Best Hiking Underwear for Women (2022)
Curious about what makes the best hiking underwear for women? There are factors to consider when making a purchase. Not to worry, you are covered.
The importance of high quality, moisture wicking and anti odor material cannot be stressed enough when it comes to hiking underwear.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click and purchase, I receive a commission at no cost to you.
You can find these qualities in both natural and synthetic materials, but different materials have their own pros, cons, benefits and challenges.
In this article, we’ve pulled together top-rated women’s hiking underwear including bikinis, hipsters and thongs to wear on the hiking trails. But first, a few questions.
Do I Really Need Hiking Underwear?
While having hiking-specific underwear isn’t a necessity, it is kind of a game changer when it comes to enjoyment of all your outdoor adventures.
Wearing high performance underwear will help protect your most sensitive areas. Hiking underwear also provides benefits both on and off the trails.
Specially-designed hiking underwear can wick moisture, inhibit bacteria growth, prevent chafing, even help regulate your body temperature when you hike.
Once you find a great pair of hiking underwear that’s well-suited to you and your body, you may not ever want to go back to basic cotton underwear. That’s a fact.
What About Merino Wool Underwear?
Underwear made from merino wool is one of the best options for hiking. Merino wool isn’t scratchy like other wools. It’s soft, light and comfortable.
Wool is a naturally anti odor and antibacterial material. Underwear made with merino wool actually blocks odor and bacterial growth when you sweat.
Merino wool base layers are lightweight and breathable, you will feel fresh all day long. It’s also a great material for wearing in warm and cold weather.
Lastly, underwear made with merino wool material moves with your body. It also won’t contribute to chafing, making it an excellent choice for hiking or running.
What is the Best Underwear for Hiking?
Underwear designed for hiking should be made from high performance materials. Here is what to look for:
* Moisture wicking
* Quick drying
* Anti chafing
When you hike, certain parts of your body sweat more, including the groin area. This makes it essential to wear moisture wicking and breathable underwear.
Wearing underwear that pulls moisture away helps prevent irritation, odor and bacteria that thrives in warm, moist environments.
Plus, you want underwear that won’t contribute to chafing when walking for long periods of time. There are a handful of fabrics that fit the bill.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester and/or nylon and spandex blends are great. Merino wool is also an amazing choice – it has these properties naturally.
Bikini Cut Underwear
Bikini cut underwear is an everyday favorite for many people. This style of underwear pairs well with almost every outfit and is incredibly comfortable.
The bikini cut waistband falls just a couple inches below the navel, and has slender sides and high leg cutouts. Here are top bikini cut picks.
Icebreaker Siren Bikini Underwear
Icebreaker is one of the leading brands of merino wool underwear. The Icebreaker Siren Bikini Underwear offers a modern, sleek and soft fit.
This underwear is made from core spun merino wool fibers with nylon for maximum softness, as well as strength and durability.
* This underwear comes in 5 different colors and sizes from XS to XL.
* The bikini cut is a comfortable cut that can be worn with most outfits.
* This underwear is great for hiking or for everyday wear in hot weather.
* Customers say this specific cut can be prone to wedgies.
* The underwear has a big, thick tag.
* The sizes seem to run a size small.
ExOfficio Give-N-Go 2.0 Bikini Briefs
The ExOfficio Bikini Briefs are a high rise bikini made from nylon and elastane – synthetic high performance materials that are tops for hiking.
These underwear have a 4 way stretch, an anti odor treatment. They area also breathable and moisture wicking.
* This hiking underwear dries fast and is incredibly breathable.
* A wide, comfortable waistband keeps the underwear in in place.
* Flatlock seams reduce chafing.
* Extra fabric in the back bunches for some wearers.
* Not everyone loves the high cut leg openings.
* One reviewer stated panty liners do not stick well on this fabric.
Smartwool Seamless Bikini Underwear
Smartwool is another leading brand in the merino wool clothing category and they make great underwear, too.
