Best Hiking Underwear of 2024

Overall Winner – Best Hiking Underwear

Icebreaker Anatomica Merino Wool Briefs

Icebreaker Merino Men's Anatomica boxers W fly, Black/Monsoon, Medium

We believe that the Icebreaker Merino Men’s Anatomica boxer briefs are the best hiking underwear on the market because they offer incredibly long-lasting support and protection. Unlike other performance underwear options, these stretchy merino wool skivvies fit seamlessly under multiple layers of outerwear. Their clingy, lightweight material kept us contained during even the most rigorous trail movements. Thanks to the integrated fly, we had no trouble taking quick bathroom breaks.

The gentle fabric pulled moisture away from our skin, eliminating the development of unbearable odors and, for lack of a better description, swampy conditions. Meanwhile, their wide Lycra waistband fends of wedgies during periods of intense movement. We were finally able to retire our fear of inner-thigh abrasions thanks to the forgiving flatlock seams.

When it comes to protecting their most sensitive body parts, no one has time to mess around with inferior design materials. Merino wool is naturally soft, durable, and antimicrobial. One afternoon in these all-natural undergarments, and you will never look at your underwear drawer the same.

Bottom Line: The Icebreaker Merino Men’s Anatomica Boxer Briefs are the secret to all-day comfort in damp, cold conditions.

The Top Hiking Underwear of 2020

No one wants to develop a chafed, wet nether region when they’re high stepping on a rugged trail. Still, so many hikers end up with battle scars from inept undergarments.

Never underestimate the importance of a comfortable, performance-oriented base layer. More often than not, we hear outdoor enthusiasts raving about their outwear while remaining silent about their skivvies.

Still, any experienced outdoors person will tell you its the base layers, or the underwear, more than most hiking gear, that can make or break a walk in the wilderness. We dove deep into the world of specialty hiking men’s underwear. We explored every possible specification to ensure that these garments were truly trek-ready. We’ll help you find the right cut while honing in ideal fabrics, antimicrobial coatings, and user-friendly options.

We’ve carefully selected five of the best hiking undergarments on the market. Follow along to find out what we looked for during our search for the hiking underwear. Stay tuned for our number-one pick, because these undies offer an unbeatable backcountry performance.

Looking for the Best Underwear for Hiking?

You’re in the right place! In this guide we will be covering the following:

  • What to consider when purchasing hiking underwear
  • What materials are used in the production of hiking underwear
  • Reviews of five of the best hiking underwear models
  • Our unbiased review of the #1 best hiking underwear

Things to Consider When Buying Men’s Underwear for Hiking


When it comes to performance-minded outdoor activities, conventional cotton men’s underwear just doesn’t offer adequate coverage. Athletes prefer the benefits of breathable, moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating fibers, such as merino wool and specialty synthetic fabrics.

Merino wool is an all-natural material that is naturally odor-resistant, insulating, and moisture-wicking. Since most Merino wool coming off of sheep’s backs in the mountainous regions of New Zealand, its prices are far from low. Still, this hearty material will last a lifetime when cared for properly. This fabric also has an incredibly rapid drying capacity.

What’s more, it is virtually wrinkle-resistant and does an excellent job of moderating body temperatures. Merino wool pulls moisture away from the skin. It has an impressive absorbency rating. As a result, it’s a premier base layer for activewear.

On the other hand, synthetic materials are often engineered to mimic the natural texture of merino wool. While these synthetic materials tend to wear out faster and do not always offer the same level of protection as natural fivers, they do provide a price advantage.

Antimicrobial Properties

Merino wool and some treated synthetics boast natural antimicrobial properties. Merino wool is coated in a natural oil called lanolin. Lanolin is naturally antimicrobial. It boasts the power to fight off odor-producing and water-born bacteria. Synthetics are also treated with antimicrobial additives and coatings. Zinc- and silver-based coatings are typically used to prevent bacteria from clinging to underwear. Antimicrobial coatings fend off bad odors caused by lingering bacteria.

With that said, these materials lose some of their germ-fighting potential when they are treated with harsh cleaning chemicals and excess drying cycles. Always opt for gentle machine cycles with hand washes in lukewarm water and mild detergent. Whenever possible, hang dry your hiking undergarments to prolong their lifespans.

Construction and Durability

Manufacturers use a variety of clothing construction techniques to ensure that their hiking undergarments are durable enough to withstand several uses. Elements such as flatlock seams and reinforced waistbands ensure that underwear can face the trials of the backcountry and your industrial-strength home washing machine. Loose threads and surface pilling are almost always a sign of inferior garment construction. Undergarments should be made from thin, light materials that hold up well to constant movement and abrasion.


When it comes to hiking, most men prefer to wear either loose-fitted boxers or more skin-tight boxer briefs. Both of these undergarments extend well below the crotch area to cover a few inches of the upper thighs. Loose boxers provide adequate coverage, but they are more easily bunched and twisted. Briefs are not the best option, as they fail to protect the thighs from potentially abrasive top layers of clothing. Boxer briefs provide adequate skin-tight protection that’s perfect for athletic performances and outdoor adventures.

