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Best Hiking Underwear: Comfort All the Way

hiking-underwear
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Hiking underwear is not your usual type of underwear as you have already assumed. You will agree with us that winter hiking underwear especially is an essential part of every hiker’s gear. Everyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t tried a high quality hiking underwear yet.

This type of underwear is an underestimated piece of the hiking gear. A hiker would spend a relatively large amount of money on other pieces of equipment, and when it comes to underwear, we are always holding back.

man in hiking underwear

It seems that most of us tend to forget that, when you are hiking or doing some other outdoor sports activity, the underwear is the basic layer of clothing which should help you feel good instead of sweaty and wet.

Therefore, this type of underwear is specifically designed to enhance the performance by letting you focus on the sports activity instead of your personal discomfort.

This is why you need to make some time for doing the research on the important features a hiking underwear should have. Or you can simply sit back and read through this buying guide and choose the best hiking underwear for your needs.

Product NameMaterialGenderSpecific Features
Price
Helly Hansen Windblock Boxer

Blend of Merino wool and polypropylene

Men’sStay Dry technology, wind blocking material, flatlock stitching and allergy neutral materials.

Check price on Amazon
Under Armor Pure Stretch Underwear

Blend of nylon and elastin

Women’sSuper soft and stretchy, edges are laser cut, quick drying

Check price on Amazon
Exofficio Bikini

Synthetic blend
Women’sMade in USA, ultralight mesh, quick drying, antimicrobial treatment

Check price on Amazon
Ibex Balance Briefs

Blend of synthetic materials and Merino wool

Women’sTag free label, machine washable, strategic body mapping

Check price on Amazon
Under Armor Original Series 6 Boxers

90% polyester and 10% elastin

Men’sHeatGear fabric, 4 stretch fabrication, moisture transport system and button fly

Check price on Amazon
Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxers

92% Nylon and 8% lycra

Men’sBreathable, quick-drying, ultralight, diamond-knit mesh ergonomic fly panel

Check price on Amazon
Smartwool PhD Boxers

Merino wool and elastin

Men’sCoats seamsoft thread on flatlock internal seamsfor, jersey knit, made in the USACheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Several things should be taken into consideration before choosing underwear for your trip, and these are:

Material

This is usually the first thing you should consider when buying any equipment which comes in touch with your skin. The general rule is that if it comes in touch with your skin, it goes into the basic layer of clothing category, making the material the most important feature.

When speaking about hiking gear, the rule applies too. The material should be comfortable and have a high functionality of maintaining your body temperature.

This means that a winter hiking material should keep you warm while allowing your skin to breathe. It is also recommended that your material is quick drying, since this is quite important up there.

drying men's underwear

In hiking underwear, merino wool is the leading material feature. It has all the required characteristics: a natural material which is allowing your skin to breath and it is also known as a material with highest warming properties.

However, the main downside to the wool is that it is relatively expensive and it is quite often out of our budget limits. The alternatives are synthetic materials or a blend with wool and a synthetic material.

When it comes to synthetic materials, in order to keep up with the competition, they are sometimes treated with antimicrobial agent. This is done in order to avoid building up the bacteria which most often occurs when sweating.

This is also the main reason why sometimes the human sweat smells bad. Merino wool, however, has natural antimicrobial properties and there is no need to be treated with anything. It is also extremely lightweight; and as every hiker knows, every pound matters.

Merino wool Underwear

The popular underwear materials in the synthetic world are polyester, which is most commonly used, and lycra, which is a stretchy material most often combined with wool or other synthetic blends.

Material care and washing

This is often an underrated feature; especially if you have someone else doing this work for you. For all of you who don’t, keep in mind that hiking underwear should always be quick drying. It is best if the hiking underwear is machine washable, but it is not a big deal if you have to wash it by hand.

underwear washing in machine

Some synthetic materials, which are treated with antimicrobial agents are recommended to be washed by hand or on low temperature because there is a danger of losing the antimicrobial properties otherwise.

Durability

The only way to know the durability of a piece of equipment is from someone who has already experienced the product. For this reason, we have reviewed and tested all of our products and we are sharing our experiences with you. When it comes to durability of a hiking underwear, the synthetic materials are more durable.

womans hiking underwear

It is not that the wool material is not durable, but it tends to change over time, unlike some of the synthetic blends. With regular washings every material loses its original form. This is especially true for antimicrobial treated synthetic materials since they lose their antimicrobial properties after around 6 washes.

