If you’re done planning the perfect hike, it’s time to remind you to check out whether the underwear you packed is perfect for the activity or not. Often overlooked by many, hiking underwears also need to be purchased after careful consideration, as multiple factors need to be checked off.
There’s the worry of chafing, temperature control, moisture absorption, durability, and many other things you need to take care of. It might seem tedious, but getting the right pair of underwear can make all the difference. Believe us or not, the right pair of underwear can turn your trip around completely. Base layers that provide the utmost level of comfort and feel would make your hike comfortable as well.
Don’t worry, we have got you completely covered, with info on the best hiking underwear in the market today, what factors you need to look for when you’re buying one, and some basic FAQs that we’ve come across during our research. Most of the products in this list can also be used for athletic activities other than hiking too. This is definitely going to come in handy then. Keep reading to find out more about the best hiking underwear for men.
Top 15 Best Hiking Underwear 2023
1. Meriwool Men’s Boxer Briefs
The biggest advantage that Meriwool holds here is the merino wool that they use to make these boxer briefs. Merino wool is one of the most desirable materials that there ever is because it’s so comfortable and soft. It is much thinner and softer compared to regular wool. This makes it super cozy to wear next to your skin.
These boxers are suited for any weather as they regulate the temperature according to your surrounding. This way, they keep you warm during winters and cool during summers. The wool is interlock-knit, keeping you snug and cozy while also being gentle on your skin.
There is very little chance of chafing because of the material’s softness, therefore, you can perform any strenuous activity without worrying about injury. These boxers have good moisture-wicking and odor-resistant properties, thereby keeping them quite durable. In these extremely airy and breathable boxers, you will feel comfortable throughout, even if you’re doing tiring activities like snowboarding or skiing.
Most often, during treks and hikes, it is difficult to wash and dry your clothes. They’re ideal for tumble-drying and have a hanging loop featured, which makes it easier for you to maintain them.
Meriwool’s briefs come highly recommended, and even though they might seem a tad too pricey, they’re a good investment for people who frequently exercise, play sports, or hike. Without a doubt, they’re one of the best hiking underwear out there.
2. Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport 150 Boxer Brief
A lot of people consider Smartwool to be their go-to brand for hiking base layers, so this product is trustable for its features. It uses flatlock seams throughout, which reduces the chances of chafing and keeps your skin protected all day long. The waistband is wide as well as lined with merino wool, which means less irritation on your skin.
Its interlock knit ensures more breathability and makes you more agile. You can carry on with your task for hours without any discomfort. It has thermoregulatory features, so it keeps you cozy all the time.
The boxers are slim but give you a relaxed fit, making it all the easier for you. It’s highly odor-resistant and airy, so you could wear it for a few days even, without much worry of stink. Every hiker’s dream, right?
The merino wool also makes it less uncomfortable when damp compared to synthetic material. Since they also dry pretty fast, it saves you time, effort as well as extra luggage.
Smartwool Men’s Boxers are a little more expensive than other briefs, but the features are totally worth it, especially since they’re durable. It is definitely a great choice for a comfortable pair of hiking underwear.
3. Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers with Fly
Icebreaker’s hiking boxers are yet another popular choice when it comes to merino inner clothing. The merino makes these super comfortable to wear, as it is extremely airy and gives you room to breathe. Merino fibers are extremely thin and do not prick you. Your skin and your comfort are their biggest priority.
It comprises a mixture of materials: 83 percent merino, 12 percent nylon, and 5 percent lycra. The core-spun fabric makes it very soft and light. This also increases durability and provides you with strength as well. There are panels of air mesh added at certain spots to allow more airflow for increased comfort.
The flatlock seam prevents chafing so that you need not worry about getting any cuts or injuries in the middle of your hike. They are odor-resistant, and you can wear them at a go for a few days even. They’re easy to wash and dry pretty quickly as well, which is all the more better.
Icebreaker’s Anatomica Boxers are a little on the expensive side, too, but as a smart competitor to Smartwool and Meriwool, it does have the right features to be among the best hiking underwears available today.
4. Boody Body Ecowear Men’s Brief
Made from organic bamboo yarn, this one is super comfy, not just for you but for the earth as well. Boasting a sustainable build and ethical manufacturing, Boody’s Ecowear briefs provide you with comfort as well as a clean conscience because you’re going eco-friendly with this.
