Are you in the market for a pair of men’s hiking underwear—underwear that can keep you cool and dry during your many outdoor adventures? If so, the following article just might be able to help.
Here we have reviewed several of the hottest-selling and most advantageous pairs of men’s underwear for hiking, and highlighted the advantages and drawbacks associated with each pair.
We have also included a Men’s Hiking Underwear Buying Guide, in which we will go over the various features, factors and characteristics you should consider when purchasing underwear for this purpose.
This page contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
What To Consider Before Buying
What should you look for in a high-quality pair of men’s hiking underwear? Actually, there are several features and characteristics you should consider before taking the plunge on a purchase.
To help you select the best pair of underwear for your requirements and preferences, below we have covered some of these considerations in more detail.
Type of Hiking Underwear
There are many different types or styles of men’s hiking underwear. The three most common of these are hiking briefs, hiking boxers, and hiking boxer-briefs. Below we will look at each of these styles individually.
Briefs are ideal for those men who require a lot of support where it counts. Briefs ride high up the leg towards the mid-section and are preferred by men who do not like to be bound at the legs. Important to note here is that briefs can also cause chafing, especially in larger hikers whose legs may rub together as they walk.
Boxers are the most casual and loose-fitting of all the hiking underwear. They are made from a variety of materials and come in varying lengths. They are also the most breathable type of underwear thanks to their loose-fitting design. Whether you go with trendy boxers or the old style your grandpa used to wear, you are sure to stay cool with a good pair of hiking boxers.
Boxer-briefs are a sort of hybrid of the brief and boxer style of underwear discussed above. A typical boxer-brief will provide all the support of a brief and also cover between 1/3 and 1/2 of your thighs. Most hikers believe that boxer-briefs are the best style of underwear for hiking, as they are snug where it counts, but also hang low enough on the thigh to prevent chafing on the inside portion of the leg.
If you are accustomed to wearing affordable cotton underwear, you should know that these types of undergarments are NOT the best when you plan to go hiking. Cheap boxers, briefs and boxer briefs will get wet when you perspire, and because of their fabric they will almost never dry, leading to a day full of misery and regret.
What you really want in a pair of hiking underwear is a light, breathable and quick drying fabric, a pair that will wick away moisture and prevent chafing and rashes that can become unbearable during a hike.
In terms of the best men’s hiking underwear you essentially have two options in terms of fabric type: natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics. Under the former category you have natural materials like Merino wool, which is highly breathable and very comfortable.
However, although the fabric is breathable and will keep you cool, it does not dry very quickly, and over time this can lead to discomfort and holes where the wet fabric rubs against your skin.
Synthetic fabrics work fairly well as hiking underwear. Under this category you have fabrics like nylon, lycra and polypropylene.
Many of the high-end men’s hiking underwear are made from a combination of these materials to ensure the very best in comfort and dryness. Synthetic materials are very lightweight, fairly breathable and dry extremely rapidly, which is a definite plus on the long days on the trail. Synthetic underwear is also very durable and tends to last longer than other fabrics.
Odor is another problem that is common with the cheaper styles of underwear, and after a long hike that odor can really become a problem you just don’t need. That is why odor control is so important in a pair of hiking underwear.
Synthetic materials like nylon, lycra, propylene and even polyester do a great job of wicking away moisture from the skin. However, due to the way in which they are made they can also trap odors and thus create an unpleasant scent.
To ensure the underwear you are considering buying will rid odors, you will need to look for natural or synthetic fabrics with added antimicrobial ingredients and other odor-inhibiting agents. Merino wool has natural antimicrobial properties that will protect against odor, but if you opt for a synthetic fabric instead you will need to check the label to ensure that fabric will also help to fight unpleasant odors.
Flatlock seams are extremely important in a pair of high-quality hiking underwear. Flatlock seams utilize a stitching technique that will enable your underwear to sit flatter against your skin and are thereby more comfortable against your thighs as you hike.
