best hiking underwear

Best Hiking Underwear for Women 2024 – Tested by an Avid Female Hiker

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Hey there, fellow adventurers! If you’re like me, you understand that choosing the right hiking underwear is essential for a comfy and enjoyable outdoor experience. As an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, and I’m here to share my personal recommendations for the best thong-style hiking underwear for women.

I feel like hiking underwear is like hiking socks you don’t know how good it feels and how much more you will appreciate having hiking-specific socks and underwear until you try it. After trying merino wool socks and underwear on your next hike, you will question why you wore regular socks and underwear for so long.

Maybe these aren’t the best by everyone else’s standard but it’s what what I’ve tested and found to be the best options for comfort and performance.

Why Trust My Recommendations? 

Before we dive into the product recommendations, let me share why you can trust my suggestions:

  • Years of Hiking Experience: With over 9 years of hiking and backpacking under my belt, I’ve learned a thing or two about outdoor gear. I’ve spent almost every day in the past either in the gym or out in the mountains, hiking or climbing. I hike at least once a week, if not more, and have spent countless miles and hours on the trails. I certainly have my favorite gear and now I want to share my favorite underwear for hiking!

Follow my hiking adventures on Instagram: @FollowTiffsJourney 

  • Dedicated Testing: I’ve put (most) these products through the wringer during hikes in diverse terrains, from the Eastern Sierra to the rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado; from the heat of the summer to below freezing temps in the winter; from cardio in the gym to multi-day treks in Nepal.
  • Objective Approach: I only recommend products I’ve personally used and absolutely love. My goal is to provide you with honest reviews to help you make informed decisions. This post is not sponsored by any of the brands below, although a couple have gifted my products, but there are some affiliate links to support my blog.
  • These are my go-to underwear for hiking and I’ve also never had to replace these in the years that I’ve had them (up to several years) which proves its durability.

I want to preface my recommendations with my underwear style choice as what I prefer might not be what you like. You are only going to see thong styles listed in this review as I only hike in thongs for two reasons:

  1. Fit: I almost always hike in leggings or shorts – whatever it is, it’s fitted and skin-tight. Personally, I prefer to feel my clothes on me; I like the next-to-skin feeling so I know it’s there. I hate feeling loose, and even worse, loose and sweaty clothes, on me because it tickles a bit while I am constantly moving and it kind of just feels gross. This is why I rarely hike in pants and always wear leggings. However; tight clothes are also more likely to contribute to bacterial infections as it is less breathable. 

Click here to read my Best Hiking Leggings Guide

  1. Size: The second reason is simply because it’s smaller and packs less when I travel or backpack. Every bit of weight counts when you are carrying it on your back.

I will also note that working out in thongs is typically not advisable, according to gynecologists I’ve spoken with in the past. I know many of us (including myself) do it because we don’t want our underwear line to show underneath our leggings, but the small piece of fabric acts as a sling, moving back and forth and spreading the bacteria from behind to the front which we don’t want. This will of course depend on the type of movement in your workouts. Just something to consider.

Is It Necessary to Wear Hiking Underwear? 

Before we dive into the recommendations, let’s address a common question: Is it necessary to wear hiking underwear?

Personally, yes – I’ve found it more comfortable to wear underwear hiking especially if you like to hiking in leggings or spandex shorts like I do. I’ve gone commando and it’s definitely uncomfortable under leggings, but to each her own.

The Importance of the Base Layer: Your underwear is the first layer of clothing next to your skin, and the right choice can significantly impact your comfort on the trail. While some hikers opt for regular underwear and others opt to go commando, hiking-specific options are designed to address common hiking challenges, such as moisture management, odor, chafing prevention, and comfort during long treks. It’s also just easier to clean if you are spending a few nights out.

How to Choose Hiking Underwear 

Now, let’s explore how to choose the perfect hiking underwear:

  • Consider Your Activity: Think about the type of hiking you’ll be doing. Are you planning on long-distance hikes, mountaineering, or leisurely strolls? Different activities may require different features.
  • Material Matters: What type of fabric should you choose? Look for moisture-wicking materials like merino wool or synthetic blends. These fabrics help keep you dry by moving sweat away from your skin. You want the fabric to be breathable.
  • The fit: every body is different so what fits you best may not be the same for another woman. Pay attention to the cut and coverage that best fits your needs.
  • Chafe-Free Design: Hiking underwear should have a seamless or flat-lock seam design to prevent chafing, especially during extended hikes.
  • Durability: If you’re an avid hiker, invest in underwear that can withstand the wear and tear of frequent outdoor adventures. Quality > quantity.
  • Environmental Concerns: Some brands, like Branwyn, Ridge Merino, and Patagonia, prioritize sustainability. If eco-friendliness is important to you, consider brands with sustainable practices.

