Underwear. Everyone wears them – nothing embarrassing here. In this guide, you'll learn about the best underwear for hiking, including the top 5 features (buyers guide) and the best hiking underwear for men and women.
Best Hiking Underwear for Comfort
Are you tired of the coming back from a hiking trip chaffed? Are you ready to make the move to better unmentionables?
This buyer’s guide will help you decide on the best underwear for hiking. Whether male or female, you will find important information on what type of undergarments you should be wearing for the most comfort.
Finally, this guide will review the 10 best types of underwear for hiking for both men and women.
There are 3 main sections to this guide:
- Buyers Guide to Hiking Underwear (jump to section)
- Women's underwear for hiking (jump to section)
- Men's underwear for hiking (jump to section)
More reading: How to use a compass without a map
6 Factors: Choose the Best Hiking Underwear
There are a number of factors to choosing the best (most comfortable) underwear for your next hike. Ignore one and you might regret it. Let's get started!
1. Material: Synthetic vs Wool
What it really comes down to is synthetic versus wool. As a rule, no cotton should be worn as a base layer of any kind. Why? Cotton soaks up sweat, and does not dry quickly. The results are chafing, discomfort, and potential infection.
Both synthetic and wool do a good job of drying quickly, breathing, and moisture wicking. However, there are some pros and cons to each.
- Merino wool underwear stays warm when wet, offers breathability, and acts as a natural microbial.
- Synthetic undergarments are typically less expensive, much stronger, and faster drying.
2. Flatlock Seams
Flatlock seams are a must on the best underwear for hiking. If your seams are sticking out, they will rub uncomfortably on your nether regions and cause chafing.
In addition, you won’t want a seam that runs down the middle of the underwear. Over time this will cause discomfort.
The best underwear for hiking will have antimicrobial properties to keep bacteria in moist areas under control. As mentioned, merino wool is naturally antimicrobial. However, not everyone likes the feel of this material.
Synthetic materials are usually treated to give them protective properties, though these will get washed out eventually.
You will want to find underwear that is made to last. It is important that whatever products you chose will hold up during machine washing.
If your unmentionables begin to lose their form, they will also become uncomfortable and cause chafing and bunching.
5. Moisture Wicking
It is important to choose underwear that has moisture-wicking properties. This means the material will naturally pull sweat away from your body while you are hiking.
Moisture wicking will help you stay dry and clean during your adventures. This can feel like a lifesaver during hot hikes.
Material breathability is also important when deciding on the best underwear for hiking. There are many reasons this factor is key.
The more the undergarment is able to allow air to pass through, the faster it will dry. The faster it dries, the less likely you will feel uncomfortable.
Not only that, but the more breathable the underwear, the more free and breezy you will feel down there. Your skin will thank you for helping it do what it needs to regulate your body.
Read more: 13 Thru Hiking Tips for Beginners
Women’s Best Hiking Underwear
Style for Women: Although most undergarments for women are made to enhance sex appeal, you want to choose something that will enhance performance. You don’t want to be pulling at your underwear all day.
Avoid high wasted: High waisted is another kind of underwear that should be avoided on the trail. The rubbing of your backpack straps and belt loops around your waist is enough.
There is no need to add more factors to cause chafing. For women, a mid-rise cut offers the best of both worlds.
1. ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs
In addition, this undergarment is made of the synthetic materials nylon and spandex. These materials are coated with antimicrobial protection for utmost health and odor reduction.
Additionally, the spandex makes it so your Give-N-Go’s don’t ride up and allow your waist to experience maximum comfort.
The synthetic nature of these bikini briefs makes them affordable for even the thriftiest of hikers. Furthermore, this underwear is breathable and allows you to feel light and dry on the trail. Finally, these ExOfficio’s are longwearing.
If you are out on a backpacking trip and forget to pack more underwear, these briefs will last comfortably for days!
2. Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless Bikini Panties
Available in a variety of color combinations, the Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless Bikini Panties were created with individual taste in mind. All underwear is made with a nylon and elastane combination. This ensures your underwear will dry quickly with maximum breathability.
There are no tags or seams to rub you the wrong way, and the nylon elastane will keep your unmentionables in place throughout even the toughest hike.
There will be no panty lines, either! In addition, the synthetic materials ensure odor resistance and moisture wicking performance.
3. Kalon Women’s Hipster Briefs
These materials are blended in such a way to give you a soft and stretchy experience. They allow for a breathable journey.
There are no side seams to chafe you, and the leg edges are made of a sewn binding. The Kalon underwear is machine washable, as are all the best underwear for hiking. Additionally, these undergarments are in a bikini-brief style.
4. Boody EcoWear Women’s Sporty Cooling Underwear
Rayon derived from bamboo makes up 80 percent, whereas only 13 percent is nylon and 7 percent is spandex. This makes the EcoWear a sustainable, eco friendly product.