One of the most common causes of rashes and chafing is material that fails to lie flat against the skin, with the excess material causing the rubbing. As such, flatlock seams are crucial to your comfort when on a hike.
Construction and Durability
If you opt for the most luxurious and most expensive styles of men’s hiking underwear you may not always get the durability you require. When it comes to durability in a pair of men’s hiking underwear you want to examine more than just the fabric, but also how the underwear is put together—the construction and the seams.
As we mentioned above, flat-lock seams are definitely recommended in underwear for hikers, not just as a way to prevent chafing but to add to the longevity of the fabric. You also want underwear that is machine washable and dryable, which will allow you to care for the fabrics without putting in too much effort or causing them damage.
Synthetic materials, as we said, are much more long-lasting than their cotton and other natural counterparts; and merino wool underwear may have to be hand-washed in order for it to keep its shape. If convenience and durability are important to you, you might want to lean towards a synthetic material that will stand the test of time and won’t require specific maintenance and upkeep.
Last but not least is drying time. No hiker wants to be wet down below while hiking, as that added moisture will almost always lead to rashes and chafing.
Moreover, when on an extended hiking trip, you may not have the luxury of taking your underwear off daily to wash and dry them. Because of this, you definitely want to select a fast-drying material that will keep the moisture away from your skin. Again, synthetic materials like lycra and nylon are best for this task.
Active Weekender Picks: Top Men’s Hiking Underwear
Now that you know what to look for, let us help you out with some recommendations. Below you’ll find some of our favorite hiking boxers for guys.
1. Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers
The Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers are designed using a combination of Merino wool (83 percent), nylon (12 percent) and Lycra (5 percent), thus combining the natural odor-fighting protection of the wool with the quick drying and water-wicking capabilities of lycra and nylon.
The ultimate goal of this hiking underwear is to naturally regulate your temperature, while allowing the fabric to breathe freely and stay fresh even when you don’t have the luxury of changing or washing your underwear each night on the trail.
- Great combination of materials. The combination of materials in the Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers both wicks away moisture and protects against odors.
- Flat-lock seams. With its flat-lock seams that allow the fabric to lay flat against the thighs you will never have to worry about chafing.
- Premium priced. As you might expect from underwear of this quality, the Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers come with a relatively high price point.
Where to Buy:
2. ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer
Made from nylon (94 percent) and Lycra Spandex (6 percent), the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer is one of the coolest and driest pairs of underwear you will ever try, making it perfect for long hikes and overnight stays.
Each pair of the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxers is treated with antimicrobial agents to reduce the odor in the fabric, keeping you feeling fresh and odor-free throughout the day. Its breathable mesh allows for great airflow; and the durable fabric and comfortable waistband will make this one of the most long-lasting pairs of underwear you will ever buy.
- Fully synthetic. The 100 percent synthetic design of the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer helps it to wick away moisture and dry rapidly.
- Odor-Free. The boxer is treated with antimicrobial agents that work to fight off odor.
- Pilling possible. Some users have lamented about pilling—the appearance of tiny balls of fabric—occurring with the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer.
Where to Buy:
3. Woolx Dailys – Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs
The Woolx Dailys – Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs are made from 100 percent Australian lightweight merino wool and are completely machine washable.
As a natural fabric, the merino from which this pair of underwear is constructed is both antimicrobial and odor-resistant, providing odor control even after several days of continuous wear.
There is never any bunching, dampness or irritation with the Woolx Dailys – Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs, thanks to its moisture-wicking fabric, which is also very breathable and lightweight for a more than comfortable feel.
- Natural odor protection. Merino wool, from which the Woolx Dailys – Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs are made, is a natural odor-fighting fabric.
- Machine washable. Unlike some wool garments, this pair of underwear is 100 percent machine washable.
- Longer drying time. The Woolx Dailys – Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs do not dry as rapidly as underwear made from synthetic fabrics.
Comparing The Top Men’s Hiking Boxers
Here’s a quick look at our favorite boxers for men going hiking.
- Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers
- ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer
- Woolx Dailys Men’s Merino Wool Boxer Briefs