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Best Underwear For Backpacking

The Best Underwear For Backpacking in 2017

Before traveling for 12 months I was determined to find the best underwear for backpacking. I was used to wearing standard cotton briefs, though I knew these would not cut it for the day-to-day activities of a somewhat adventurous backpacker.

I wanted to find something I could rely on, day in, day out. I wanted something which would be comfortable, dry fast, pack light and be resistant to odors. All which are a natural part of touring new sites, hiking or going on a morning run.

Below are the top choices for the Best Underwear For Backpacking. This list also includes the pair I chose for my 12-month backpacking trip and still love to this day.

I have also included a section covering the best long underwear for backpacking and the best thermal underwear for backpacking as I felt this category of underwear deserved their own reviews.

What To Look For When Purchasing Travel Underwear?


When looking for any travel underwear I believe you need to satisfy these 4 requirements. Comfort, durability, drying ability and resistance to odors. These requirements are satisfied with well-constructed underwear using quality materials and innovative technology.

Underwear Requirements - Best Underwear For Backpacking

Comfort

Often the comfort of your travel underwear will come down to personal preference; some people like a snug fit, whilst others like something a little more loose fitting. It also depends on the activity you are performing. For example a snug pair of underwear will offer you the support you need if you are completing a physical activity like running.

The material used to construct the underwear is also important and our top choices are made from a range of quality materials including wool, polyester, and nylon.

Finally, each brand has their own recipe for the most comfortable pair of underwear with their own special features. This is great for us as a consumer as they're innovating their products to get into your underwear drawer.

Durability

Whether you are traveling long term, taking a short trip or just looking for everyday use, you'll appreciate a pair of underwear that is built to last. They need to be able to be easily washed, be it in a washing machine, sink, river or whatever body of water you have available. They may also get squished and stuffed into small pockets or any free space in your backpack.

Dried in a dryer, under the sun or next to an open fire, as travelers we put our clothes to the test. The last thing you want is to have to buy more underwear whilst on the road or even worse go commando.

Luckily each of the underwear we reviewed below has stood the test of time and get a tick for the durability requirement.

Drying Ability

There is nothing worse than getting stuck wearing wet underwear. If you've ever woken up early and had to put on cold, wet underwear for a long day ahead, you know what I am talking about.

Fortunately, each of the products under review contains moisture wicking technology to help pull moisture away from the body and also help reduce the drying time.

When on the road you don't always have access to the Western comforts like a dryer, so it comes in handy when your underwear is super quick to dry.

Odor Resistance

Each of our recommended underwear choices offers the all-important odor resistance feature. This is definitely a must have when you are traveling. Whether you find yourself traveling in a humid Asian country or somewhere a little more brisk like Nepal, you can be sure that you will still appreciate the odor resistance, especially if you enjoy being active.

Some materials like wool are naturally odor resistant, whilst other materials like polyester and nylon are specially treated in the fabrication process.

What's The Best Underwear Material?


There are numerous materials that can be used in the construction of underwear. I have decided to list only those materials used in the underwear under review. Often with underwear construction, you will find the manufacturers combine multiple materials to offer a superior end product for the consumer. Taking the best 'benefits' of different materials and combining them into one blend means we are the winners at the end of the day. Like most choices with underwear, the 'best' material depends on your personal preference.

Cotton

A natural fiber approximately 3/8 to 2 inches long, cotton is perhaps the most popular fiber for fabric in the world. It is soft, comfortable and breathes well.

Merino Wool

It's as natural as they come, obviously the sheep think so! It is known to keep you warm when needed, allow moisture to wick away from the body. It's naturally odor free and comfortable to wear.

Nylon

A synthetic fabric made from petroleum product, nylon was first developed as an alternative to silk. It’s lightweight, durable, resistant to damage, and has low moisture absorbency.

Polyester

An extremely durable synthetic fiber, polyester has superb strength, resilience and generally does not wrinkle. It is quick drying, maintains shape and is known for its ability to hold color well.

Polypropylene

A synthetic material with durability benefits, colorfast properties with a wool like feel.

Spandex / Lycra

Spandex, also known as elastane, is a synthetic fiber made from polyurethane. An alternative to latex, it is lightweight, elastic, durable, and resistant to moisture.

I have sourced the above material information from The Underwear Expert which is a great resource for those people who want to delve deeper into their underwear buying choices.