The briefs consist of micro-gaps that allow for extra breathing space and keep you snug. The material has moisture-wicking ability, which allows for more airflow. They have thermoregulatory features, that is, they’ll maintain your temperature according to the weather outside. So you can remain warm and cozy during extremely cold temperatures.
The waistband is smooth and soft, thereby avoiding irritation and cuts on your skin. There’s very less tendency of chafing, so you can do strenuous activities like swimming and hiking without any worries. We did find some reviews which said that the waistband tends to roll up during movements, so you may want to keep that in mind.
The 3-inch leg drop reduces underwear lines, especially when you’re wearing tight khaki pants, jeans, or joggers. The material is pretty stretchable and hence more durable as well. These briefs are available in black, white, and grey colors and look pretty snug.
The Ecowear is a sustainable product that comes with many of the features necessary to be good hiking underwear. The very fact that it is environment-friendly itself makes it quite sought-after, especially at a time when discussions around climate change are going on strong. It comes highly recommended, it’s comparatively cheaper as well, and you can use it for a long time.
5. Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Compression Shorts
Soft and lightweight, these shorts are meant for when you want to go athletic mode. They’re made of synthetic fiber (polyester and elastane) and are quite stretchable. In fact, it uses the special 4-way stretch construction design, which helps free movement in every direction without any hamper.
It is constructed with a stretch-mesh gusset and inseam panel, which leads to better ventilation and keeps the area airy. Its double-layered skin has moisture-wicking tendencies that keep you snug and dry while performing high-intensity activities.
The seams are designed such that the high abrasion areas remain away from it to avoid wear and tear. This ensures the longevity of your shorts and keeps them durable. They have odor-control features, so you need not worry about the stink.
Under Armour’s HeatGear technology functions as a thermoregulator and keeps you warm during cold weather outside and vice-versa. However, we would suggest that it is ideal to wear these in warm, tropical weather.
We found some reviews that criticized these shorts’ compression level as it’s said to reduce with time. Having said that, these compression shorts are still worth their price and worth the buy.
6. Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Brief Underwear
These briefs are made with an extremely soft merino wool blend. We’ve already talked about how fine and smooth merino wool is, making it all the more comfortable for you. Icebreaker is one of the best brands for base layer products, and you can totally count on the features of these briefs.
The material is a blend of core-spun merino wool, nylon, and elastane, making these briefs super stretchy, giving you a flexible experience. This could come in very handy because hiking or even regular athletic sports demand lots of movement in different directions. Your briefs shouldn’t come in your way and hamper your motion in any way.
The flatlock seams eliminate the possibility of chafing, and the merino material again prevents irritation on the skin. The wool keeps you snug and warm during the cold weather. It’s also quite airy, allowing for room to breathe. These briefs are odorless, so you need not worry about them stinking. They’re also quite easy to wash and dry.
Icebreaker’s Anatomica Briefs might be a little pricey, but they’re worth it and durable. They’re definitely among the best underwear for hiking.
7. Saxx Underwear Men’s Briefs
These briefs are specially designed for easy movement so that you can remain agile all day without having to face any problem. They have a built-in BallPark Pouch so that you don’t feel all tight and cramped up down there.
The pouch has a 3D construction for a perfect fit. The mesh panels keep the briefs light and airy. The material has moisture-wicking features and also ensures that your genitals remain dry and cool throughout the day. The movement will be simple, and you can stay flexible all day long, without any fear of chafing.
The briefs provide a loose and snug fit, for better comfort. They have a low-rise and an anti-roll waistband, which is a huge advantage, especially heavy-intensity activities like hiking and swimming. The flatlock seams prevent any kind of skin irritation, which makes it better. You can wash these briefs on machine wash, and they’re totally compatible with tumble-drying.
With cool features and a very comfortable build, Saxx briefs are a pretty decent option if you’re looking for comfort.
8. ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Brief
ExOfficio’s briefs are made in a lightweight diamond knit, which gives you more mobility and freedom. It is made of synthetic fabric, a combination of 94 percent nylon and 6 percent lycra spandex that makes it flexible. The material is extremely thin, and super cozy next to your skin.
