Women's Hiking Underwear
Women's Hiking Underwear

You might not think of it, but wearing the right underwear can make a long hiking trip, backpacking trip, safari, trek, or any other adventure much more pleasant. Check out the Pants and Tops pages for more information on baselayers (long-underwear).

Women’s Hiking Underwear Shopping Tips:

  • Underwear material should be synthetic – not cotton! Hiking underwear should be wicking, meaning that any perspiration is “wicked” away from your skin.
  • Look for quick dry underwear. If the materials are synthetic, than it will likely dry pretty quickly. However, some are designed to dry super fast, so you can wash them and have them ready to wear in no time.
  • Odor reducing. Clearly a nice feature to have…some hiking underwear is made of special materials that help reduce odors, which is definitely worthwhile on hiking trips, or even regular travels.

Hiking Lady’s Favorite Women’s Hiking Underwear:

Patagonia Active Hipster Briefs: These are moisture wicking, quick dry, and modest enough to wear as swimwear if you find yourself without a swimsuit on a backpacking trip! Hiking Lady’s Review: Patagonia Underwear

ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Bikini Brief: The ExOfficio brand is very well known as the leader in underwear for active people like hikers. They aren’t cheap, but last a long time and live up to their reputation. Hiking Lady’s Review: ExOfficio Underwear

Back to Hiking 101: Adventure Apparel


  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Here are my thoughts as it pertains to Emily’s question.

    I have found Kotex Lightdays work out well for the end of my period, and they seem to stick fine for me to synthetic underwear. For heavier days when I’m even more worried about a tampon leaking, I opt for pads with wings. The wings help them stay in place better for me on synthetic underwear. Has anyone else had the issue Emily mentioned? Any additional insight from the ladies out there would be well appreciate by Emily I’m sure!

    Happy trails!

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    6/17/18: Emily from Michigan emailed with the following question:
    Hi there!

    I have a couple questions about feminine hygiene on the trail. My first question is while backpacking do you prefer to use a synthetic, wool, or cotton based underwear? I understand all of the problems with cotton on extended trips, but I find that pads (and liners) don’t stick to synthetic or wool underwear very well. Have you found a particular brand of pad or liner that sticks to a non-cotton based underwear well? Whenever I wear wool underwear when I’m on my period and am using a pad to catch any leaks from the tampon, the pad doesn’t adhere to the wool fibers. It’s terribly uncomfortable in the backcountry and just wondering if you have this issue or might know how to combat it 🙂

  3. emily says:

    Wow, this thread is still going strong in 2015… so I’ll add my two cents.

    I’m still looking for good hiking underwear. I don’t know about that.

    About sports bras, though, I don’t think you’d have an easy time doing better than the Lynx, especially if you’re pretty busty. The Lynx is the only thing I’ve found that really makes hiking comfortable, although in the interest of full disclosure I have to say that I wear a 30G and it’s the only thing I’ve found that fits me at all. But yeah, especially if you’re busty, the Lynx is the way to go.

  4. New Shoes says:

    I am looking for plus size ( not just XL ) for high cut briefs in a wicking material – for workouts and for day hikes.

    If you are just starting an active life-style, the smaller sizes and styles just don’t cut it.

  5. Andra Byrnes says:

    I ladies,
    I have had several inquires from this posting regarding underwear. So I wanted to let you know the latest on who is wearing Andie’s Undies. Thanks Jennifer!

    Andie’s Undies LLC has been endorsed by Jennifer Pharr Davis of Blueridge Hiking Company;
    Winner of the 2012
    National Geographic Adventure of the Year Award

    “Andies Undies are awesome! No more embarrassing ‘bare’butt’ moments on the trail. These leggins allow you to use the restroom without taking off your pack or getting undressed. So I especially love them in cold weather . Oh, and did I mention that my husband REALLY loves them! One more step towards gender equality when it comes to outdoor gear. Way to go Andie!” Jennifer Pharr Davis.

    Her company is Blue Ridge Hiking Co



    I know you will enjoy reading about her adventure! If you get a chance to see her in person, DO IT! She is simply amazing!!!!
    Fellow hikers, can APPRECIATE what she has accomplished!
    Thanks Jennifer, I truly appreciate this!
    Andra Byrnes

  6. Andra Byrnes says:

    Hi Abi,
    Please look at my website, I believe, and from women who have purchased them, could solve your problem. I look forward to hear from your.

  7. Abi says:

    Hey all,

    Has anyone found a solution on what to wear on TOP when hiking? I don’t really need to wear a bra at all and I can’t imagine wearing a sports bra all day long. I avoid bras all together since they’re uncomfortable and bad for you (circulation, lymphatic system etc.).

