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Barry Lewis

A concept undressed

Barry Lewis
Posted 8/5/22

I don’t mean to be a prude, but does everything have to be done in the nude? 

I mean, besides the obvious.

I’ll let you decide what constitutes the obvious, but I’m …

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Barry Lewis

A concept undressed


I don’t mean to be a prude, but does everything have to be done in the nude? 

I mean, besides the obvious.

I’ll let you decide what constitutes the obvious, but I’m guessing hiking wouldn’t be one of those common bare-naked activities. 

And yet there are folks who are happy to expose their nether regions to nature this time of year. They mark the summer solstice by shedding their clothing and inhibitions and partake in Naked Hiking Day.

Nude hiking does give new meaning to the phrase “fanny pack.”

Being free of clothes doesn’t necessarily free these folks from certain health issues.

The obvious one is sunburn.

There’s also the chance for mosquito bites in all the wrong places.

And doctors say the best way to keep ticks from getting to your skin while hiking is to tuck your pant legs into your socks. So much for tucking.

International Naturist Federation, a website “dedicated to nudists and naturists,” says you haven’t lived until you’ve hiked naked.

I don’t know – I nearly chopped off my thumb with a hatchet when Bonnie and I went camping a while back. Considering the hatchet job I might accidentally perform on other body parts, I’m not sure I’d still be in one piece if I hiked in the nude. At the very least, I’m sure I would be scarred for life, as would any of the hikers I’d pass on my journey.

The website asks visitors the question: Have you ever been walking along in the wilderness and thought, “Gee, this would feel even better without clothes?” That depends. Would I really want to be squatting naked, rubbing two sticks together in hopes of starting a fire? Or worse — actually starting a fire?

Some nudists get close to nature on World Naked Gardening Day, celebrated by folks who are obviously no prudes to pruning. It might not be the best time to replant that thorny rose bush, re-pot the cacti or snip away at the spiny succulents.

Now, I’m not totally opposed to being au naturel. Au contraire.

I’m just not sure about mixing nudity with the newest sports craze for older folks: pickleball. 

Naturist resorts from coast to coast are finding out that nudists want more pickleball. Clothing-optional resorts are advertising their pickleball facilities, holding tournaments, and putting in more courts to meet the demand.

A story in the newsletter Pickler said, “Nude pickleball is … er, um … busting out all over,” and “beating the pants off its competition.”

Mike Sullivan, a USA Pickleball ambassador and resident of Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, Florida told Pickler, “Pickleball is the biggest sport here by five times.” He said the resort has 172 dues-paying nudists playing there seven days a week.

“We tell people, just bring your tennis shoes. We provide the paddles and the balls,” Sullivan said.

He adds, people who play pickleball in the nude say that it’s much more comfortable than playing while clothed. There’s no sweaty, clinging clothing to deal with, and it’s easier to cool down after playing a few games.

“As with anything nude vs. clothed, it’s the feeling of the sun and the wind on your body and the freedom of it,” said Larry Ford, who operates from the Alpenglow Ranch, a nudist bed-and-breakfast resort in Bend, Oregon.

Even in The Villages, the somewhat staid collection of retirement neighborhoods in central Florida, nude pickleball is gaining attention. As someone noted in the community newsletter, “Sometimes ‘decency’ and ‘respectability’ can take a back seat to having a bit of fun.” Someone else posted, “A bit of public nudity isn’t the end of civilization. Just make sure you reapply the sunblock. Everywhere!”



Barry Lewis is a longtime journalist and author who lives with his wife Bonnie in the Town of Neversink. He can be reached at barrylewisscdemocrat@gmail.com.


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