It’s also quite breathable, allowing maximum airflow and thus keeping your private parts cool and dry. The material has moisture-wicking abilities, which further keep you snug. The brief undergoes a special antimicrobial treatment for odor-resistance so you need not worry about stinks.
It is quite easy to wash and dry, with a quick machine wash, and takes less time to dry. So it’s pretty chill to wear it on long hikes and trips. The waistband is very soft and makes the briefs more comfortable to wear. Durability does seem to be an issue as, after months of use, the nylon seems to pile up in a mesh.
ExOfficio’s briefs might not be the best on this list, but for their price, their features are totally worth it.
9. Kayizu Men’s Boxer Brief
Made with cotton and spandex materials, these briefs are flexible, allowing you maximum movement. But they don’t stretch out after prolonged use. They’re high-rise and fit quite comfortably. The softness of the material prevents chafing and the smooth waistband also reduces any irritation or cut on the skin.
They’re long enough to keep you comfortable but not roll up and bunch down there. The open fly design keeps it airy and gives you more room to breathe. This keeps you dry and cool all day long. Sweat and odor-resistance are less compared to the other products in this list, though.
We analyzed some reviews and found that these briefs are more ideally suited for everyday wear rather than heavy outdoor activities for a long time. Despite this durability issue, you can still buy them for their other features, as they are pretty cheap compared to the other products on this list. Kayizu’s briefs are totally worth giving a try.
10. Fruit Of The Loom Men’s Micro-Stretch Boxers
Fruit of the Loom as a brand is very popular so the features of these boxers are quite trustable. It is developed with a cotton-heather blend, which is a mix of 90 percent cotton and 10 percent polyester. This makes it very airy and free, providing you with maximum mobility.
It’s specially designed using lightweight microfiber to give more room for you to breathe. This makes it even more comfortable for you to move around flexibly. The material has moisture-wicking abilities so that you remain dry and snug all day long.
You can easily wash it on machine-wash and the cotton dries off pretty quickly as well, so it’s ideal to wear on long trips. It is available in multiple colors and retains its vibrant color even after multiple washes. There is a collared cuff on the leg holes which keeps these briefs from rolling up, which makes it all the cozier.
Unlike wool, it may not keep you warm during cold temperatures. But for the support it provides and for its features, Fruit of the Loom is definitely a great option when it comes to hiking underwear.
11. ExOfficio Men’s Give-n-Go Flyless
Built with a blend of 94 percent nylon and 6percent spandex, these briefs are made for agile movements. Its design incorporates a lightweight diamond mesh that allows great airflow. This keeps you light and breezy, since there is more room to breathe.
The diamond mesh also provides for flexibility, as the knit is stretchable and facilitates quick mobility. It wicks away moisture, keeping you cool and dry all day without any worries.
These briefs also employ the Silvadur technology, which is an antimicrobial treatment that keeps them odorless and fresh throughout the day. You can wash it using machine-wash tech and the material dries pretty quickly as well.
These briefs have an elastic closure and the fabric is stretch-resistant and hence durable. It is great for travel and comes highly recommended despite being a little pricey. But you would not regret this purchase.
12. Puma Men’s 3 Pack Tech Boxer Brief
PUMA is one of the most popular brands you would go to for athletic equipment. Many might not know this but they have a lineup of underwear as well and these are just great!
Made with a polyester-spandex blend, these provide you with utmost flexibility, as the material is super stretchable in all directions. They’re quite durable as they don’t sag over prolonged use, which is a problem most people face with other products.
The material wicks away moisture and also facilitates airflow, keeping you clean and dry all day. Your movements will not be hampered and you can easily do heavy-intensity exercises throughout the day.
The material is extremely soft so you need not worry about chafing issues. The waistband is also smooth and does not roll up or irritate the skin. These briefs keep you comfortable in all weathers and maintain your shape and compression throughout the day.
Though they’re a bit expensive, these boxers are definitely worth the price for their cool features. These are definitely super comfortable and make a good deal for you.
13. Fruit Of The Loom Men’s Breathable Underwear
These long leg boxer briefs are made of a blend of 91 percent cotton, 5 percent polyester, and 4 percent spandex. The fabric is perforated and therefore allows good airflow. This keeps you very comfortable, allowing you to move around effortlessly. The micro-fiber material has moisture-wicking abilities, thereby keeping you cool and dry throughout the day.
