10 Best Underwear for Kayaking in 2019

Kayaking can be a great way to get out in nature and experience some freedom on the water (or snow if you’re really extreme!). However, whether you’re in the ocean, on the rapids, or just strolling across a lake, you need to ensure you’re comfortable for your journey.

Depending on where you kayak, you have a few different things to look out for. Everyone needs a little bit of padding to prevent their butt from going numb as they sit, but the ideal fabric of your underwear will depend on your usage.

Colder climates mean that any kind of water getting in your kayak means you’re going to be very uncomfortable unless you insulate or waterproof yourself. Conversely, in warmer climates a little bit of water isn’t much of a problem – you just need something that wicks moisture & makes it easy to evaporate.

Below we’ve assembled a list of the features to consider in your kayaking underwear as well as some recommendations that fit them. Be sure to weigh your options to ensure you’re choosing the right pair for your needs – don’t settle when it comes to keeping your bits comfortable!

What to Look For When Choosing the Best Underwear for Kayaking

Whether you’re a man or woman, your underwear is going to play a large role in whether or not you’re comfortable while you sit for your kayaking trip. The right underwear will offer protection & support while keeping you as comfortable & dry as possible. Look for the following features before you choose an option.


Sitting for a long time can get incredibly uncomfortable – especially if you don’t have cushioning to save your man bits or tailbone from getting sore. While you can get a cushion for your kayak, you can also consider getting underwear with built-in padding.

Look for underwear that offers padding either in the butt, groin, or anywhere in between. Thicker underwear can help this without requiring added padding (though you’ll get less relief) so consider the duration of your journeys before you choose. Your butt will thank you!

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The material that your underwear is made of will make or break whether they’re good for kayaking. As you can guess, kayaking can get wet. In some cases, there’s enough water that it can penetrate past your clothing and into your underwear, leaving you sitting in damp, chafing underwear that is a nightmare of discomfort. You need underwear that is not only non-chafing & soft, but also something that will dry quickly.

Cotton is a popular material for underwear, but it has a habit of holding moisture rather than wicking it. Fortunately, materials like modal, nylon, polyester, and other synthetic materials wick moisture outwards so that it can dry more quickly. Whether that moisture is sweat from you or water that snuck in, you’ll be glad the underwear helps it to evaporate.

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If you’re kayaking in colder weather, chances are that you’re going to be a little bit cold (especially if you get wet). There’s nothing better than your bits being warm & dry, so if you’re more worried about staying warm than evaporating sweat, thicker or insulated underwear can be a good way to stay warm below while you bundle up your top half.

Meanwhile, in warmer climates you want very little insulation (if any) to allow for maximum breathability.

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  • FLEECE CARE INSTRUCTIONS to prevent from pilling: Wash inside out/Machine wash cold/Gentle cycle/Tumble dry low/Do not wash with prone-pilling clothing especially clothing with cotton fiber/Do not iron/ Do not bleach Do not use fabric softener
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  • Elastic waistband with drawcord. Hidden waistband pocket
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Best Kayaking Underwear for Men & Women

1. TSLA Men’s Dry Mesh Trunks

TSLA Men’s Dry Mesh Trunks

Pro: Fly in Front.
Con: Low Leg Elasticity.

Thick Mesh Trunks for Padding & Breathability: If you’re looking for an all-purposes kayaking underwear, these trunks may work for you. Featuring a thicker 92% polyester 8% polyurethane material, they add a small amount of cushion without any additional pads needed. The synthetic material is also form-fitting and good at staying in place thanks to the elastic waistband. They are breathable despite the thicker build, so even if you use the longer-legged trunks for cold-water kayaking, they’ll still let your bits breathe.

The legs on this option don’t have highly elastic seams or anything to hold them tight to your leg, so riding up may become a problem if you move your legs a lot.

2. DIVE & SAIL Men’s Wetsuit Pants

DIVE and SAIL Men’s Wetsuit Pants

Pro: Great Insulation.
Con: Not Very Breathable.

A Waterproof Winter Option: When you’re in cold waters, insulation becomes much more important for your underwear. If you get wet, you’ll immediately know why! This pair of wetsuit pants is made of a soft & stretchy neoprene material that is waterproof, form-fitting, and comfortable. It offers full coverage from the waist to the ankles, so if water gets in your kayak most of your lower half will stay dry. As another bonus, they offer UV protection and can be used for a variety of other purposes, making them a versatile option.

However, as they are highly-insulating waterproof underwear/pants, they offer poor breathability for your bits.

3. Sponeed Men’s Padded Shorts

Sponeed Men’s Padded Shorts

Pro: Butt Support.
Con: Runs Small.

Performance Underwear with Padding: These shorts are made for biking, but the support they offer can also be helpful when kayaking. From the groin up to the tailbone, these trunks offer a layer of antimicrobial padding to protect your junk & butt from sitting soreness. They also wick moisture and provide breathability, making them a solid choice for warmer kayaking or helpful underneath another layer for colder waters. They can be machine washed or handwashed and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer, so it’s hard to go wrong with them.

This option does run a little bit small, however, so consider upping your size by one to ensure they’re comfortable enough for long-term use.

