Have you heard of hiking underwear for women?
You’ve got a great hike planned two weekends from now and you’re doing a stocktake of your hiking gear to see what else you might need. You start searching for recommended jackets, pants and tops, but wait, it is also important for you to have the best hiking underwear for women.
When hiking, a lot of us think about our gear on the outside, but what we wear inside matters too.
Once you’ve gotten your hiking knickers in a knot literally, your hike pretty much goes downhill from there.
Comfort is key, so let WWB writer Sarah share with you what are the best panties for hiking and other things you should be looking out for when shopping for them undies.
Best Hiking Underwear for Women
Best Budget Hiking Underwear for Women
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Best Hiking Underwear For Women
If you’re looking to get your first Smartwool underwear, then you’d want to consider the Smartwool Women’s 150 Bikini Boxed Slim Fit Underwear.
Its 87% merino wool and 13% nylon mix means you get the best of both worlds.
Merino wool technology is soft and lightweight. If you’re a stickler for merino wool, Smartwool also has just a little more merino wool than Icebreaker.
The Smartwool Women’s 150 Bikini Boxed Slim Fit Underwear has a slim fit and is seamlessly knitted with flatlock stitching, so it provides a smooth look under your hiking gear.
- Merino wool resists odour
- Soft elastic waistband
- Seams have little stretch so size appropriately
We hear it’s so soft that hikers even love wearing it around their homes when they’re not out on the road.
Its breathable, moisture-wicking nature also means it is unlikely to stay damp for long. Even if it does get damp from sweat or the weather, the merino wool will still keep you warm.
- Ultra-soft material
- Merino blend regulates body temperature regardless of weather condition
- Fit may not be suitable for some
- Heavy material
- Slightly limited range of motion
This Rei underwear is a great middle-ground between luxury, price, and comfort while ensuring that it still serves you well on a hike.
If you’ve been hesitant about merino wool underwear, then the REI Co-op Active Bikini Underwear – Women’s mix of 86% Polyester and 14% Spandex, is likely to appeal more to you.
It has all the qualities that make it one of the best backpacking underwear for women’s hikes — moisture-wicking, quick-drying, breathable, and antimicrobial. Because of how lightweight it is, it is great for hikes in temperate climates or when the weather gets too warm.
- Extremely lightweight
- Flattering coverage
- Seams are not as durable
- Might cause wedgies for som
The ExOfficio Women’s Give-n-go Sport 2.0 Hipster is well-loved among travellers for its ultralight, durable and breathable mesh fabric which comes in bright colours. Its breathability is great for those intense hikes that get a bit too warm.
The underwear which is a 90% nylon and 10% elastane mix, also has odour-reducing antimicrobial treatment so you’ll stay fresh down there for longer.
The latest edition of this ExOfficio hiking underwear is three times more breathable, 50% more moisture-wicking, and has a 25% faster dry time, so you’ll never have to be in wet underwear for long. Given how it continually improves, we can see why an ExOfficio is easily one of the best underwear for backpacking for women.
- Anti-odour treatment
- Flatlock seams that reduce chafing
- Wide waistband for comfort
- Quick-drying – Will dry in 2-4 hours
- Cute colours
- Might shrink in the dryer so hand wash only
- Not as stretchy
- Comes with tag
The Patagonia Women’s Barely Hipster is arguably one of the best hiking underwear to prevent chafing. Its blend of 91% nylon and 9% spandex makes it incredibly lightweight.
Made of jersey fabric, the underwear is moisture-wicking and quick-drying, making it a great women’s backpacking underwear. It also has a unique floral pattern jacquard fabric with durable odour control.
The tag is easily-removable and has a narrow, seamless waistband, it lives up to its ‘barely’ name, feeling so comfortable that it hardly feels like it’s there.
- Seamless waistband
- Easily-removable tag
- Recycled nylon-spandex blend not as stretchy
- Sizing runs small so size up accordingly
Best Budget Hiking Underwear For Women
The Under Armour Women’s Power in Pink Pure Stretch Hipster is a great athletic underwear that also makes for a good hiking thong or underwear. These undies are excellent at staying put while you move,
It is made up of 76% nylon, 24% elastane mesh fabric which is super soft and stretchy. The material’s 4-way stretch construction also lends to its stretchiness.
What makes this stand out among other athletic underwear at a more budget price point is its anti-odour technology. Sweat all you want in these and you’ll still be fresh as a daisy after.
