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It may be the last thing you think about packing, but choosing the right underwear for your next hiking adventure can make a huge difference on your backcountry experience. The best hiking underwear fits tight around your skin, dries fast, and is breathable. It allows you to walk for hours or days without ever causing discomfort.

As with any piece of technical clothing, deciding what is the right underwear depends largely on where you will be hiking and in what season. In this article, we’ll guide you through the best hiking underwear available out there, taking into account budget, style, and materials. Whether you are out camping for the weekend or setting out for a multi-day alpine trek, we have you covered.

For more of our top hiking apparel recommendations, check out the Best Hiking Underwear for Women.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Underwear for Hiking

  1. REI Co-op Briefs
  2. BN3TH Classics Boxer Briefs
  3. ExOfficio Give-N-Go
  4. Smartwool Merino Sport 150
  5. ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh
  6. SportHill Northwind Unders
  7. Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs
  8. Saxx Vibe
  9. REI Co-op Boxers
  10. Saxx Quest 2.0

 

Comparison Table - Best Underwear for Hiking

PictureNameMaterialInseamFly OpeningPriceRating
REI Co-op Briefs87% Polyester, 13% SpandexN/AYes$4.0
BN3TH Classics Boxer Briefs95% Modal, 5% Spandex6.5 inchesNo$$4.4
ExOfficio Give-N-Go94% Nylon, 6% Spandex5.5 inchesYes$$4.2
Smartwool Merino Sport 15056% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester3 inchesNo$$4.9
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh92% Nylon, 8% Lycra Spandex6 inchesYes$$4.3
SportHill Northwind Unders90% Polypropylene, 10% Spandex8.75 inchesNo$$$4.8
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Lycra Spandex4.6 inchesNo$$$4.9
Saxx Vibe95% Viscose, 5% Spandex5 inchesNo$$4.3
REI Co-op Boxers87% Polyester, 13% Spandex4.75 inchesYes$$4.2
Saxx Quest 2.077% Nylon, 14% Spandex, 9% Polyester5 inchesYes$$4.6
PictureNameMaterialInseamFly OpeningPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Hiking Underwear

REI Co-op Briefs

Specs
  • Inseam: N/A
  • Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
  • Fly Opening: Yes
Features
  • Built With Breathable And Moisture Wicking Fabrics
  • Waistband With A Brushed Inner Face For Extra Comfort
  • Stretchy But Soft

BEST FOR: DAY EXPEDITIONS

Are you worried about the state of your underwear after a long day of adventuring? Do you find that you’re left feeling sweaty and sticky? Well, throw away those plain old briefs and pick up a pair of REI Co-op Briefs. Built with 87% Polyester and 13% Spandex, these briefs are extremely comfortable and breathable, complemented with moisture wicking capabilities that won’t leave you stuck to the fabric after a long hike. These briefs stretch to fit perfectly around your body thanks to the 4-way stretch fabric with anti-odor properties (so you aren’t left stinking up the car on the way home). The waistband with a brushed inner face guarantees maximum comfort, even after a full day on the trail.

BN3TH Classics Boxer Briefs

Specs
  • Inseam: 6.5 inches
  • Material: 95% Modal, 5% Spandex
  • Fly Opening: No
Features
  • 3-dimensional Pouch For Complete Support
  • Breathable, Wrinkle-resistant Fabric
  • Knit Waistband For Ultimate Comfort

BEST FOR: “COMFORT-FIRST” BACKPACKERS

If you’re looking for boxer briefs that’ll provide you with long lasting comfort, look no further than the BN3TH Classic Boxer Briefs. These briefs have MyPakage Technology, which includes a 3-dimensional pouch that will give a man complete support, without having to worry about constant readjusting or shifting throughout the day. The 95% Modal fabric is breathable and soft against the skin, with the added touch of being wrinkle resistant. The luxurious knit waistband combined with the no rub tag ensures ultimate comfort. If you’re worried about these briefs showing through your pants, there’s no need — there are little to no visible seams, and the soft fabric settles perfectly to the contours of your body.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go

Specs
  • Inseam: 5.5 inches
  • Material: 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex
  • Fly Opening: Yes
Features
  • Breathable Mesh For Increased Airflow
  • Quick-drying
  • Durable And Odor Resistant

BEST FOR: THE LIGHT PACKER

If you’re looking for big features that come in small packages, the ExOfficio Give-N-Go Printed Boxer Briefs may be the right piece of underwear for you. These lightweight briefs are easy to bring along with you on any trip you have planned, you can even throw them in your carry on without any worry if you’re packing light. The antimicrobial treated fabric battles against any unwanted odors, made from breathable mesh that’ll keep you cool and comfortable where you need it most for hours. Seeing as they are so light, these briefs are easy to chuck in the laundry or quickly wash up in the sink of your hotel, only needing a couple of hours before they are completely dry and ready to wear again. With this quick-drying system, you shouldn’t need more than a couple of pairs per trip, helping again to save you space while packing.