The Boody Sporty Cooling Underwear boasts no seams to get in the way and cause chafing. They are also form fitting, so there will not be any unnecessary rubbing.
The organic bamboo rayon allows the undergarments to thermo-regulate your temperature. Breathable, moisture wicking, and hypoallergenic, these EcoWears were made to contend for the best underwear for hiking.
5. Wealurre Seamless Underwear Invisible Bikini
The lining is 96 percent viscose, and 4 percent spandex. This allows for maximum breathability, as well as a comfortable stretch while hiking.
This type of underwear is a low-rise bikini, meaning you won’t be chafing where your backpack hugs your waist.
There are no seams, so you don’t have to worry about panty lines or the havoc they can reek after repeated steps. This ensures you will be able to go the extra mile – literally!
Read more about hiking with kids
Men’s Best Underwear for Hiking
Style for Men: Men’s best underwear for hiking will have a close fit. Anything loose will rub too much and cause chafing and discomfort.
Additionally, the close fit will allow the moisture-wicking properties to work! If the material doesn’t touch your skin, it won’t be able to pull your sweat away.
If you have an issue with inner thigh chafing, it is important to choose an undergarment that is long enough to cover your whole inner thigh.
That is why wearing knee-length underwear is crucial to keeping more than your nether regions healthy. For men, very long boxer briefs fit the bill!
1. Apex Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs
That fact alone makes them naturally antimicrobial, so you no longer need to worry about bacteria getting out of control. Additionally, the merino wool allows for maximum breathability.
The Apex brags a form-fitting, seamless design to keep you comfortable all hike long. Additionally, the fly has been redesigned for better support and stability while outdoors.
The length on these merino wool boxer briefs is long thigh length, to protect your whole upper leg from chafing. Finally, these undergarments are moisture wicking as well as machine washable.
2. Under Armour Men’s Original Series Boxerjock
The Under Armour Men’s Original Series Boxerjock are some of the best underwear for hiking. The 90% polyester and 10% elastane work together to offer breathability as well as performance, and the materials allow for a 4-way stretch.
This gives you mobility in all directions on your journey. Additionally, Under Armour included their moisture transport system to wick away sweat and dry quickly for comfort.
The mesh fly panel is articulated for better stability, and the fabric gives you all of the benefits of Under Armour HeatGear. The fit is next to your skin without any squeeze, so you don’t have to worry about your skin’s health.
These Boxerjock’s are 6 inches long, so if chafing isn’t an issue Under Armour may be right for you!
3. ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
ExOfficio is a reputable brand known for their lightweight, durable, dependable outdoor clothing. Their underwear is no exception. The ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Brief is one of the best hiking underwear options on the market.
The Give-N-Go is made from 94 percent nylon and 6 percent lycra spandex. This underwear is also machine washable for quick and easy after hike clean up.
In addition, these materials dry quickly. So, if you get rained on or just sweaty on the trail, your skin won’t stay moist for long.
Additionally, these undergarments are treated with antimicrobials to keep odor causing bacteria from growing. The fabric has been diamond-woven, so you know you are getting underwear that will hold its shape and stay durable.
4. Quicksilk Men’s Bamboo Fiber Boxer Briefs
Besides the 5 percent spandex, the rest of the undergarment is made of 95 percent sustainable, eco friendly bamboo. They are seamless, and work great for keeping chafe to a minimum.
These boxer briefs are the shortest on the list, so if you tend to get uncomfortable in your inner thigh area you will want to go with another product. If you don’t chafe, this undergarment is soft and worth looking into!
5. David Archy Men’s Performance Boxer Briefs
The name says it all: these boxer briefs were made for performance! David Archy Men’s Performance Boxer Briefs are made of polyamide and spandex to offer you a high technology fabric. This allows for breathability, fast drying, and moisture wicking.
To prevent chafing, David Archy offers longer legs. In addition, the seams are flatlocked for your skin’s protection. The front pouch is a 3D design with fly so you can go when nature calls.
If you want some of the best underwear for hiking, check out these performance boxer briefs!
What about your feet? Check out: Trail Guide to Dry and Healthy Feet
The Best Underwear For Hiking: In Summary
Whether you are male or female, there is something on this list of 10 unmentionables for you! All of the best underwear for hiking has a few factors in common: breathability, moisture control, odor resistance, antimicrobial properties, and flatlocked seams.
If you buy with these 5 factors in mind, you will always find the best underwear for hiking. However, each individual has different preferences, so it is worth trying a few out to see what works best!
What is your favorite performance underwear (brand, style, or material)? Let me know in the comments!
Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on GudGear – and is working to make it the best resource for outside gear. She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Click Like This. Dena is partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.