Choosing the right clothing for hiking can be the difference between life and death. You’ve probably heard the phrase “cotton kills.” Cotton clothing is not the best choice for hiking or skiing because if it gets wet, it stays wet. While cotton underwear probably won’t kill you, it might not be the best choice in undergarments for hiking. Whether you’re just a day hiker or a thru-hiker on a three-month adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail, you’ll want a pair of underwear that’s both comfortable and breathable. So, what’s the best underwear for hiking?

One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to help make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for the outdoors. In this article, we’ll walk you through what to look for when shopping for hiking underwear and show you our selection of some of the best models available.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING

  1. Helly Hansen HH Warm Boxers
  2. ExOfficio Give-N-Go Mesh Boxers
  3. Craft Men’s Greatness Boxer Briefs
  4. ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Bikini Briefs
  5. Arcteryx Phase SL Briefs
  6. Patagonia Active Hipster Briefs
  7. SmartWool NTS 150 Micro Boxers
  8. Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
  9. REI Boxer Briefs
  10. Under Armour Compression 6″ Shorts

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Hiking

 

THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
UNDERWEAR
GENDER
CUT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
UNDERWEAR
GENDER
CUT
PRICE
RATING
Helly Hansen HH Warm Boxers
Men
Boxer
$$
4.0
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Mesh Boxers
Men
Boxer Briefs
$
4.0
Craft Men’s Greatness Boxer Briefs
Men
Boxer Brief
$
4.0
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Bikini Briefs
Women
Boxer Brief
$
4.0
Arcteryx Phase SL Briefs
Women
Boxer Brief
$$
5.0
patagonia
Patagonia Active Hipster Briefs
Women
Hipster Brief
$
4.1
SmartWool NTS 150 Micro Boxers
Men
Boxer Briefs
$$$
4.0
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
Men
Boxer
$$$
4.5
rei-boxer-briefs
REI Boxer Briefs
Men
Boxer Briefs
$
4.0
Under Armour Compression 6" Shorts
Men
Boxer Briefs
$
4.0

 

 

HIKING UNDERWEAR 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING

 

1. MATERIAL

Just like pants or a hiking shirt, you want your underwear to be comfortable. You don’t want your underwear to lead to rubbing or chafing in sensitive areas. You’ll also want a pair that is quick-drying, breathable, and lightweight.

Cotton is neither of these things. The best underwear for hiking is made of Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra, or a combination of those materials. Merino wool is one of the most popular choices because it’s soft and extra breathable.

 

2. ANTIMICROBIAL

Whether we want to admit it or not, we sweat down there. The best underwear for hiking should be antimicrobial. Antimicrobial material will help keep your undies fresh longer, which is especially important when you’re doing a multi-day hike and packing light.

Merino wool has natural antimicrobial properties making it once again one of the best choices. Synthetic materials, like polyester, are often treated to provide antimicrobial properties. If antimicrobial properties are important to you, make sure you read the label before making any purchases.

 

3. CONSTRUCTION AND DURABILITY

Nothing is worst than having your underwear fall apart mid hike. The best underwear for hiking should be constructed with flatlock seams because they are more comfort and designed to reduce chafing. Look for underwear that does not have vertical seams going down the middle of your bottom for even more comfort. Hiking underwear should be durable and maintain its construction and properties after regular washing.

 

4. CUT

The cut of hiking underwear is a personal choice. Choose whatever cut or style you are more comfortable wearing. Most people prefer a more fitted cut, like boxer briefs for men and bikini briefs for women, because they are the most comfortable to wear with hiking pants and a backpack. High waisted underwear may feel too binding and rub against your pack. On the other hand, low cut or thongs may be too skimpy and lead to serious chafing.

 

5. WASHING CARE

Most people don’t even consider washing instructions when purchasing new clothes, but care requirements for hiking underwear are important. If you are planning a multi-day trek then you want a pair of underwear that can easily be hand-washed and hung to dry. You want underwear that is quick-drying so that you can ensure you won’t be putting on wet undies the next morning. Additionally, it’s also nice to have machine-washable underwear for when you’re not on the trail.

If you end up getting merino wool underwear, have a look at our guide that’s all about how to wash merino wool.

