Best Men’s Hiking Underwear 2024

Best Men's Hiking Underwear

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This is a gear review about the Best Hiking Underwear for Men 2024.

Choosing the best underwear for your next backpacking adventure will make the experience much more comfortable and enjoyable, but there are so many products available on the market. How do you pick the right one for you? 

From Merino wool underwear to Synthetic underwear, there are so many to choose from. After extensive research and testing, I put together a list of the best underwear for hiking in 2024.

How We Tested

All the Hiking Underwear in this review have been extensively evaluated and researched by the expert author who has many years of experience in Thru-Hiking, Backpacking, and Hiking. Some of the Underwear was purchased by the author for this review. They have been rigorously tested by the author in all kinds of hiking conditions from cold alpine environments to hot deserts. The research, testing, and experience of the author have combined to come up with the Best Men’s Hiking Underwear for 2024. Read the Review Policy for further details.

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Best Men’s Underwear for Backpacking 2024

The Best Hiking Underwear for Men 2024 are:

Best Men’s Underwear for Hiking 2024

Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Briefs

Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Briefs hiking underwear

Material: Merino Wool and Nylon

> These Merino wool boxer briefs are moisture-wicking
> Soft and flexible fabric
> Odor neutralizing
> Thermoregulating technology
> Only two colors to choose from
> Loose fit style might not sit well under tight hiking clothes
> Expensive

The Smartwool Merino 150 Merino boxer briefs are an excellent choice for a base layer. They are made from a blend of Merino Wool and Nylon. The merino wool underwear is thermoregulating, keeping you warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather.

The boxer brief wicks moisture away from your body to keep you dry and prevent you from getting a chill. The wool is soft and durable, with natural odor control properties. The addition of nylon allows for greater flexible movement and durability. 

They are machine washable and suitable for tumble drying which makes them easy to look after. The merino boxers are a regular loose-fit style with an open fly.

The elastic waistband on the boxer brief sits on the hips about 2 inches below the naval and is very comfortable. The seams are stitched in a flatlock style to reduce friction against the skin as you walk.  

Overall, the Smartwool Merino boxer briefs are the best men’s hiking underwear available.

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Best Men’s Hiking Underwear

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs

Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs hiking underwear

Material: Merino wool, Nylon, and lycra spandex

> Soft and stretchy fabric
> Thermoregulating technology
> Good odor control
> Choice of 4 colors
> Sizing can run small

Icebreaker is a company that makes simple, stylish, high-quality outdoor clothing so I purchased a pair of the Anatomica boxer briefs to test them out.

The Icebreaker Anatomica boxer briefs are made from a mixed fabric of merino wool fibers, nylon, and lycra spandex. This makes them soft, stretchy, and durable, so they are suitable for daily life or hitting the trails.

The first thing I noticed when I used the Icebreaker Anatomica boxer briefs is just how thin they are, making them very breathable. The second thing I noticed was the 9 annoying tabs on the underwear that told me the address and contact details of every Icebreaker location in the world, along with washing instructions in 23 languages. And to remove these tabs I had to risk destroying the stitching. Come on Icebreaker, find a better way!

The wool on the boxer briefs did a good job at keeping me warm in cool weather and keeping me cool in warm weather. You have to love the magic of Merino wool. The thin material also does a good job of keeping moisture away from your skin. The material is also naturally odor-free and after several days of use, they didn’t have too much of a funky smell to them. 

The boxers are easy to care for as they are machine washable or can be hand washed. They have a slim-fit style with flatlock stitched seams to eliminate chafing. In fact, during testing, I found these did a very good job at preventing chafing.

The Icebreaker Anatomica boxers can run a little small so it might be better to buy a size up which is what I did, but check the size guide first. If you wash them before you wear them for the first time this will help to soften the wool for extra comfort. 

Overall, the Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers are one of the best hiking underwear for men for 2024.

