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Let’s Speak Underwear for Mountain climbing

Nobody advised me concerning the significance of excellent underwear earlier than my first backpacking journey exploring Collegiate Peaks within the Rocky Mountains. As an alternative, I discovered (the unlucky means) that packing solely cotton lingerie on an 8-mile hike in a Colorado summer time wasn’t excellent. Arriving at camp equaled a long-lasting sweat that saved me squirming nicely previous dinner.

Since that cotton underwear fiasco, I started paying higher consideration to the supplies—and kinds—of the underwear I introduced open air. Lingerie that dry shortly are a should on in a single day rafting journeys so that you don’t sit in a moist bathing swimsuit all day. Moisture-wicking underwear is crucial on backcountry ski excursions as a result of chilly temps plus sweat can equal hypothermia. For longer hikes, embracing the granny panty, or fuller-coverage boxers and briefs, means higher airflow and a chafe-free time. And no underwear beneath leggings, not less than for me, is a one-way ticket to an offended bum.

For years, I by no means heard anybody talk about how essential dry, breathable and comfy underwear is within the open air. After I realized higher, I couldn’t cease considering, why don’t we speak about arguably an important layer? Whereas private desire performs a component, the proper materials and minimize can preserve you content on the path for longer. So, we’ve gathered some favourite pairs, spoken to adventurers about their most popular skivvies and laid naked the most effective supplies for beneath. 

Why does underwear matter?

It’s true that some trekkers go for the built-in underwear of working shorts or going plain ol’ commando, however underwear can really make the distinction in your out of doors endeavors for 2 huge causes: consolation and well being. The fitting pair helps eradicate chafing (which might occur ceaselessly if you go naked), wicks moisture and helps eradicate odors. Introducing micro organism, whether or not from sweat or a not-so-sterile out of doors atmosphere, creates the right storm for discomfort, chafing rashes and even infections.

Step one is to search out materials which can be breathable and wick away moisture. We’ll cowl these decisions intimately under. Different issues are extra private, like type and luxury.

Irrespective of your alternative, take our subsequent recommendation on match: Discover the center floor between unfastened and tight. Formfitting underwear helps forestall chafing—irritation to the pores and skin attributable to friction—as a result of it decreases the possibilities that additional materials creases and slides down whilst you hike. Nevertheless, compression supplies, whereas useful for actions like working, can really feel constrictive and uncomfortable after a number of hours, and gained’t permit for a lot airflow.

Whichever pair you select, altering your underwear at camp or again on the trailhead will assist preserve you extra comfy and preserve your nether areas bacteria-free. (Airing out your climbing lingerie in a single day helps, too.)

Supplies you need (and ones you don’t)

Merino Wool

Merino wool lingerie (from left): Icebreaker Siren Bikini Underwear $35; Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Temporary with Fly, $45,

Overlook the normal itch of wool. Ultrafine merino wool fibers are delicate, thermoregulating (which implies they assist preserve you each cool and heat for the perfect physique temp). Their pure wicking properties assist pull moisture off your physique like a champ. As a result of wool fibers maintain on to moisture, you won’t really feel as dry as you’ll in artificial lingerie, however the temperature-controlling fibers gained’t make you’re feeling chilly. The perfect half? Merino wool is of course anti-stink, retaining odor-causing micro organism at bay even after days on the path. The Icebreaker Siren Bikini Underwear is our favourite pair of ladies’s merino wool underwear: The wool is spun with spandex and nylon for a snug, stretchy match with out impacting the wool’s unbelievable options. Our males’s choose is the Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Temporary, with a contoured pouch and flat seams to considerably minimize down on chafing with out compromising assist.


Artificial lingerie (from left): REI-Co-op Energetic Bikini Underwear – Girls’s, $16.95; Saxx Sizzling Shot Boxer Briefs – Males’s, $38

Synthetics are by far the largest and hottest class in terms of out of doors underwear. Artificial supplies are identified for his or her sturdiness, wicking capabilities and evaporating moisture in order that they preserve you from feeling moist and assist regulate your temperature. Be warned, nevertheless, that synthetics are susceptible to holding on to odors, so be ready to scrub on the path or go nostril blind.

Your artificial decisions embrace supplies like:

  • Rayon (which will be constructed from pure supplies wooden pulp)
  • Nylon (light-weight and silklike, this can be a very clean and comfy cloth)
  • Polyester (one of many world’s hottest textiles, it’s extremely breathable and wicking)
  • Polypropylene (which is used largely for water exercise attire, like wetsuits)
  • Lycra spandex (which supplies a variety of elasticity, normally bonded with one other fiber)


There are solely two eventualities the place we’d suggest cotton: hanging round camp or earlier than you drive dwelling from the path. Cotton is extraordinarily absorbent, which is nice in some cases, however climbing in cotton lingerie isn’t one in every of them. Keep away from cotton until your exercise ranges can be low (relaxation day round camp, sleeping or altering on the finish of a hike) to keep away from a variety of collected moisture, stinkiness and irritated pores and skin.

