You know that saying "it's what's on the inside that counts"? Yeah it doesn't just apply to your inner beauty but to your hiking underwear as well.
As with staple wears, most people stop noticing the comfort levels and helpful features in underwear after buying and wearing their umpteenth pair. That's until they wear normal undies on a hiking trip.
While on a hike, your arch nememis will be chafing - a potential hike ruining condition where sweat and friction work together to create little specks of evil salt to make your life unbearable. If you don't rethink your base layer, you'll be red raw either within your inner thighs, by your bikini line or between your butt cheeks (all three if you have no luck). All while dealing with a stench problem.
With the intention of keeping your junk well equipped for an epic adventure, this article will be focusing on the best hiking underwear for women. While your personal fit and style matters, hiking with just a backpack means you'll need to streamline what makes it into your carry on (Alas, sacrifices must be made).
So the article's focus will first be on some hiking underwear selection tips (i.e what will last days without needing to be washed, how fast an underwear dries, and so forth), then move on to those undies with high user reviews.
Shopping For the Best Women's Hiking Underwear
Hiking does wonders to the body and mind. However, undies that pinch, slip around, or go wondering about can make any hiking trail look dead awful. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your selection.
First, the underwear must be quick to dry. When you're on a trail, you won't have your washing machine, or dryer with you. So since you'll be handwashing a lot, you'll want to get something that dries quickly before you move on to the next spot.
Additionally, the faster a fabric dries, the faster it will wick moisture away from your body. And besides, quick to dry undies mean you'll only need to pack a few of them with you, thereby saving you precious space (which you can use to stuff your guilty pleasures instead).
Second, the underwear must have odor reducing properties. Undies with antimicrobial properties can be worn several days in a row before odor bacteria builds up. This is a great feature for those who not only want to wear the same underwear days in a row but also for those who just want to keep dirty undies in their backpacks till it's more convenient to wash them.
In terms of moisture wicking, synthetic fabrics (specifically nylon and polyester) are the best. Though they don't come with natural antimicrobial ingredients, most firms treat their synthetic made undies with artificial antimicrobial chemicals so they minimize bacterial growth as well. Synthetic fabrics are sort of the gold standard for hiking.
If you're uncomfortable with the thought of having artificial chemicals close to your undercarriage, you should give wool (like merino) underwear a shot. They're quite ok in the moisture wicking department, and will act as an insulator even when the underwear gets wet (great if you're on a snow trail).
Both synthetic and wool materials have their own pros and cons, (depending on other factors) but the latter is usually waYYYY more expensive.
- Treated with an antimicrobial to eliminate odor-causing bacteria in fabric (Pe Bag)
- Diamond-weave mesh fabric allows airflow, keeping you cool
- Active fit and lower rise are ideal for high energy activities
- Flatlock seams and smooth fabric waistband prevent chafing
Cut or Style
The best hiking underwear for women should have a cut that not only feels flexible and comfortable enough for high-impact activities, but also snug enough to enhance thermal efficiency. All these while preventing your nether negions from chafing.
In case you need to be told, poorly made thongs and other similar styles are a no no. You'd feel them with every step you take, and they won't warm you up on snow trails. Granny panties have their own merits, but are not easy on the eyes. Fortunately, they're not the only two styles. As you read the reviews, you'll be seeing hybrids of these two cuts.
- Bulk free comfort at waist and leg opening
- Side seams moved forward for additional comfort
- Corespun fabric for added durability
Try and select undies with flat lock seams. It's a stitching technique that connects all the parts of the underwear together without overlapping. So the stitches are smooth thus minimizing chafing. Avoid those undies with vertical seams down the middle (like in some boy shorts), as it won't take long before they start irritating your thighs.
- Thong athletic underwear in breathable micro mesh fabric with flat lock seams and tagless label for smooth, form-fitting comfort
Now that you've seen all these, let's take a look at the highest rated underwear for hiking.
Top 10 Best Hiking Underwear For Women
Here are our picks for the 10 best hiking underwear for women:
1. Smartwool Women's PhD Seamlesss Bikini Panty
Pro: Superb fit
Con: Sizing is skewed towards those with flatter butts
No side or bottom seams: Almost everyone has a bubble butt these days, but it doesn't look like Smartwool's taking this into its sizing consideration. Aside from that, this underwear's great for extreme weather conditions - it's made with a mix of merino wool, nylon and elastane - which is great for thermal heat distribution. It has no inner thigh seams, so your lady bits won't be handled roughly. If you do decide to go with this, and you have a perky derrier, go one size above what the sizing chart suggests.
2. Icebreaker Merino Siren Thong Underwear
Pro: Great thermal insulator for snow trails
Con: Has a tag
One size fits all stretch: Although the prevailing belief is that the best hiking underwear for women shouldn't be thong-styled, if you don't mind that "feeling", this shouldn't bother you. Besides, this isn't your typical G-string kind of thong - it has a bit more coverage - plus it's made of merino wool which is always great when hiking on a snow trail.
It does have a tag, which is mildly irritating at best, but since the tag can be removed easily, this shouldn't be an issue. Design's minimalist, but thongs generally don't need additional "flavor" to make them sexy, so this should boost your self-esteem (if you need it) just fine while you're on a trail.
