Jul 20, 2005 at 1:49 pm #1216404
It seems that a lot of knit backpacking shirts are extremely form-fitting and rather thin. I have one Cool max shirt that is like that. The problem is, it seems as if you pretty much have to wear a bra with shirts like that if you are seen in public. This means that you are not all that cool, because the bra adds another layer. But perhaps there are very light weight, very comfortable bras?
So the question is: do you wear a bra with your tight fitting merino and synthetic knit shirts, or do you go bra-less and just let other people deal with it? And if you do wear one, which one do you like? Do you ever hike just in a bra top? I see women running in shorts and a bra top all the time.Jul 20, 2005 at 2:44 pm #1339289
@cmcrookerLocale: Desert Southwest, USA
In the summer, I wear a long sleeved sun shirt to hike in. I usually start a trip wearing a sport top (Patagonia mesh), then leave it in my pack when I get sick of it. The sun shirt (RR Adventure top) is loose and blue. In cooler months I wear a black Superfine 190 Icebreaker wool top or an Icebreaker Bodyfit light blue wool top (leaves much less to the imagination than the black top). Again, I usually start a trip with a sport top, but sometimes ditch it. When I backpack solo it’s usually mid-week and I don’t see many, if any, people and the sport top goes as soon as it starts to bug me. When I’m backpacking with others, it usually stays on.Jul 23, 2005 at 7:07 pm #1339474
The true ultralight gal definitely leaves that bra at home and walks proudly down the trail.Jul 24, 2005 at 7:53 am #1339484
I just realized that my concern is not just with “what will other people think?” but also: “if I’m alone, what will other people do?” If I was in a friendly group or with my boyfriend, I would probably feel safe walking around in that clingy coolmax shirt and no bra, but not alone. I have had too many experiences where I got grabbed or harassed. Granted, most people on the trail are sober and well-mannered, but you never know, and you are sometimes not within hollering distance of anybody else. Wearing a bra won’t make you perfectly safe, obviously, but for some reason NOT wearing a bra seems to mean “green light” for some drunk men in the South.Jul 25, 2005 at 8:51 pm #1339520
Drunk men in the south…hmmm. If hiking alone, a lady is always safer when she is not drawing attention by wearing clothing that may reveal various body parts. That some men cannot control their urges and resort to grabbing or worse is a very sad part of our world. I think most/all would agree.Jul 26, 2005 at 7:56 am #1339526
On my walks around my neighborhood I carry a big bamboo walking stick, which also serves the purpose of deterring drunk men. But my bamboo stick doesn’t telescope, so it’s not practical for backpacking.Jul 26, 2005 at 11:26 am #1339531
@daneLocale: Western Washington
“That some men cannot control their urges and resort to grabbing or worse is a very sad part of our world.”
Men may not have control of their urges but they do have control of their actions, and any man acting on those urges has made a conscious decision to do so. Those who honestly do not have control of their actions are mentally ill and need help. I get angry when I hear “Oh well she was dressed slutty so it was partly her fault”. How a woman dresses may attract sleazy men but rapists and other sexual predators really don’t care how a woman is dressed. If their goal was simply sex there are many other ways to obtain that, either legally or through prostitutes. Rapists are satisfying an unhealthy, deep perversion for control and domination, not sex.
Women do not make themselves targets of sexual predators by the way they dress anymore than Americans make themselves targets of terrorists by living the way they do.
Sorry that had nothing to do with backpacking.Jul 26, 2005 at 2:10 pm #1339539
It’s true that you can’t prevent sexual assault by not dressing slutty. Once I got grabbed by a drunk neighbor in the middle of winter when I had on about five layers. He doesn’t remember this of course. After that I started carrying the stick.
I have had three fights with men. Two out of the three times I was working without a top on, once in my own garden and once in somebody else’s garden. (The other time was the winter incident.) So based on this admittedly small sample, I have concluded that it is best not to “show us your tits” as they say in New Orleans, especially in remote rural areas when nobody else is around. It’s probably actually safer to do it on Bourbon Street at Mardi Gras!
The stick seems to be a deterrent all right. I would like to have some collapsable ones for backpacking but they all seem so expensive!Jan 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm #1472117
I notice this is a really old thread, but for some reason I woke up at about 3am this morning wondering if there is a more comfortable solution.
I am too large to comfortably go bra-less (and in eternal envy of women petite enough to do so and get away with it).
I HATE, HATE, HATE pull-over "sports" bras – they squish you til it hurts, and they tend to be thick and heavy AND since they are often one solid "shelf", it seems like they weigh entirely more than necessary (say an individual cup-based style).
I'm a bit of a seamstress, so I sort of dreamed up one I could make – but I have no idea what fabrics would be good to make it out of – light-weight, stretchy, soft, comfortable, breathable AND structured? Sure has ME stumped.
Is there anyone else out there who has this problem, and who doesn't solve the issue by going without support? If so, what do you use?Jan 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm #1472129
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
I am not large enough to 'need' a bra for comfort. If it's warm, I wear a short sleeved nylon shirt (coolmax type) with two chest pockets. That completely covers anything offensive even if it gets wet. If it's cold enough that I need a clingy base layer, I will put it on UNDER the two pocket short sleeved shirt. I simply cannot stand wearing bras in any situation.
If you need support, then I don't know of a light and breezy alternative, but I bet there's a market there!Jan 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm #1472140
@mn-backpackerLocale: Land of 12,000 Loons
My wife is too curvy up top to go without, but I'm sure she would if she could. Two years ago I bought her a CW-X Ventilator sports bra after reading about it in a popular backpacking magazine that we've all heard of.
She was confused at first that I bought her a bra unannounced, but she loves it and said it's the only sports bra she's ever had that that doesn't squish her. It's designed to actually control the up and down motion, and not just squeeze them so they don't move. She also loves the ventilation.