Length

This feature usually goes with the user’s taste. However, the main reason it is included in the “things to consider” list is because of the thigh chafing in certain people. If you find yourself among these people, make sure you order a stretchy underwear which perfectly fits your thighs.

Daytime hiking with friends

This should take care of the problem even though you are hiking in warm weather, and let you enjoy your hikes without any worries or pain.

Fit

This is a contradictory feature and you should balance between your needs and the offer on the market. Looser underwear creates more chafing as we mentioned before. However, it also allows better ventilation and skin breathing, especially in the warmer days.

hiker in pants

Tighter fitting on the other side are perfectly good against chafing, but they could be less comfortable and the skin breather harder through them since there is no airflow. This is compensated by the breathable materials, but on warmer days, even these materials can’t help.

Amount of the material

Has it ever happened to you that you order a material thinking it is with high quality, but instead you got exactly what you described only much thinner? The amount of material used for manufacturing the product matters a lot, especially in winter conditions.

campers drying their underwear

If you are paying for a high quality Merino wool material it is only fair to get it right. For this reason, we have put this feature in our search characteristics and eliminated all materials which were too thin. However, keep in mind that thicker materials have also higher weight.

This is why we recommend you always checking and comparing the weight of the material with its competitive products; it can give you a lot of information.

Top Products on Today’s Market

In this section, we present the reviews of the best models on the market. All the important features have been included and it is up to you to choose the model that best suits your personal preferences.

Helly Hansen Windblock Boxers

Helly Hansen Windblock BoxerPrice: Approx. $44

Material: Blend of Merino wool and polypropylene

Color: Black

Specific features: Stay Dry technology material, wind blocking material, warm, flatlock stitching and allergy neutral materials.

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, outdoor sports

Description: These Helly Hansen Windblock Boxers are known for their warm properties. The manufacturer uses a specific manufacturing technology with several layer blends with natural and synthetic materials.

The materials used are perfectly blended so that your skin is able to breath, yet they keep your essentials protected against cold winds.

The Merino wool material, usually creates itching, but in this case, this is avoided by putting the merino as a second layer. This means that the synthetic material which is soft to touch comes in touch with your skin and it is perfectly allergy neutral and doesn’t cause any itching.

The waistband is elastic, but it isn’t too tight. The length is medium, so they are quite comfortable. However, if you are planning on ordering one for you, it is recommended that you order a size up since the fabric is very tight. If you manage to get the size right, they are comfortable.

PROS:

  • Warm
  • Several layer blends
  • Breathable
  • Non-itch Merino wool
  • They block the wind

CONS:

  • Need to be careful with the size
  • Only come in black color

Related: To match the quality, breathability, and ventilation of these boxer underwear, we recommend to check out the Tesla Hyperdri T-shirt. It will keep you dry and warm and at the same time, protect you from the harmful sun’s rays as it offers UPF 50+ protection.

Check the price on Amazon

Under Armour Pure Stretch Underwear

Under Armour Pure Stretch UnderwearPrice: $10 – $25

Material: Blend of nylon and elastin

Color: Black, stealth gray

Specific features: The fabric is super soft and stretchy, edges are laser cut, very lightweight and the stretchy fabric improves the range of motion, quick drying.

Best use: Hiking, backpacking

Description: This Under Armour Pure Stretch Underwear is specifically designed with hikers and backpackers in mind. Its construction allows you exceptional freedom of movement, and their quick drying allows you to feel comfortable while performing your favorite outdoor sport activity even if you tend to get sweaty.

The product is made with synthetic materials which means that even though it is breathable, it doesn’t keep your essentials warm. For this reason, if you are looking for winter underwear, look among our other suggestions.

It is also not suitable for women who prefer greater coverage. For a regular size this underwear is the perfect choice. However, if you are a plus size, they might ride up and curl around the waist.

The only downside of this model is that the materials used are not intended for colder weather conditions, but for those who plan on going on hikes in warmer climate regions, this definitely isn’t a deal breaker

PROS:

  • Exceptional freedom of movement
  • Great fit
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable

CONS:

  • Not meant to keep you warm
  • Need to be careful when choosing the size

Related: Since these hiking panties are meant for use only during the Summer, the only thing left is to find the most suitable, summer hiking socks to keep your feet breathing and fresh. Therefore, we recommend checking out the Veatree Hiking Socks for summer hikes.

