A Guide for Finding Petite Mountaineering Clothing
Updated: Jul 1, 2018
By Mariko Ching
What’s harder than climbing a mountain? For me, it’s finding a pair of pants to do it in.
On a good day, I’m 5’1”. This makes finding alpine/mountaineering clothes, especially pants, extremely challenging. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trying on waaaay too long women’s pants or slyly searching the boy’s section at REI for a pair of full-zip gore-tex pants. I hope that by sharing my experience with finding petite clothing for mountaineering, I can save some CoC participants a huge headache as they search for gear.
The reality is that most retailers do not manufacture “petite” AKA “short” pants for alpine climbing or mountaineering. While the top mountain sport brands will offer short sizes for their casual wear pants, I have found that the “summit series” of various brands will not be offered in short sizes.
For mountaineering, it is ideal to have both a pair of softshell pants and a pair of full-zip hardshell pants. Below is a list of softshell and hardshell pants that come in a petite size (price high to low):
Softshell / / the easier find
Hardshell / / the much harder find
REI Talusphere Full-Zip Petite (not designed for mountaineering in mind, but this will do if you’re on a budget)
Overall, finding mountaineering-specific top layers and jackets is much easier for short folks like myself. However, I do want to highlight one brand - Eddie Bauer - for offering petite sizes in their First Ascent line. Having tried petite FA jackets (Downlight Stormdown, BC Alpine Lite), I can truly say that wearing a shorter jacket makes a difference in both comfort and practicality. To me, there is nothing worse than having to cinch my jacket waist so that it stops sliding down over my bum.
What about other petite folks? How and where do you find technical clothing that fits? Any tips?