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Moisture wicking, odour resistant, breathable and so comfy you'll forget you're wearing any... call off the search, we've found the best women's hiking underwear for 2021

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Emily R

Scroll down to the bottom to get right to the full reviews for the best women's hiking underwear

You know how they say self-care isn't all bubble baths and candlelit cups of herbal tea, but is instead about the boring things like managing your finances and instilling a morning routine? Well, hiking underwear is a bit like that. It's not the glamorous and exotic stuff we usually talk about, but the nitty-gritty important stuff often isn't. We know that getting the right hiking underwear matters, and if you've ventured out in the wrong stuff, you'll know what we're talking about.

So we've compiled a list of (in our humble opinion) the best hiking underwear out there. Underwear that'll stay put, keep the moisture at bay and keep you comfy and moving. So you can go and do all that glamorous and exotic stuff. Spoiler alert, it's the Decathlon Women's Merino Wool Mountain Trekking Pants that take the crown for us. Read on to find out why.

In a rush? Here's the best women's hiking underwear according to us:

  1. Best for lower budgets  - Decathlon Women's Merino Wool Mountain Trekking Pants
  2. Best for odour control  - Montane Womens Dart Briefs
  3. Best for staying put - Ridge Merino Boy Shorts
  4. Best for comfort  - Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini
  5. Best for moisture wicking  - Lululemon Soft Breathable Bikini
  6. Best for style - Ex Officio Modern Travel Bikini Brief
  7. Best for movement  - Falke Women's Warm Briefs
  8. Best for sustainable construction  - Patagonia Barely Hipster
  9. Best for softness against skin - Women's Icebreaker Merino Siren Hipkini
Underwear drying in sun

What To Consider When Looking For The Best Women's Hiking Underwear

You wouldn't think it, but there's a lot to consider when it comes to women's hiking underwear. Here's a quick rundown on what we think is most important to consider on your hunt for the best hiking underwear.

Material

You've probably never given a lot of thought to what material your hiking underwear is made of, but you probably have noticed that certain clothes don't fare well in bad weather. Cotton is a prime example. It absorbs water very easily, meaning it gets heavy and takes forever to dry, none of which is ideal if you're sweating it up the hills. The mark of good underwear should be that you can't even feel you're wearing it. It should be soft, comfortable, light, breathable and non-toxic to your body.

So, what's the best material for the job? Well, merino wool is definitely up there. Don't worry, we're not talking chunky knit wool, merino wool if you're not familiar already is a natural wool fibre that is super thin and soft, and it feels like a slightly silkier and lighter version of cotton. It's insulating fibres help to regulate body temperature, wick moisture away from the skin and minimise odour. Isn't nature great?!

Since we're waxing lyrical anyway, it's worth knowing that merino wool is also biodegradable, fire-resistant and completely non-toxic. Sadly however, being natural, merino wool isn't known for being the most durable. It can wear down fairly quickly with abrasion and is more expensive, so you'll probably be buying for slightly more, and slightly more often with this option.

Some companies have dedicated themselves to using equally efficient synthetic materials, such as polyester, nylon and spandex. These tend to be super fast-drying, stretchy, less expensive and very durable, all of which are things you should be looking for when buying you best hiking underwear yet. These fabrics however tend to hold onto odours instead of fighting them, so they can get stinky pretty quickly. They're also industrially produced using non-renewable energy from fossil fuels which doesn't sit well with everyone (including us), but they are cheaper and more readily available.

Cut

Only you know which fit works best for you so this isn't really something we can advise on too much, the bottom line is whatever you feel most comfortable in, wear that. Whether that's hipster briefs, bikini, boy shorts or a thong, we're all different and we've tried to include a range. Most of the products we've listed however are available in different styles too.

Seams and Stitching

There are two reasons this is important: comfort and style. I mentioned before that the best women's hiking underwear will be so comfortable you won't even be able to feel you're wearing it. Quite often us women will wear leggings or tighter fitting trousers and shorts to hike in, and nobody feels great with a VPL (Visible Panty Line). Undies with flat lock stitching or no seams at all will be your best bet. You won't be able to feel you're wearing them and best of all, they won't be visible!

