When it comes to backpacking, having the right gear is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. And one often overlooked but important item is men’s underwear. Finding the best men’s underwear for backpacking can make a significant difference in terms of durability, breathability, and overall comfort. In this article, we will explore some top options, considering factors like moisture-wicking properties, quick-drying materials, odor control, and packability, to help you choose the perfect underwear for your backpacking adventures. Whether you’re planning a day hike or a multi-day trek, this guide will ensure that you stay fresh and comfortable throughout your journey.

Understanding the Importance of Choosing the Right Underwear for Backpacking

The Role of Underwear in Backpacking Comfort

When it comes to backpacking, every piece of gear you choose plays a crucial role in your overall comfort and performance. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, selecting the right underwear is essential for a successful backpacking trip. The right underwear can provide comfort, support, and moisture-wicking properties, keeping you dry and comfortable even during long hikes or intense physical activities.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Backpacking Underwear

Before diving into the best men’s underwear options for backpacking, it’s important to understand the key factors to consider when making your choice. These factors include material, fit, moisture-wicking properties, odor control, and durability. By paying attention to these aspects, you can ensure that your underwear will meet your needs and withstand the demands of backpacking adventures.

Top Picks for Men’s Backpacking Underwear

1. ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs

The ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs are a popular choice among backpackers for their exceptional comfort and performance. Made from a blend of nylon and spandex, these underwear offer quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties, keeping you dry and comfortable even in humid conditions. The snug fit and stretchy fabric allow for freedom of movement, while the antimicrobial treatment helps to control odors during extended trips.

2. Smartwool Men’s Merino 150 Boxer Briefs

If you’re looking for natural fibers and excellent moisture management, the Smartwool Men’s Merino 150 Boxer Briefs are worth considering. Made from a blend of merino wool and nylon, these boxer briefs offer exceptional breathability, moisture-wicking properties, and odor control. The merino wool provides temperature regulation, keeping you cool in warm weather and warm in cooler temperatures. Additionally, the flatlock seam construction reduces chafing and enhances overall comfort.

3. Patagonia Men’s Capilene Daily Boxer Briefs

For backpackers who prioritize sustainability, the Patagonia Men’s Capilene Daily Boxer Briefs are an excellent choice. Made from recycled polyester, these boxer briefs are not only eco-friendly but also offer exceptional moisture-wicking properties and quick-drying capabilities. The Polygiene permanent odor control technology ensures that you stay fresh even after multiple days of wear. The smooth, chafe-free flatlock seams enhance comfort, making them ideal for long hikes or extended trips.

4. Under Armour Men’s Tech 6″ Boxerjock

If you prefer a boxer brief with a longer leg length, the Under Armour Men’s Tech 6″ Boxerjock is a great option. These boxer briefs are made from a blend of polyester and elastane, providing excellent stretch and a snug fit. The moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and comfortable, while the anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes. The longer leg length offers additional coverage and reduces friction, making them suitable for intense physical activities.

5. Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers

For those who prefer the freedom and breathability of boxers, the Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Boxers are an excellent choice for backpacking. Made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and LYCRA, these boxers offer exceptional moisture-wicking properties, breathability, and temperature regulation. The flatlock seams minimize chafing, and the contoured pouch provides support and comfort. The natural odor resistance of merino wool ensures that you stay fresh even during multi-day trips.


The material of the underwear is perhaps the most important factor to consider. Look for underwear made from moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you dry and comfortable during physical activities. Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are popular choices as they are lightweight, quick-drying, and have excellent moisture-wicking properties. Natural fibers like merino wool are also a great option as they provide breathability, odor control, and temperature regulation.


Finding the right fit is crucial for comfort during backpacking trips. Look for underwear that offers a snug but not overly tight fit. The underwear should provide enough support without constricting your movement. Consider the waistband and leg openings to ensure they are comfortable and don’t dig into your skin. It’s also worth considering the length of the underwear – whether you prefer traditional briefs, boxer briefs, or boxers.

Moisture-Wicking Properties

Backpacking often involves physical exertion and can lead to sweating. Therefore, it’s essential to choose underwear that has excellent moisture-wicking properties. Moisture-wicking fabrics draw sweat away from your body, allowing it to evaporate quickly. This helps to keep you dry and prevents discomfort caused by wet underwear rubbing against your skin. Look for underwear with moisture-wicking technology or fabrics specifically designed to keep you dry.

Odor Control

When spending multiple days on the trail, odor control becomes important. Look for underwear that has antimicrobial or odor-resistant properties. These features help prevent the growth of bacteria and keep your underwear smelling fresh for longer periods. Some underwear brands use special treatments or natural fibers like merino wool, which naturally resist odors.


Durability is another crucial factor when choosing backpacking underwear. Your underwear will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear, including rubbing against backpack straps and rocks. Look for underwear made from high-quality materials that can withstand the demands of backpacking trips. Reinforced seams and quality construction are indicators of durability.

FAQs – Best Men’s Underwear for Backpacking

What is the importance of choosing the right underwear for backpacking?

Selecting the right underwear for backpacking is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, proper underwear can significantly enhance comfort during long hikes, minimizing chafing and irritation. Additionally, it can effectively manage moisture and prevent excessive sweating, promoting better hygiene and reducing the likelihood of skin problems. The right underwear can also provide adequate support and prevent discomfort in the sensitive areas, allowing you to enjoy your backpacking experience to the fullest.

What should I consider when choosing men’s underwear for backpacking?

When choosing men’s underwear for backpacking, several factors should be considered. Opt for underwear made from quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials, such as merino wool or synthetic fabrics, as they will keep you dry and comfortable throughout your journey. Look for underwear with a snug fit but with enough room for movement, ensuring support without constriction. Consider the durability of the fabric and the construction of the underwear, as they need to withstand the rigors of backpacking for an extended period. Lastly, prioritize lightweight and breathable options to minimize bulk and prevent overheating.

Should I choose boxers or briefs for backpacking?

The decision between boxers and briefs primarily depends on personal preference and comfort. Boxers provide more breathability and freedom of movement, making them ideal for warmer climates or if you prefer looser-fitting underwear. On the other hand, briefs offer better support and reduce the risk of chafing, making them suitable for activities that involve frequent movement and potential rubbing. Consider the climate, the intensity of your backpacking activities, and your personal comfort when choosing between boxers and briefs.

Can I wear compression underwear for backpacking?

Compression underwear can be a suitable choice for backpacking, particularly if you engage in strenuous activities or if you have a history of muscle fatigue or injuries. Compression underwear provides muscle support, reduces muscle vibrations, and enhances blood circulation. However, it is essential to ensure the compression level is adequate without being too restrictive, as excessive compression can cause discomfort and restrict movement, thereby affecting your performance and overall comfort during backpacking.

How many pairs of underwear should I bring for backpacking?

The number of underwear you should bring for backpacking depends on the duration of your trip and the availability of laundry facilities along the way. As a general guideline, consider bringing a fresh pair for each day of your trip, with an extra pair or two as a backup. It is also advisable to pack lightweight underwear that can be easily washed and dried overnight, allowing for quick and convenient laundering if needed. By having an adequate supply of clean underwear, you can maintain hygiene and maximize comfort during your backpacking adventure.

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