If you look at imagery for the outdoors and adventure online, you'll quickly notice that there aren't many body shapes represented in the mainstream eye. If you're not young and thin, you're unlikely to be on any adventurous Instagram.
The reality however, is that it's not only the fittest of the fit that enjoy the outdoors and adventurous fitness, people of all sizes and fitness levels enjoy exploring and get some fresh air at the weekend. So why doesn't the outdoor industry include all people?
A couple of friends were wondering this exact thing in 2015. Instead of getting angry, they decided to create something now and make themselves a place in the industry that was refusing to include them.
Fat Girls Hiking is a diverse body positive hiking community based in Portland, OR.
Two founders Summer and Lesley created the group as an Instagram page in 2015, partly as a way to document their adventures, party as a reaction to being the only overweight people on the trails.
“We believe that folks of all ages, sizes, shapes, races, religions, classes, abilities, genders and sexual orientations should be represented & celebrated in outdoor media."
"We want to take the shame & stigma out of the word FAT & empower it. Our motto, Trails Not Scales is to focus on Self Love in the outdoors instead of weight loss" the group says on their site. "Trails Not Scales reminds us that the more we hike, the more love we have for ourselves & our bodies just as they are."
The group has now got its own website and is growing by the day.
The group interviews women of all ages, sizes, shapes, races, religions, classes, abilities, genders and sexual orientations about their experience of outdoor fitness and adventure, as well as giving a place for women to meet and talk to each other.
Though Fat Girls Hiking, women can not only see other people like them who are kicking ass on the mountains, they can easily become one of the women that are inspiring others.
The group has started organising trips, completing it's first one a few weeks ago in Mount Hood National Forest.
The founders told Outside Online of a participant from Oregon who cried at the table one night, telling them, “It’s so great to be around people who don’t talk about weight loss or diets. I just don’t have this where I’m from."
It's this community of freedom and support that the group creates, while working towards are more inclusive outdoors industry.
"We want all people to feel comfortable outdoors & to be able to claim their space on the trail" they explain.
"We believe that folks of all ages, sizes, shapes, races, religions, classes, abilities, genders and sexual orientations should be represented & celebrated in outdoor media."
Our community is for those folks who have feel like they don’t fit the typical hiker mold. We encourage & support folks who want to get out & hike, to do so!"