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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Handful Bra

Found: A flattering, supportive, non-chafing sports bra.

by: Kelly Bastone

Handful Bra (Courtesy Photo)
Handful Bra (Courtesy Photo)

The Stats:
$40
3 oz.
Sizes XS-L
handfulinc.com
Forget diamonds–a first-rate sports bra is a hiking girl's best friend. The Handful supports without squishing, so it stayed comfy after 12 hours of wear. The straps never chafed during trail runs or when worn beneath a backpack (the bra's cross-back design reduces competition with pack straps). And it wicked moisture better and dried faster than any other bra I've worn: The honeycombed polyester liner fabric kept the Handful from ever feeling clammy, while the outer "shell" fabric (made of 82 percent nylon and 18 percent Spandex) provided support.

Positioned between those layers, removable cups provide extra padding, so even when worn beneath an ultralight shirt or even out to dinner, the Handful smoothed contours rather than indecently revealing them and the center seam eliminates the monoboob effect and creates a flattering profile. Plus, it has a nice, finished look that doesn’t scream ‘underwear!’ so I could wear it swimming in mountain lakes. Best for hiking, biking, climbing, and running for A to C cups. (D cups will want more support for all but low-impact activities.)



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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star
SkyePurls
May 17, 2013

I have to ask, what is the hype about here? It just looks like yet another cute bra for small chested women. Big. Deal.

Star Star Star Star Star
Kate
Feb 26, 2013

Just been reviewing sports bras and would def recommend the Freya Active Underwired for medium to larger busted ladies (they only start from D cup). More comfortable for prolonged wear than the Shock Absorber and a really nice neck-line for fitting under more everyday clothes for summer walking. I've written a big full review of how I got on with the Freya on my blog Baby Routes (you can google it if you're interested). Shock Absorber are good though but I find them a bit 'grabby' if I'm going out for long. Can't fault them on keeping everything in place though. Love to hear other recommends!

Danielle
Jun 25, 2012

Not a fan. Too cumbersome with the padding. A light liner is nice for modesty but this is what I consider a padded bra. Patagonias everyday bra is still my favorite for all activities backpacking, yoga, running or even work.

jen
Dec 20, 2011

i love my handful! it's great for hiking, snowboarding and does double duty under clothes, too (especially when you're packed for a trip). i'm a 32C and it's enough support for running, too.

Kendi
Aug 04, 2010

There is one by champion that I love and I've been kicking myself that I didn't buy more than one. It had an underwire but it is fully enclosed. Also- the front looks like it is more sport top rather than a bra. Other than that I've been sadly out of luck finding anything for my DD's....

GrumpyOldMan
Aug 03, 2010

I'd prefer some better pictures.

Steph VA
Aug 03, 2010

Honestly, the only thing I've found that works for me (D to DD depending on brand), is either doubling up sports bras - making sure the one underneath is underwire and split cup so you don't look like you're smuggling a watermelon), and then a regular sports bra over it to keep everything snug and so you can take off your shirt without looking indecent to change, swim, or cool off.

Good brands for bigger breasts are Title 9, Enell (never tried Enell myself, but seen it mentioned in reviews), or ShockAbsorber (I like to go for the Level 3 support even when I'm not running). Donna Karan is also supposed to be good, but I've never tried them.

Hope this helped - check reviews on sites that cater to women with bigger chests - they are priceless for pet peeves, how to care for bras, and women often describe how they are built so you know whether their opinion would apply to your situation.

Cynthia
Jul 27, 2010

Anyone have suggestions for us ladies who have D cups? I have trouble finding a good sports bra because they all seem to stop at lower sizes.

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