Best Backpacking Underwear

by eslevy17

Buy moisture-wicking, quick drying underwear for hiking, camping, backpacking, travel, and comfort

Hikers and other outdoorsy types have been enjoying the benefits of high-performance, moisture wicking, quick drying underwear, which keeps them cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Backpacking underwear is a great addition to any outdoorsy gear list, and is also great for ultralight travel adventures where weight and space are at a premium.

The best backpacking underwear will wick moisture, dry quickly, never smell, keep you comfortable all day, and can be washed in the sink and hung up to dry by morning, ready to go again. Shouldn't all underwear do that?

Why buy backpacking underwear?

Advantages of moisture-wicking underwear

Whether it's called backpacking underwear, hiking underwear, performance underwear or whatever, moisture-wicking, quick-drying underwear provides a number of advantages over ordinary clothing, which travelers and outdoorsy types know is the only way to stay comfortable and dry when exerting oneself on a hike up a mountainside, or waiting in line at some Renaissance artwork museum in the heat of summer.

Because backpacking underwear is made from either nylon or polyester, often with a touch of spandex for extra stretch and comfort, the fabric will dry quickly, as well as wick moisture away from the body. Whether it's hot or cold outside, this will have the advantage of regulating body temperature, warming when it's cold, and cooling when it's warm. The moisture won't accumulate to intolerable levels, as is the case with cotton clothing, which is a major problem when hiking in freezing temperatures, and far more comfortable in the heat.

Backpacking underwear is also generally treated with some sort of anti-microbial finish, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and keeps everything smelling fine, within reason of course.

Ex Officio Backpacker Travel Underwear

The king of fast drying underwear

Ex Officio has gained quite a reputation in the wonderful world of underwear, having become one of the best-known brands offering high-performance, moisture-wicking, quick-dry underwear for men and women in a number of styles, and having been taken to countries all over the world. Ex Officio wicking underwear is relatively inexpensive (compared to some of the pricer brands), and can often be found on sale.

The material itself is made of mesh (though not see-through) nylon and spandex, and lives up to its reputation as quick-drying, wicking and easily manageable. This is the kind of product that can be worn all day, washed in the sink at night, and ready to go by morning.

Keep in mind that the Ex Officio underwear is generally sized to be a somewhat relaxed fit; size down if you want the fabric to fit more snugly in order to stay in place.

Ex Officio has been expanding it's women's travel underwear selections for quite some time now, to the point that the ladies have more style options at this point than the gentlemen. So, maybe someday, no one will have to say "it's just travel underwear, it doesn't need to look nice." Because fashion and function need not be mortal enemies.

Ex Officio Travel Underwear for Men

Moisture-wicking travel underwear for men
ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer Brief,Charcoal,Medium

Join the thousands of people who have discovered the ExOfficio underwear revolution. Just toss your Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs in the laundry or wash them in a sink. Within hours yo...

$26.00  $10.05

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ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer,Black,Large

Join the thousands of people who have discovered the ExOfficio underwear revolution. Just toss your Give-N-Go Boxers in the laundry or wash them in a sink. Within hours you will...

$26.00  $19.50

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Ex Officio Travel Underwear for Women

High-tech moisture-wicking lingerie
ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Bikini Brief - Medium - Nude

Breathable and lightweight, the Give-N-Go Bikini Brief is the solution to moving through your day in lightweight elegance. The quick-drying diamond-knit mesh breathes and dries ...

$18.00  $11.09

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ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go Full Cut Brief,Black,Large

Breathable and lightweight, the Give-N-Go Full Cut Brief is the solution to moving through your day in lightweight elegance. The quick-drying diamond-knit mesh breathes and drie...

$20.00  $15.99

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Patagonia Capilene Underwear

Patagonia backpacking underwear

Patagonia makes a few different kinds of travel/hiking/backpacking underwear, and the lineup changes from one year to the next, but currently, they come in Capilene 1 (also called silk weight) or Capilene 2 (light weight) fabric. The first is a rather dense, very strong weave, with little stretch. Make sure it's sized properly. Capilene 2 is more airy, breathable, and light. It's slightly more delicate, but should last for a while if cared for properly.

Patagonia has also expanded its line this year with Capilene 1 Stretch Boxer Briefs, which added some much-needed spandex to the Capilene 1 fabric, and should offer a much better fit.

Lastly there is the "sport" boxer brief, which is a weirdly-shaped product with seams in all the wrong places. Better to ignore it.

The ladies' versions all seem to include plenty of stretchy spandex. Lucky them.

Patagonia Capilene Underwear for Men

Patagonia performance underwear (click for more options at Amazon)
PATAGONIA MEN'S CAPILENE DAILY BOXER BRIEFS STRIPE OF STRIPES SMALL: CUSCO ORANGE LARGE

Only $263.41

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PATAGONIA MEN'S CAPILENE DAILY BOXER BRIEFS BLACK LARGE

Only $22.72

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Patagonia Capilene Underwear for Women

Patagonia backpacker underwear for women (click for more options at Amazon)
Patagonia Women's Active Hipster

Patagonia Women's Active Hipster

Only $23.00

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Patagonia Women's Active Boy Shorts

Patagonia Women's Active Boy Shorts

Only $28.00

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Arcteryx Backpacking Underwear

Performance quick drying underwear from Arcteryx

Arcteryx has a (somewhat) deserved reputation as the most expensive outdoor brand around, but they've also carved out a very loyal following among the backpacking community as having some of the best gear available anywhere. You might pay a bit extra to get the product, but you'll wear it till it wears out...which will be a long time from now.

