0 Best Hiking Underwear
You may not think your choice of underwear is that important when you’re packing your gear for a hike.
But take the wrong underwear just once and you’ll quickly realize its importance.
Hikers put a lot of time, consideration and resources into proper gear. Underwear isn’t the place to try and cut back.
Underwear is key as the first layer of your gear. It’s in direct contact with your skin every hour of your hike, so you want to be sure it fits properly and doesn’t rub against your skin. You don’t want it to retain moisture, which can create chafing or make you cold.
It’s something you’ll wear every day, no matter what the weather is like. You may even need to wear it overnight. On long expeditions, you may need to wash it, or pack several pairs. Just any department store underwear won’t cut it.
So there’s a lot more to hiking underwear than you may think. Here’s what’s important when choosing the best underwear for hiking.
Style and Cut
Everyone has a personal preference for style of underwear, and men’s underwear is different than women’s. What’s best for hiking is a higher cut for women, and a boxer style for men, both with a relatively snug fit. Here’s why.
A looser style could result in chafing from the material rubbing against your skin. A boxer style will allow men flexibility but enough compression to sit flat against your legs. Those who are regularly bothered by chafing can even choose a longer cut. Boxers will also wick perspiration away from your skin. For women, a higher cut adds comfort and support, without the grief of having your bikini style underwear ride up while hiking.
These styles will also lay flat under your hiking pants, and not ride up against your backpack.
Seams and Durability
The seams on underwear can also cause chafing issues when you’re on a long hike, so choose those with flatlock seams that won’t rub against your skin. Flatlock seams are made by sewing the edges of the fabric directly to each other, without an overlap that creates a fabric ridge on the inside of the seam. Therefore, nothing to rub against your skin.
Flatlock seams are also strong enough to make the underwear more durable. There’s nothing worse than ripping your underwear midway through a hike! And while you may hand wash your underwear when you’re on an overnight hiking trip, you want to ensure the material of your hiking underwear is machine washable and durable enough that it doesn’t break down with regular washing.
The best underwear for hiking is made of material that’s moisture wicking, to transport sweat away from your skin and keep you comfortable. It’s also ideal if it’s quick drying, so you can wash it on the hike and be able to wear it again in short order.
And whether it’s men’s hiking underwear or women’s hiking underwear, an antimicrobial material is best, to reduce odors and ensure it stays fresh even after using it for several days.
So, you can choose merino wool underwear, which is a natural antimicrobial product that isn’t itchy like regular wool. It can provide warmth even when wet, or knitted into thin fabrics suitable for hot weather.
Or, you can opt for synthetic materials with similar properties. Synthetic underwear is treated to be antimicrobial, so those properties will eventually wash out. But it tends to be more durable, and dries slightly faster than merino underwear.
Men’s Vs. Women’s Underwear
There are some clear differences between the best hiking underwear for men and the best hiking underwear for women. Size, cut, and style can all vary greatly, depending on the size of the hiker. Men will want to decide whether they want a fly opening. Trying to make hiking underwear into a unisex product is difficult, so it’s best to seek out underwear specifically for either men and women.
Colors and Patterns
Colors or patterns may not be that important to everyone, but some people prefer to have clothing in colors they like, or in color patterns that suit their lifestyle. For instance, if you have light colored hiking pants, you won’t want a pair of black hiking underwear. The best hiking underwear for women would be lighter colored with no patterns, if they wear white pants or shorts. Or, if your gear is all in a similar color style, it’s easier to throw in the washing machine than worrying about mixing colors, darks and whites together.
Now that we know what’s important to consider when buying underwear for hiking, let’s look at our top choices for the best hiking underwear, including some for men and some for women.