Since this site is all about lightweight, I just dropped hers on my scale and it's only 2.5 ounces. You'll find them here (very bottom left on the page).Jan 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm #1472178
My wife had a catalog from a company called Title Nine, seemed to specialize in sports bras for any sized woman. They had a web page. Boy, no love for southern men in this thread.Jan 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm #1472186
Thanks for that CW-X link. I took a look.
I was still hoping for something more light-weight with less fabric. But there really doesn't seem to be much out there.
I do a lot of my hiking in AZ, where it's hot, and the best sun protection is keeping your skin covered. So the lighter the fabric and the fewer "layers" I need to wear, the better (hence, the jealousy of my more petite collegues)…
I need support, but hiking isn't the same as, say horseback riding, where serious motion control and the "robust" support system of a sports bra is a must.
Thinking of what bugs me about regular bras for everyday wear, here are some of the things I came up with:
1) many of them have a slightly padded lining. Not tons, but enough to hold onto moisture.
2) all of them have underwires (pretty standard for bras in my size) – which is fine for every-day wear, but not something you'd want to sleep in, and which can get uncomfortable the hotter and wetter you get.
3) all of them have clasps in the back, and adjustment sliders, which can be irritating with the weight of a pack pressing against them – say going up-hill.
4) straps get pressed into your shoulders by your pack straps (potentially solvable with a racer-back strap setup)
I do have a few bras that are made out of a sort of mesh, which would at least solve issue 1) – but none of the rest.
On the face of things, a sports bra would address most, if not all of my complaints, but at the cost of a lot more fabric (which I need to cover with another layer to keep the sun off my skin) than what is strictly necessary to accomplish the task.
I was thinking something made like a triangular bikini top (not the string kind, but the kind that might have, say, a 1" wide, flat rib-cage band), that clasped in the front and had racer-back strap setup could work nicely. Strap adjusters could be moved to the front and off of my shoulder-blades (or, if I'm making it myself, just properly fit the straps in the first place and eliminate them entirely – along with extra fabric and fastener weight)…
And I could make it – if I knew what fabric to go hunting. Maybe just a light-weight un-lined lycra of some sort?
Any one more familiar with activity appropriate fabric that might be a good candidate?Jan 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm #1472188
Ummmmmm…if you are bigger than a shallow B cup, yes, you need to wear something supportive. Bra tops are fine, as are tank tops with support.
Go without and you will get sore boobage.
As for bras….I have found that you can get pretty good ones at Walmart for around $10 each. I don't buy "sports bras" (maker of the Uni-Boob look), rather I buy a sports bra that has underwires. Have to, otherwise, hello neck aches!Jan 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm #1472190
@mad777Locale: South Florida
I also bought my wife the CW-x sport bra and she liked it a lot until I bought her the Ibex merino wool sport bra. Now she says she is spoiled.
Since I am in charge of washing, packing and storing all our gear, I've handled it and I will vouch that the Ibex is comfy soft. It weighs 2.1 oz in size medium.Sep 5, 2010 at 9:23 pm #1643293
I am also looking for a comfortable sports bar for a backpacking trip in Fall in Yellowstone. I have the same questions as you posted here. Did you get a good one that satisfied all your needs?Sep 6, 2010 at 9:56 am #1643350
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
When you get to my age, the main purpose of a bra is to keep them from interfering with the pack's hip belt. :-)
I tried a sports bra and it was awful! Hot, as others have noted, and no support, just squashing. It reminded of my mother's tales of binding her br**sts in the 1920's! The only thing good about it was no fastening to ride up my back and hit the pack. I also can't stand underwires. Just a plain cheap lightweight bra with plenty of stretch fabric seems be as comfortable as anything else I've found. I'm still looking for one that fastens in the front, though.
Re the bamboo pole (I know that post was several years ago)–trekking poles are the answer–just another of their multiple uses!
Why is it that we can have one breast but not two on this forum?Sep 6, 2010 at 11:33 am #1643365
Too funny on what they censor. Snort!Sep 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm #1643473
If you're wearing a merino top, why not a merino bra?
This is the first bra I've tried that doesn't feel clammy at end of day, even when damp. Most of the time I don't even bother to take it off at night.
– ElizabethSep 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm #1643518
"When you get to my age, the main purpose of a bra is to keep them from interfering with the pack's hip belt. :-)"
ROFL!Sep 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm #1643523
The Ibex one looks great (I love Ibex hoodies) but you gotta be small chested to wear that one! :-OSep 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm #1643541
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
This "popped up" again and I was drawn to it. ;-)
OK, enough joking. I have done a lot of hiking in the out-of-way places or popular places, but in the wrong season to where I don't see the tourist hordes. And on two fall JMT's I met a couple gals. Neither wore a bra and I did not attack them or think less of them.
One time Dave and I went into SEKI in the early spring thinking we would see nobody and met two women that thought the same thing. One was hiking in her underwear. We made sure to be respectful and not talk about it until we were well down the trail. In her case she wore the bra with no shirt…
I say that if you are in an area that is easily accessible to city folk, wear accordingly. If you are way out back my finding is that those few of us out there will be quite respectful whatever you want to do. Heck, we just want to say hello to someone…Sep 7, 2010 at 8:38 am #1643614
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
I must live in a rather open, respectful, and low-key part of the country- I can't imagine situations where women would be attacked or that other hikers would "think less of them" for nothing more than not wearing a bra under their shirts… WTF.Sep 8, 2010 at 2:43 am #1643849
i was thinking exactly the same Aaron… i have met nothing but courteous, respectful and helpful people when hiking, not one person has ever struck me as the kind of person who might consider doing untoward things towards anyone, women or otherwise…
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