Whether you’re a novice hiker or backpacker or you’ve been doing this activity for years, you know that what you wear underneath your clothes is just as important as what you layer on top of it. An uncomfortable pair of underwear that bunches up while you walk, rolls down while you climb or sticks to your body as you sweat can totally ruin what would otherwise be an amazing experience with nature.
Traditional cotton underwear is without question the worst kind of underwear to wear while hiking. It sticks to your skin, isn’t very flexible and can cause chafing, and that’s just naming a few problems.
Many companies have tried to create an alternative fabric that is breathable, moves with your body and wicks sweat away from your body. Few have been successful.
For years, Ex Officio was the brand that most hikers and backpackers trusted. Their product is made of a nylon-spandex mesh material that they claim makes them the most comfortable performance underwear out on the market.
People loved them because they were moisture-wicking, lightweight, they dried quickly, came in a large variety of colors and came in a variety of different styles. For women, this means thongs, bikinis, high waist briefs and boy shorts.
For men, there were briefs and a variety of sizes of boxer briefs. They had an anti-microbial treatment that was supposed to stop the underwear from getting smelly over time and also were specially engineered to reduce any chafing.
The Problem with Ex Officio Underwear
All of these features were great, but over time, Ex Officio’s underwear started to become underwhelming. They lost all the quality they used to provide.
Now, when you look online, all you see is complaints. Most people say that the brand’s quality has diminished severely over the past five years, but unfortunately, the high price has not changed.
Here are some complaints that people have:
- The waistband is now made of different material and rolls down constantly.
- The waistband disintegrates very quickly.
- The cloth material is a low-quality material versus what they used to use.
- The underwear fit much more tightly than they used to.
- If you buy red or pink versions of the Ex Officio underwear, the colors run if you sweat while wearing them.
- For the men’s boxers, the fit is too baggy in the crotch area.
Alternatives to Ex Officio Underwear
Hane’s Mens X-Temp 4-Way Stretch Mesh Knit Boxer
The Hane’s Mens X-Temp Stretch knit boxer is a great alternative to the Ex Officio brand of boxers. They’re so much more affordable and come with the quality that Hanes has brought to the underwear market for years.
The X-Temp boxer is made of a mesh-knit material that combines both polyester, Spandex and cotton for the ultimate in comfort and ease of movement. Also, unlike Ex Officio underwear, you can easily put these boxers in the washing machine and dryer without worrying that they will be ruined.
The boxers have a pull-on closure and are tag-free, assuring that there’s nothing but mesh touching your body. The waistband is extremely soft, very flexible and also has moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool and sweat free.
These are great boxers not only for those who are big-time hikers or backpackers but also for those who run or exercise a lot. The X-temp technology adapts to the temperature of your body and will keep you cool all day long.
Plus, the four-way mesh material means you can bend and stretch any way and be comfortable.
Saxx Underwear Men’s Quest
Like the Ex Officio underwear, Saxx boxers are a bit pricier. In fact, they are more expensive than Ex Officio boxers, but for good reason. They are extremely high-quality boxers that are better than most others on the market.
Saxx boxers are a little longer, with a 5-inch inseam and fly-closure. They’re slim fit, so you could easily wear them underneath work or dress pants without anyone seeing them.
They’re perfect for a long hike. You could even wear them for days, thanks to their anti-microbial technology that wicks away moisture and bacteria.
So, even after days of wear, they won’t smell!
The boxers are made of a high-quality fabric that you won’t find anywhere else. They’re mainly made of moisture-wicking nylon fabric, a little bit of spandex and polyester too.
This is what makes these boxers great. While most other boxers are made mainly of polyester, these are comprised mainly of nylon fabric.
The other unique feature is what Saxx calls the “BallPark Pouch.” This is a 3D pouch that is shaped like a hammock and designed to keep your parts in one place without any pinching or chafing.
While a two pack of Saxx boxer briefs will cost you more than a pair of Ex Officio boxers, they are well worth the money.
Hane’s Womens X-Temp Constant Comfort Microfiber Modern Brief
The Hane’s Womens X-Temp Constant Comfort brief is the perfect choice for ladies who are looking for a great brief for hiking and backpacking. They’re made of a microfiber material that’s a mix of polyester and Spandex and cotton, so they’re very flexible and very breathable.
Plus, the cotton provides a level of comfort that the Ex Officio underwear simply can’t provide due to their construction. This underwear will never roll down while you’re wearing them or stick to your skin.
They move with your body. The best part is, they’re so inexpensive that you can wear them every day (unlike the very costly Ex Officio underwear) and they’re made so that you don’t have any panty lines.
These are an especially good kind of underwear for those who live in hot climates since they adapt to the temperature of your body and wick moisture away from your skin. They’re also a low-rise style, so you can wear them with any kind of pant.