Check the price on Amazon

Exofficio Give-N-Go Bikini

Exofficio Give-N-Go BikiniPrice: $12 – $25

Material: Made with a synthetic blend

Color: Black, hot coral, isla, lupine, nude, paradise, vintage, white, cn, chlorine

Specific features: Made in USA, ultralight mesh and are breathable and quick drying, they are an active fit with antimicrobial treatment and stretch to fit fabric.

Best use: Running, hiking, backpacking

Description: This ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini is made with a blend of synthetic materials, with nylon being the biggest part of it. This adds up to its exceptional stretchy properties. It is also very quick drying, which makes it perfect for hiking in warm weather.

The smooth waistband is also very comfortable although if you are trying to avoid the chafing, this is probably not the right choice for you. It is also not designed to keep your body warm.

Other than this, they have a great design and there are plenty of colors to choose from. They are treated with antimicrobial agents in order to reduce the odor in fabric.

This only works for the first dozen washings, after that, the antimicrobial agent wears off and the synthetic material odor kicks in. If you are a lady who prefers a high waist, quite stylishly designed underwear, this is the right choice for you!

PROS:

  • Comfortable
  • Stretch for better fit
  • Quick drying

CONS:

  • Not for cold weather
  • The antimicrobial agent wears off after a few washes

Related: If you are looking for a breathable hiking top that will match the performance of your bikini, then you should definitely check out the Campeak Mesh Hiking Top that is great for both working out and hiking.

Check the price on Amazon

Ibex Balance Briefs

Ibex Balance BriefsPrice: $28 – $35

Material: Blend of synthetic materials and Merino wool

Color: Black, dahlia, lunar, midnight

Specific features: Tag free label, machine washable, strategic body mapping.

Best use: Winter hiking, backpacking

Description: This Ibex Balance Briefs are manufactured specifically for winter hiking. They are made with a high quality fabric and fit in the middle price range. Since one of the main materials included in the fabric blend is Merino wool, 63% to be precise, they keep your body essentials warm and comfortable.

Furthermore, they also have a high breathability index and because of the design, you will find them very comfortable. They are not low waist, so you wouldn’t have to readjust them every time you sit down.

All in all, the strategic body mapping allows you to focus on your favorite activity and feel comfortable while doing so. The material is also very durable, so you would be using them for years if you choose to do so. We can say with certainty that this underwear is made for the professional hikers who enjoy long hikes even in cold weather.

PROS:

  • Great blend of materials
  • Suitable for colder climate
  • Breathable
  • Durable

CONS:

  • Slightly pricey

Related: Now that you’ve taken care of your lower parts of the body, you can think about taking care of the upper parts, more precisely, the chest. We recommend checking out the matching Ibex Balance Series Sports Bra. It comes with the same material blend and offers the same breathable properties and keeps you warm at the same time.

Check the price on Amazon

Under Armour Original Series Boxers

Under Armour Original Series 6Price: $15 – $25

Material: 90% polyester and 10% elastin

Color: 16 different colors to choose from

Specific features: Lightweight, HeatGear fabric, 4 stretch fabrication, moisture transport system and button fly as part of the design.

Best use: Hiking, running, backpacking, outdoor sports activities

Description: The Under Armour Original Series Boxer main advantage is their softness. They are extremely soft, which adds up to their comfort.

Because of the elastin material inside, they are also very stretchy, which allows you exceptional mobility in every direction, during any type of activity. Furthermore, they are also very lightweight and very thin.

If you are preferring an underwear that will keep your body warm, look among some of our other suggestions. This is an option more suitable for normal weather conditions, instead of winter conditions. They have a moisture transport system, which wicks sweat and they dries very quickly.

Furthermore, when compared to some of the other brands, they dry quicker than usual. Also worth mentioning is that the button is very stylish, but it can come undone, so keep this information in mind.

Nevertheless, the material is very durable and they fit perfectly, so unless you plan on hiking during the winter, this model is a great choice.

PROS:

  • Very soft and comfortable
  • Very stretchy
  • Lightweight and thin
  • Quick dry
  • Exceptional wicking capability

CONS:

  • Not meant for winter hiking

Related: Now that you found your ideal boxer shorts for summer hikes, we recommend that you find a pair of hiking shorts that are also comfortable, durable, and breathable. The best suggestion we can give is the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts.