Best Underwear For Backpacking


Comparison Table

Feature /Brand

​Exofficio

​Ice Breakers

Helly Hansen

​Under Armor

MyPakage

Comfort/Style

Boxer Brief

Boxer Brief

Boxer Brief

Boxer Brief

Boxer Brief

Durability

Drying Ability

Odor Resistance

Material

Nylon/Lycra

Merino Wool/Blend

Merino Wool/Blend

Nylon/Elastane

Polyester/Spandex

Price

$$$

$$$$

$$$$$

$$$

$$$$

Star Rating

Product Breakdown


Exofficio GIVE-N-GO SPORT MESH 6"

The Exofficio Give-N-Go perform as a great all-rounder underwear, the ultralight mesh is great for being active and offer comfort & support when needed, whether hitting the gym or tackling a day of sightseeing. They use moisture wicking technology to keep you dry when needed and also have quick dry characteristics. Perfect when you're on the road. They offer a stretchy, snug fit, when worn.

Material: 92% Nylon / 8% Lycra


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Ultralight mesh is breathable & quick drying
  • Ergonomic flyless panel
  • Antimicrobial treatment reduces odor in fabric
  • Snug, active fit
  • Prone to pilling after multiple uses

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers with Fly

Built for comfort these underwear are made from top quality Merino wool and a nylon blend which guarantees a comfortable fit. Designed for everyday wear and weekend adventures, they promote a super-soft, stretchy and highly durable underwear. The Merino wool is naturally comfortable, odor neutral and promotes moisture distribution. Recommended for those seeking an active lifestyle and underwear which can keep up with you.

Material: 83% Merino Wool / 12% Nylon / 5% Lycra


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Odor resistant
  • Updated with improved fit
  • Contoured pouch with functioning fly
  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • Some users report that these underwear ride up a bit during normal wear

Helly Hansen Warm Boxer

These feature packed underwear are most suited to cooler climates, built with the HH Warm technology which provides a dry, warm, lightweight garment that prove great as a base layer. Naturally allergy neutral and odor reducing due to the premium Merino wool used in this product. Great for those hikes where it will be a little cooler.

Material: 57% Merino Wool / 43% Polypropylene


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • HH®Warm technology
  • Dry next to skin
  • Merino wool warmth
  • Allergy neutral
  • Some users report that they can be a bit small for the size

Under Armour Iso-Chill Mesh 6" Boxerjock

There's a passion behind this brand which shines through on its products. The Iso-Chill underwear are great for active people. With technology allowing you to remain flexible and keep you cool whilst you're working out. These are also quick drying which is a huge benefit when traveling. Recommended for everyday use as well as those more active travelers.


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Iso-Chill mesh fabric helps disperse body heat
  • 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries quickly
  • Performance waistband
  • Some users report that they don't in fact feel cool to the touch as advertised

MyPakage Action Boxer Brief

Promising to keep you dry and comfortable during any activity is no small feat. Though the guys at MyPakage have the innovative technology to back this statement up. The action series is specifically designed for sport in mind which make these a great pair of underwear for the active backpacker. Again like the other products reviewed the action boxer brief have wicking and quick dry technology build in. Suitable for highly active enthusiasts looking for extra support.

Material: 100% Polyester 


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • 100% hydrophobic wicking polyester
  • Ultra-light and breathable
  • Sublimated prints that won’t crack or fade
  • 1 1/2-inch logo-detailed no-roll waistband
  • Keyhole technology (to hold 'things' in place) may not be everyone's cup of tea

Best Long Underwear For Backpacking


Whilst all of the underwear under review above are the standard 6" variety, there are times when a longer underwear is preferable. I admit it took me some time to get used to the longer 9" variety after always wearing 6", but I did enjoy the longer cut when starting early on day hikes. The extra length provided me with more coverage and warmth. Although I'm not prone to chafing, some users report that the longer underwear offer better protection against the uncomfortable rubbing.

Comparison Table

Feature /Brand

​Exofficio

Saxx

New Balance

Comfort/Style

Boxer Brief 9"

Boxer Brief 9"

Boxer Brief 9"

Durability

Drying Ability

Odor Resistance

Material

Nylon/Lycra

Nylon/Spandex

Polyester/Spandex

Price

$$$

$$$

$$

Star Rating

Product Breakdown

Exofficio GIVE-N-GO SPORT MESH 9"

The Exofficio Give-N-Go perform as a great all-rounder underwear, the ultralight mesh is great for being active and offer comfort & support when needed, whether hitting the gym or tackling a day of sightseeing. They use moisture wicking technology to keep you dry when needed and also have quick dry characteristics. Perfect when you're on the road. They offer a stretchy, snug fit, when worn. The 9" variety offer the extra protection for those who are prone to chafing.

