I'm always glad to help!
Need the best warm weather extended size hiking clothes?
For more tips about how to choose the best extended size hiking clothing, read this.
Read about a new company called Alpine Parrot, sizing 14-30 for female hikers!
And Happy Trails to you :)
Best Extended Size Hiking Clothing