Hiking, climbing, and mountaineering are quite demanding accomplishments physically. Most of them are low to medium impact activities when you talk of strain and bounce. They tend to expose the chest, and this depends on the terrain and the tempo.
It might make sense to choose not to go for traditional sports bras which are ideal for short term high-impact exercises. Wearing these kinds of bra for a long time can cause some constriction, especially when hiking. However, your regular bra can be an inappropriate solution since it might not offer adequate support and has no moisture-wicking capabilities.
Let’s review the best backpacking bras which are suitable for low to high impact activities. When looking for bras that are ideal for medium-impact exercises, you will come across brands that specialize in this area, lingerie manufacturers, and traditional sports brands.
You can achieve a similar level of support when you wear a tank top with an in-built sports bra. If you want additional breast support, you will also get a bra in this selection that suits you.
What to Consider When Buying Backpacking Bras
The Jog bra was the first proper sports bra in the year 1977. Three women did come up with this idea. They made a combination of jockstraps since they thought that similar support for body parts that tend to bounce should be made available to women. And this was when taking on sporty activities.
Most sports bras employ the same style of support. They have a tight-fitting elastic top which tends to press the breasts on the walls of the chest – compression. We also have models, especially when it comes to women with big breasts. The model uses the encapsulates each breast thereby inhibiting bounce. In conclusion, you can find bras which combine both methods.
The sports bra support comes from different parts in the bra’s structure; the cups, the straps, and the band which includes the side panels. The band of the bra should be relatively broad since it’s essential and should also have a snug fit under the breasts.
The band of the bra provides almost 70% of the support on the chest. Several sports bras have either strap running down straight (sometimes crisscrossing) or full racerback. It should have cut-outs for proper ventilation) almost like a regular bra. The racerback is quite popular as the straps of the bra stay in place as you move around. The cinching at the back ensures the straps dose press the bra close to the body, thus offering additional support. Besides, the racerback can be quite annoying if you feel like you carrying a lot of weight on trapezius muscle instead of on the clavicle.
In sports bras, adjustable straps have both advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes they are quite thin that those which you can’t adjust, and this causes inappropriate weight division. They are also hardware, and this makes changing possible and rub on the skin, causing redness and irritation. Being able to adjust the length of the straps can be significant; not least, after wearing the bra for some time where thinner straps elasticity has become weak.
It’s hard to understand why women wear ill-fitting and wrong bra sizes their entire lives. Available sizes in the market tend to vary in dimensions depending on the brand, or the model. Women, most of the times, usually wear a bigger circumference or a bigger cup. For instance, you can be wearing B75 for a long time before realizing that you are a C70 since it fits better. You can get away with this when it comes to a regular bra. But, when looking for the ideal sports bra for backpacking, always ensure you get the right circumference. It will help you achieve maximum support.
Many sports bras that compress fall in a class similar to regular sizes like Small, Medium, and Large instead of cup sizes. It, however, doesn’t make sizing any simpler. If you decide to get your sports bra in an online store, try measuring your chests’ width where its fullest and the circumference below it. You can also familiarize yourself with the brand’s sizing scale to optimize the chances of making a perfect purchase.
Our list has the cup sizes and circumference of the models we chose, and they do cover respectively concerning the brand official website.
When talking of coverage, it’s not necessarily how much you can see. But also, how visible your nipples are under the bra’s fabric at any point in time. Some call them headlights or doorbell syndrome. If your nipples are always stiff whether due to change in temperature or sensation, you may feel a little self-conscious. And this happens when you wear a bra with padding or those with thin layers over the sports bra.
However, cup inserts or filling can be quite annoying to some women. You, therefore, have to choose what you will be comfortable for you.
The best backpacking bra should have breathable fabric and should have moisture-wicking effects. The bra should also be able to dry faster in case it gets wet. Most regular bras cannot live up to these criteria. The skin under the arms and around the chest is quite sensitive; the bra’s material should, therefore, feel comfortable and equally smooth.
The sports bras that we did review in our list save for Playtex Outgoer, you can machine-wash them. You can do wash the bras at low temperatures, but you should avoid softeners and tumble-drying. In so doing, you might reduce the bra’s lifespan.