The Smartwool Seamless Bikini Underwear is made with a merino and nylon blend for durability and softness. Ventilation zones enhance breathability.
* Ventilation zones enhance natural fabric breathability by letting in more air.
* Flat seams help prevent chafing.
* According to reviews, offers a “better fit for those with a less prominent rear”.
* This underwear is only available in one color – light mahogany.
* The underwear is only available in XS at this time.
* They’re a bit pricier than other similar brands.
Cool Blend Moisture Wicking Panties
The Fruit of the Loom Coolblend Moisture Wicking Panties are made with a special fabric blend that’s specially designed to keep you cool and dry.
These are made of a blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex, and are great for an active lifestyle.
* This a four-pack of hiking underwear.
* A soft waistband and leg opening helps prevent chafing.
* A very budget friendly price.
* Cotton isn’t always a great option, but this fabric blend has great benefits.
* These may fit a little shorter in the front than the back.
* There is not a lot of color or style variety.
Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless
The Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless Underwear are made of a nylon and elastane blend. This a great fabric blend for hiking and backpacking.
These materials are moisture wicking and breathable, plus they move with your body, which of course is a plus when out on the trails.
* The silky smooth material feels great on your skin.
* Tagless underwear prevents chafing and discomfort.
* The four- way stretch moves with you.
* Reviewers state these can develop odor more quickly.
* This particular cut may fit a bit more like a hipster or brief.
* Some reviewers felt that these were prone to wedgies.
Hipster cut underwear are a cross between bikini cut underwear and boy shorts. This style provides a bit more butt and hip coverage.
This comfortable full coverage style underwear can be worn with many outfits, but they may show through tighter pants or leggings.
Patagonia Active Hipster Underwear
The Patagonia Women’s Active Hipster Underwear is a great choice for those who want a bit more coverage.
These underwear are breathable and moisture wicking, and made with a synthetic blend for odor control.
* They come in a variety of sizes from XS to XL.
* This underwear is Fair Trade Certified.
* The seamless waistband and single sided binding prevent chafing.
* The flat seams are comfortable, but still show under some pants.
* Some reviewers claim this underwear can stretch out quickly.
* A paper tag in the back can be bothersome.
Merino Sport Seamless Hipster Underwear
The Smartwool Merino Sport Seamless Hipsters provide even more coverage than the Patagonia Active Hipsters. They’re also versatile for every day wear.
These undies are engineered for a seamless fit and is made from a moisture wicking merino nylon blend.
* This underwear comes in a variety of sizes from XS to XL.
* These hipsters are naturally anti odor thanks to merino wool.
* The hipster cut provides full coverage.
* Although they’re seamless, the rear coverage irritate the thigh crease.
* This pair is more expensive than other brands.
* They’re seamless, but may still show under tight pants or leggings.
Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pant
The Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pant is more of a traditional hipster in the sense that it’s more like a boy short thanks to a lot more coverage.
These merino hipsters are form fitting with four-way stretch that moves with you. You can’t beat that when out on the hiking trails, that’s for sure.
* These have more complete coverage.
* A comfortable, boy short-like fit
* Lycra adds to the softness and stretch.
* Some reviewers claim the bottom is a little loose.
* Not everyone wants so much coverage.
* Chunky, sewn in tags are irritating to some.
REI Co-Op Merino Hipster Underwear
REI Merino Hipster Underwear has more of a brief style fit that provides more bottom coverage with a wide, comfortable waistband.
This underwear is made with core spun nylon wrapped in merino which provides both comfort and durability. Lycra spandex allows for a soft, comfy fit.
* This underwear is machine washable (some merino wool is hand wash only).
* Flat seams and merrow stitching eliminate chafing.
* Made from certified Responsible Wool and in a Fair Trade Certified factory.
* Some reviewers think the waistband is too snug.