3. Adidas Women's Climacool Cheekster
Pro: Excellent odor control
Con: May roll a bit at the edges
Extremely breathable: Most folks are familiar with Adidas since they're known for making superb sportwear. This climacool cheekster doesn't disappoint one bit. It's specifically designed for high intensity sporting activities, so its micro mesh fabric makes it extremely breathable - an optimal feature which will affect your comfort while on a trail.
Adidas is an easily recognizable brand, so you'll find just the logo instead of an annoying tag on the waistband. It does have very thin edges though, so if you don't pick the right size, you'll end up with underwear that rolls up every step you take.
4. Ibex Outdoor, Balance Boy Shorts
Pro: Full coverage
Fits like a dream: It's like buying from the men's section, but without having to deal with an uncomfortable manly front pouch. This is the priciest item on this list, but it's essentially a boy short made almost entirely from merino wool (which is pretty expensive), so the price seems justifiable.
This is the underwear you get after having terrible experiences with cheap, poorly made ones and you've come to realize that you'll need to budget for hiking underwear the same way you budget for other hiking gear.
5. ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs
Pro: Wash and dry overnight
Con: Elastic shrinks when washed
Everyday wear: If there's a firm you can rely on to make great hiking underwear, it's ExOfficio. They've been making awesome travel wears for more than three decades. This particular bikini brief is made from a lightweight diamond mesh fabric, which helps with air flow. Lightweight mesh also dries quickly so you can probably survive a one week hiking trip with just three pairs.
Unfortunately the elastic band on this shrinks when you wash it in a washing machine, so try to hand wash only (you'll be using this on a trail anyways). The bikini line cut means this could be worn daily, especially if you work in extreme weather conditions and need something to keep your lady parts refreshed. Again, remain to Handwash only that it'll stay strong.
6. Boody Body Ecowear Women's Midi Brief
Pro: Prevents static build up
Con: Won't be your most flattering underwear
Great for sensitive skin: Boody has proven time and time again that it's possible for firms to make great hypoallergenic wears without damaging the environment - most firms just choose not to. This midi brief by Boody is certainly no different - quality wise - than all the other underwear Boody has excellently made.
Don't let the relatively low price (for a hiking underwear) fool you into believing it's of sub par quality compared with other brands. This brief has micro gaps in the fibre to allow air flow freely. It's like your classic mid rise granny panty, except it's not made from cotton but from organically grown bamboo fibres. It has natural thermo-regulating and odor resistant properties, so at this price, it's definitely a steal. Grab a pair if you're committed to a greener earth.
7. Adidas Women's Climacool Thong Underwear
Pro: No label tags
Con: Inconsistent sizing, so you may end up with a double wedgie (front and back)
Flat lock seams: Yup, double wedgie's a thing, so if you aren't careful with your measurement, you'll learn just how uncomfortable it is when you're in the middle of nowhere. If you get past the sizing though, this is a great alternative to the Icebreaker - it's made from a company with a reputation to protect, so you can at least trust that it'll do what it says.
And what it says is that the ideal mix of breathability, comfort and athletic stretch-performance fabric and design will be well appreciated while on a hiking trail. It has flat lock seams, which works wonders in preventing chafing.
8. ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Hipskini
Pro: Doesn't ride up
Con: Pills with time
Control the moisture: This is what you get when a hipster and a bikini decide to have a baby (yes they can have kids, don't argue when there's irrefutable proof). This hipskini is low rise, but snug, so it won't ride up or down as you walk.
It features ExOfficio's odor eliminating Silvadur technology, so this won't stink up your backpack even if you don't wash it immediately. As with all lightweight and mesh fabrics, this underwear requires gentle care - hand wash and line dry only - so that it'll last long.
9. Under Armour Women's Power in Pink, Pure Stretch Hipster
Pro: Practically invisible, even under leggings
Con: Doesn't have full coverage
Seamless alternatives to thongs: First, Under Armour's donating (some?) proceeds from this power in pink underwear to John Hopkin's breast cancer research, so if you're interested in contributing to this cause, while getting a great hiking underwear in return, this is a great place to start.
Second, if you're not willing to risk the double wedgie the wrong size of Adidas' climacool thong may give you, you should try this power in pink pure stretch hipster instead. It covers just enough to prevent a wedgie while you're on a trail, but is low rise and leaves just the right amount of cheeks uncovered to be considered sexy.
10. New Balance Women's Breathe Hipster Panty
Pro: Snug fit
Con: They stretch out quickly
Fused seams and edges: This has a bit of commando feel to it. The seams are fused and barely noticeable, so you won't feel them along your inner thighs. It also won't leave any visible panty line.
It has a 360 degree stretch which is meant to allow mobility in all directions. Unfortunately, as the underwear gets older, it loses its elasticity. Sure all underwear gets old and eventually lose some features, but this stretches way too fast to be worth the cost. With how fragile this is, Under Armour's Power in Pink pure stretch hipster makes more financial sense, because you'll probably run through these (pack of 3) before you realize it.
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