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Best Backpacking Underwear

ExOfficio Give-N-Go 2.0 Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs Hiking underwear

Material: Nylon and lycra spandex

> Breathable and quick-dry
> Moisture-wicking technology
> Lots of color choices
> Good price
> Not thermoregulating
> Will not keep you warm
> All synthetic materials

I used the ExOfficio Give-n-Go boxer briefs for several years. I used this synthetic underwear for travel, work, backpacking trips, and general wear. The ExOfficio Give-n-Go boxers are the most durable of all the underwear I tested in this review. Several years of daily wear and hundreds of times through the washing machine is more than anyone could expect for a pair of hiking underwear.

The Give-n-Go boxer briefs are not thermal and are designed more for hiking and traveling in warmer climates. The men’s underwear is made from a blend of nylon and lycra spandex which makes them lightweight.

The diamond mesh fabric allows for plenty of airflow, making the boxer briefs very breathable. The moisture-wicking and odor-control of the fabric allows for a good level of freshness on the trail. The stretchy comfort waistband makes them easy to wear for long days of hiking or travel but after several years of use, the waistband was the only thing to show wear as it lost its ability to stretch. There were no holes in any part of the fabric after years of use.

There is a large selection of colors to choose from including black, charcoal, pink, red, white, and different shades of green and blue. They are machine washable but are designed specifically to be suitable for hand washing on the go for people who travel a lot.

The quick-drying feature is very impressive- wash the boxers, wring them out, lay them flat, and roll them into a towel to absorb excess moisture, then hang them up to dry. They should be dry enough to pack or wear in 2 to 4 hours depending on the humidity. 

Overall, the synthetic fabrics on the ExOfficio Give-n-Go boxer briefs work great making them the best synthetic underwear and best underwear for backpacking.

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Most Comfortable Hiking underwear

Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs

Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs

Material: Tensel Lyocel / Spandex blend
> They come in a 3-inch and 6-inch leg version (I prefer the 3-inch)
> Good choice of colors
> Moisture wicking
> Comfortable
> More expensive than some of the others in this review

The Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs come in a 3-inch leg and a 6-inch leg so you have a choice which suits you best.

I tested the 3-inch version which I think is a better option. The Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs are certainly the most comfortable of all the underwear that I wore when testing for this review. The comfort is thanks to the blend of synthetic spandex and Tensel Lyocell. While they are moisture-wicking, they are not as good as most Merino fabrics. When it comes to breathability they are equal to or better than any of the others tested in this review.

Overall, the Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs are a quality pair of hiking underwear that is not only suited to hiking and backpacking but travel and general use. Due to the high level of comfort, I prefer to use these for light hiking, travel, and general use rather than multiday hikes where it will be a week between washes.

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Quality Synthetic Underwear for Hiking

Arc’teryx Motus SL Boxers

Arc’teryx Motus SL Boxers hiking underwear

Material: Phasic fabric

> Flexible fabric
> Lightweight
> Moisture-wicking technology
> Odor resistant
> Synthetic material
> Not thermoregulating

The Arc’teryx Motus boxer briefs are made from their own trademarked Phasic fabric which is incredibly lightweight and silky smooth against the skin. It is also sustainable and complies with Fairtrade standards. 

The boxer briefs wick moisture away from your body to keep you dry, and the soft fabric stretches with you for ultimate flexibility. The flatlock seams prevent chafing and friction and the gusset crotch is designed for comfort and movement. They also have anti-odor technology. 

 You have a choice of six colors-  black, light gray, dark gray, teal blue, lime green, khaki green, and dark purple. 

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Best Hiking Underwear for Australia and New Zealand

Macpac 180 Merino Boxers

Macpac Merino hiking underwear

Material: 95% Merino wool blended with 5% elastane

> Soft and flexible fabric
> Thermoregulating technology
> Odor resistant
> Flatlock seams
> Only 3 color choices
> No fly

If you are living in Australia or New Zealand these will be the best underwear for hiking that is on the market right now. I have used and tested these Merino wool boxer briefs every single day for almost 2 years. During testing, they proved to have great odor resistance and the ability to be worn multiple days without becoming too smelly or causing chafing.