Material: 92% Nylon / 8% Lycra 


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Ultralight mesh is breathable & quick drying
  • Ergonomic flyless panel
  • Antimicrobial treatment reduces odor in fabric
  • Snug, active fit
  • Prone to pilling after multiple uses

Saxx Kinetic Long Leg Boxers 9"

A very popular option in long underwear Saxx Kinetic Long Leg Boxers are great for active pursuits such as marathon training sessions or weekend jogs. They offer are supportive and comfortable fit with moisture-wicking and quick-drying performance. Users report that they also good at reducing chaffing.

Material: 90% Nylon / 10% Spandex


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Patented BallPark Pouch™ for friction-free support
  • Three-D Fit™ with 9-panel construction
  • Non-chafing Flat Out Seams™
  • Anti-microbial technology keeps odors at bay
  • No Fly

New Balance Men's DRY Fresh Boxer Briefs 9"

These 9 inch boxer briefs are engineered with comfort and performance in mind. The unique 4-way stretch fabric blend allows for total freedom of movement while taking moisture away from the skin quickly for fast drying. Ideal for a wide range of activities, the advanced construction utilizes minimal seams, and fly opening to make you comfortable all the way around, day in and day out.

Material: 87% Polyester / 13% Spandex​


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Boxer brief with 9 inch "no-ride" inseam and tag less labels
  • Lightweight 4-way stretch
  • Quick wicking
  • Odor Resistant
  • Some users report that they don't wick moisture very well

Best Thermal Underwear For Backpacking


If you've ever been exploring a new destination and wished you'd packed some thermal underwear I know how you feel. I recently completed the climb up Mount Kinabalu in Borneo and was very uncomfortable when I reached the peak. I arrived sooner than expected and had to wait over an hour to see the sunrise. Now when traveling I make sure to carry a pair of thermal underwear, just in case.

Comparison Table

Feature /Brand

​Duofold

Tesla Gear

Carhartt

Comfort/Style

Thermal Pant

Thermal Pant

Thermal Legging

Durability

Drying Ability

Odor Resistance

Material

Cotton/Polyester

Polyester / Spandex

Cotton

Price

$$

$$

$$$

Star Rating

Product Breakdown

Duofold Mid-Weight Wicking Thermal Pant

These thermal pants offer a classic 2-ply cotton-rich built with a close to body fit. They are best suited for everyday warmth during low activity levels. If you are planning high level activities like a hike, they may not be the best choice, though they do offer a wicking feature. The soft texture-rich knit traps air between two thermal layers which allows a chill-blocking barrier that keeps you comfortably warm. Ankle length with chill-blocking rib-knit cuffs and non-chafe flat-locked seams.

Material: 60% Cotton / 40% Polyester​


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Double layer fabric
  • Chafe-resistant seams
  • Wicking properties
  • Machine washable
  • Some users report that they fit tight and can be a bit small for the size

Tesla Thermal Baselayer Pants

These thermal underwear are designed for warmth with a fleece lining. The multiple layers ensure that moisture is drawn away from the body whilst maintaining the body's heat. They offer a snug fit with a stretchy feel. They also come in a variety of offerings depending on your needs, such as performance, thermal and multi-layering.

Material: 87% Polyester / 13% Spandex​


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Moisture sensing
  • Quick drying
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Added warmth via fleece lining
  • Some users report that they fit tight and can be a bit small for the size

Carhartt Base Force Wicking Cotton Super Cold Weather Legging

These thermal underwear are made of 9.5-ounce, 100-percent cotton ring-spun knit. They have moisture wicking technology which helps keep you dry when needed. With an elastic waistband they offer a comfortable snug fit. They are machine washable and promote wear for cold weather.

Material: 100% Cotton


Pros

Cons

Purchase Now

  • Moisture wicking
  • Stain breaker technology helps release stains in the wash
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Rib-knit cuffs to keep in warmth
  • Some users report that they can be tight around the ankle

As you can see, there are so many good choices out there for travel underwear. In the end, I decided on Exofficio Men's Give-N-Go Sport 6" Boxer Briefs for my travels. I found that these boxers exceeded my expectations and were great whether I was traveling through the Philippines or trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

Underwear is such a personal choice, though I feel that if you choose one of the pairs above for your trip or for everyday use you will not be disappointed. If you would like to see what else I packed on my trip be sure to check out our carry-on packing list.

Give me some love by either sharing this article or letting me know what your favorite travel underwear are in the comments below.

best 40l travel backpack

What’s the Best 40L Travel Backpack for Women?

What’s the best 40L travel backpack? I had enough trouble deciding what to pack for 12-months. And then I realised I had to decide what I would carry it in. Eeek! How would the most indecisive person on the planet ever make this decision? So, trust me, I feel your pain!

TRAVEL IS THE HEALTHIEST ADDICTION. – UNKNOWN

The Winner is?

