Contrary to what Victoria’s Secret might think, there’s a lot more to underwear than sex appeal. And this is especially true for underwear accompanying you hiking, camping, backpacking, or on any other activity. The ultimate performance underwear is something that’s going to be incredibly comfortable, durable, breathable, and moisture-wicking and fast-drying, but it also helps when it’s stylish and flattering too. While affordable performance underwear is still not the easiest to come by, here are 5 labels that make some of the best-regarded hiking, travel and performance underwear for women.
ExOfficio is known for their “comfortable performance” travel underwear – underwear that packs light, dries quickly, and can hold up to wear and tear. The company’s been around since 1987, so they know their stuff. The Give-N-Go underwear line features a 94% nylon, 6% Lycra spandex, stretch diamond-weave mesh fabric that is highly breathable and extremely quick-drying. The fabric is also treated to maintain freshness. ExOfficio women’s underwear comes in a variety of styles including the classic bikini, string bikini, low-rise bikini, brief, full-cut brief, thong, and boy short. Check out the ExOfficio range at Backcountry or on Amazon.
Another alternative to synthetic materials is wool underwear. Wool takes a bit longer to dry than synthetic materials do, but it keeps you cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather, and it’s very breathable, lightweight, and naturally antimicrobial. Icebreaker uses a super soft merino wool jersey core-spun fabric that has nylon fibers wrapped in merino wool for added strength and durability. These undies are incredibly soft and keep their shape really well. The Sprite Hot Pants and the Siren Bikini are top faves.
Arc’teryx is known for quality outdoor goods and gear in general, but they also do great performance underwear too. The offering is limited, but the Phase SL Brief and Phase SL Boxer are favourites. They’re made from a trademarked Phasic textile that’s moisture-wicking, super lightweight, and breathable. It’s also hydrophobic meaning it doesn’t absorb water, so it’s very fast-drying.
4. Under Armour
Under Armour is best know for their sports and athletic wear, but they make underwear too. The Pure Stretch Hipster is made from four-way stretch fabric with anti-microbial technology, and features a streamlined fit, laser-cut edges, and hem-free, tagless construction for added comfort. These are perfect for sports or and especially handy for under yoga pants, where panty lines can be an issue. The Pure Stretch Hispter’s the most affordable option on our list, but it also comes in one size so be aware of that when ordering.
SmartWool is a well-respected and well-trusted brand known for their wool socks made in the USA for over 20 years using merino wool sourced from around the world. SmartWool also does a variety of clothing and outerwear pieces, and they also do performance underwear. They have a huge selection of styles including bikinis, micro bikinis, thongs, and boy shorts, and they all come in a variety of colours and patterns. Made from 96% merino wool, you’ll stay comfortable and dry no matter what you get up to.