    I want to find a top that fits snugly in the chest but that does NOT have a built in bra or shelf bra which I personally find really irritating to wear for an entire day, especially in the heat. This task has been quite difficult so any suggestions would be really appreciated. The only tight tops, that will at least keep my nipples from getting too much friction are tight EVERYWHERE which I really don’t want to wear on an all day hiking trip! Plus, I’m in pretty good shape but wearing spandex head to toe is another story!

    Your help is appreciated ladies! Oh & for underwear, I love Exofficios lace thong underwear! Finally no more friction on my hip bones!

  8. Andra Byrnes says:

    Please look at www. Andie’sUndies.com My product is a a revolutionary design change in long underwear for women. They come in shorts as well. Many of the ladies with Trail Dames were them for hicking. They are a 4-way stretch,non chaffing and wicking, keeping you very dry! My sizing is up to 24. Please call me if you have ANY questions. Also look at the trail dames on FB for someone to hike with……

    Thank you for considering my product. All the ladies who have purchased them for any outdoor activity, absolutley love them!

    Andra Byrnes

    Andie’s Undies
    ‘The Difference is…Between the Legs’


  9. Tracy says:

    Is anyone out there of a larger size, looking for good hiking undies? I am not thin, but enjoy hiking and camping. I am on the lookout for quick dry undies in a hi-cut brief for the comfort level. As was bemoaned earlier, not all of us are toothpicks without a booty. Some of our bodies are a bit more stretched out. Ideas please, for everything from panties to bras? Thanks for the input!

  10. Andra Byrnes says:

    Ladies, I have read about your frustration with underwear for hicking. I recently had a customer switch from Marmont – which bunched and flapped – to Andie’s Undies as well as a someone who wears a lot of silk. They both found that Andie’s Undies wicking performance and snug fit were perfect! I encourage you to look at the website and email me with any questions! I have not had a customer yet that was not extremely happy with the performance and fit of her Andie’s Undies! Look forward to hearing from you. Andra

  11. Andra Byrnes says:

    Hi Hicking Lady,

    I just stareted my company in May and am not quite at the REI level yet- but getting there.

    My line is in a shop here in Pagosa Springs, CO. Not sure where you are. I have customers from AK to FL though. My products are guranteed, and if they are not what you thought, I do full refunds. I would love to talk either by phone or emal about what it is your looking for and how Andie’s Undies actually function. Check out Trail Dames on FB – many are my customers.

    Look forward to talking with you soon

  12. Andra Byrnes says:

    Hi Hicking Lady,

    I just stareted my company in May and am not quite at the REI level yet- but getting there.

    My line is in a shop here in Pagosa Springs, CO. Not sure where you are. I have customers from AK to FL though. My products are guranteed, and if they are not what you thought, I do full refunds. I would love to talk either by phone or emal about what it is your looking for and how Andie’s Undies actually function. Check out Trail Dames on FB – many are my customers.

    Look forward to talking with you soon.

  13. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for the info about your company, Andra. Sounds like a good product. Do you sell them in any outdoor retailers like REI? Happy trails!

  14. Andra Byrnes says:

    Hello ladies,
    Please take a look at these. I design and offer a line of undergarments for women who are regularly active outdoors, which allows them to answer nature’s call i.e.-relieve themselves, urinate, modestly and discreetly. Pant and short style undergarments with an INGENIOUSLY design structure ‘Between the Legs’ that open quickly and easily hands free….keeping you covered and warm when the need arises. Four (4) way stretch adapts to you individually.
    Soft wicking fabric keep keeps you dry, warm AND cool. Combine them with complimentary tops. All in colors you will love!
    Check out my testimonials from the women who hick regularly, but they are for any outdoor activity!
    I look forward to your comments. Thanks Andra

  15. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Audes,
    Great question! The reason it hasn’t been addressed yet is that I haven’t found a great solution. I agree with you – they can stay clammy for hours and then get very uncomfortable. I tend to wear a regular bra when hiking and backpacking, though I am still on the lookout for a sports bra that will work well. If you find one let me know. Good luck!

  16. audes says:

    I don’t know if this addressed elsewhere on the site, but what about bras? Sports bras are great because of the smooth lines under a pack, but when they get sweaty, they reamin wet and clammy for hours. Once you stop moving the dampness becomes freezing!! Any quick-drying brands out there that keep the chill away once you stop hiking?

  17. michelle says:

    the kathmandu turned out great but and im in france visiting people and thier dog ate them today!!!!