Check the price on Amazon

Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxers

Exofficio Give-N-Go BoxersPrice: Approx. $23

Material: 92% nylon and 8% lycra

Color: Black

Specific features: Imported product, with an ExOfficio logo on the waistband,  breathable, quick-drying ultralight fabric, diamond-knit mesh ergonomic fly panel

Best use: Hiking, backpacking

Description: This ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxers are perfect for hiking in normal weather conditions. However, if you are planning to hike in areas where there are cold weather conditions, it is recommended that you look for natural materials that are better warmth retainer, or at least polyester fabric.

Nevertheless, the material is quick drying, which is making them more suitable for outdoor sports.

They are also very comfortable and the waistband is tight enough so that the boxers are in place while you exercise; yet, they are not too tight and they sit at your natural waist just under the belly. The band doesn’t fold over which is very important for sports underwear.

Other than them being quick drying, they also don’t retain much water, which makes their drying time even shorter. These boxers are also very durable and the material can endure being washed in the machine washer or by hand.

PROS:

  • Comfortable
  • Quick drying
  • They stay in place
  • Durable and machine washable

CONS:

  • Not for hiking in colder climate regions

Related: Hiking in warmer climate means that you also need a hiking T-shirt that has the insulation and wicking properties so that you don’t end up wet from your own sweat. Therefore, we suggest checking out the Mountain Hardwear Wicked SS Tee.

Check the price on Amazon

Smartwool PhD Boxers

Smartwool PhD BoxersPrice: $36 – $56

Material: Merino wool and elastin

Color: Black, bright blue, bright orange, graphite, smartwool green

Specific features: Coats seamsoft thread on flatlock internal seamsfor, jersey knit, with logo on the waistband and they are made in the USA.

Best use: Hiking, mountaineering

Description: These Smartwool PhD Boxers are specifically designed to keep you warm in cold weather conditions. They might be categorized as winter men’s boxers.

The main ingredient in the boxers is Merino wool – 96% and 4% elastin, which makes them elastic and a perfect fit. Even though they keep the warmth from your body, they still allow the skin to breathe and eliminate the excess moisture.

The wool is also a material which doesn’t absorb much moisture, which means that the drying time is shorter. The wool is also known as a material which could itch, but because of the elastin part in the fabric it is quite smooth and comfortable.

They are a medium size boxers and for each size, Smartwool offers exact dimensions so you can see if it works right for you. I would say that the best advantage they have, is the soft feeling while wearing them. They are comparable to cotton on touch.

PROS:

  • Perfect fit
  • Breathatble
  • Wicking
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • Price

Related: Now that you found your winter hiking boxers, you need to add a base layer bottom and high-quality hiking pants for the winter conditions and you are ready to enjoy your snow adventures.

When it comes to pants, we can recommend the Nonwe Cargo Snow Hiking Pants as they have proven to be excellent for snowy, freezy conditions.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping it Up

We have reached the end of our article. Now, before reading this post, you might have not thought of this, but as you can see, hiking underwear is quite an important subject and decide if you want your adventures to become more pleasant. There are plenty of things to consider for such a small and seemingly meaningless piece of equipment.

Hikers start adventure

However, if you manage to choose the right underwear for your needs, your body will thank you. By following the guidance pointers in this article, you have hopefully learned to distinguish the quality products from the fake ones.

Luckily for you, all the products we reviewed here are high-quality and all you have to do is decide if you need a pair for Winter or Summer hikes. Or, you can get a pair for each season.

Did you have any change of thought after reading the buying guide? If you have any additional questions of remarks on the hiking underwear subject, just leave us a comment in the comment section below and we will get back to you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Andrea Willard

    I’ll admit to clicking on this article for the picture at the top, haha. But I think I found the perfect gift for my boyfriend’s birthday! We hike together pretty often and he’s complained about sweaty underclothes a few times. Are the Under Armour boxer shorts the only ones with moisture-wicking on this list?

    • John C. Porter

      There are many on this list that will wick moisture, just check out the finer details.

  • Casey Scott

    There are lots of comfortable-looking options on this list. I need some new hiking underwear and finding this site has been a big help. I like seeing the most popular items along with underwear that has a great value. This has given me a lot more places to look while I shop. Thanks!

    • John C. Porter

      You are welcome! Enjoy!

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