Washing Care

If considering the wash care of your new hiking underwear doesn't fall into the category of self-care we discussed at the start, I don't know what does. Merino wool, for example, should be washed on a lower heat with less spin to avoid shrinkage, and shouldn't go in the tumble dryer as the heat tends to wear the fibre out.

For some, that is simply too much thought to have to put into washing underwear. Synthetics are generally safer to just chuck in with the rest of your clothes, so it's worth considering before you buy.


Hiking underwear wash care


FAQ's

Do I need technical hiking underwear or can I just wear normal women's underwear?

Look, we're not here to tell anyone what to do or what not to do, it's your life. But we do challenge you to go hiking for the day in normal underwear and tell us you weren't uncomfortable, sweaty and sticky at any one point. You can go hiking in jeans and a fur coat for all we like, all outdoor gear does is make you last for longer on the hills and it's generally more durable too.

I want to shop sustainably for my hiking underwear, how do I go about this?

Material is a good place to start. Fabrics like those from merino sheep are natural and don't produce nasty emissions as some synthetic materials do. Plus, wool is naturally odor resistant, it's quick drying and it'll keep you cool for long days on the trail. Some companies such as Patagonia also use recycled synthetics, such as nylon, which is heaps better for the environment too.

Low rise, boy short or thong, which style of underwear is best?

Generally we'd recommend opting for what you usually wear and what you're used to. The best women's underwear for one woman won't necessarily be the same for you, so decide what's most important and go with that.

I'm nervous about washing stretchy material, won't it shrink?

When it comes to washing hiking gear, you do have to be a little careful. Fabrics like merino wool are susceptible to shrinkage if you wash them too high. Synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester., can generally be chucked in with the rest of your clothes. Just make sure you check the wash label first.

What are the most important things to look for in women's hiking underwear?

Odour resistance, moisture-wicking properties, sustainable construction and durability are our top things to look for. Comfort is also key. Hiking underwear for women is very varied in terms of cut, style, coverage and price, so go with what you feel great in.

PICKS ARE BELOW FOR THE BEST WOMEN'S HIKING UNDERWEAR

ourComparison

Women's Icebreaker

Insanely soft and comfy women's hiking underwear that does the job well

Patagonia Barely Hipster

Sustainable number from Patagonia with a cute pattern and funky

Falke Women's Warm Briefs

Snug and thermally regulated underwear for tackling big trails

Ex Officio Modern Bikini

Super stylish and you can barely feel it on - win win!

Lululemon Breathable Bikini

Heaps of colours in this pretty Lululemon piece

Smartwool Merino 150

A no-messing-around piece of high quality merino underwear with a durable core

Ridge Merino Boy Shorts

Super comfy, no-ride shorts that feel great against your skin

Montane Dart Briefs

Durable pair from Montane with awesome odour resistance

Decathlon Trekking Pants

Affordable piece of underwear that is sustainably produced and comfortable

final score

88

%

final score

85

%

final score

75

%

final score

78

%

final score

76

%

final score

86

%

final score

80

%

final score

84

%

final score

93

%

The Good

  • Lots of colours to choose from
  • Flattering and comfortable hipster/bikini blend fit
  • Corespun Merino with a Nylon core is extra durable

The Good

  • Floral Jacquard pattern
  • Pairs well with other Patagonia underwear
  • Fair Trade Certified™ sewn



The Good

  • Combination of thermally regulating materials
  • Snug fit
  • Stretch and great for all types of movement

The Good

  • Moisture-wicking HeiQ technology fabric with Fresh Tech keeps odours at bay and adjusts to your body temperature
  • Bonded seams for a VPL-free look
  • Mesh side panels for  breathability & flattering fit

The Good

  • Smooth waistband that doesn't dig
  • Comes in a range of colours and cuts
  • Lyrca increases stretch and shape retention

The Good

  • Soft elastic waistband
  • Comfortable, movement-friendly cut
  • Flatlock seams in all the right places to eliminate chafing