  18. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Emily,
    I hear you…personally if I could only choose one pair, I go with the Patagonia Hipsters. I tried out several pair last year…hope this helps:
    The Best Hiking Underwear?
    And the Best Hiking Underwear Is…

    I too am curious to know if Pig Pen ever got the samples…I’m waiting for the day when a company decides to make a pair of mid thigh, comfortable, wicking underwear for women! It would be great for hiking.

    Happy trails!

  19. Emily says:

    So… what’s the status on the hiking underwear for women? I just found this site and have read through all of the comments but there don’t seem to be any current updates as of 2012. Also, Pig Pen, do you have any reviews about the sample of underwear you got from Gail? I am also in search of the perfect pair of lady’s water/sweat resistant underwear but have found nothing online that’s designed specifically for women. All I seem to find are those pathetic “boy shorts” that seem to stop just a little tiny bit past the groin area, which, I’d say are pretty much the same as wearing REGULAR women’s panties! And that is just simply NOT going to work for me as I do not wanna have to deal with them bunching up or riding up on me when I move or sit down, and like Pig Pen mentioned, underwear with those annoying tight bands around the groin/pelvic area cause A LOT of rubbing, irritation & chaffing which doesn’t go well with hot summer days… I just want something that doesn’t cling or rub against my groin and that doesn’t ride up. I’ve noticed that the men’s underwear actually goes down to practically the MID-THIGH area which I envy because that’s EXACTLY what they should be making for WOMEN! Also, I’ve found that the only other option for women are the leg/butt shapewear, which are basically like pantyhose and do NOT qualify as good quality underwear. Any help with this search of mine would be greatly appreciated!!

  20. Hiking Lady says:

    Due to popular demand, I have begun a test to find the best hiking underwear. My goal is to find the best quality, most comfortable, odor reducing, and reasonably priced hiking underwear on the market. I’ll be testing a few new ones from Isis, ExOfficio, Icebreaker, and perhaps others. Any suggestions of what should be included in the testing? Any up and coming brands I should be aware of? Thanks for your help dear readers!!

  21. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for the update, Pig Pen! When you get the sample from Gail I’d love to hear how those work out too. Your input is really helpful! Enjoy your adventures 🙂

  22. Pig Pen says:

    Eureka! I have found some underware that really work for me (Still waiting for Gail’s sample) these are from http://www.roadrunnersports.com Men’s underware: http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/RRM1044/ When I’ve worn tnem a number of days in a row they get a little baggy but they haven’t ridden up, no chaffing, no wadding. I like them. We’re hiking about 20 miles a day now – although we are stuck in a rare mid May snow storm in the Angeles Forest – holing up at a hotel in Wrightwood – until the high winds and snows stop.

  23. Hiking Lady says:

    Excellent news! I am definitely looking forward to reading your review! Sure hope they work well for you and then Gail can start producing them for the rest of us! 🙂

  24. Pig Pen says:

    Gail at Perfection sportswear http://www.perfectionwear.com/ has been extremely helpful with my quest to find underwear. she is making me a sample of two materials, both bamboo, one with cotton, and both with spandex. The design is a V crotch that doesn’t bind or wad. I have a pair of her original compression tights (purchased in 1995) that still are performing well. But, I wanted a thinner material to use for underwear. She also has sports bras, haven’t tried one but I imagine they’re fabulous.

    I have tried regular underwear of all sorts including ExOfficio, which I HATE!!! I thought “boy” shorts would be good but all the ones I’ve tried were cut too high in the back and rode up. The seams on other underwear have rubbed and caused rashes. I am hoping that the perfection will work out “perfectly”!!

    We leave April 18th to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail. http://www.postholer.com/jackandbarb for our journal – I’ll try to post there to review Perfection Sportswear.

  25. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Heather,
    I generally wear a basic sports bra. The straps are far more comfortable with a pack on vs. a standard bra. I haven’t had any major issues with them drying out overnight…you should be fine as long as you look for ones that aren’t overly thick. Make sure it is made of wicking materials and NO cotton!
    Have fun out on the trails!
    Hiking Lady

  26. Heather says:

    I am looking for underwear as well. But, I really would like to know if anyone has bra suggestions. I am looking for something that supports and dries fast. I was thinking of getting a basic sports bra, but they seem so thick that I doubt they will dry fast.

  27. Pig Pen says:

    Tried the Andiamo skins tonight – I will not use them on the PCT. They chafed my skin and had tight bands at the bottom which were irritating. Bamboo is a good idea – if I can find the right configuration.