Best Backpacking Bras – Review on Medium Support
#1. Champion Curvy Show-off Sports Bra
Champion Curvy Show-Off first hit the market a century ago in America. Many people associate the bra with the 1990s basketball jerseys, and the brand did produce many exquisite sports bras in the past years. The bra features a power mesh panels for breathability.
The bottom of the band is thick enough for additional support and molded cups for shape and modesty. It also has a feminine, flattering design, but this doesn’t compromise on its functionality when it comes to supporting the breasts. You can get the bra in a wide variety of bright colors combination, and four different sizes.
S which covers sizes 32-34 A, B, and C. M includes 34-36 A, B, and C while XL is cup sizes 40B. You can also check out reviews on women who wear cup size DD and more prominent.
#2. Smartwool Ph.D. Seamless Racerback Bra
- Everyday use
Smartwool Ph.D. Seamless Racerback Bra is super comfortable! The bra’s cut and fabric are what makes it more comfortable compared to other compression sports bras. But it also prevents it from providing high-level support. Smartwool does disclose that the bra offers medium support for cups sizes A and B. C cup can only be ideal when taking on low-impact activities. The hybrid material is a combination of Merina wool for odor-control, breathability, and softness. It also has light-weight nylon and elastane for a perfect fit, support and stretches in the two layers.
The inner part has two-thirds of the wool fibers for maximum comfort on the skin. You can get the bra in four different gray mélange combination of colors. When it comes to sizing, the brand does recognize that you can get more than a cup size that suits you, but this would depend on what you prefer. Size XS is for cup sizes 32A-B and 30A-C. Size S for 34A-B and 32A-C; size M 36A-B and 34A-C; L 38A-B and 36A-C while XL is for 34A-C.
#3. Maidenform Ultimate Underwire Sports Bra
- Everyday use
Maidenform Sports Bra is among the bras that come in real cup sizes like regular bras. It’s ideal for women who know their sizes and would want a sports bra that encapsulates the breasts separately. You can get the bra in sizes 38B-DD, 36A-DD, and 34A-DD. The bra has higher sides, which prevents boob spillage and sideboob as well.
The padding on the cups is for coverage, shaping, and supporting with motion control technology, which helps reduce bounce. The foam cups are lightweight and feature a wicking liner. The straps are thick and adjustable, making weight distribution great on your shoulders, perfect for women with big breasts. For convenience, you can adjust the straps at the front as opposed to the back. The straps of the bra crisscross at the back, giving the bra a racerback design with a hook and eye closure.
#4. Under Armour Eclipse Sports Bra
Under Armour Bra offers additional support (mid-impact) than the Seamless model (low impact). The bra’s fabric contains elastane for compression and comfort. Both of these bras feature signature under armor transport system that helps in wicking sweat off the body. Besides, the eclipse model features cups inserts, which are also breathable for coverage.
You cannot unhook the eclipse straps and adjust so that they run on the back rather than crisscrossing. The bra is available in both print and solid colors, and you can get them in four different sizes. Cup sizes XS is ideal for breasts (when you measure the fullest part) close to 28 inches in circumference. Breasts that measure between 30-32 inches are size S, M breasts between 34-36 inches. L between 36-38 inches and XL between 38-40 inches in circumference.
#5. Icebreaker Sprite Sports Bra
- Everyday use
Icebreaker sports bra features a classic cut that comes with compression sports bra with a racerback design. But instead of synthetic materials which sometimes are not moisture-wicking and breathable, the bra is 36% Merino wool with some Lycra touch for fit and support. The Merino Wool in this bra measures only 150g/m², therefore, performing perfectly well during every season all year round. Both in keeping the body’s natural temperature and odor- resistant.
The bra’s light material cannot compress quite effectively. And this is because it has thick fabrics with stretchy synthetic fibers, meaning this bra can offer limited support only, for women with massive breasts. Icebreaker Sprite Sports Bra comes in five different sizes; XS ideal for breasts around 32 inches in circumference when you measure the fullest part.
Size S 34 inches, M 37 inches, L 39.5 inches, and XL does fit breasts 42 inches width. The bra is available in a similar combination of colors as Icebreaker hipsters – it also features in the list as the ideal hiking underwear for women.
Watch the video below for some more bras for hiking and backpacking that you may be interested in: