Best Hiking Underwear: keep comfortable on your next adventure

Check out the finest tech for stay, dry, warm and comfortable

Whether your preferred sport is hiking, mountaineering or trekking, you will agree that the sporting gear you choose to adorn has a huge part to play in your overall participation in your favorite pass time. When it comes to the outdoors, being suited in the right clothing has a great impact not only on your physical comfort but on your performance as well.

Unfortunately, outdoor enthusiasts usually spend a pretty penny on most of their clothing equipment but for some reason experience reservations on going the whole nine yards when it comes to purchasing under wear.

In our humble opinion, going for a long hike or trek with regular underwear is a self-inflicted punishment. It can be equated to going for a trek with ill fitting shoes. You can be sure the experience would be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Understanding hiking underwear

Hiking underwear is arguably one of the most underrated pieces of clothing equipment for those who love to hit the trail (or at least for those who have not undergone through the baptism of fire in the name of chaffing and self-inflicted wedgies).

Not wearing the right hiking underwear on the trail can be a source of great discomfort and definitely takes away the pleasure of the outdoor experience. It is kind of hard to enjoy the beautiful sweeping vistas when your inner thighs are raw from chaffing or you have to attend to a wedgie every five minutes and yet you have double figure kilometers to cover.

Hiking, mountaineering, and trekking, being endurance and high exertion physical activities, need to be undertaken when one has the right clothing equipment that allows them the comfort to perform optimally and enjoy the sport in the process.

Hiking underwear that is designed and constructed to ensure maximum comfort while on the trail is of paramount importance to that equation. So what exactly is hiking underwear?

The Basics

When it comes to hiking, just any underwear won’t do. It needs to be the kind that protects you from the common underwear discomforts you are likely to face on the trail, namely:

  • Rubbing
  • Odor
  • Sweating
  • Chaffing/ Rashes between the thighs and groin
  • Lack of ventilation, causing discomfort or overheating

 

Hiking underwear is constructed to combat all of the above-mentioned issues ensuring each problem is addressed and mitigated. They are usually:

  • Breathable
  • Able to prevent chaffing and rashes
  • Absorbent and fast drying
  • A snug fit and adequately cover your thighs
  • Have a tight waist band is tight and hug the body without causing discomfort or cutting off your circulation
  • Made of antimicrobial textile, or antimicrobial treated textile which means your underwear will remain fresh even after several days of use

Finding the right pair for you

Finding the right fit for your expedition

What are the things to look out for when selecting excellent hiking underwear?

1. Material

The type of material used in hiking underwear is geared towards being comfortable. The materials used would be natural material like Merino wool or synthetic materials like polyester and Nylon. Usually, elastane might be added to these materials to provide better stretch and comfort.

Merino wool, polyester, and Nylon are common features in the construction of hiking underwear because they are:

  • Breathable
  • Moisture wicking
  • Quick drying
 

These properties help to effectively maintain your body’s natural temperature. The choice between the two can be a bit hard to make owing to the similar comfort levels. However, while both of them are exceptional choices, they do differ in benefits and a user would need to thoroughly weigh which benefit they need most.

Merino wool

Merino wool is considered more versatile because not only is it suitable for cold weather, it can also be used in warm summer days as well. This is because merino wool can be processed into very thin fabrics or a thicker construction.

Merino wool feels pleasant to the skin and is naturally antimicrobial with breath-ability that is far superior to synthetic fabrics. Most importantly it provides warmth even when soaked with sweat.

Synthetic material

In the case of synthetic hiking underwear, it is inexpensive and is known for a quicker dry time in comparison to merino wool. It is also definitely more durable.

2. Drying time

This is a very important factor that must be considered especially if you are packing light and will be on the trail for several days on end with the same underwear having to last you for the length of time you are out there. It is also something to consider if your terrain involves being in and out of the water. In both instances, a fast drying material ensures you are comfortable sooner.

Synthetic materials are fast drying with polyester and Nylon hiking underwear leading the pack. Both materials are remarkable in how fast they can dry and are excellent options in this regard.

3. Construction and Durability

One thing you can be sure of on a lengthy hike is that your underwear of choice will be put to the ultimate test. This is not the time to bring out your luxury brands. They are counterproductive as they will start falling apart midway through the hiking expedition.

An important aspect to check for in the construction of hiking underwear is the presence of flat lock seams. These are key to enhancing comfort and reducing chaffing. It also does not hurt to check if the garment used in construction can be machine washed without damage.

4. Style

Hiking underwear comes in different styles and sizes to suit all types of physiology.

Some guys might prefer boxers, although men with powerful thighs have reported experiencing chaffing with boxers. If you are prone to chaffing, which is a most disconcerting issue on the trail, our recommendation would be boxer briefs.

It is almost unanimously believed that boxer briefs are the best style to go with as they have a tight fit which serves to transport perspiration from the skin to outer layers and provides extra coverage on the thighs that prevent chaffing.

The ability to buy good hiking underwear lies in ticking off all the above important qualities. However, the question is whether there is hiking underwear available on the market that epitomizes all these crucial elements and achieves the perfect balance of durability and comfort.

Below we take a look and examine some of the best men hiking underwear in the market today to see which one meets our requirements above

The best hiking underwear for men

Smartwool Microweight Boxers

The smoothness of this product next to your skin is amazing. It has the ability to stay that way for days on end while on the trail which is extremely comforting. But then that should not come as any surprise because the description label reads 100% merino wool.

The Micro 150 is the lightest hiking boxer yet you can find on the market that doesn’t compromise on performance. Owing to it’s ultra-light weight construction, it is very breathable with air getting through the fabric readily and it allows for a quick dry out too.

An amazing quality of this premium underwear is it’s ability to absorb moisture without creating a conducive environment for smelly bacteria. This is just one of those “miracles” of nature that makes merino wool the ideal wear for multiple days outdoor adventures like hiking or trekking.

Beneficial features

  • 100% Merino Wool
  • Chaffing eliminated by flatlock seam construction
  • Naturally antimicrobial
  • Excellent breathability

 

This underwear is suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Marathons
  • Safari
  • Whenever you have to do multi-day event/trip without the option of a change of your base layer.

Owing to it’s awesome merits, pricing for merino wool products will undoubtedly tend to be higher. Though the higher price tag comes with great qualities and comforts as outlined above, the Achilles heel for merino wool products is durability. This not to say that they will not give you service. You can be sure that you will get several seasons out of them depending on how frequently you use them. However, they just can’t be compared to the longevity of polyester, nylon or lycra.

All things considered, it has to be said that if enhanced comfort is your thing on the trail, you could not make a better choice of underwear than Smartwool Microweight Boxers.

Ibex Balance Boxer Brief

Admittedly, there is a lot of underwear junk out there masquerading as the real deal. However, for fun and adventure lovers, the Ibex balance Boxer brief is among the top hiking underwear that has been tried and proven to be top notch. Outdoor enthusiast will testify to this fact. These active boxer briefs have quality packed into them, keeping things natural with the use merino wool for comfort, moisture-management and that all supportive snug fit that keeps everything in place and eliminates chaffing.

Beneficial features

  • 86% merino wool and 14% nylon
  • Flat lock seams
  • Tag free label
  • Rib knit construction which provides excellent stretch and recovery
  • Comfort waistband
  • Excellent breathability
  • Antimicrobial
  • Machine washable

 

For those who love the comfort that merino wool fabric provides but have misgivings about durability, the nylon addition to the construction of this boxer briefs improves their durability and enhances dry time even further making this a great option for both comfort and more longevity. Without a doubt, it provides peak performance on those gruesome trail adventures.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Mesh 9″ Sport Briefs

This is a superb product if you intend to be on the trail for say seven days or more.  Two pairs will get the job done comfortably where you can wash one and wear the other. This would be the best way to achieve a clean and comfortable outdoor multi-day sojourn.

Made of an ergonomic fit, this hiking underwear is snug and long enough to prevent chaffing. In fact, it is ideal for the even the most chaffing prone hikers ensuring a comfortable trip. The ultra-light mesh makes for great performance with remarkable breathability. Being stretchy it conforms nicely to your build without being too loose or too tight.

Although nylon and lycra are not natural antimicrobial textiles, this product is treated with Aegis Microbe that effectively eliminates odor causing bacteria. What is notable about Aegis Microbe is it’s ability to treat textiles providing long-term control of bacteria growth. It is able to achieve this because it is molecularly bonded to surface of the textile, which means it won’t wash away as other treatments like silver ion treatment would. This ensures minimized odor even if worn for several days.

