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Best Hiking Underwear: Choosing the Foundation for Your Hiking Layers

Best Hiking Underwear
Bradley Page
Written by Bradley Page

Are you a boxer person, a brief person or a boxer brief person? Whichever the case, comfort is paramount. Comfort is among the most important things for any backpacker and that starts with comfortable attires that come into contact with your skin. Underwear is among the most underrated hiking garments.

Backpackers, hikers and mountaineers spend lots of cash on other items for their outside adventures but forget all about their underwear. What they do not understand is they should actually invest more on hiking underwear not only for comfort but for performance. This is even more important for those who go for long hiking trips where anti microbial underwear will help one to pack lighter and even smell better.

Some Hiking Underwear

In this review we give information regarding all you should know concerning the best hiking underwear.

Our top picks

Product NameFabricSizesBreathablePrice
ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs94% nylon, 6% lycra spandexS - 2XLYesCheck price on Amazon
ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs94% nylon, 6% lycra spandexXS - 2XLYesCheck price on Amazon
ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Boyshort Brief94% nylon, 6% lycra spandex2XS - LYesCheck price on Amazon
Under Armour Men's Original Series Boxer Jock90% polyester, 10% elastaneS - 2XLYesCheck price on Amazon
Icebreaker Men's Anatomica Long BoxerNylon fibers, Merino woolS - 2XLYesCheck price on Amazon
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Daily Boxer Briefs100% recycled polyesterS - 2XLYesCheck price on Amazon

Types of hiking underwear

There are a few types of underwear which includes the following:

  • Boxers: They are the ordinary men’s underwear. They provide maximum breathability and are the loosest fitting kinds of underwear. As boxers are prone to bunching and offer no support they are often not a favorite among hikers.
  • Briefs: Also called tidy whites, briefs are the standard kind of underwear. They are short and offer good fitting. They are great for an everyday wear as they offer good support as well as coverage and they do not restrict movement.
  • Boxer briefs: Just as their name suggest, they are a combination of boxers and briefs. They are full length and fit tighter than boxers and thus prevent friction while at the same time offering great support.

Types of Brief

Features to Consider Before Buying

Material

The fabric of underwear is a huge factor. A lot of things are taken into consideration when looking at the material. A good material for hiking underwear is one that leaves you comfortable all day long and also one that does not cause rubbing or chaffing. There are different kinds of materials. Some keep bad odor from building up, others breathe better, and some are lightweight while others will keep you warm throughout.

Material of Hiking Underwear

Ordinary underwear is made of cotton. For hikers, cotton is a big no. This is because when wet, cotton takes longer time to dry up while in the mean time it sucks heat out of your body. Cotton is great with the urban casual wear but it does not cut right in the outdoor sporting world.

Some of the most common materials you might come across in the market are polyester and merino wool. Elastane is at times also added to these fabrics to make them stretch better and increase comfort. Often polyester is combined together with some bit of spandex. This makes it to be a favorite of many hikers because it dries up very fast and also breathes well.

Merino wool on the other hand does not only assure you of warmth even when wet but also it does not give room for bacteria to build up. It also sucks up moisture but not as good as polyester does. Another advantage that comes with merino wool is that it is a natural material that is naturally antimicrobial and pleasant to touch.

Antimicrobial

Any enthusiastic hiker is aware that any hike that takes days is hard on your body and also hard on your attire. The last thing you would want is to be worried sick about your underwear.

Anti-Microbial Underwear

Even when you go on escapades in the rivers and mud, the antimicrobial material will ensure your underwear remains clean throughout. This vital feature can be added as spray to your garment or made into the material or washed with the material. In the event any bacteria come into contact with the material it gets killed right away.

Breathability

It is important to know that various fabrics have different breathability. The layer that should be more breathable is that which comes into direct contact with your skin. With this kind of material, you will be able to stay dry and comfortable as this fabric is often combined with a wicking material. If you are planning to go for a hike that will probably take a longer time, then this factor should greatly be considered.

Laundry Care

Antimicrobial properties coupled with a lightweight design make any hiking underwear to be hand washed fast and then hung to dry with the help of fast drying technology. Go for under garments that can be washed even on a cold cycle and also those that are machine washable.

Washing Hiking Underwear

However, be keen to watch out for bleach and fabric softeners while washing hiking underwear as they can erode the technology in the material.

Wicking

As an avid hiker, l bet you have once been caught up in a situation where unexpected rainfall catches up with you in the wild and thus leaving you with heavy and wet clothes clinging to your body. With wicking technology, the moisture is sucked away from your skin and enables it to dry up with the passing of time. Your body needs to be dry when out on longer hikes and any amount of moisture against your body coupled with the cold in the night could bring about hypothermia.

Lightweight

As a backpacker, you should always go for materials that are more lightweight. However, this will also depend on the kind of weather you will be hiking in.