There are a few essentials in choosing a quality bag for one’s travels around the world. And after extensively researching the best bags to travel with, I decided to go with the Osprey Farpoint 40L! After spending 12-months on the road with her (of course mine’s a girl), here’s how she stacks up.

 

Spoiler alert: it’s the best 40L travel backpack on the market!

  • Size: Initially, I couldn’t fathom packing my life for the next year into a 40L bag. But after 3-months in, I couldn’t imagine travelling with anything larger. Utilising packing cubes and being organised, I can easily fit everything into my bag! I see people on the road carrying 70L+ bags and I cringe. Not only thinking about the weight of it but even the sheer size. Sure, if I was climbing Everest or something I’d probably need to reconsider, but for the “average Joe” (me), the 40L is perfect!
best 40l travel backpack - Yep, it all fits! Singular bag 

Yep, it all fits! Singular bag

  • Support: Having a bit of a bad back, this was a crucial one for me. Luckily, the Osprey stacks up. Upon purchasing it, I visited a local shopkeeper who helped me adjust it for my body. The most important part was the hip straps, which we tightly adjusted. Being padded, they are super comfortable, and immediately absorb most the weight from my shoulders. The frame provides solid support, and the padded shoulder straps make it comfortable.
best 40l travel backpack - The straps are super comfy!

The straps are super comfy!

  • Pockets: You can tell everything has been designed with the customer in mind. The main compartment has straps to hold my gear in place. It also has a full mesh zippered pocket, that is perfect for storing my dirty clothes. The front pocket has a plethora of other secret pockets. And while these don’t add a ton of value for me, they are handy to have, simply to keep things organised. My favourite pocket on this bag is the front, top one. It’s super convenient to store things like my sunscreen, headlamp, chapstick, sunglasses and an ink pen. In the pocket arena, there are two minor recommendations I’d make to Osprey 1. Include a small pocket on the waist straps. Super handy for your ID, tissues, etc. Basically, anything you need to access without taking your bag off or getting your buddy to help 2. Include adjustable elastic on the front mesh pockets.
best 40l travel backpack - Pockets galore!

Pockets galore!

  • Zippers: Unintentionally, I’ve done everything I can to break these zippers. But they are tough! When I told you everything fits easily, that’s 100% true. Until I bought a puffer jacket. Luckily, it packs down into its own bag and I now just strap it on the front; problem solved.
best 40l travel backpack - Zip it, zip it real good!

Zip it, zip it real good!

  • Look: I love the look of this bag. At the time I bought it, it came in three colours (red, blue and gunmetal). For me, I prefer to blend in when I’m travelling, so opted for the more neutral, gunmetal colour.
best 40l travel backpack - She's a sexy beast! Multicolour bag collage

She’s a sexy beast! Multicolour bag collage

  • Versatility: The Osprey Farpoint 40 is super versatile. It has a top and side handle, making it easy to carry in any situation. It also has a removable carry strap, which I left behind for this trip. I didn’t think I’d need it (and don’t miss it), but good to know the option is there. The shoulder straps can be hidden away in a zippered pocket, which is handy when flying. Due to its compact size, we’ve easily taken it on motorbike trips, overnight adventures, and short treks.
best 40l travel backpack - Short or long trip, this bag is perfect!

Short or long trip, this bag is perfect!

  • Weight: In bag comparisons, the Farpoint 40L isn’t the lightest bag on the market; but it also isn’t the heaviest. It’s right in the middle, which is the sweet spot for me.
best 40l travel backpack - Carry-on style!

Carry-on style!

  • Price: Living outside a capital city (Melbourne, Australia), once I decided on the Osprey Farpoint 40L, I thought I’d be able to find multiple shops stocking it. Sure, heaps carried Osprey, and almost all had the Farpoint, but only a singular shop had the 40L model. And, they were on backorder. Much to my surprise, when looking online, I found a shop in the UK that would express deliver it to my house for $40 less than the shop in my own backyard. I like to shop local. But when you’ve been saving every cent for the last 6-months, you realise this $40 will go a lot further on the road. So, I saved the cash and received my bag in the mail 4-days later. What a deal!
best 40l travel backpack - Online shopping at its best!

Online shopping at its best!

  • Overall: I’d give the Osprey Farpoint 40L…*drumroll please* a 9 out of 10. Outside the minor recommendations I mentioned regarding the pockets, I seriously can’t fault her. It really is the best 40L travel backpack out there! 💔
best 40l travel backpack

best 40l travel backpack

Now I’m curious, what bag do you travel with and why? If you want to see what my better half (a.k.a Rob) carries check out his rundown here.