Smartwool Merino Sport 150

Specs
  • Inseam: 3 inches
  • Material: 56% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester
  • Fly Opening: No
Features
  • Great For Both Cold And Warm Weather
  • Double Front Panel For Extra Support
  • Combined Fabric For Moisture, Temperature, And Odor Control

BEST FOR: ALL-AROUND COMFORT

The Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Boxer Briefs are luxury at it’s finest — providing you with all-around comfort whether you’re tackling a hard hiking trail or relaxing at home with a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter if you’re a winter wanderer or if you prefer the warmer months of summer, these briefs will warm you up in the cold, while providing breathability and odor resistance in the sticky summer months. The double front panel provides you with some extra support where you need it the most. The merino and polyester blended fabric not only provides you the temperature and odor control mentioned above, you also get the durability and quick drying time that comes with typical polyester briefs. What more could you want?

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh

Specs
  • Inseam: 6 inches
  • Material: 92% Nylon, 8% Lycra Spandex
  • Fly Opening: Yes
Features
  • Quick-drying Breathable Mesh
  • Anti-odor Technology
  • Soft Waistband

BEST FOR: TRAIL RUNNERS

If you often find yourself chasing the trails and are left feeling sweaty, chafed, and uncomfortable after even the shortest track, it’s time to pick yourself up a pair of ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs. These briefs are long and soft, providing you with enough thigh coverage that you won’t end up red and raw from chafing. The ultralight mesh fabric is stretchy and breathable, and has been treated with AEGIS Microbe Shield to stop any odor causing bacteria from attaching itself to the fabric. The fly panel is constructed with the Give-N-Go signature mesh to ensure all day support, even when you’re bouncing up and down the trails. The form fittedness of these briefs ensure that they don’t move into places that they aren’t supposed to, regardless of how vigorous your running techniques are.

SportHill Northwind Unders

Specs
  • Inseam: 8.75 inches
  • Material: 90% Polypropylene, 10% Spandex
  • Fly Opening: No
Features
  • Flat Elastic Band Sits 1 Inch Below The Natural Waistline For Extra Comfort
  • Tight Fit For Increased Support
  • Moisture Wicking Fabric

BEST FOR: CONQUERING ALPINE PEAKS

If icy cold mountain tops are your adventure of choice, staying warm and comfortable on your treks should be one of your main concerns. The SportHill Northwind Unders Underwear doesn’t fall short when it comes to weather protection. The 3SP Fabric has a tight, close-to-body fit that allows you to take full advantage of its temperature regulating qualities, without feeling like you’re being dragged down by any weighty fabric. The fabric is moisture wicking, meaning you don’t have to worry about sweat or rain on your outdoor excursions. They’re priced on the higher end, coming in at $50 a pair, but they’re a worthy investment when it comes to all the features that are packed into them.

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs

Specs
  • Inseam: 4.6 inches
  • Material: 83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Lycra Spandex
  • Fly Opening: No
Features
  • Contoured Pouch For Extra Support
  • Great For Colder Environments
  • Extra Durable But Soft At The Same Time

BEST FOR: WINTER EXPLORERS

The Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs really do live up to their name– perfect for those long winter hikes, the 83% merino wool fabric provides softness and warmth, combined with 12% Nylon and 5% Lycra that ensures a tight fit and extreme durability. The contoured front pouch adds support, even when you’re on the move. The Flatlock seams help eliminate chafing which would normally be caused by any old pair of briefs that aren’t built for long wear. The quick drying properties ensure that even if you end up drenched in your adventures, it will only take a few hours before they’re ready to wear again. The moisture-wicking fabric also helps to keep sweat at bay, allowing you to move comfortably without sticking to your briefs in unwanted places.

Saxx Vibe

Specs
  • Inseam: 5 inches
  • Material: 95% Viscose, 5% Spandex
  • Fly Opening: No
Features
  • Viscose Fabric Wicks Moisture
  • The Softer Side Of The Seams Are Placed Inwards For Extra Comfort
  • Limited Edition Prints

BEST FOR: DAY HIKERS

If you spend most of your days on long hikes, and then subsequently pulling and prodding at your boxers to get them to sit in the right spot throughout your trekking, you should really be swapping yours out for a pair of Saxx Vibe Boxer Briefs. These briefs provide all day comfort where you need it the most, with viscose fabric that will wick away any moisture or sweat that forms, allowing you to stay dry and comfortable for hours on end. The patented BallPark Pouch gives you the right amount of support, remaining friction free and limiting the amount of adjusting you’ll need to do. The 9-panel construction puts the flatter and softer sides of the seams on the inside, ensuring extra comfort. If you like a little fashion with your underwear, these boxer briefs also come in a number of limited edition prints.