Lightweight underwear

Colder weather call for hiking underwear with more layers to keep one warm while at the same time giving you room to breathe. Warmer weather conditions call for ultra lightweight underwear. Lightweight underwear is the most condusive for most hiking weather conditions.

Flat lock

Go for materials that have flat lock technology. This is a unique kind of seam which connects the material without necessarily overlapping.

The end of one piece of the material is connected to the other end by stitching that connects the two ends in a more minimal manner. This technology reduces bunching and rubbing on your skin and thus making longer hikes a better experience. Garments with flat lock technology are more comfortable as compared to lapped materials.

Durability

Go for underwear that will serve you over a longer period of time. Be sure to know that it will maintain its properties even after several regular washing and machine washing. This again will depend on the kind of material it is made of.

Style

Most hikers prefer boxer briefs because they provide a tight fit and therefore transport perspiration more efficiently from your skin to outer layers. Looser fits leave your thighs prone to chafing whereas a tight fit protects them from chafing.

Boxer Brief for Hiking

For those with thigh chafing problems, it is advised that you should put on longer boxer briefs (knee length) as they will cover your thighs properly. Underwear with elastic leg cuffs do not ride up and this is great when high stepping or hiking.

Waist band

Go for underwear that is neither too small nor too big at the waist band. Experiment till you get one that fits properly.

Versatility

While out shopping, go for underwear you can use when hiking as well as when at home. This is always a great feature.

Best Products on Today’s Market

ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer BriefsExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 9

Price: $24 – $32

Size: S – 2XL

Specific features: 92% nylon, 8% lycra spandex, diamond knit mesh ergonomic fly panel, smooth waistband design

Best use: Hiking, cycling, trekking, home use

This hiking underwear is for those who love to spend lots of their time exploring and adventuring in the wild. The all new Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs have been uniquely designed with ergonomic fit and ultra light mesh for top active performance. You can be sure to remain cool, fresh and very comfortable with it as it is breathable and dries quickly thanks to fabric.

The waist band rises to the small of your hips right below the waist which is a stable position. The thin and stretchy material tightly hugs to the contours of your body erasing the fears of the underwear feeling loose. Thanks to the 9 inch length, the attire stays in place without ridding up.

This underwear provides no restriction to movement and will never leave you feeling humid or hot. It works quite well for both active situations and during rests. It has no odor as the moisture is quickly wicked out and quickly evaporates.

PROS:

  • Has no odor
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Has no restriction to movement

CONS:

  • Not long lasting
  • Rides up after periods of use

Check the price on Amazon

ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Bikini BriefsExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs

Price: $8 – $35

Size: XS – 2XL

Specific features: 94% nylon, 6% lycra spandex, elastic waist band, moisture wicking fabric

Best use: Swimming, hiking, home use

The all fabulous ExOfficio Women’s Give–N–Go Bikini Briefs are a great line of underwear coming in an array of colors to meet your taste and likes. For those women who love elegance this is the underwear to go for. It has been made with great technology and will give you some good service because it is breathable and light weight.

This is your ultimate solution to moving through your day in elegance because it has a quick drying mesh knit diamond which is breathable and dries up very fast. This makes it to be odor resistant allowing you to move fresh and comfortable in the wilderness and at home. It is easy to wash, only rinse it and hang it and you will be good to go. You can travel with two pairs, wash one by hand and wear the other. They dry out in an hour’s time.

They fit pretty well and they will leave you feeling comfortable all day long. The briefs fit quite well along the back of the legs and do not bunch up even after long hours of hiking. The fabric has a perfect and smooth touch which does not irritate your skin.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • No odor

CONS:

  • Not machine washable
  • Ride down after long period of usage

Check the price on Amazon

ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Boyshort BriefExOfficio Women's Boy Cut Brief

Price: $20 – $25

Size: 2XS – L

Specific fetures: Nylon, lightweight, flat elastic binding, heat transfer logo

Best use: Backpacking, camping, everyday, fishing, golfing, hiking, in transit, lounging, outdoor work

Are you looking for an all weather, any time hiking underwear? The ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Boyshort Brief is here for you. They fit perfectly, hold up well and do not bunch up as you move about. With these briefs, you do not have to worry about panty lines showing under your active wear and their shrinking/ bunching is off the hook. They are durable because the material is made of high quality material.

These under wears are easy to wash and dry up pretty fast. Simply wash, hang and in an hour’s time they are dried up and good to go. Forget about tossing your underwear every other time because of stains. With these, you keep stains at bay as you only give them a light wash and they are as good as new.

If you are packing light, you will love the light weight of these under wears. They are not smelly or clammy and always keep the layers above them fresh. This is because their material is breathable. The fabric also has a smooth and soft touch.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Easy to clean
  • Dry fast
  • Hold up in place

CONS:

  • The white ones do not retain their brightness for long.
  • Panty liners and pads may shift as he surface is too smooth to hold the adhesive.

