Choosing a sports bra for hiking and backpacking is no easy task. There are too many options out there and most don’t check all the boxes. In store options are limited, so we usually have to take a gamble on ordering online. Squished boobs, digging straps, and lack of support are all risks.
A great bra is perhaps the most difficult gear item to select for hiking trips. A bra that is worn all day everyday has to live up to much higher standards than a sports bra that is worn for an hour long work out or a push-up bra that only gets worn on Saturday nights.
Hiking Sports Bra Checklist
- Comfort. This is the big one! You’re going to be wearing this bra all day, everyday. Make sure it doesn’t give you a backache or dig into your skin around the straps. There’s nothing worse than a bra with straps that keep falling or where your boobs pop out the top.
- Supportive, but not too tight. This is a difficult balance to strike. The bra must serve it’s purpose, but it should also be stretchy enough. Chances are, there are going to be nights that you’re too lazy to take your bra off or the weather will be so hot that you choose to sleep only with your bra on top. Don’t buy a bra that’s going to leave red marks on your skin from being too tight.
- Durability. Bras are expensive, and nobody wants to drop $50 on a piece of underwear that’s going to lose elasticity and unravel quickly. Make sure you’re buying something that not only fits great out of the box, but will still be supportive after months of use.
- Doesn’t match skin tone. I had to learn this the hard way. A favorite sports bra I used to own was beige. The first time I tried to hike without my shirt, I realized that from a distance I looked like I was completely topless. I would also get the double-takes at campsites when changing my shirt because people clearly thought that I was getting naked.
I have found a few great sports bras that work for me. I’m a 36 C, so I realize that women of other breast sizes might not relate. So I asked other outdoorsy women what their favorite sports bras for hiking were. I’m hoping there’s something on this list for everyone.
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Best Hiking Bra for C cups and Smaller
The Patagonia Barely Sports Bra is a solid choice of a sports bra for hiking. It offers just enough support, without constricting your chest. You can comfortably sleep in this bra. It’s a solid choice for low-impact support.
The Smartwool Racerback Bra is a good choice for women who want a bra that is comfy to hike in, but they could still do more fast-paced activities in. The Smartwool bra is more of a good for everything type of bra. The merino wool is soft on the skin and keeps the boob sweat at bay.
The Têra Kaia sports bra is a good multi-purpose bra because it doubles as a swimsuit top as well. It comes in a high-cut and low-cut variety, and in several cool colors. You can read my full review of the bra.
Best Hiking Sports Bra for D cups and Bigger
As someone who shopped around for a high-impact sports bra for H cups, Dani from Diapers in Paradise recommends the SHEFIT Ultimate sports bra. The SHEFIT zips in the front, and then cinches in the back of the waist and at the straps, allowing the wearer to get a super-tight fit. The SHEFIT Ultimate is available for cup sizes A – I. Very few bras can actually provide complete support for those upper sizes, but with the unique design of the Ultimate, SHEFIT figured out how!
Ashley from Wild Hearted highly recommends K-Deer sports bras for hiking or any strenuous activity. Not only is K-Deer a female-founded and run company that celebrates every body type, but their designs are also comfortable and fit perfectly. The fabric is moisture-wicking and provides natural sun protection. K-Deer is a sustainable company that gives back to a variety of causes.
All of this is amazing, of course, but it also matters how a sports bra fits and supports women, especially those with higher cup sizes. The K-Deer sports bra fits snugly and offers no room for much movement meaning hikes, and any other strenuous activity will leave you feeling completely secure.
Cristal from Tofu Traveler recommends the Panache Sports Bra because it almost eliminates bounce when doing hiking and any high impact activities. It keeps everything contained, especially for full-busted women so if you’re rocking a D cup and up or you’re a smaller frame with bigger cups, then this will be a lifesaver. The best part is, it’s comfortable enough to wear all day so it’s a great bra to pack if you’re going carry-on only.
Best Sports Bra for Hiking & Breastfeeding
Jennifer from Backyard Travel Family recommends the Cadenshae Fit2Feed sport bra for hiking while breastfeeding. She hikes with her 3 children and has been breastfeeding her youngest for 18 months. She loves the full support it gives, this is not a flimsy nursing bra and the material keeps you dry on those hot and sweaty hikes. Access to nurse your baby is super easy and you just clip up and hike on. P.S They also have an Ultimate bra so those sized DD+