What is the Best Underwear to Wear Hiking? 

Now, let’s delve into the heart of the matter: What is the best underwear to wear hiking? The first thing to keep in mind is that this is all personal preference. I’ve been hiking and camping since 2015 and while I used to (and sometimes still do) wear Victoria’s Secret underwear for hikes, I’ve learned what a difference hiking-specific type of underwear make in the outdoor experience.

Merino wool thongs are a thing – who would have thought?!

My top two choices are Ridge Merino and Branwyn, but my decision is swayed by a couple of factors about the brand in addition to the product quality itself. Ridge Merino is a small business and local to my favorite mountain range in California. Branwyn is a female company designing female-specific products for females. Huge supporter of both of those! These are also the underwear I wear on my expeditions now. 

Branwyn Women’s Thong Hiking Underwear

Branwyn is a newer merino wool brand dedicated to supporting women with high-performance underwear. They are a very niche brand and only sell underwear and bras so they know a thing or two about how to get it right. Branwyn makes one of the best hiking underwear and I love these for cardio sessions at the gym too. The extra fine merino wool fabric they use makes the underwear feel extra soft, like that next to skin feelng. Here’s why I love them:

  • Moisture-Wicking Magic: These undies wick moisture away, so you stay dry even on the sweatiest hikes.
  • Fabric: 81% extra fine Merino wool, 12% Nylon, 7% Spandex
  • Chafe-Free Adventure: With a seamless design and stretchy material, you’ll forget you’re even wearing them.
  • It’s super comfortable and soft!
  • There is no gusset by the crotch but the fabric down there is woven slightly differently to be a little thicker but plenty breathable still.
  • I really like the waistband of this one. It doesn’t dig in at all!
  • Eco-Friendly Bonus: Branwyn cares about the planet, so their products are sustainable.
  • Huge advocate of Female empowerment.

Here’s what I don’t love about them…

  • The cut on the front offers slightly too much coverage; there’s just too much fabric along the front sides that it lines up perfectly with the crease of my thighs which isn’t common for me. I’ve never worn such a wide-cut thong but it suits certain activities, such as cold weather activities. Maybe the fit varies per human size and preference.
  • This is the only underwear I’ve put a hole in within the first two months of wearing it. The fabric on the front near the side of one of my thongs wears thin from the waistband down to the seams. I hope I just got a bad pair and there is always the chance that it got caught on something during my adventures, but my other Branwyn thong is great and these would still be one of my top recommendations… as long as the fabric stays durable.

Ridge Merino Women’s Thong Hiking Underwear

Ridge Merino is a small, Mammoth Lakes-local brand. I’m a supporter of small local businesses and while the Eastern Sierra Mountains are not exactly “local” to me, it’s considered my home range. 

Ridge Merino products overall have been a bit of a hit-and-miss for me but when it’s good, it’s really good, and their merino wool thong underwear is actually one of my favorite go-to underwear now. It’s made mostly of merino wool so it wicks moisture really well and controls odor, but it also feels extremely lightweight and packs down small which I feel is the main thing that sets it apart from Branwyn. While they are both made with almost the same fabric composition, they fit and feel very different.

It combines comfort and nature. Why I recommend them:

  • Merino Wool Magic: It’s moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and adaptable to changing temperatures, which makes it great for a summer day hike or a big winter expedition.
  • Fabric: 83% Merino Wool (170 g/m), 12% Nylon, 5% Spandex
  • Cloud-Like Comfort: Softness and breathability for ultimate comfort on long treks.
  • It’s light. Really light. So it always dries quickly when washing it in the backcountry.
  • Eco-Warrior: Ridge Merino’s commitment to sustainability aligns with my love for the outdoors.

If you are looking for a base layer top as well, Ridge Merino’s high neck top is 100% worth looking into, especially with Winter right around the corner. I absolutely love that the high neck doubles as a buff, and it’s a warm and trim fit. I’ll tell you more about it in another post later but click here to see it for yourself.

MeUndies Women’s Thong Hiking Underwear

MeUndies probably isn’t one you would think about for hiking and the outdoors as they aren’t designed specifically for it, but it’s another one of my favorites. They are all about comfort and style – it is stretchy, soft, and very breathable. 

The fabric is spun from beechwood fibers which are typically eco-friendly and ethically sourced. They offer a huge variety of fun patterns and some solids, but my s’mores print set may be one of my favorites. It’s so comfortable for both my adventures and at home.

Here’s why they’re a great choice:

  • Feels Like a Hug: Seriously, these underwear are incredibly soft and cozy.
  • Fabric: 92% MicroModal
  • Fun Prints: Express your style with unique prints that match your hiking vibe.
  • Stretchy Freedom: Move freely on the trails with their comfortable stretch.
best hiking underwear for women

Icebreaker Women’s Siren Underwear

Icebreaker, a well-established sustainable merino wool brand in the outdoor industry, is known to offer comfort and performance. They put a lot of effort into the quality control of their handpicked merino wool fabric so you know you’re getting the best.