Beneficial features

  •     Breathable fabric
  •     92% nylon 8% Lycra
  •     Keeps you cool and comfortable
  •     Antimicrobial treated textile
  •     Super-fast dry-time

 

The Give-N-Go Mesh 9″ sports brief is highly recommended for Hiking underwear especially during hot summer days owing to their breathability, super-fast dry-time and their ability to wick moisture from the skin so you stay dry and comfortable. This hiking underwear has good durability and versatility as you are likely to use it for a decent length of time and cross purposes like:

  •   Hiking
  •   Safari
  •   Treks
  •  Mountaineering
  •   Everyday use and multi-day trips where you have to pack light

 

This product enhances your performance as you are able to focus better on your expedition process as opposed to being distracted by continual discomfort.

Under Armour Original Boxers

Under Armour is simply great underwear for any rigorous activity. They are designed and constructed for comfort even in the most extreme weather. They feature smooth heat-gear fabric for superior performance and a transport system that wicks sweat and dries up real quick. The four-way stretch allows you free unhindered movement in any direction. They are also super light weight making them easy to wear during activity. Beneficial features
  • 90%polyester and 10% elastane
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth Hot-Gear fabric for high performance
  • Quick dry-time
Under Armour original boxers is a good choice for those who prefer to hike with loose fit underwear, although they might not be suitable for all. Because their fit is not snug, you might experience rubbing between your thighs which would not be the case with a snug fit thigh covered option. Men who enjoy their outdoors and want to pack light now have extensive and informed options that will make their outdoor sojourns even better. Good and comfortable performance underwear is just as important as any other piece of gear you pack. What’s more, you are bound to perform better due to the comfort afforded by hiking underwear.

The best hiking underwear for women

Ibex Balance Briefs

Base layer for women has never been more comfortable than with the Ibex balance briefs. With body mapping construction, these briefs are the ideal choice of hiking underwear for most women. Constructed from a combination of merino wool, nylon and spandex, they have a nice smooth comfortable feel to the skin. Beneficial features
  • Breathable fabric
  • Smooth to the touch
  • 63% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 5% spandex
  • Tag free label
  • Antimicrobial
  • Flatlock seams that prevent chaffing
The tag free label is note worthy because it means no itching or friction from the waistband and odor prevention and breathability make for enhanced comfort. The combined mix of fabric is fast drying enabling you to wash the underwear in the evening and in the morning it is ready for another go. This option is versatile as it can also be used in sports, aerobics, and regular wear.

Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pants

For those who know and appreciate the comfort and quality merino wool bring to underwear, you will love the ice breaker sprite hot pants as they comprise of 96% merino wool and just enough lycra for a good stretch. This makes for the perfect fit that conforms to your body contour. It is often assumed that merino wool is only suited for cold weather. Although it is true that merino’s performance is superior in cold weather like no other fabric due it’s unique ability to maintain your body temperature, it is worth mentioning that it also performs just as well as synthetics in the summer save for those exclusively hot days. Beneficial features
  • 96% merino wool 4% lycra
  • Fabric is soft and
  • supportive
  • Breathable
  • Antimicrobial
The sprite hot pants are a suitable option for backpacking as they possess excellent comfort and effective moisture wicking capabilities that merino wool is known for. The forward set side seams enhance comfort and prevent chaffing while the mobilon stabilizer ensures the leg hem does not roll or ride up. The ice breaker sprite hot pants are not only great for hiking but also trekking, mountaineering or daily regular use.

Under Armor Pure Stretch Cheeky

The design is quite unorthodox but has proven very popular as it is the top ranking best seller on Amazon for women’s sports and active underwear.

Made of super soft fabric that delivers comfort all day, the edges are hem free thus revealing no panty lines.

Beneficial features

  • Tag free
  • Hem free construction
  • Antimicrobial treated fabric
  • Light weight and breathable construction

 

The stretch cheeky is made from nylon and elastane with 4-way stretch capability. It is ideal for high impact activities like hiking and sports in general.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs

The design is quite unorthodox but has proven very popular as it is the top ranking best seller on Amazon for women’s sports and active underwear. Made of super soft fabric that delivers comfort all day, the edges are hem free thus revealing no panty lines.

Beneficial features

  • Tag free
  • Hem free construction
  • Antimicrobial treated fabric
  • Light weight and breathable construction

 

The stretch cheeky is made from nylon and elastane with 4-way stretch capability. It is ideal for high impact activities like hiking and sports in general.

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