- Full back with good coverage
- Super soft mesh fabric
- Thin material might easily cause wedgies for some
- Fits better for petite ladies, less so for curvy ones
Not only will the New Balance Women’s Breathe mesh Ultra Lightweight Hipster Underwear give you a little skip in your hiking steps with its bright colours like Electric Deep Violet, functionally it ticks all the boxes.
It is ultra-lightweight with its premium breathable mesh fabric.
The fabric also wicks moisture quickly and is fast-drying. Adding to its comfort is the fact that it has fused edges and no labels.
As it comes with an athletic fit and 360-degree stretch, you can be sure to feel comfortable even if you’re trying to scale the steepest peaks.
- Athletic fit
- No irritation with fused edges and no labels
- Lightweight and breathable
- Shows up under tights
- Not as durable
If you’ve never heard of bamboo underwear, Warm Sun’s Women’s Bamboo Viscose Fiber Panties would be a great one to try. Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and is a more budget alternative compared to merino wool.
Its 2-inch wide waistband makes sure that these hiking panties don’t roll down while you’re moving and on the go.
- Sizing chart not true to size so double-check before ordering
- Seams not as durable
- Can only be washed at less than 40 degrees Celsius
Made up of a nylon and spandex blend, these Reebok Women’s Underwear – Seamless Hipster Briefs are soft, seamless, and tag-free, providing you ultimate comfort during your hike.
Besides the relaxed waistband that sits comfortably on your hips, its stretch performance fabric also means your hiking panties will stay in place no matter how much you move.
- Tag-free so it’s also itch-free
- Great ventilation
- Great value
- Comes in assorted colours
- Seamless only at the waist
Great for both leisure and hiking use, the Wealurre Women’s Breathable Underwear’s 95% Cotton and 5% Spandex mix assures you of both comfort and breathability.
Its stretchy cotton fabric is soft and breathable without being too sheer. While it may take longer to dry than synthetic fabrics, those with sensitive skin down below might prefer a good cotton thong for hiking – this is the one you should go for!
- Super soft
- Great value
- Stays in place
- Enough coverage behind
- Cotton so it’ll dry slower
- Waistband slightly too low-rise for curvier ladies
What Is Hiking Underwear for Women?
Hiking underwear for women is simply underwear that has been specially developed for females and hikers.
Most new hikers make the mistake of packing normal underwear when going hiking.
Normal underwear for day-to-day use may not see as much movement or sweat, hence they might take longer to dry when damp, and even cause chafing when worn for extended periods, among other issues.
Hiking underwear is best differentiated by its ability to meet important hiking needs, such as being:
Benefits Of Hiking Underwear for Women
Being comfortable with what you’re wearing inside is the bare minimum. Your underwear is the first piece of clothing you put on and forms a layer of protection between your privates and your hiking pants.
Your underwear’s material and fit can directly affect your vaginal health.
Wearing the right hiking underwear ensures that you reduce the chance of vaginal and urinary tract infections, and stay comfortable overall.
I mean, no one likes to sit in damp underwear, right?
Types of Hiking Underwear for Women
Hiking underwear for women come in as many varieties as regular underwear, with different cuts and colours catering to different individuals.
But one thing that differentiates hiking underwear is the material it is made of. Hiking underwear is mainly divided into merino wool and synthetics, such as polyester and nylon.
1. Merino Wool Underwear
If you have the budget for it and no skin sensitivities, then merino wool underwear is arguably the best type to bring along for your hikes. Hikers love merino wool or their gear, and unsurprisingly, this association also extends to underwear choices.
Merino wool is known for being soft, moisture-wicking, and naturally odour-resistant.
Even though wool gets a bad reputation for being itchy, merino wool is soft and doesn’t itch.
It is also well-loved by hikers for providing good insulation and being odour-free even when it gets damp.
Don’t believe us? Just ask the thirteen women who wore a merino wool dress for a hundred days in a row. One even chose not to wash the dress at all and lived to tell the tale.
We’re not saying merino’s perfect – no piece of clothing is. But it does its job well enough on hikes and despite the higher price point, it definitely delivers on value.
2. Synthetic Blend Underwear
This is more common due to it being more budget-friendly, fast-drying, and simply more widely available. If you’ve purchased athletic or sports underwear before, chances are you were wearing synthetic blend underwear.
The active folk love it for being lightweight, but the downside, however, is that it can trap odour if you don’t change out of it within a day, or wash it.
