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:
- Best for lower budgets - Decathlon Women's Merino Wool Mountain Trekking Pants
- Best for odour control - Montane Womens Dart Briefs
- Best for staying put - Ridge Merino Boy Shorts
- Best for comfort - Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini
- Best for moisture wicking - Lululemon Soft Breathable Bikini
- Best for style - Ex Officio Modern Travel Bikini Brief
- Best for movement - Falke Women's Warm Briefs
- Best for sustainable construction - Patagonia Barely Hipster
- Best for softness against skin - Women's Icebreaker Merino Siren Hipkini
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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