Many hikers don’t buy hiking-specific underwear. But they should. The best hiking underwear is built specifically for the trials and tribulations of trails. First of all, good hiking underwear is designed to prevent chafing. If your underwear does chafe while you’re hiking, your hike can become unpleasant and uncomfortable. Imagine the feeling of blisters on your groin – that’s one of the things hiking underwear is built to avoid.

Most hiking underwear also has antimicrobial properties (whether naturally or synthetically). This means that your underwear won’t become a hub for bacteria – and that you can wear your underwear for many days without it developing a nasty smell.

Hiking underwear is also built to be flexible, comfortable, and sweat-wicking – all qualities that can make a hike much more comfortable. If a hike isn’t comfortable, it’s not enjoyable, which is why hiking underwear is an essential (though often underrated!) addition to every hikers’ wardrobe. No one likes a sweaty groin.

In this article, we’ve assembled a list of all the things you need to think about when buying hiking underwear, alongside a list of all our favorites.

Hiking Underwear Reviews

Here are our top picks for the best hiking underwear for men.

For the best outdoor underwear, wherever you’re hiking or backpacking, read on:

1. ArcTeryx Phase SL Boxers Underwear

ArcTeryx Phase SL Boxers Underwear

These are crafted from silk-weight 100% polyester Phasix material. This type of material pulls moisture away from the skin and spreads it evenly across the material.

This means two things: firstly, that these wick sweat very well. And secondly, that they dry quickly after being washed.

This thin material is also very breathable, very flexible, and very comfortable. If comfort and flexibility are your priority, these are an excellent option. They stay in place well, even when you’re on a challenging hike with lots of scrambling. They come in ten great color options.

These don’t have any antimicrobial properties, so they aren’t a good choice for multi-day hikes (unless you’re willing to wash them every night). This also means that they quickly become smelly.

Pros:

  • Great moisture-wicking properties
  • Excellent at staying in place
  • Fast-drying
  • Very breathable
  • Great comfort

Cons:

  • They don’t have a fly
  • No antimicrobial properties
  • The sizes run a little small

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2. Minus33 Acadian Boxers

Minus33 Acadian Boxers

These ones are made of 100% Merino Wool, making them great for multi-day scent-free hiking. They won’t develop a scent, so you don’t need to wash them. But if you do indeed feel like giving them a wash, they’ll dry very quickly.

The Merino Wool used in these is graded as Ultrafine, which is basically just a fancy way of saying that these boxers are really soft and comfortable. The Merino Wool build also makes these boxers very warm.

These are very breathable and they wick moisture excellently.

These boxers have flatlock seams (meaning that there’s no little flap where the pieces of fabric have been joined together). They’re also crafted with a fly, making for a quick pee whenever you need one.

Pros:

  • Scent-free Merino Wool, perfect for multi-day hikes
  • These are really comfortable, and soft against the skin
  • Super breathable
  • Excellent at wicking moisture
  • Flatlock seams, for an extra lightweight build
  • They have a fly

Cons

  • The sizes run very slightly small
  • The durability here is pretty bad, which is a shame since everything else is great. If your clothes often develop holes and tears quickly, these aren’t a good choice

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3. ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Hiking Mesh Boxers

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Hiking Mesh Boxers

These are made of an ultra-light sport mesh fabric that is built to be ergonomic. If you value flexibility and comfort, you will love these.

Though not made from Merino Wool, these are treated with a microbe shield, which hugely reduces odor-making bacteria. Because of this, these boxers are great for multi-day hikes.

These are also breathable, and they dry fairly quickly.

If you like to hike in warm conditions, these are a great option, because they provide to antimicrobial technology of Merino Wool without the warmth which Merino Wool brings.

These boxers are built with a fly.

Pros:

  • Excellent antimicrobial properties
  • Very breathable
  • Quick drying
  • Excellent for warm weather – if you want to avoid a sweaty groin, these will massively help
  • They have a fly
  • Very comfortable

Cons:

  • The sizes run a little small
  • These don’t have very good durability

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4. SmartWool 150 Boxers Underwear

SmartWool 150 Boxers Underwear

The SmartWool 150 Boxers are made of 87% Merino Wool and 13% nylon. They offer fantastic durability, they dry fast and they effectively wick moisture away from the skin.

They have flatlock seams, which adds to the comfort provided by the Merino Wool. And this Merino Wool of course means that the boxers are naturally antimicrobial, so they’re good for multi-day hikes.

The Merino Wool build also makes these ones good for colder conditions.

These are comfortable and flexible, making them a great choice. But they’re not the most affordable on this list, so if you’re looking for something with a good price point, you might want to look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Very comfortable
  • Great Merino Wool build
  • Excellent durability
  • Naturally antimicrobial

Cons:

  • These are pricey
  • The sizes run a little small

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5. Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers

These boxers are made with 83% Merino Wool along with nylon and Lycra. The Lycra makes these very stretchy, perfect for hikes where you’ll be scrambling.

Again, the Merino Wool here offers natural antimicrobial protection along with warmth, comfort, and scent-free hiking. These also have flatlock seams for comfort.