These boxers are made from 95% Merino wool blended with 5% elastane. This makes them soft, lightweight, odor resistant, and temperature regulating, whilst also allowing for free and flexible movement.

The flatlock seams prevent chafing as you move, making them perfect for long days of hiking. 

These boxer briefs have a fitted style with a wide elastic comfortable waistband. You can choose from black, gray marle, or classic blue – three very stylish colors. They have a men’s hiking underwear version and a similar women’s hiking underwear version as well as briefs.

Overall, the Macpac Merino Boxers are a great choice of hiking underwear and are highly recommended.

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Best Budget underwear for hiking

REI Co-op Everyday Boxers

REI Co-Op Boxers gear review

Material: 87% polyester and 13% spandex

> Soft waistband
> Moisture wicking
> Breathable
> Synthetic material
> Classic fit might not go well under tight clothing
> Only one color choice
> Not thermoregulating

These lightweight boxer briefs are made from a blend of 87% polyester and 13% spandex. The materials are sustainably sourced and Bluesign approved.

The soft fabric is not only flexible but breathable too. It wicks moisture away from the body, keeping you dry and comfortable on long hikes. 

These synthetic hiking boxers are a classic fit, not too loose and not too snug. They have an open fly at the front and a soft waistband to ensure comfort all day long. They come in a mid-gray color.

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More Men’s Hiking Underwear

REI Co-op Men’s Merino Boxers

REI Co-op Men's Merino Boxers

Material: 48% merino wool/32% TENCEL lyocell/15% nylon/5% LYCRA spandex

> Soft feel
> Choice of 4 colors
> Lightweight and breathable
> Low amount of Merino
> Not as durable as some other brands of merino underwear

The REI Co-Op Merino Men’s Underwear are a solid option for someone wanting a budget pair of Men’s underwear with all the high quality of many other known Brands.

The REI Co-Op Merino Men’s Underwear are made with a mix of Merino, Lyocell, Spandex and Nylon that combine into a soft comfortable fabric that breaths well and does a good job of keeping odors to a minimum.

The flat seams reduce chafing or at least keep it to a minimum, and if you do get too hot and sweaty they will dry fast.

Overall, the REI Co-Op Merino Men’s Underwear is one of the best budget Merino underwear for hiking and backpacking in 2024. Best suited for someone wanting quality without all the cost and is best suited for backpacking and travel.

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Best Hiking underwear for Men - Tried and tested
Best Hiking Underwear for Men – Tried and tested by the author

More Underwear for Hiking to Consider

  • Saxx Vibe Boxer Briefs

Underwear Comparison Table

Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Briefs 87% merino wool, 13% nylon4.75 inches
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs 83% merino wool, 12% nylon, 5% lycra4.5 inches
ExOfficio Give-n-Go Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs89% nylon, 11% elastaneNot Specified
Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs95% tencel lyocell, 5% spandex3, 6 inches
Arc’teryx Motus SL Boxers 100% polyesterNot Specified
Macpac 180 Merino Boxers95% merino wool, 5% elastaneNot Specified
REI Co-op Boxers94% polyester, 6% spandex6 inches
REI Co-op Men’s Merino Boxers48% merino wool, 32% tencel lyocell, 15% nylon, 5% lycra spandex4.5 inches
Source: Manufacturers


When it comes to underwear for backpacking and hiking there is Merino and synthetic.

Merino Wool Underwear

Merino wool boxers are great for regulating body temperature in both hot and cold weather. Merino underwear works better in colder climates than in hot humid jungle-type environments.

It is also great at reducing odor due to its natural odor-reducing properties due to the natural antimicrobial properties. Generally, it is OK at wicking but usually, it is not as good as synthetics.

Merino is not quite as durable as synthetics so some manufacturers add a blend of merino and synthetics to make the product more durable.

Synthetic Hiking Underwear

Synthetic underwear is generally stronger and will last longer than merino. Synthetics generally dry quicker too so it is a great option to give a quick wash every day when out on the trails on long-distance hikes.