A Few Favorites, in Temporary

We requested skilled out of doors guides and out of doors lovers about their takes on underwear for out of doors pursuits. Right here’s what they needed to say:

Aaron Friedland, worldwide climbing/mountaineering information, REI Co-op Member since 2013

“I’m actually not a name-brand underwear man and can put on nearly any three-pack artificial boxer temporary that’s on sale. However I’ve realized from a number of too many upset-stomach waddles to the latrine at 17,000 ft and further days caught in camp ready on the storm to move that you must all the time deliver yet another pair than you assume you want.”

Austin Gibney, fly fishing/rafting information, white water kayaker, REI Co-op Member since 2020

“Belief me: Keep away from the ‘man-funk’ and put money into some breathable, odor-resistant briefs. It’ll prevent a lot distress down south. I realized the laborious means on a weeklong in a single day raft journey that bringing nothing however the gimmicky boxers your mother places in your Christmas stocking is an effective way to remain swampy. Breathability is your greatest buddy.”

Kate Butler, gear tester, mountain climbing information, Alaskan expedition operations supervisor, REI Co-op Member since 2012

“I realized the significance of packing a number of pairs of underpants earlier than a NOLS expedition out of Talkeetna, Alaska. It rained each single day for 30 days within the backcountry. If I hadn’t had a pair of quick-dry lingerie drying out in a single day whereas I slept in cotton panties, I could not have survived that month. However, due to that key recommendation, I got here out completely happy, wholesome and, better of all—dry.”

Lingerie by exercise

Most of our recommendation on this article relies on trekking-based actions, however higher underwear decisions are on the market, primarily based in your most popular out of doors exercise. We selected a number of of the most well-liked to reveal the variations to search for in your skivvies.


For our fleet-footed associates, match and performance are key. Quick-wicking and quick-drying supplies are as vital because the design of your underwear—this could be the second for compression shorts or a longer-cut boxer temporary. Nevertheless, you may favor extra room for motion and select a short or bikini minimize. Many pairs of working shorts include built-in liners that function underwear. Some runners should favor to put on a separate pair for extra consolation and assist. We’re all for fewer objects to get misplaced within the laundry, so long as they’re comfy, quick-dry and don’t contribute to chafing.

Operating shorts just like the Brooks Chaser 7” make the most of recycled quick-dry materials to maintain you dry and comfortable in a 2-in-1 brief. Nevertheless, one runner says she swears by her ExOfficio Trendy Thong with a pair of working tights for optimum consolation and vary of movement on her runs. As we stated, private desire will rule the day in terms of working lingerie.


Any bicycle owner is aware of that padded bike shorts with a superb chamois (the padded crotch piece) is your greatest buddy. However the query is, do you put on underwear under your padded chamois? For the overwhelming majority, the reply isn’t any. Sporting lingerie beneath what are basically compression boxers with seat padding could cause chafing whether or not you’re mountain biking or highway biking. As an alternative, deal with your padded bike shorts like underwear and search for comfy, supportive and quick-dry supplies, just like the REI Co-op Junction Bike Shorts (ladies’s & males’s). When you don’t like the best way padded bike shorts look, take into account bike liners shorts to put on beneath baggies or different bottoms.


Many individuals already put on quick-drying underwear beneath their board shorts. Whether or not you’re rafting Class III rapids or paddling throughout the loon bedecked lake, you need underwear that can dry quick to maintain you comfy and gained’t weigh you down within the water. Whereas bathing swimsuit bottoms can work nicely for ladies, they are typically cumbersome and may result in chafing beneath shorts after longer durations of time. Longer water journeys are definitely extra comfy in thinner underwear than in double-layer bathing fits, anyway.

Paddling shorts, just like the Camaro Titanium Tight Wetsuit Shorts, could be a good center floor. Supplies like polypropylene and neoprene, well-liked in wetsuits, provide you with good rash protection with fast-drying properties and insulation from chilly water. Nevertheless, should you’re going to make use of a rental wetsuit—or are borrowing water layers from a buddy—we nonetheless advise you put on a pair of your individual lingerie beneath. Cleansing your polypro is simply as vital as cleansing your climbing lingerie since micro organism like to dwell in rivers and streams and ponds, oh my.


We will’t stress sufficient how nice wool underwear feels whether or not you’re swishing down a snowy mountainside or breaking a sweat up a pores and skin observe. Merino wool underwear (Icebreaker Merino Anatomica Lengthy Boxers or the REI Co-op Merino Hipster Underwear) not solely wicks moisture away out of your nether areas however retains you insulated, too. If merino wool isn’t your pace, search for wicking-centric pairs to maintain cooling (learn: hypothermia-inducing) sweat away out of your core. Underwear remains to be a good suggestion beneath insulating base layers like leggings, lengthy johns and snow pants; however once more, keep away from cotton in any respect prices, as it’s going to keep moist and make you’re feeling even colder.

Positive Recharge
Positive Recharge
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