The fabric is twice as thick as usual underwear and is still air and provides you with extra support. It minimizes sweating and controls odor, keeping you fresh all day long.
The stretchy material gives you flexibility and allows free movement without any issue. They’re also extremely lightweight, which adds to the comfort.
They’re mid-rise fit and have a soft waistband, to avoid skin irritations. You also need not worry about chafing. You can wash it on machine wash and the material dries off pretty quickly. They’re also available in multiple colors for you to choose from.
Priced moderately, Fruit of the Loom underwear is a good deal if you’re looking for a super comfy pair of underwear.
14. New Balance Men’s Boxer Brief
New Balance is essentially a shoe company and many might not know that it makes underwear as well. But they’ve done a pretty good job at the styling and the material of the briefs.
The material consists of 90 percent of polyester and 10 percent spandex and these are quite breathable. Light and airy, these keep you dry and cool throughout the day, with the lightweight four-way stretch making you more flexible and agile.
The fabric is designed to wick away moisture and sweat from your body so you remain snug. They control odor, so that you can be fresh all day long. These briefs are ideal for hiking, sports as well as daily use.
They have a pouch attached along with increased compression and comfort. For better flex, these briefs feature an elastic waistband and have a ‘no-ride’ inseam as well. There won’t be any issues with rolling up or bunching of the fabric.
New Balance’s briefs are a little expensive but are definitely worth the purchase because of the comfort they offer. They’re definitely among the best hiking underwear available.
15. Gildan Men’s Regular Leg Boxers
Gildan’s boxers are made of 100 percent cotton fabric (except for the grey briefs). Despite not having very thin strands, they’re still very soft and stay smooth next to your skin. They’re just long enough to prevent roll-up and do not cause discomfort by bunching up.
The cotton makes it extremely absorbent and airy, keeping you cool and dry throughout the day. It wicks away moisture and sweat and reduces odor.
They provide optimum support and offer decent compression as well. The fly is sized well, just large enough to be convenient. Reviews suggest that they fit perfectly and the sizing is also right.
However, we did find some reviews which criticized the quality control of the material. One of the recurring complaints was regarding the waistband seams ripping apart. This needs to be kept in mind even though it’s available at a great price and offers decent features too.
Factors To Look For When Buying Best Hiking Underwear
Now that you have the list of the best hiking underwear, it is also important that you figure out what specifications suit you the best. Some criteria need to be ticked off before you buy the ideal pair of hiking underwear. Let’s check these out one by one.
Choosing the right base layer material is of utmost importance because your comfort, for the most part, rests on that. You mostly have two options when it comes to the fabric—synthetic and wool.
Merino wool is considered the ideal option for underwear material as it is organically occurring, soft, and naturally odor-resistant. Its strands are extremely thin and provide you with utmost comfort, almost as if it’s just a second layer of skin. It has great moisture-wicking properties and feels nicer against damp skin compared to synthetic materials.
Merino wool also brings with it thermoregulatory abilities, so that you remain warm during cool weathers and vice versa. This material is usually combined with smaller compositions of synthetic fibers to get the best of both worlds. Also, pure merino wool would be very expensive to get your hands on compared to synthetic fibers.
While we keep that in mind, it should be noted that generally, synthetic materials are preferred because they’re available at a cheap rate. These could involve nylon, polyester, spandex, rayon, or a combination of any of these. Synthetics are also more durable. They’re easier to maintain and dry faster than merino wool. However, they feel very mushy against damp skin and this might cause discomfort especially when you’re hiking or performing high-intensity activities. Also, they’re bad at odor-retention, especially compared to merino wool.
For many people, cotton seems to be the only fabric their skin is compatible with. However, cotton can work pretty bad when there’s a lot of moisture involved, as it cannot hold excess moisture. Even if it does hold too much moisture, it eventually becomes heavy and then ends up chafing against your skin. It would also take a long time to dry, and that is a big no-no when you’re looking to enjoy your hike.
Very tight-fitting hiking underwear might cause discomfort regarding breathability and can also increase the chances of chafing, especially when you’re out hiking or doing any kind of athletic activity. It is thus important to get a relaxed fit of underwear, but a pair that is too loose can also cause chafing and irritation.