* The binding around the leg holes is a bit tight on some women.
* This underwear is best for hikes in cold and cool weather.
ExOfficio Give No Go 2.0 Full Cut Briefs
These ExOfficio Full Cut Briefs are a brief style fit with more coverage than a typical hipster. They’re also very popular with majority five star reviews.
This comfortable underwear is made with a high performance synthetic blend and provides maximum coverage. They stay in place and feel good to wear.
* Made with a high performance nylon and elastane blend.
* High rise underwear can be very comfortable, especially with high rise pants.
* Comes with an anti odor treatment to stay fresher, longer.
* Some reviews mention the elastic can stretch out quickly.
* Not everyone will love the high rise style.
* Some reviewers claim the waistband doesn’t stay in place when active.
Last but not least, we sought out the top rated thong style hiking underwear for women. There are no pantylines to worry about here, ladies.
If you prefer to wear thong underwear, you’ll be happy to know you can find them in high performance materials that are perfect for outdoor activity.
Merino 150 Lace Thong Underwear
The Smartwool Merino 150 Lace Thong Underwear is a great choice if you want merino wool in a thong style fit.
This underwear are designed for daily wear, and they’re adventure-ready, too. Soft merino wool keeps you cool and dry as you hike.
* Made with a merino lace fabric for natural moisture management and odor resistance.
* A nylon merino fabric blend provides durability and comfort.
* Slim fit is low profile and won’t show through pants.
* This thong underwear only comes in one color.
* The only sizes available are S, L and XL.
* The lace design may not appeal to everyone.
Ibex Women’s Natural Thong
The Ibex Women’s Natural Thong claims to be “the most comfortable merino thong. According to reviewers, they might be right.
This underwear has flat lock seams and flat waistbands. This thong fits close to skin for comfort. They also move with you, which is great for hiking.
* The lightweight merino fabric is breathable, durable, and moisture wicking.
* Naturally odor resistant because of antibacterial merino.
* Sizes from XS to XL.
* Some reviewers say they run a bit small.
* The super low rise fit might not appeal to everyone.
* They cost the same as other merino options for much less fabric.
REI Co-op Active Thong Underwear
The REI Active Thong Underwear is literally made for active lifestyles, like hiking and backpacking.
This underwear is made of a high performance synthetic blend. It performs almost as well as merino.
* Stretchy polyester mesh has barely-there seams to prevent chafing.
* This REI brand thong is very budget priced, and the sizes range from XS to 3X.
* An antimicrobial treatment helps to reduce odor build-up.
* Like other REI underwear, the leg openings may be snug on some.
* This REI thong only comes in two colors.
* This thong pairs with the REI bralette, but it is a separate purchase.
Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless Thong
The Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless Thong is a great choice if you want a multi pack. They come in a variety of sizes and colors too.
This underwear is made with a nylon elastane blend that performs great both on or off the trails.
* They have a seamless and tagless design to help prevent chafing.
* Reinforced construction enhances durability.
* Four way stretch keeps this underwear in place and moves with your body.
* They’re made from a hand wash only material – but it dries fast.
* Reviewers state the sizing is inconsistent.
* High rise on the front, may not be for everyone.
REI Co-Op Merino Thong Underwear
The REI Merino Thong Underwear is made from a merino, nylon, and spandex blend for comfort and performance.
This underwear are designed to hug the body and stay in place, no matter how active your lifestyle is.
* Soft elastic trim on the underwear is comfortable and keeps them in place.
* They’re machine washable.
* Made in a Fair Trade Certified factory.
* The back is a little thick and can be uncomfortable for some wearers.
* Low rise front may be uncomfortable for some.
* They run about a size small, according to reviews.
Erin Gifford is the editor of Go Hike Virginia. She has completed more than 300 hikes in Virginia. She is also the author of three hiking guidebooks from Falcon Guides. Need help finding a hike? Check out the Trail Finder feature or send Erin a message.