4. McDavid Compression Shorts

McDavid Compression Shorts

Pro: Compression Stimulates Blood Flow to Muscles.
Con: Expensive.

Insulative Boxer Brief Underwear: Not looking to wear a full wetsuit bottom in the colder weather? This pair of longer compression shorts is a more convenient option for those kayaking in the cold. They are neoprene which allows them to insulate everything that is important to keep you warm, while the compression can help stimulate blood flow while you kayak to prevent cramps and your legs falling asleep. They’ll be comfortable, are water-resistant, and don’t limit your range of motion so it’s easy to get in and out of the kayak. They’re also thicker than average underwear, so you’ll get a bit more padding than usual.

When it comes to underwear, these compression shorts are priced more like shorts than underwear so they’re a bit expensive. If you need their insulation, however, they’ll certainly be worth it!

5. ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Briefs

ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Briefs

Pro: Highly Breathable.
Con: Minimal Insulation or Padding.

Lightweight Warm Water Briefs: When you’re trying to wear as little as possible in the hot summer, this underwear ensures your bits can breathe. The 94/6 nylon & spandex briefs offer maximum breathability which makes them excel in warmer waters. If they get wet, the synthetic nylon material is great at wicking moisture away so that they dry easily rather than chafing your crotch. There is a fly on the front for easy access during pit stops, and the elastic waistband keeps things in place well.

As breathability is the main concern for this underwear, they aren’t ideal for colder trips (unless paired with another option on top) and will need a cushion to be comfortable on longer trips due to their thinness.

6. ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Mesh Hipkini

ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Mesh Hipkini

Pro: Mesh Design.
Con: Not Much Padding Offered.

Summer Trip Bikini Briefs: For maximum breathability, it’s hard to go wrong with mesh. This low-profile mesh nylon/spandex hipkini gives you a comfortable & moisture-wicking underwear that excels as activewear for warmer weather kayaking. They include an antimicrobial gusset to keep things fresh while you sit in the kayak sweating, and the spandex keeps them elastic enough to hold you so that they don’t move too much. Even if they do move, the flat seams mean you won’t chafe – even if they get wet.

Unfortunately, this underwear doesn’t offer much padding due to its thinner build. It aims to be barely there – not what you want when sitting for hours! It is also expensive for panties.

7. Baleaf Women’s High-Waisted Yoga Shorts

Baleaf Women’s High-Waisted Yoga Shorts

Pro: Doubles As Shorts.
Con: Run Small.

Long Shorts & Underwear Combo: If you feel like skipping the underwear and overwear process, simply use these yoga shorts. The high-waisted option covers up until your belly button and more than halfway to your thigh, offering enough coverage to be worn alone. This – as well as the 87% polyester and 13% spandex composition – allows them to offer great breathability & quick drying for a longer option without needing to double your layers. They also include pockets and can be machine washed, making them convenient options all around.

This specific product runs small, so go up a size when you order to ensure they’re comfortable.

8. Eco-Daily Women’s 3D Padded Underwear

Eco-Daily Women’s 3D Padded Underwear

Pro: Offers Padding.
Con: Legs Roll Up.

Low-Profile Padded Underwear: When you want a little bit of padding included in your underwear, biking options can usually work. This polyester & spandex pair has built-in padding and an antimicrobial gusset that keeps things light, clean, and airy while offering a bit of extra cushioning. They are quite form-fitting with 15% spandex, and will fit comfortably under any additional outfit for colder kayaking or under leggings for warmer waters.

The legs on this padded underwear don’t have a high elasticity, so many users have complained about them riding up during exercise. This won’t be a huge problem for kayaking, but it does hurt their versatility slightly.

9. Yogipace Water-Resistant Tights

Yogipace Water-Resistant Tights

Pro: Highly Insulative.
Con: Poor Moisture Wicking.

Super Warm Fleece Tights: When warmth is your aim, fleece-lined underwear tights are a great option. This underwear option offers coverage for almost your entire lower half, making them a great base layer for extra-cold kayaking trips or an outerwear contender for mild weather. The water-resistant material will help keep water from getting to your bits and the fleece lining will keep you incredibly toasty and comfortable in almost any conditions. They also contain a hidden interior pocket and a zippered pocket on the outside to keep your belongings safe and out of the water.

As you may have guessed, these are not very breathable! Fleece aims to keep the heat inside rather than letting it breathe, so they will excel when you’re trying to stay warm.

10. Wirarpa Women’s Panty Brief

Wirarpa Cotton High Waist MultiPack Brief

Pro: Cotton Material for Extra Comfort.
Con: Minimal Padding Offered.

Versatile Underwear for Kayaking & Other Activities: As a breathable cotton & spandex underwear, these brief panties are good for allowing maximum range of motion while still supporting your important bits with a double-layered crotch. Their high waistband helps to keep them in place while you shift around the kayak and the soft cotton keeps you comfortable even on multi-hour trips. They also offer a great value as a multipack, and their versatility for loungewear or activewear means you’ll always have a use for them.

This underwear does not offer much padding, aiming more to be barely there than to protect you while sitting.

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