There are three basic styles of men’s underwear—boxers, briefs, and boxer briefs. Though briefs provide good support, coverage becomes an issue and can cause chafing, especially on your thighs. In this case, it is best to switch to boxers or better yet, boxer briefs.
Boxers give you a looser fit and more airflow, keeping you comfortable and snug. However, you do need to take care that they don’t become too loose and end up bunching. Bunching can cause a lot of discomfort and hamper your movements when you’re performing any activity. A loose fit can also prevent the fabric from wicking the moisture away from your skin.
Boxer briefs seem to be the best option because it provides a comfortable fit as well as good coverage so that chafing could be avoided altogether. It also gives more support and keeps you snug throughout the day.
3. Tagless Underwear And Flatlock Seams
It can get extremely irritating when the tags on your underwear rub against your skin. Even walking becomes difficult in this case, let alone hiking. Tagless underwear is thus the new sought-after thing.
The same idea lies behind flatlock seams as scratchy seams can cause much irritation to your skin and can even cause cuts. Flatlock seams are wide and comfortable as they don’t press against your skin.
We advise you to look for underwear with both these features because believe us, they’ll make a massive difference.
Often overlooked, odor-control is a very important factor when it comes to buying hiking underwear as hiking demands you to stay outside for a long time, possibly without a change of clothes. It is thus vital that your underwear remains fresh and does not stink.
Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant and thus comes highly recommended in this case. Some synthetic fabrics come with antimicrobial treatment to control odor but this works only in a limited number of cases as they usually fade after repeated washes.
It would be quite disappointing if you ended up with holes in your underwear just after a few washes because you didn’t follow the washing instructions correctly. Most of the time, you could throw your underwear in the machine and get it cleaned. But during hiking, you must be able to wash your underwear at the sink and get it dried quickly as well.
Both merino and synthetic fibers dry pretty quickly, so you need not worry about that. But do keep in mind that merino fibers get ruined if you don’t wash them at low temperatures. Also, while drying your hiking underwear, make sure you avoid direct sunlight as this can cause unnecessary stretching of the material.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is The Right Hiking Underwear?
The best underwear for hiking allows you to walk around for days without having to worry about chafing or any other discomfort. It gives maximum flexibility and permits movement in all directions. It needs to have moisture-wicking features and must keep you dry. It has to be odor-resistant and should keep you warm and fit snugly.
2. Which Are The Best Brands Of Hiking Underwear For Men?
Smartwool, Icebreaker, and Meriwool are the leading brands that manufacture the best hiking underwear. They feature in this list as well.
3. Which Are The Best Brands Of Hiking Underwear For Women?
Rab, Runderwear, and Icebreaker are popularly used by women hikers for their cozy features and cut.
4. What Are The Preferred Styles For Women’s Hiking Underwear?
The ideal styles would give good coverage and sit above the hips. These could be briefs (full-cut briefs and hipsters), bikinis, boy shorts, and thongs. It is also advised that women wear sports bras as they provide an insane amount of support and comfort during heavy-intensity activities like hiking.
5. What Is Merino Wool?
Merino wool comes from sheep. In order to protect their wool, sheep produce a lot of lanolin. This makes the wool naturally moisture-repellent, UV-protected and is one of the least combustible fabrics. Its high tensile strength makes it quite durable.
We looked through the major underwear for hiking available in the market today and also checked out the factors that need to be taken into consideration when you’re getting a pair of hiking underwear. It might seem a little overwhelming, but the right pair of underwear would make all the difference as we said.
‘Best’ in this regard could be a very subjective idea, considering how different people’s bodies function differently. It is prudent then to figure out your own preferences and find out which pair of hiking underwear suits you the most.
Ideally, merino material is preferred for hiking underwear because they’re extremely soft and comfortable against your skin. However, merino could be an expensive choice, and it’s important to get something that fits in your budget as well. A blend of merino and synthetic material in this regard could work wonders, as it gives you the best of both worlds.
Putting in some careful consideration and good monetary investment into buying hiking underwear can go a long way if you’re looking for a comfortable trip. The best hiking underwear can last you a long time and keep you cozy for many hikes to come.