Realistically, most seasoned hikers would probably have and bring a good mix of both types on an extended hike.
Most brands recognise this and use a blend of merino wool with nylon so you get the best of both worlds – the benefits of merino wool but also the comfort, fit, and durability of synthetics.
What To Look Out For When Buying Hiking Underwear
Now that you know what good hiking underwear should comprise of and the benefits of wearing good hiking underwear, here are some factors to consider when deciding which type of hiking underwear to get, and how many:
- Length of the hike – If your trip is short, you’re unlikely to want to waste time washing, so merino wool would be good to keep odour away.
- Access to laundry or washing facilities – This could be in the form of a washing machine at a rest station or even a sink where you can hand wash your underwear.
- Time spent in camp – This would affect the amount of time you have to dry your washed underwear. If you’re changing base every evening then you’ll need to factor more underwear than its ability to be quick-drying.
- Space in your backpack – Merino wool underwear can take up a bit more space than synthetic underwear, but its ability to resist odour might also mean you can maximise the use of a merino wool pair more.
- Weather – Remember to factor in both temperatures and conditions during the hike, and at the summit, or where you’ll make camp.
Ultimately, underwear is a very personal choice. Despite the benefits that different types of hiking underwear deliver, you’ll still need to see what works best for the conditions around you, and your own body and skin.
Regardless of your underwear choice, one key tip is to always test your new hiking underwear back at home first.
Wear it at home, out to the mall, for extended periods before going on your trip – see how you feel when you wear it. If you don’t like how it feels when you’re out on a short walk, we’re pretty sure that opinion wouldn’t change when you’re up in the mountains.
How Much Underwear Should You Pack For A Hike?
Most people would pack the same amount of underwear as the number of days the trip is for, with one to two extra pairs just in case.
This is a good gauge if you’re going for a short trip and you don’t have access to laundry facilities or time to do your own washing.
But if you’re going on a longer hike, spanning a few days to weeks, space is likely to be a premium in your backpack.
If you’re looking to cut down on the number of women’s underwear for hiking, then a good gauge would be to half that amount.
Say you are going for a week-long hike, you’d want to pack four pieces of underwear at least.
My travelling rule of thumb is that you should never bring any less than three extra pieces of underwear, in case they take longer to dry or you end up needing more than one in a day for whatever reasons.
How To Deal With Dirty Underwear On A Hike?
The first option would be to chuck it into an:
My preference is an airtight clothing bag because this means that you don’t need to deal with any odour potentially permeating the rest of the clothes in your backpack.
Storing soiled or dirty underwear in your backpack is a good approach if you have extra space in your backpack, are on a short hike, and don’t want to bother with laundry or washing during the hike itself.
But, if you’re going for a longer hike, then you may need to wash your underwear while out in the wild.
To do so you can just repurpose an airtight clothing bag (ideally a mid to large-sized one) to use as a washing ‘pail’ and use biodegradable detergent to clean it. Warm water is best if you have access to it.
If you must wash your underwear in water sources such as rivers, streams, and lakes, make sure you use an eco-friendly detergent.
What To Do If You Run Out Of Clean Underwear While Hiking
We get it – sometimes it just happens.
Don’t beat yourself up over this. And most importantly: Do. Not. Go. Commando. Not unless you have an anti-chafing stick or balm that you can use to keep chafing away.
If you don’t have time to wash or dry your underwear, I’ve found that hanging my damp towel off the top buckle of my bag helps it dry while I hike, so underwear could dry the same way.
Sure you might get some weird stares from your hiking mates, but that beats damp, dirty underwear any day.
Or if all else fails, you could try the age-old method of turning your current underwear inside out till you get the time to wash and dry it.
We don’t recommend this because it may cause an infection, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.
So, use these as stopgap measures if you truly must but unless you’ve brought more than enough underwear, washing should be on your to-dos once you set up camp.
Your underwear is a seemingly innocuous piece of clothing as part of your entire hiking gear ensemble.
But a good thong could seriously make or break your day, or even your whole hike.
With this newfound knowledge, you have little to no excuse now for packing normal underwear for your hikes moving forward. You’ll want to make sure you have the best thongs for hiking for your next hike, no excuses.
Even if you’re not going for a hike anytime soon, but know a fellow sister who might be, help her out and share this article on hiking underwear for women with her. Don’t underestimate how important feeling fresh, dry, and clean down under can be!