REI Co-op Boxers

Specs
  • Inseam: 4.75 inches
  • Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
  • Fly Opening: Yes
Features
  • Stretch Fabric For Extra Comfort
  • Ergonomic Fly Panel For Increased Support
  • Treated To Combat Bacteria

BEST FOR: TREKKING, RUNNING, OR CYCLING

If you’re looking for a pair of boxer briefs that can really do it all, supporting you wherever your sporting endeavors end up taking you, the REI Co-op Boxers will not let you down. They come with light stretch fabric that provides breathability and comfort whether you’re trekking, running or cycling. The fly panel is constructed with the traditional ergonomic shape, ensuring you get extra support where it’s really needed. As well as being moisture wicking, these briefs are also odor-resistant and quick drying, meaning they don’t need much more than a quick wash if you’re on the go, and they’ll be ready to use again in just a couple of hours.

Saxx Quest 2.0

Specs
  • Inseam: 5 inches
  • Material: 77% Nylon, 14% Spandex, 9% Polyester
  • Fly Opening: Yes
Features
  • Flat Seams For Extra Softness
  • Elastic Waistband
  • Lightweight

BEST FOR: EPIC ADVENTURES

When you find yourself on the most epic of adventures, the last thing you want is a lackluster pair of briefs dragging you down and making the whole trip uncomfortable. If you’re wearing the Saxx Quest 2.0 Boxer Briefs, you’ll be supported from the very beginning. Extremely soft and lightweight, this modern fit uses a 9 panel construction with anti-chafing flat seams to ensure that you aren’t left feeling red and raw after a day full of excitement. These boxer briefs are ideal for on-the-go wash and wear, as they’re quick drying, and should be ready to wear in no longer than a few hours once you’ve given them a quick wash. The waistband is moisture wicking, and has anti-roll properties, ensuring that you’re kept feeling secure for the whole time that you’re wearing them.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING

MATERIALS

Just like when you’re choosing some lycra shorts or a good pair of running shoes, you want the briefs you pick to be comfortable. Some briefs will leave you feeling red and raw after just a few hours, while others end up sticking to your skin with sweat. You’ll want to invest in a pair that are easy to throw in your bag, breathable, and preferably quick drying to ensure you’ll never go without.

The most suitable pairs of briefs are typically made of merino wool, lycra, nylon or a combination of these fabrics. It is never a good idea to go for cotton briefs, as cotton really does just trap in all the bad stuff. Merino is the most popular choice of fabric, due to its breathable nature and soft texture. When choosing a pair of briefs, finding a fabric that suits your needs should be one of your number one concerns.

 

ANTIMICROBIAL PROPERTIES

Sweating is a natural bodily function, and when we’re hiking or doing other strenuous activity, it is quite likely that we will sweat more than we normally would. Hiking underwear should be marketed as being antimicrobial, as it will ensure that your underwear is kept fresher for longer, with is a must if you’re hiking for days at a time or can’t bring a lot of things with you.

The natural antimicrobial properties of merino wool make it even more of a great candidate for hiking underwear. Polyester and other synthetics must be treated with antimicrobial mediums in order to be marketed this way.

 

CONSTRUCTION AND DURABILITY

It would be incredibly awkward, not to mention painful, to have your underwear start to break apart when you’re in the middle of a trek. Flatlock seams provide added strength as well as being able to reduce chafing, as you don’t have a heavy seam rubbing against your skin for hours at a time. The perfect hiking undies should be able to withstand some heavy use and shouldn’t break down after a couple of washes.

 

CUT

It’s your decision to make about how you would prefer your underwear to be cut, whichever makes you feel the most comfortable. Some people like their underwear to fit them quite snugly, like boxer briefs as they fit nicely underneath hiking pants and don’t ride up too high to interfere with a day pack.

 

WASHING CARE

It is easy to miss the cleaning instructions on your clothes, becoming used to just chucking them in the washing machine and let it do it’s thing, but you must use a little bit of care when washing your hiking underwear. You wouldn’t want to end up with holes or tears in your underwear after a couple of uses just because they aren’t being washed correctly. If you plan to be trekking over a few days at a time, you should consider some underwear that can be washed in the sink and hung out to dry, preferably with quick dry capabilities. Having underwear that can also be thrown in the washing machine when you aren’t out hiking would also be ideal.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

FLY OPENING

The front opening that allows to urinate without pulling the underwear down.

ANTIMICROBIAL

The property of a fabric that prevents the spread of bacteria.

MODAL

Modal, also known as rayon, is a very breathable type of fabric often used in activewear.

INSEAM

The vertical line found in the interior of the boxers, starting from the crotch.

READ MORE

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