  28. Lex says:

    I’m looking at bamboo underwear. Bamboo has natural moisture wicking and anti-microbial properties, and they’re soft. Haven’t tried them on a trek yet but they sound promising.

  29. michelle says:

    They all seem to be made for Chinese bums. They actually have bum implants to get a bum. Us anglo saxon/European bums are ‘real’ bums, meaning they don’t fit inside those tiny immoveable undies. Boy it makes me want to bring out an underwear line for different shapes and sizes. I think they would be so popular.I wonder if there is a european brand of underwear that is more realistic. You’d pay through the nose but maybe being quick drying we would need less pairs?

  30. Snowbird says:

    I haven’t found a single pair of wicking underwear made for women that actually works for long travels or long hikes. If I need real comfort, I switch to men’s modified boxers – a little snip and sew – or just do without. No underwear is better than miserable underwear.

    Nylon is the only thing I’ve found that works all year, and dries fast even in winter. I tried various brands, even wool boy shorts – nice but not for me, and nixed poly fibers after several tries.
    I’m not sure why the manufacturers always seem to make women’s underwear uncomfortable, with tight cutting elastics, bunchy, etc. – are the designers all men? Or do you need stick legs and a rear the size of a small pencil eraser?
    I keep hoping to find an inexpensive brand, so I don’t have to sew it for myself! Hmmm – maybe nylon swimsuit fabrics? Any other ideas?

  31. Pig Pen says:

    Kathmandu underwear doesn’t make a boxer in women’s but they do in mens. At least that is all I could find.

  32. Michelle says:

    have you tried pinnacle? I was looking yesterday and found some merino. just can’t remember if they were boxer style. I have got the kathmandu and they are gorgeous to wear. Saving them for my trip but wish I could wear them every day. Still havn’t tested them on a trip though.

  33. Pig Pen says:

    I checked out the website for Kathmandu Underwear, it may work but I am looking for something more like the men’s Merino Boxer Men v3 or quickDRY Boxer Men the quickDRY Brief Women look a lot like the ExOfficio that badly wadded.

  34. Michelle says:

    has anyone tried the kathmandu brand undies?
    I’ve just bought three pairs for my trip to Europe next year. WIll be doing a fair bit of trekking but I especially want them for the light weight factor quick drying and definatly for comfort of course, it will be interesting to see how they hold up.
    : )

  35. Pig Pen says:

    Forgot to add, built-in underwear has created rub areas that caused a lot of discomfort. There are some running skirts with built-in longer (way above the knee but not the short ‘boy short’ lycra style – shouldn’t bunch up or chafe) that look like they’d be comfortable.

  36. Astarael says:


    I’m going on a 45 day backpacking trip to Alaska this summer, and I’m in need of underwear that can survive that kind of trip…my tripmates last summer had shorts with underwear pretty much built in, and I can’t seem to find them…

    Please help!!

  37. Hiking Lady says:

    Wow that is bad news about the ExOfficio underwear. They hold up fine on my 3-5 day trips but they should have been better for a 30 day trip. I have seen some manufacturers coming out with “boy short” underwear styles, but the reviews I’ve seen are very mixed. This SportHill hiking underwear is pretty good if you wash it carefully. Polarmax is coming out with some women’s underwear called TransDry Underwear in March 2011. If anyone else hears of any good hiking underwear for long journeys, please share!

  38. pig pen says:

    Hi, tried the ExOfficio on 30 and 26 day treks in Nepal. They wadded badly. I wanted to strangle the designer. Patagonia were a bit better. Am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail next spring (2600+ miles, Mexico to Canada). I need something that will really work. Was thinking about something along the lines of compression shorts but in wicking, light weight material. Anyone ever hear of such a thing?

  39. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for the comment and question, Hello Kitty! I totally agree on the expense! Both Patagonia and ExOfficio are quite pricey. Of the 2, I find that the ExOfficio control odor better, but the Patagonia’s are softer and more comfortable. I’m on the lookout for a lower cost alternative. If I find one I’ll let you know. Definitely share with us how you like the ExOfficios.

  40. Hello Kitty says:

    I’ve been searching for backpacking underwear for women. My first purchase was from Patagonia. Though they were comfortable, they were not cheap and on the first day hike did not control odor. I’ve tried them at work and working out. They receive a B minus, especially considering the cost ($20). My next try was from EMS. I bought their brand of undies and a simple bra. Each of them cost less than $20, and they have performed okay in the field. Just found the ExOfficios at an outfitters in Ellsworth, Maine. Update later. Doesn’t anyone have anything better to offer than Patagucci??????

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