They also make moisture-wicking underwear as the material does a good job of moving moisture away from the skin and to the outside to assist in evaporation.

By the way, forget cotton underwear. They are the worst backpacking underwear and not good for a hiking trip.


As mentioned above Merino Underwear is a little less durable in comparison to synthetics. So you should be a little bit more careful with them. I have ripped holes in Merino underwear when putting them on just by getting a sharp toenail scratching the wrong place. So a little more care is needed.


One of the most important features of hiking underwear is how it fits. They should be flexible and a snug fit without being too tight. You want your clothing to move with you, not restrict you. Stretchy waistbands and flexible fabrics are the best choices. 

Icebreaker Underwear with too many tags
The Icebreaker underwear comes with way too many tags


Some form of flat seam is important in the design of hiking underwear. This will reduce chafing and make them more comfortable.

The material and cut of the underwear also contribute to comfort. An example is, Mens’s Hiking Underwear which has Merino in it blended with Nylon for Strength and maybe Lyocell which is super soft to the touch will all add up to making them more comfortable.

The Patagonia Essentials Underwear are the most comfortable hiking underwear on the market
The Patagonia Essentials Underwear are the most comfortable hiking underwear on the market

Moisture Wicking

The ability of the material to wick moisture away from the body and dry quickly will assist in making your hike chafe-free. Wet underwear is the leading cause of chafing. All that salty sweat will act like sandpaper rubbing your inner thighs until the only possible outcome is chafing.

Merino and most synthetics do a good job of wicking moisture. There is a reason that cotton underwear is not suited for hiking and backpacking.


Underwear for hiking and backpacking will rate as one of the cheapest items of gear you will need when hiking. Even the top-rated underwear in this review can be purchased for less than $30.

Washing and Taking Care of Your Underwear

You can wash your underwear in a washing machine along with all your other hiking gear but just be aware that they are more delicate and should be put inside a bra bag to protect them. All of the recommendations above can be hand washed. In fact, one of the best things about hiking underwear is its ability to be hand-washed in the backcountry and then worn soon afterward because they dry so quickly.

Quick drying underwear hanging in the hot sun
Quick drying underwear will dry quickly in the hot sun


Overall, here is the best underwear for hiking and backpacking 2024:

Another one of the Best Hiking Clothing Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is So Special About Merino Wool? 

Merino wool has excellent natural properties which make it perfect for use in the manufacturing of outdoor clothing. It is naturally odor resistant so won’t hold on to the smell of sweat.
It has thermoregulating abilities which means it will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making it an ideal base layer for hiking. It is very absorbent and will draw the moisture away from your skin.
It is also very soft, unlike other wools that can be scratchy and itchy. All of these features make it perfect for hiking clothing including underwear. 

Is Merino Wool Ethical?

Merino wool that comes from New Zealand is nearly always ethical and sustainable as they have very good standards of animal welfare. This makes it more ethical than many other types of wool.
The Merino wool that comes from Australia is not always as ethical. If ethically sourced clothing is important to you then you may want to research the individual brand and where they source their Merino wool from. 

Are Natural Fabrics Better Than Synthetic Ones? 

Natural fabrics have some excellent qualities, but they are usually harder to care for and less durable than synthetic fabrics. Synthetic materials have been designed and created from scratch, so can be built to last.
Natural fabrics are made from organic materials which will deteriorate over time. If you look after them well and follow the care instructions, you can still get a lot of wear out of them. We recommended choosing a product made from a natural and synthetic blended fabric to get the benefits of both types of material. 

Why Is Moisture Wicking So Important? 

When you do exercise like hiking, your body will produce a lot of sweat. You can often be out for hours at a time. If that sweat sits against your skin, you could develop a skin rash or even get a bacterial infection in your skin. If you stop moving and the sweat dries against your skin, you can quickly develop a chill.
Moisture-wicking fabric draws the sweat away from your body and keeps it in the outer layers of the fabric, where it can evaporate. This keeps your skin dry and fresh, is more hygienic and prevents a lot of discomfort. 

BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process

The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs

BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.

The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.

BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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