The most epic hiking adventures no doubt begin with a solid foundation plan. So it's a wonder that tons of men still overlook the first layer of apparel they put on, and hence painfully return home with sensitive exfoliated nether regions.
It's understandable though.
The last thing you, and most guys in general, want to talk about is underwear (at least not men's underwear anyways). But while it may seem trivial, it can ruin a good hike.
In light of all the tales of chaffing and trail discomforts, caused entirely by wearing the wrong underwear (several miles in the middle of nowhere), this article will be focusing on how to pick the best underwear for hiking.
What To Look Out For
Using random underwear for a hiking trip can leave you with all sorts of discomforts. No support, too much support, chaffing, moisture retention, bunched up shorts at the waist, shorts that slip off, self-inflicted wedgies. The list is endless (unfortunately). Here's what to look out for.
Using random underwear for a hiking trip can leave you with all sorts of discomforts. No support, too much support, chafing, moisture retention, bunched up shorts at the waist, shorts that slip off, self-inflicted wedgies. The list is endless (unfortunately). Here's what to look out for.
Please don't fall for those ridiculously cheap cotton boxer shorts in bargain bins. When they get wet (which will definitely happen while you're on a trail), they stay wet and this will only lead to the beginning of your misery. What you'll want is a pair of lightweight, quick drying and breathable underwear that won't rub off delicate areas.
Natural materials, like Merino wool, are very breathable. The downside, merino wool takes longer to dry and it isn't the most durable underwear material. So if you're a frequent hiker, you'll start noticing holes after a couple of uses.
The synthetic options are polyester, nylon, lycra and polypropylene (the high-end brands combine two or more of these for maximum comfort). Synthetic materials (especially the "poly" ones) are typically more durable, quick to dry and incredibly light, which you might appreciate 10,000 miles on the trail with a backpack the weight of a nine year old kid.
Note, some of these materials are not stretchy on their own, so a number of companies tend to add others, like elastane. When shopping, make sure you take note of all these.
- Lightweight, smooth HeatGear fabric & articulated mesh fly panel
- 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction
- Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries quickly
- Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes
- Performance waistband
Minimization of Odor
Even if you're a manly man, odor control is pretty important. With that in mind, although synthetic materials are quick in wicking moisture away from the skin, they can trap odors, (thereby raising your "stink quotient") much faster than natural fabrics.
Of course most firms these days treat their synthetic fabrics with antimicrobial ingredients and other odor-inhibiting agents. Hence, when looking for underwear, if you can't find something made with wool (Merino has natural antimicrobial properties), get synthetic ones with some type of odor inhibitor, which won't wear off easily.
- Antimicrobial treatment reduces odor in fabric to keep you feeling fresh
- Breathable mesh allows for airflow, helping you feel cool and comfortable
- Durable fabric and comfortable waistband keeps its shape and resists stretching;Fit :Stretch to fit
- Easy-care fabric means you'll only need to bring two for any trip
A stitching technique that allows your underwear seat flatter, therefore, more comfortably against your thighs. One of the common causes of chafing is material than won't lie flat, so this is a necessity for hiking.
- Saxx Men's Quest 2.0 With Fly Boxers Underwear
Best Types of Underwear for Hiking
- Briefs: Perfect for guys who need lots of support, especially (coughs) if you have something that needs a lot of support. It's also great for guys who never miss leg day (how do you do it?!!) and have thick/muscular thighs.
- Boxers: these are very casual and loose-fitting, so are the most breathable underwear. They come in different shapes and sizes, from trendy to grandfather-sized boxers.
- Boxer-briefs: Are a sort of hybrid of the two styles discussed above. A typical boxer-brief will cover between 1/3 and 1/2 of your thigh. The general consensus is that the best underwear for hiking come in boxer-brief styles, since they're snug but hang low enough to prevent chafing.
As you've seen, there are quite a number of factors that determine the suitability of a hiking underwear. Are there products that take consider every factor? Let's take a look at some of the best underwear for hiking and see how they hold up.
Top 10 Men's Underwear for Hiking
Now that you know what to look for and our criteria for what makes the best underwear for hiking, let's take a look at our picks for the 10 best pairs of hiking underwear for men:
1. Adidas Men's Sport Performance, Climalite Boxer-Brief
Pro: Plush-soft waistband
Con: A little too snug
Extra Support: Adidas is an easily recognizable brand, and with good reason since they've been in the business for more than half a century. This brief is clearly designed for their trademark athletic pursuits. It's made from 8% spandex and 92% polyester so that you'll have just the right amount of stretch, but with enough poly fabric to wick away moisture during even the most intense physical activity - which we guess hiking falls under. It has a double-lined support pouch, made with mesh, which fits the natural contours of your body, so that you're extremely comfortable while hiking. The waistband is tagless and plush-soft to keep you comfortable and prevent the brief from scratching up your skin.
While the form-fit of the climalite boxer-brief means your chances of a wedgie are drastically reduced, it can be feel a little too constricting because even the larger sizes tend to fit a bit too snugly. If you're worried about fitting into it, you can try the ExOfficio Give N Go boxer.
2. Under Armour Men's Original Series
Pro: Extremely versatile
Con: Has a in the rear of the waistband
All-day underwear: Sure you're looking for some hiking underwear, but what if you got a multipurpose one instead? This under armour is made with 90% polyester and 10% elastane fabric so it's a tad bit stretchy. The HeatGear and 4-way stretch fabric allows you to work and move in all weather conditions and directions. They've been worn by industrial maintenance guys trapped in hot rooms and construction workers trapped on rooftops all day long and have saved them from forming manly waddles back home everyday.