The Good

  • No-itch fabric that feels fantastic against your skin
  • Climate-controlled underwear, keeps you warm or cold when you need it and regulates temperature
  • Quick-drying

The Good

  • Tailored  fit for enhanced comfort
  • Elasticated waist that doesn't dig in
  • Barely visible flat-locked seams

The Good

  • Made from soft, natural merino wool sourced from approved farms
  • Naturally odour-resistant
  • Super comfy cut for unlimited stretch and movement

The bad

  • On the expensive side
  • Don't allow for full coverage

The bad

  • Users report tags to be itchy and irritating
  • Rides up fairly easily

The bad

  • Made from materials that aren't kind to the environment in their production
  • On the expensive side

The bad

  • Bonded seams are a lot less durable
  • Users report side mesh fabric being prone to rips and tears

The bad

  • Users report riding up and a lot of wedgey undoing
  • Waistband prone to slipping

The bad

  • On the more expensive side
  • Only available in dark colours (not great for light hiking shorts!)

The bad

  • No-itch fabric that feels fantastic against your skin
  • Climate-controlled underwear, keeps you warm or cold when you need it and regulates temperature
  • Quick-drying

The bad

  • Fit isn't for everyone

The bad

  • Fits pretty large, not necessarily a bad thing, just order a size down from what you're used to
  • Merino wool tends to be slightly less durable, so it might be worth getting a few pairs to last you

Comfort

95

%

Odour resistance

90

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

80

%

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

90

%

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

75

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

60

%

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

80

%

Eco score

65

%

Comfort

70

%

Odour resistance

80

%

Moisture management

80

%

Eco scor

75

%

Comfort

90

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

90

%

Eco score

80

%

Comfort

90

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

60

%

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

95

%

Moisture management

90

%

Eco score

70

%

Comfort

95

%

Odour resistance

90

%

Moisture management

90

%

Eco score

95

%

Material

83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Elastane

Colours available

Black, Metro Heather, Midnight Navy, Suede, Gravel, Serene Blue

Price range

$$$

Cut

Hipkini

Material

89% nylon (66% recycled), 11% elastane with HeiQ®

Colours available

Nude, Black, Mint

Price range

$$

Cut

Hipster

Material

69% Polyamide, 26% Polyester, 5% Elastane

Colours available

Black, White

Price range

$$$

Cut

Bikini

Material

82% Nylon, 18% Spandex

Colours available

Black, Buff, Dry Rose, Ink

Price range

$$$

Cut

Bikini

Material

88% Modal, 12% Lycra® elastane

Colours available

Baby Blue, Bronze, Pink , Silver, Black , Nude

Price range

$$

Cut

Bikini (other cuts available)

Material

87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon

Colours available

Grey, Black

Price range

$$$

Cut

Bikini

Materials

84% Merino wool, 4% Spandex, 12% Nylon

Colours available

Black, Asphalt, Rose Tan

Price range

$$$

Cut

Boy shorts

Material

Apex D-Fuse (Montane's own dual layer fabric) with POLYGIENE®

Colours available

Grey, teal

Price range

$$

Cut

Hipster

Material

Merino wool

Colours available

Purple, black

Price range

$

Cut

Hipster

Women's Icebreaker

Best for softness against skin

Why we like it

Insanely soft and comfy women's hiking underwear that does the job well

The Good

  • Lots of colours to choose from
  • Flattering and comfortable hipster/bikini blend fit
  • Corespun Merino with a Nylon core is extra durable

the bad

  • On the expensive side
  • Don't allow for full coverage

Material

83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Elastane

Cut

Hipkini

Colours available

Black, Metro Heather, Midnight Navy, Suede, Gravel, Serene Blue

Price range

$$$

Super soft merino wool in a range of beautiful colours meets unrivalled comfort in the Icebreaker Merino Siren Hipkini. Durable, high quality merino makes this an expensive but worthwhile investment into your hygiene and comfort whilst adventuring.