  • Merino Magic: Made with a durable Merino wool blend, the Siren thong offers superior moisture-wicking, temperature regulation, and odor resistance.
  • Comfort First: The soft design ensures a comfortable fit even during long hikes. 
  • It resembles the Ridge Merino Thong in just about every way except the price – this one costs $10 more.

ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Thong

ExOfficio is known to be a travel underwear and their Give-N-Go Thong holds a reputation for reliability while adventure traveling. It’s a lightweight, breathable mesh fabric that feels silky on the skin. Some people like the mesh, some don’t. The cut of the front and side resembles the Branwyn thong. Here’s why it’s a winner:

  • Quick-Dry Tech: No more swampy undies – these thongs dry in a flash which makes it convenient for washing while hiking and camping.
  • Fabric: 89% Nylon, 11% Elastane, Jersey, 142g/sqm
  • Anti-Odor Treatment: They stay fresh, even on those multi-day adventures.
  • Chafe-reducing flatlock seams
  • Easy Care: Cleaning them is a breeze, perfect for extended trips.

Smartwool Women’s Seamless Thong

Smartwool’s Seamless Thong combines quality and performance:

  • Merino Marvel: Merino wool keeps you comfy, regulates temperature, and resists odors.
  • No Chafing Here: The seamless design prevents discomfort during hikes.
  • Built to Last: Smartwool is known for gear that stands the test of time.

Patagonia Women’s Barely Thong

Patagonia is another one of those brands we all know and love.

Patagonia, a true heavyweight in the outdoor gear world, stands out for its unwavering commitment to sustainability and quality. Their products aren’t just gear; they’re a statement of responsible outdoor living. Whether you’re exploring rugged trails or cozying up by a campfire, you can trust Patagonia to keep you comfortable while leaving a lighter footprint on our planet. 

Patagonia’s Barely Thong is comfort and sustainability in one package:

  • Lightweight Bliss: Ideal for warm-weather hikes – they’re so light, you might forget you’re wearing them.
  • Ethical Fashion: Patagonia’s commitment to fair trade and sustainability is admirable.
  • Nylon & Spandex Blend: A combo that gives you the perfect mix of stretch and durability.

Aerie SMOOTHEZ Everyday Thong

This is another one of those brands that you may not expect on this list, but it may be my most reached-for pair for all-around road-tripping, travel, hiking, and everyday use. If you are a fan of Lululemon like me, this is the ultimate Lululemon dupe – or at least that’s how I came across it and can vouch for that. Great quality at a fraction of the price.

  • Buttery softness – it’s got that buttery feel while feeling light as air and molds extremely well to your body.
  • Fits invisibly underneath leggings
  • It’s super stretchy
  • Fabric: 80% Nylon, 20% Elastane
  • So dang affordable!
  • While it’s not designed specifically for hiking and does not have odor control or quick moisture wicking, I’ve probably worn this more than any other underwear outdoors and have not noticed issues with odor. It does sweat through easily, but it will also dry quickly if you are washing it.

The Wrap-up: Best Hiking Underwear for Women

When it comes to hiking, comfort starts with what’s closest to your skin. Branwyn, Ridge Merino, MeUndies, Icebreaker, ExOfficio, Smartwool, and Patagonia offer unique thong-style hiking underwear options for women, among typical bikini, hipster, and boy short styles. Whether you prioritize merino wool, moisture-wicking, anti-chafing properties, durability, style, or sustainability, these brands have got you covered.

By choosing hiking underwear from trusted brands, you’re ensuring that your next hiking adventure will be as comfortable and enjoyable!

Best Hiking Socks and How to Choose the Right One — Tested by an Avid Hiker

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    2 thoughts on “Best Hiking Underwear for Women 2024 – Tested by an Avid Female Hiker”

    1. Wearing a thong is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Why even wear something? Why don’t you do aiece on the best full-cut briefs that we women, who aren’t tall and size 4, would wear?

      1. Hi Kath,

        Thanks for your message. As I mentioned in my blog post, this piece is based off of my own personal experience. I would feel like a fraud if I recommended underwear I did not personally test out. So wearing a thong is a personal choice. It’s what I am comfortable in. As I mentioned, it packs down smaller for my overnight trips. Little things like that matter to me. I wear leggings when I hike so the less fabric underneath is another personal choice I find most comfortable. To each her own. Also, I am not tall or a size 4 but the day I decide to start wearing full-cut briefs and have an opinion on what I find to be the best, I’ll be sure to share it. I’m sure there are other articles out there that better suit your needs. Best of luck in finding the right fit for you 🙂

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