The downside is that it has a small tag at the waist, which isn't designed to be cut, as it'll scrape away at your skin (you can't get it off completely without ripping the seam from the waistband of your brief). So if you're looking for something you'll wear even when you're aren't hiking (maybe you're a casual hiker), and perhaps you work in very hot climates, then you'll want to get this.
3. Lacoste Men's 2 Pack Cotton Stretch Boxer-brief
Pro: Tag free and seamless waistband
Con: Has no fly
Made With Super Soft Cotton: Even though cotton underwear isn’t typically not recommended for hiking, this lacoste men's boxer brief was made with 95% premium soft cotton and 5% spandex. So it's extremely soft, light and stretchy enough to wick all moisture away during intense physical activities. Cotton is known for its extreme durability so you can throw this in the washing machine and it will remain intact.
It's just an inch or two longer than typical trunks so not too tight or long. It has no fly though so you'll have to go all the way from the top, when you need to use the bathroom. However, since it has a seamless waistband this shouldn't be an issue.
4. ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer
Pro: Very comfortable
Con: Prone to wedgies
Breathable design: Unlike traditional boxers, this ExOfficio's model is sort of smaller, so it offers a little more support. It's made with 94% nylon and 6% spandex, ergo lightweight and stretchy. The good thing is that this means you're guaranteed to stay dry throughout your trip with this boxer. To combat what would have been a major disadvantage, the fabric is treated with antimicrobial properties to prevent odor buildup, so you can actually just take 2 pairs on a week-long hiking trip.
Hardcore hikers won't like this since it's still a just a boxer. Because although it's more form fitting than what you'd typically find around, it still won't give you a lot of support. If you're a bit overweight and you don't expect to be on the trail for a while, or you just walk at a ridiculously slow space, this will suit you just fine.
5. Apex Merino Wool Boxer-briefs
Pro: All natural antimicrobial properties
Con: May peel after a few washes
Extreme Weathers: It's always important to take care of yourself "down there". If you're worried about the potential dangers of your nether regions being in such close proximity to the artificial antimicrobial ingredients used in synthetic fabrics, then this 100% Australian merino wool boxer-brief is for you. You literally won't find anything safer, as merino wool has its own natural antimicrobials, which doesn't have an expiry date by the way.
Sounds pretty cool right? There's always a but though. This brief won't be as stretchy or durable as typical underwear is, since it includes absolutely no other material. It does have an ergonomic fly, hence it's very form-fitting for all your "manly sporting activities". If you're cool with spending big bucks on your delicates, you'll just have to get them in bulk.
6. Lapasa Men's Sport Boxer-Brief
Pro: Dries incredibly fast
Con: Slides up when running
Micro-Mesh Breathable Fabric: these buggers promote great airflow so that you're cooled off as soon as you start sweating. The pouch and thigh area feature a Y-line ergonomic tailoring design meant to reduce friction during intense activities. If you hate it when the waistband slacks and bunches up, you'll love the chic design pattern on this semi brief, because it means there's extra adhesion at the waist so it won't slide down or bunch up easily.
Now if only they applied some of this chic pattern tech to the thigh coverage area. Since it's a bit longer than most briefs, some users have noticed it sliding up their legs, but this it's most runners with this complain, so you may not have that issue with just hiking.
7. Saxx Men's Quest 2.0 Boxer-Briefs
Pro: Has flat out seams
Con: Sort of pricey for a single pair of underwear
Reduced Friction: You spend a pretty penny on just one pair but that buys you some bad boy flaps strategically placed inside the pouch area, which are designed to prevent all forms of rubbing. So your bits and tackle are right where they should be even while you're taking a hike. They even smell great even after wearing them days in a row, so maybe the price is worth it.
8. Woolx Dailys Men's Merino Wool Boxer Briefs
Pro: Doesn't shrink after washing
Con: Wears out pretty fast
All Weather: Made with 100% lightweight merino wool, about 17.5 micron, this WoolX feels like baby-soft cashmere and is great for hiking in all types of weather. So they hold up great whether you're hiking on lava floor or skiing on mountain tops. Since merino wool has antimicrobial properties it won't get that chemical smell briefs made with synthetic fabrics usually do.
Note that this WoolX briefs are a little longer, and made with wool so if you're a very hairy person, you may not love this because the wool could irritate your skin. You can find lighter fabrics Saxx briefs if you want.
9. 5Mayi Boxer-Briefs Cotton Regular Long
Pro: Super elastic waistband
Con: Not very durable
More Room: Once you break them in that is. Since cotton on its own won't make a good hiking underwear, this 5Mayi brief has 5% spandex in it for added elasticity. It has an ergonomic fly so you have more room in the pouch area. This comes as a package deal, so if you subscribe to the "if I have enough socks and underwear I can put off laundry forever" school of thought, go for it.
10. Saxx Underwear Men's Vibe Boxer-Brief
Pro: Anti-roll waistband technology
Con: The unique design takes some getting used to
Very Stylish: Saxx has been creating innovative underwear "everyone wants to wear but can't afford to" for more than a decade now.
This particular brief is made with a 4 by 4 way stretch beautiful fabric, so if you want to look awesome in your skivvies, and can afford to, look no further. It features a 3D friction free tech meant to provide extra comfort. It's made of 95% viscose and 5% spandex making it very soft. Plus, it even fits like a second skin.
Moreover, it was designed to withstand extreme temperatures so it wicks away sweat while you're on the trail, and keeps you cool and dry just like every other hiking underwear.
Again, get this if a pretty underwear is what rocks your metaphorical hiking boat. Otherwise, see our more affordable options like the 5Mayi boxer briefs.
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