Books, Debut Author, eBook, Feminism, Non-Fiction, Outdoors, Queer, Trans

Fat Girls Hiking by Summer Michaud-Skog is a phenomenal outdoors guide and reference book for hikers at any size or ability

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fat Girls Hiking: An Inclusive Guide to Getting Outdoors at Any Size or Ability is a outdoors guide and reference book by Summer Michaud-Skog. The eBook version is 252 pages.

Michaud-Skog is the founder of the Fat Girls Hiking community, and this book is full of heartfelt stories, practical advice, and personal profiles of members of that community. It also includes helpful trail reviews! I really appreciate that the author has created a safe space for folks with marginalized bodies, and especially with the empowering idea that outdoor recreation should welcome everyone, no matter what they may look like or what kind of previous experience they have had in that sphere.

The cover art is beautifully illustrated and includes women with larger bodies, one wearing a headscarf and another with a differently-abled body as well. The book is dedicated to friends and family of the author, but also “to every fat person who was told they couldn’t or shouldn’t and did it anyway, I’m proud of you.” There are multiple color photographs throughout the book that show people with bodies similar to my own, and I have never felt so seen.

Chapters detail how Michaud-Skog founded Fat Girls Hiking, a helpful guide on how to hike, how to find joyful movement while simultaneously dealing with fitness trauma, and pitfalls of hiking like bugs or humidity. It is so important to have information on accessible trails with inclusive information, including whether bathrooms at a trailhead are gendered or gender neutral. The prose is easy to read and parse. There are also multiple profiles of community members, to showcase the importance of multiple perspectives, along with several reviews of trails across the United States. Lastly, there are tons of resources in the back of the book in case you want to read further about body liberation, fat activism, fat positivity, and outdoor recreation.

Special thanks to Timber Press and NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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