The Icebreaker Atomica Boxers have a fly, for quick peeing on the go.

They’re a little sweatier than some others on this list, so if being sweat-free is your absolute priority, these ones aren’t the best option. That said, they’re still leagues ahead of underwear not specifically built for hiking.

Pros:

  • Very stretchy, making them very flexible
  • Merino Wool build
  • They have a good fly
  • Very comfortable

Cons:

  • Not the best at sweat-wicking
  • Not the most durable

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6. Adidas Hiker Climalite Boxer Brief

Adidas Hiker Climalite Boxer Brief

These boxers are made from polyester and Spandex. They’re lightweight, non-chafing, and very comfortable. They’re also pretty flexible and offer great breathability.

These don’t come with any antimicrobial properties, so they’re not a good option for multi-day hiking. That said, they’re affordable and they come in many different color options, making for a good entry-level option.

If you want decent hiking boxers that don’t specialize in anything (but offer an upgrade from day-to-day boxers), these are an excellent choice. But if you’re seeking something more specialized and specific, these aren’t a great option.

The durability here is surprisingly good, but the sizing is sometimes a little off.

Pros:

  • An excellent, affordable all-rounder. If you’re looking for your first pair of hiking underwear, these are a great addition to your arsenal
  • Good durability
  • Very comfortable
  • Many different color options
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • No antimicrobial properties
  • If you’re already familiar with hiking underwear, these might be a step down from what you’re accustomed to
  • Not the best at sweat-wicking

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7. David Archy Performance Hiking Underwear

David Archy Performance Hiking Underwear

Another great option for affordability, this pack of three boxers is the least pricey on this list – and you get three of them! They come in 16 different color choices.

They’re also a great choice for versatility – they come in three different structure options: mesh with no fly, mesh with fly and solid with no fly.

Because these are more affordable, they are of course built with lesser quality. They aren’t Merino Wool. Instead, they’re made with polyamide and Spandex.

Even though they’re of slightly lesser quality, they still perform surprisingly well for the price point. They’re breathable, they’re fast-drying and they have a roomy crotch. They have a snug fit and the build is fairly good at stopping you from getting too sweaty.

There are no antimicrobial properties here and they have a habit of bunching up, which isn’t great for a hike, especially if you’re scrambling. The sizes are also a little off.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Good versatility, with many color and size options
  • A good introduction into lightweight, exercise-friendly underwear
  • Breathable

Cons:

  • Don’t perform as well as pricier options, so they aren’t fantastic, they’re just good
  • They bunch up quite often
  • The sizing is a little off

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Best Hiking Underwear Buying Guide

Materials

You need to make sure the underwear you’re buying is comfortable! If your underwear is uncomfortable, so too will be your walk. Many new hikers underestimate how hugely important underwear comfort is – don’t make the same mistake!

You need to ensure that your underwear doesn’t chafe, or leave you sweaty. It’s therefore essential that you go for materials that are breathable and have quick drying time.

Don’t go for cotton. Instead, you could opt for lycra or nylon.

But Merino Wool underwear is the best option here, as it’s soft and breathable. Merino Wool also helps to keep you warm in cold weather.

Another popular type of breathable material is modal (which is also known as rayon).

Antimicrobial Properties

This is a factor that makes Merino Wool excellent. Merino Wool has natural antimicrobial properties.

When you hike, you sweat. And when you sweat, your body produces bacteria. But if you wear underwear with antimicrobial properties, you can massively slow down the growth of bacteria. That means fewer bacteria and less sweat. It also means odor resistance and odor control.

If your underwear isn’t going to develop much bacteria or odor, you can carry less of it on a long-distance hike, which is good for your pack and your joints. You could even carry just a single pair!

Merino Wool isn’t your only option here. Some other synthetic fabrics and materials are coated with an antimicrobial treatment.

Durability

You don’t want your underwear to tear while you’re hiking. And you don’t want to keep replacing it. You want to ensure your underwear can withstand heavy use and heavy washing. If your underwear is well-constructed, it will be much more durable.

Cut And Construction

Some people prefer boxers, some people prefer briefs. Neither is objectively better than the other from a hiking perspective, but you should wear whatever you find most comfortable.

You also want to ensure that you buy underwear that’s well constructed. Well-constructed underwear won’t slip around and it won’t chafe.

You might also want to consider the type of fly opening you like. A good fly opening is handy, so you can take a pee without pulling your underwear down.

Washability

It’s important to wash clothes as instructed. If you don’t, they’ll fall apart. So don’t buy underwear with detailed washing needs. Instead, you want something that can be hand-washed (so that you can wash it while you’re mid-hike) and simply machine-washed. You also want to go for the best hiking underwear which is quick-drying, so you can dry your smalls during the night while you’re mid-hike.

Our favorite underwear from this list is the SmartWool 150. Yes, they’re a little pricey, but they’re otherwise fantastic. And the price point is justified in performance and quality. They’re comfortable, they’re durable and they’re crafted from Merino Wool.

That said, anything from this list is a good pick. Each entry will offer you some of the best premium hiking underwear on the market. Buy anything from this list and you’ll be getting your hands on your next favorite pair of hiking underwear!

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