The Arcteryx Phase SL Boxer is a high-tech piece of equipment that features a very well-engineered fit. The fabric features a "mechanical" stretch, meaning it moves because of the way the fabric is woven, rather than including spandex fibers. This means it will dry faster than most other quick drying underwear, which can be very helpful on hot or cold days.

And you know what? It doesn't look half bad either.

Arcteryx Phase SL Boxer Brief for Men

Quick drying backpacking underwear from Arcteryx
Arcteryx Phase SL Boxer - Men's Carbon Copy Large

FEATURES of the Arcteryx Men's Phase SL Boxer Next Gen Phasic SL fabric provides a softer touch, improved stretch and exceptional moisture management Flatlock construction impro...

$45.00  $38.25

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Arcteryx Phase SL Boxer for Women

Backpacking underwear for women from Arcteryx
Arcteryx Phase SL Boxer - Women's Astral Aura Large

FEATURES of the Arcteryx Women's Phase SL Boxer Moisture-wicking Breathable Lightweight Quick-drying Minimal odor retention odor-control fabric treatment Hydrophobic materials w...

Only $45.00

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Under Armor Boxer Jock for Men

Sport performance underwear from Under Armor

Under Armor is one of the mainstays of the fitness apparel world, and its gear is perfectly suitable to backcountry hiking, climbing, and other activities, despite not necessarily having the street cred of more "outdoorsy" brands.

That said, its foray into performance underwear is fraught with inconsistent reviews, and it's definitely a good idea to try these out at a store that has a good return policy. Secondly, Under Armor has a variety of products, rather than a sparse and easily-memorized product lineup, so peruse the options available (they will likely change from time to time) to find what's right for you.

Under Armor Boxer Jock for Men

Under Armor performance underwear
Under Armour Men's Original Series 6" Boxerjock, Royal (401), X-Large

Lightweight, smooth HeatGear fabric & articulated mesh fly panel. 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction. Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dri...

Only $20.00

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Under Armour Men's Original Series 6" Boxerjock 2-Pack, Midnight Navy (412), Large

Lightweight, smooth HeatGear fabric for superior performance. 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction. Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries q...

Only $35.00

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Under Armour Women's Underwear

Under Armour performance underwear for women
Women's UA Mesh Boy Shorts Underwear Bottoms by Under Armour

Comfortable, lightweight performance mesh fabric allows for maximum ventilation and breathability. 4-way stretch fabrication improves range of motion and dries faster. Signature...

Only $19.99

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Women's UA Active Boy Shorts Underwear Bottoms by Under Armour

Smooth 4-way stretch fabric improves mobility and accelerates dry time, while maintaining shape. Advanced moisture management technology keeps you cool, comfortable, and focused...

Only $19.95

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Wickers Backpacking Underwear

Cheaper moisture wicking underwear from Wickers

Wickers is a relatively small brand that makes performance underwear at a somewhat cheaper price than the more famous brands. The fabric used in many Wickers products has much more of a typical cotton feel than others, which often feel like a synthetic mesh, even though Wickers uses polyester and spandex blends to make their products. They're a cheaper alternative to the pricer options listed above, and they still work pretty well too.

The fabric does pill, and it might get a little warm on hot days, but it's not a bad option for people on a budget.

Wickers Moisture Wicking Backpacking Underwear for Men

Men's quick drying underwear from Wickers
WICKERS Men's Moisture Wicking Brief

All weather clothing underwear is the perfect first layer for athletic activities or everyday useWickers moisture wicking fabric moves moisture away from your body keeping you ...

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Wickers Performance Underwear - Men's Boxer

Wickers Men's performance Boxer is the perfect addition to your everyday wardrobe or as a 1st layer for athletic activities. Wickers performance boxer moves moisture away from ...

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Wickers Performance Underwear for Women

Moisture-wicking underwear from Wickers for women
WICKERS Women's Moisture Wicking Silkweight Brief

If you're suffering from hot flashes and night sweats you'll be amazed at how comfortable and dry you'll stay with our moisture wicking women's silkweight brief.Soft, silk ...

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WICKERS Women's Moisture Wicking Softsilk Brief

Our moisture wicking performance underwear made with Wickers' Softsilk fabric is our softest and lightest fabric everOur Women's moisture wicking Softsilk brief is the ideal ...

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More Quick Dry Backpacking Underwear

Backpacking underwear proliferates

Brands change styles periodically, and no doubt there are far more options out there than could be listed here, and you might have to try a few brands to find that perfect fit. Make sure to read user reviews regarding the fit of each product to get an idea of how it might work for you, and, if possible, find a store with a great return policy.

Click on any of the above product links to shop at Amazon for more styles, colors, and brands, and make sure you get out there and put that performance product to good use. It was designed for adventure, and you'd better fulfill all of its hopes and dreams!

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Updated: 05/01/2012, eslevy17
 
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