View Full Version : Hiking gear for big & tall guys

JumpMaster Blaster
03-05-2015, 13:57
I have a friend who wants to come out on a few backpacking trips. If he were a normal size, I'd have all the spare gear he'd need. Problem is, he's 6'6 and a former NFL offensive lineman (so yeah, he's a pretty big guy). Does anyone have any ideas for backpack, tent, sleeping bag that could possibly accomodate him (without getting custom-made gear)?

03-05-2015, 14:24
The way I'm reading this is that your friend just wants a taste of backpacking, and isn't sure whether he'll enjoy it or not. So long as you're not backpacking in iffy weather or trying to do several miles, it seems like you have a lot of room to improvise without investing in gear, except maybe a sleeping bag. He can wear whatever is already in his closet. He can sleep diagonally in a 2 or 3-person tent. A backpack doesn't have to fit perfectly to be carried. If Gramma Gatewood could hike in tennis shoes and carry a knapsack, she must have been an awfully tough lady. May not be the most comfortable way to go, but it would work at least until he decides it's worth investing in gear his size.

03-05-2015, 14:25
I'm not sure about most of the things he needs, but I'm fairly certain the Lightheart Solong 6 is one of the very few solo tents that will accommodate him both length and width wise.


If I was that height and width and needed a bag I would just order an extra long extra wide quilt from Hammock Gear or Enlightened Equipment. Won't be much upcharge for the added length and width.

JumpMaster Blaster
03-05-2015, 18:54
Yeah, I guess he can use one of my older backpacks. Tent & sleeping bag would probably be an issue though. Worst case scenario is buy something, don't like it/doesn't fit & sell it on eBay. Not like there won't be a market fo gently used gear.

03-05-2015, 19:24
He could likely use one of your sleeping bags zipped open as a sleeping quilt, if he has adequate R-value sleeping pad. The sleeping pad would have to be wide and long. Cascade Designs has moved away from XS and small to longer and wider. Is 25" width adequate? If not, CCF closed cell foam, in layers, may be the answer.

I would think it is time to learn to tarp, successfully. It is good experience.

I mean, why purchase a tent if you are only "trying" backpacking?

03-05-2015, 19:41
I'm 6'3 and had to upgrade mid trail to the Lightheart solong 6 which boasts fitting very tall people (up to 6' 8" I believe). One warning I will give you on long people in tents, if you use a inflatable sleeping mat(I used a neo air) this greatly reduces the sizing chart of the tent as it lifts you a couple of inches off the floor (bringing your toes closer to the sloping toe tent walls). I barely fit in that solong 6 with the inflated mat, now if I lay flat on the floor (no mat) there is ample room length ways. Be sure and consider that before he gets a tent, that is figure out what kind of sleeping pad he uses first.

I went with Zpack for my backpack, expensive as heck but these guys custom make everything so your friend can pretty much get a custom fit pack built. Plus they are super helpful and will bend over backwards to make sure you are a happy customer, trust me on that one, these guys are awesome!

PS Lightheart will also do everything in their power to keep you happy!

JumpMaster Blaster
03-09-2015, 20:46
I appreciate the feedback. Solution for the time-being is he can use my REI Half Dome 2 tent (he'll fit), my old Kelty backpack, one of my older sleeping bags, and my old Thermarest Trail Lite pad. That's about 18 pounds of gear right there, but like I said, he's a big boy and I'm sure he'll do fine. Now if he catches the fever like I did last year, well...he's going shopping.