 

best hiking underwear

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/jacoblund

 

HIKING UNDERWEAR REVIEWS

TOP 10 BEST UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING

 

1. THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING FOR MEN

HELLY HANSEN HH WARM BOXERS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 57% Merino Wool, 43% Polypropylene

CUT: Boxer

FEATURES: LIFA hydrophobic technology, antimicrobial properties, flatlock seams, elastic waistband

PROS: Perfect all-year-round lightweight underwear with antimicrobial properties

CONS: Doesn’t have a functional fly

 

 

 

EXOFFICIO GIVE-N-GO MESH SPORT BOXERS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

MATERIAL: 92% Nylon, 8% Lycra

CUT: Boxer brief

FEATURES: Aegis Microbe Shield, elastic waistband, ergonomic fly panel

PROS: Lightweight, breathable mesh boxer briefs

CONS: Prone to pilling after washing

 

 

 

CRAFT MEN’S GREATNESS BOXER BRIEFS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

MATERIAL: 88% Polyester, 12% Elastane

CUT: Boxer brief

FEATURES: Functional fly, Ergonomic fit

PROS: Perfect for summer hiking as the shorts are both comfortable and breathable

CONS: Does not have antimicrobial properties

 

 

 

 

2. THE BEST UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING FOR WOMEN

EXOFFICIO GIVE-N-GO SPORT MESH BIKINI BRIEFS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

MATERIAL: 93% Nylon, 7% Spandex

CUT: Bikini brief

FEATURES: Diamond weave mesh, flatlock seams, antimicrobial, odor-resistant

PROS: Great low rise comfortable bikini style bottom that is breathable and odor-resistant

CONS: Prone to pilling after washing

 

 

 

ARCTERYX PHASE SL BRIEFS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 70% Phasic SL Polyester, 30% Polypropylene

CUT: Bikini brief

FEATURES: Flatlock seams, elastic waistband, cotton gusset crotch, hydrophobic Phasic SL fabric

PROS: Lightweight, breathable mesh boxer briefs

CONS: Does not contain antimicrobial properties

 

 

 

PATAGONIA ACTIVE HIPSTER BRIEFS

patagonia

 

Check out the latest price on:
REI

MATERIAL: 93% Polyester, 7% Spandex

CUT: Hipster brief

FEATURES: Fast drying fabric, seamless waistband, single-sided bindings on the leg openings

PROS: Great all-around moisture-wicking underwear for women

CONS: Does not contain antimicrobial properties

 

 

 

 

3. THE BEST MERINO WOOL UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING

SMARTWOOL NTS 150 MICRO BOXERS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

WOMEN’S Version: SmartWool Women’s NTS 150 Micro Bikini

MATERIAL: 96% Merino Wool, 4% Elastane

CUT: Boxer brief

FEATURES: Flatlock internal seams, mid-rise, UPF 50+, functional fly, Elastic waistband

PROS: Comfortable, natural antimicrobial all-season fitted boxer shorts

CONS: Expensive

 

 

 

ICEBREAKER ANATOMICA BOXERS

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

WOMEN’S VERSION: Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Boy Shorts

MATERIAL: 100% Merino Wool

CUT: Boxer

FEATURES: Flatlock seams with no center back seam, natural antimicrobial, lightweight  slim-fit

PROS: This lightweight boxer is naturally antimicrobial and comfortable for all-day wear

CONS: Expensive compared to other underwear

 

 

 

4. THE BEST BUDGET UNDERWEAR FOR HIKING

REI BOXER BRIEFS

rei-boxer-briefs

Check out the latest price on:
REI

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex

CUT: Boxer brief

FEATURES: Elastic waistband, fully functional fly

PROS: Budget-friendly and moisture-wicking

CONS: Does not contain antimicrobial properties

 

 

 

UNDER ARMOUR COMPRESSION 6” SHORTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

WOMEN’S VERSION: Under Armour Women’s Ultra Compression Short

MATERIAL: 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane

CUT: Boxer Brief

FEATURES: Anti-odor technology, UPF 30+ sun protection, moisture-wicking compression fabric

PROS: Comfortable, breathable, and great for outdoor activities

CONS: Does not contain antimicrobial properties or have a functional fly

The 10 Best Underwear for Hiking – Hiking Clothes for Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring – Hiking Outfits for Women, Men and Kids – Backpacking Gear For Beginners
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