Check the price on Amazon

Under Armour Men’s Original Series BoxerjockUnder Armour Men's Original Series 6

Price: $9.36 – $56

Size: S – 2XL

Specific features: 90% polyester, 10% elastane, articulated mesh fly panel, moisture transport system, stretchy waistband

Best use: Backpacking, camping, everyday, fishing, golfing, hiking, in transit, lounging, outdoor work

This underwear is worth every penny you spend on it. This is a favorite among backpackers as they are of considerably light weight. Their fabric is amazingly smooth to give your skin total comfort. The articulated mesh fly panel makes it breathable and therefore assuring you of freshness throughout the day.

Thanks to the 4 way stretch fabrication, you get to be in a position to move about any direction wherever you go. With this underwear you can be sure to remain dry all time regardless of the weather condition because of the moisture transport system. The Under Armour Original Series Boxerjock is easy to wash and dries up very fast. Simply wash, hung and wait for a short time and you are good to go.

It has an amazing performance waist band. The waist band holds up tightly making it perfect for hiking and trekking activities. The working fly gives you an easy time during your outdoor adventures.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Easy to clean
  • Dry fast
  • Hold up in place

CONS:

  • The elastic band folds over within a short time.
  • They slide down within a short time

Check the price on Amazon

Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Long BoxerIcebreaker Men's Anatomica Long Boxer

Price: Approx. $50

Size: S – 2XL

Specific features: Bundle has HDO sport performance headband

Best use: Outdoor and hiking, travel and lifestyle, snow and sports, running and fitness

These all time boxers are made of merino wool blend fabric. Thanks to the merino wool blend they are super soft and stretchy. It is highly durable because the merino fabric is made with high technology. It holds up everything in place providing great support and comfort making it a perfect for both daily life activities and weekend adventures.

An experience with this amazing underwear will make you realize that these are the boxer shorts that you have long been looking for. The Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxer has a longer cut as well as an updated fit which makes them more comfortable. They also have corespun fabric which uses nylon fibers wrapped in merino wool for more durability as well as strength which retains next to skin softness.

It has been with flat lock technology which eliminates chafing while on the move. The contoured pouch has a fly providing additional support as well as better functionality.

PROS:

  • No chafing
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Has no restriction to movement

CONS:

  • Not long lasting
  • Rides up after periods of use

Check the price on Amazon

Patagonia Men’s Capilene Daily Boxer BriefsPatagonia Men’s Capilene Daily Boxer Briefs

Price: $14 – $30

Size: S – 2XL

Specific features: Stretchy waistband, articulated mesh fly panel

Best use: Outdoor and hiking, travel and lifestyle, snow and sports, running and fitness

This is a great boxer for daily life activities and any other outdoor activity. The fabric is breathable leaving you fresh and comfortable as you go about your business. Patagonia Capilene Daily Boxer Briefs has been made with flat lock technology which gets rid of chafing and thus making as comfortable as possible. It has a stretchy waist band which holds up perfectly even as you go trekking and hiking.

The boxer comes with a fly panel for increased performance and ease. These boxers are for any man with the love for adventure. It is easy to clean and dries up pretty fast.

PROS:

  • Fly panel for increased performance and ease
  • Easy to clean
  • Dries up fast

CONS:

  • A little tighter

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

Hiking underwear are important items for backpackers but are often given very little or no consideration. But comfort in the wild starts with having the right items to conquer the wild. You certainly do not want to be uneasy far away from civilization because of an under wear. Check out for the right material; one that leaves you dry and holds to the contour of your body properly.

Man on Best Hiking Underwear

Do you think that your hiking undergarment is an important part of your layering? Is there a pair featured above that caught your eye? Let us know in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bradley Page
Bradley Page

With several decades of experience as a backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Bradley is an open encyclopedia when it comes to gear, clothes, and other items that matter on the trail. He tested hundreds of shoes, pants, jackets, and backpacks in his long career and is always up to date with the new appearances in the niche. His experience makes him one of the authority figures in backpacking and he can help anyone to get prepared for a great adventure!

  • Charlie Biers

    The Under Armour Men’s Original Series Boxer Jock do a great job of keeping me dry. Much better than cotton boxer briefs have done. With these, if you get caught in a rainstorm, at least your butt won’t be wet all day! They seem to be really durable, as well, and dry really quickly.

  • Bradley Page

    Breathability and ease of use are important for me and the Under armour also fits my needs to a T. I also love the stretchy waistband. and the moisture transport system is A+! Thank you!

  • John Millard

    The ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs are hands down the best underwear I’ve worn, maybe ever. What do I like so much about them? They dry fast, they’re breathable and comfortable to wear, and unlike other underwear I have worn, they aren’t too tight in the crotch area.

  • Bradley Page

    That’s correct John, these are comfortable and and breathable, which is important if you’re outdoors. It’s crucial that we stay warm at all times.

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