Comfort

95

%

Odour resistance

90

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

80

%

No items found.

final score

88

%

Women's Icebreaker

Check latest price

Patagonia Barely Hipster

Best for sustainable construction

Why we like it

Sustainable number from Patagonia with a cute pattern and funky

The Good

  • Floral Jacquard pattern
  • Pairs well with other Patagonia underwear
  • Fair Trade Certified™ sewn



the bad

  • Users report tags to be itchy and irritating
  • Rides up fairly easily

Material

89% nylon (66% recycled), 11% elastane with HeiQ®

Cut

Hipster

Colours available

Nude, Black, Mint

Price range

$$

The Patagonia Barely Hipster dries quickly, stays put, reduces odours and looks fantastic. What's more, they're made from strong, durable and recycled materials and are sewn according to Fairtrade approved standards. The best women's hiking underwear in our minds is only the best if it's also sustainably made and this pair certainly tick that box.

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

90

%

No items found.

final score

85

%

Patagonia Barely Hipster

Check latest price

Falke Women's Warm Briefs

Best for movement

Why we like it

Snug and thermally regulated underwear for tackling big trails

The Good

  • Combination of thermally regulating materials
  • Snug fit
  • Stretch and great for all types of movement

the bad

  • Made from materials that aren't kind to the environment in their production
  • On the expensive side

Material

69% Polyamide, 26% Polyester, 5% Elastane

Cut

Bikini

Colours available

Black, White

Price range

$$$

This is a seriously figure-hugging pair of underwear. They'll regulate your body temperature whatever climate you're in and stay warm and dry no matter what, thanks to their wicking and quick drying materials. They fit so well in fact that they'll feel like a natural extension to your body and allow a totally free range of movement.

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

75

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

60

%

No items found.

final score

75

%

Falke Women's Warm Briefs

Check latest price

Why we like it

Super stylish and you can barely feel it on - win win!

The Good

  • Moisture-wicking HeiQ technology fabric with Fresh Tech keeps odours at bay and adjusts to your body temperature
  • Bonded seams for a VPL-free look
  • Mesh side panels for  breathability & flattering fit

the bad

  • Bonded seams are a lot less durable
  • Users report side mesh fabric being prone to rips and tears

Material

82% Nylon, 18% Spandex

Cut

Bikini

Colours available

Black, Buff, Dry Rose, Ink

Price range

$$$

The best women's hiking underwear should tick all the boxes, and we think the Ex Officio does a good job of that. If you're the type of person that really wants to feel good in their underwear, these are the ones for you. Style meets function with this pair, with striped mesh side panels that increase breathability and look great. They also feature antimicrobial treatment to keep you fresher for longer, especially in warm weather. What's more, the seams have been bonded to create a seam-free look, which not only looks great under leggings, but feels awesome too. They'll fit snug with the added spandex and hold their shape over time too, so worth spending a little extra. The Ex Officio Give n Go sport mesh bikini brief is also a great option.Moisture-wicking HeiQ technology fabric with Fresh Tech keeps odours at bay and adjusts to your body temperature Bonded seams for a VPL-free look.

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

80

%

Eco score

65

%

No items found.

final score

78

%

Ex Officio Modern Bikini

Check latest price

Lululemon Breathable Bikini

Best for wicking moisture

Why we like it

Heaps of colours in this pretty Lululemon piece

The Good

  • Smooth waistband that doesn't dig
  • Comes in a range of colours and cuts
  • Lyrca increases stretch and shape retention

the bad

  • Users report riding up and a lot of wedgey undoing
  • Waistband prone to slipping

Material

88% Modal, 12% Lycra® elastane

Cut

Bikini (other cuts available)

Colours available

Baby Blue, Bronze, Pink , Silver, Black , Nude

Price range

$$

Lululemon began as a yoga brand, so they know what they're doing when it comes to flexing those limbs and getting a sweat on. And sure, the best women's hiking underwear can also be great underwear for other activities such as yoga. And they certainly know what they're doing when it comes to women's underwear. This is a super snug yet breathable piece of underwear that will fit you like a glove and keep the sweat at bay. What's more, the feel of them is so silky soft that you'll be excited just to put them on in the morning.