For the best results, ensure that your hiking underwear offers adequate waist and in-seam dimensions. Some materials are stretchier than others, meaning a single size is suitable for a variety of body types. If you’re going to opt for a more form-fitting cut, then ensure that the material is soft and flexible enough to prevent chaffing and riding. Inadequate fits almost always result in bunching and wedgies.

Finally, don’t forget about the placement of the waistband. While modern outerwear cuts pair well with low-rise undergarments, overly tight or loose waistbands can cause discomfort and annoyance. Another useful element is a fly, which enables users to quickly relieve themselves before returning to their endurance tests.

Washing Care

Most manufacturers try to minimize their customer’s commitment when it comes to washing. We’ve all dealt with clothing that shrinks, fades, and shreds under the pressure of a washing machine and dryer. While natural fibers like merino wool require a bit of extra attention, they can usually make it through several gentle spin cycles without turning into rags.

We recommend that you stock up on an extra pair or two to ensure that you can adequately hang dry your garments and, as a result, extend their potential lifespan. Most manufacturers offer precise washing instructions. Take the time to follow these closely.

Looking to Fill Out Your Hiking Wardrobe?


Which Underwear Style is Best for Hiking?

For most hikers, the best underwear style for hiking is a matter of personal preference. Focus on finding an undergarment cut that creates a weather-appropriate foundation. Make sure that the materials mitigate moisture, odor, and chafing. Ensure that your pick offers adequate coverage and does not inhibit the performance or comfort of additional garments.

How Should Hiking Underwear Fit?

Most modern-day hikers prefer to wear slim-fit or slightly loose low-waist boxer briefs when hiking. A low-profile foundation gives athletes more wiggle room when it comes to adding on top layers. The undergarment needs to be stretchy and free-moving with an ergonomic cut that provides plenty of adaptability in the waist and crotch. Most hikers prefer cuts that extend over the thighs, as this extra layer of fabric prevents top layers from rubbing up against the skin.

Overall, your hiking underwear should offer snug, extensive coverage that is balanced by breathable materials and ergonomic fabrics.

Icebreaker Merino Men’s Anatomica

Best Underwear for Hiking

Icebreaker Merino Men's Anatomica boxers W fly, Black/Monsoon, Medium

Icebreaker Anatomica boxers are perfect for any guy with an active lifestyle. The core-spun merino wool serves as soft, non-chafing insulation in cool and warm conditions. The material is lightweight and comfortable up against the skin. The naturally soft fibers can even absorb a great deal of moisture. Not to mention, they naturally fend off bad odors and stains.

The wide jacquard waistband features “Icebreaker” in bold black print. Below this, there is a sizeable contoured ballpark pouch with a functioning fly opening. The inseam is 4 ¼ inches on the large. The briefs’ flatlock seams eliminate the potential for chafing. The slim fit allows you to layer lots of outerwear on top.

The Icebreaker Anatomica are 83% merino wool, 12% nylon, and 5% Elastane. They are machine-washable. The boxers come in eight gentle colors, including variations of gray, blue, and red.


  • Made of quality core-spun 150-gram merino wool fabric
  • Features stretch-enhancing Lyrca fibers
  • Roomy contoured pouch
  • Quick drying
  • Flatlock seams prevent chafing
  • close-to-the-body fit means more efficient layers


  • Tight waistband

Bottom Line: Wool underwear may not sound enticing, but Icebreaker’s revolutionary core-spun merino wool Anatomica boxers offer unmatched comfort and moisture control on long hikes.

Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Briefs

Best Underwear Quick Drying

SmartWool Men's Merino Boxer Brief Boxed, Black, X-Large

The Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Briefs are yet another temperature-regulating base layer for those with a craving for the great outdoors. The underwear made from premium merino wool and nylon core for added durability, the Smartwool hiking underwear offer itch-free next-to-the-skin coverage. The combination of all-natural fibers and stretchy synthetic

boosters are all it takes to ensure that these undergarments provide nonstop comfort and protection.

The medium sized boxer Briefs have an inseam of 4.75 inches. They also feature flatlock seams for reduced chafing. The wool is naturally odor-resistant and moisture-wicking. After all, it’s nature’s way of protecting animals that are regularly exposed to the elements. The underwear also features a 1.5-inch wide elastic waistband with a merino wool liner. The roomy crotch boasts a fully functional fly.


  • Breathable and lightweight fabric helps you regulate your body temperature
  • Quick drying fabric
  • A nylon core for enhanced durability
  • Helps minimize moisture and odor
  • Double-panel front provides enhanced support in the crotch area


  • Crotch on the small side

Bottom Line: The Smartwool Merino underwear provide wearers with a comfortable foundation for physically demanding hiking adventures, and rates the best underwear for wicking on those hot hiking trails..