Comfort

70

%

Odour resistance

80

%

Moisture management

80

%

Eco scor

75

%

No items found.

final score

76

%

Lululemon Breathable Bikini

Check latest price

Smartwool Merino 150

Best for comfort

Why we like it

A no-messing-around piece of high quality merino underwear with a durable core

The Good

  • Soft elastic waistband
  • Comfortable, movement-friendly cut
  • Flatlock seams in all the right places to eliminate chafing

the bad

  • On the more expensive side
  • Only available in dark colours (not great for light hiking shorts!)

Material

87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon

Cut

Bikini

Colours available

Grey, Black

Price range

$$$

Responsibly sourced high quality merino feels like a sort of warm hug in the Smartwool 150 Bikini. Smartwool's lightweight jersey style merino with a nylon core is strong, durable and resistant to wear down, whilst maintaining the awesome wicking and odour free properties of merino.

Comfort

90

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

90

%

Eco score

80

%

No items found.

final score

86

%

Smartwool Merino 150

Check latest price

Ridge Merino Boy Shorts

Best for staying put

Why we like it

Super comfy, no-ride shorts that feel great against your skin

The Good

  • No-itch fabric that feels fantastic against your skin
  • Climate-controlled underwear, keeps you warm or cold when you need it and regulates temperature
  • Quick-drying

the bad

  • No-itch fabric that feels fantastic against your skin
  • Climate-controlled underwear, keeps you warm or cold when you need it and regulates temperature
  • Quick-drying

Materials

84% Merino wool, 4% Spandex, 12% Nylon

Cut

Boy shorts

Colours available

Black, Asphalt, Rose Tan

Price range

$$$

Whilst they might cost a little more, these pants will see you through a whole host of adventures. Reinforced merino wool reduces abrasion and makes the fabric more durable over time, whilst flatlock seams make them super comfy and barely visible. What's more, they've even made the care label removable, because we all know how uncomfortable it can be when that itches!

Comfort

90

%

Odour resistance

85

%

Moisture management

85

%

Eco score

60

%

No items found.

final score

80

%

Ridge Merino Boy Shorts

Check latest price

Montane Dart Briefs

Best for odour control

Why we like it

Durable pair from Montane with awesome odour resistance

The Good

  • Tailored  fit for enhanced comfort
  • Elasticated waist that doesn't dig in
  • Barely visible flat-locked seams

the bad

  • Fit isn't for everyone

Material

Apex D-Fuse (Montane's own dual layer fabric) with POLYGIENE®

Cut

Hipster

Colours available

Grey, teal

Price range

$$

Montane's Apex D-Fuse with POLYGIENE® is a game changer. It features in lots of their other base layers too, not just underwear. It has a dual layer construction, featuring a super soft sweat-proof knit next to the skin, and a smooth face. The POLYGIENE® aspect provides permanent odour control. This is a piece of underwear that takes care of itself and makes you forget you're even wearing any. Perfect, right?

Comfort

80

%

Odour resistance

95

%

Moisture management

90

%

Eco score

70

%

No items found.

final score

84

%

Montane Dart Briefs

Check latest price

Decathlon Trekking Pants

Best for lower budgets

Why we like it

Affordable piece of underwear that is sustainably produced and comfortable

The Good

  • Made from soft, natural merino wool sourced from approved farms
  • Naturally odour-resistant
  • Super comfy cut for unlimited stretch and movement

the bad

  • Fits pretty large, not necessarily a bad thing, just order a size down from what you're used to
  • Merino wool tends to be slightly less durable, so it might be worth getting a few pairs to last you

Material

Merino wool

Cut

Hipster

Colours available

Purple, black

Price range

$

The best women's hiking underwear needn't cost a fortune. Form meets function in this super affordable piece from Decathlon. They're made from merino wool, which we seriously rate (see buying guide find out why) and they won't break the bank. Soft, comfortable and lightweight, these Decathlon pants are the perfect hiking companion.

Comfort

95

%

Odour resistance

90

%

Moisture management

90

%

Eco score

95

%

No items found.

final score

93

%

Decathlon Trekking Pants

Check latest price

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