Minus 33 Merino Wool 702 Acadian

Best Men’s Wool Underwear for Comfort

Minus33 Merino Wool Acadian Men's Lightweight Boxer Brief Black Medium

Minus 33’s Merino Wool 702 Acadian Boxer Briefs are designed with your comfort and performance in mind. These trail-ready wool underwear for hiking are made from lightweight 170-gram merino wool, a material that is naturally moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. Flatlock seams provide the hiking underwear with unmatched durability while eliminating the potential for chaffing.

The briefs are available in five colors, including black, sand, and Mossy Oak Break Up Country camo. The 170-gram Jersey knit micron merino wool underwear even has a 25 UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating. The company recommends that users wear the Acadian hiking underwear as a base layer in the winter and a solo piece when the weather is warm.

A single pair of these briefs weighs approximately 3.5 ounces. The jersey knit construction folds up easily for overnight excursions. The medium model has a 31- to 33-inch waist and a 6.625-inch inseam. Sixes are designed to provide wearers with a skin-tight fit but plenty of flexibility.


  • Made from 100% premium 170-gram merino wool
  • Recommended for temperatures between 30 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fast drying fabric
  • Flatlock seams for enhanced durability and reduced skin chafing
  • Suitable for machine washing (will not shrink or fade)


  • Pricey

Bottom Line: These compression-style merino wool boxer briefs don’t come cheap, but they do serve as the best breathable hiking base layer for all seasons.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief

Best Synthetic Underwear

ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 6' Boxer Brief

The ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Briefs are built for outdoor adventures. You can safely get away with wearing this undergarment for multiple days. The breathable mesh fabric is odor-resistant, stretchy, and quick drying. The slim-fit, low-rise fit enables free and easy movement. When you want to freshen up your ExOfficio briefs, you just hand wash them in soapy water, wring out the excess moisture, and roll them dry inside a fluffy towel. You can also safely launder them in a washing machine.

Antimicrobial treatments prevent the build-up of odor-causing bacteria.

Customers love the snug feel of the material, which boasts a large contoured crotch and flatlock seams. Despite their flattering look, the briefs are prone to developing wear-induced surface imperfections. Still, we love the look of high-contrast flatlock seams and large elastic waistband with the bold-print logo.

The Give-N-Go’s diamond-knit mesh fly panel offers enhanced support in the crotch area. The low-rise cut blends nicely with most modern outerwear. The tag is sewn flat against the inside rim of the waistband. The panels stay put during enhanced periods of movement.


  • Made from stretchy synthetic mesh fabric
  • 6-inch height for the perfect thigh coverage
  • Wide elastic waistband
  • Can be worn multiple days in a row


  • Is not very absorbent
  • Fabric pills easily

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a synthetic pair of underwear for you next hiking trip, then the ExOfficio is probably your best bet.

Arc’teryx Phase SL Boxer

Best Underwear for High-Output Activities

Arc'teryx Men's Phase Sl Boxer Short

The Arc’teryx Phase SL hiking underwear provides a thin, airy layer of skin-tight protection. It’s highly suitable for enhanced activities, including but not limited to hiking. The core material is Silkweight Phase SL, a super-light moisture wicking layer of polyester fabric that moves and stretches like a second layer of skin. They are engineered for base layer garments exposed to high heat and moisture. The boxers weight a mere 65 grams. A medium pair of these briefs measure 6.2 inches tall with a 38.4-inch chest width, a 32.5-inch waist, and a 34-inch inseam. They are available in sizes XS to XXL.

The Arc’teryx’s quick-drying, moisture-wicking synthetic foundation mitigates sweaty build-up. The gusseted crotch gives you freedom of movement where you need it most. The belt-high waist features non-chafing flatlock logos and labels.

These breathable undergarments are suitable for year-round use. While they do not provide insulation, they do offer exceptional moisture management during sweat-inducing outdoor activities. Color options include black, cobalt blue, and gray. The no-roll waistband and cuffs keep the undergarment from riding up your behind.

The Arc’teryx briefs are priced high. Still, their unbeatable drying time has us completely fixated on this men’s hiking underwear. The supportive waistband and lengthy thigh coverage mean less leg irritation and virtually no wedgies. The bulk of the material will fall flat against your body. Better yet, the soft synthetic fabric does not show through thin top layers.


  • Proprietary base material wicks moisture
  • Gusseted crotch allows for more natural movement
  • Flatlock seam eliminates irritation and chafing
  • Polyester yarns increase drying time


  • Some noticeable frays after laundering

Bottom Line: Arc’teryx’s Phase SL hiking underwear is a light and absorbent core layer that offers unmatched support during hikes and other high-output activities. The laminated waistband has a soft-brushed finish that blends seamlessly into the base material. A non-chafing label ensures that users receive 360-degrees of comfort while still easily configuring their clothes.

Last update on 2024-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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