The Importance of Trail Underwear
By Elyse Togliatti, Girls Who Hike Colorado Ambassador
Ok ok, not the most exciting topic but let’s be real.. There is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable down there while trying to bask in the beauty of the great outdoors.
So what could be so important about picking the right pair you ask? Well today you will learn three new things about your panties, undies, or whatever you want to call them. It may be more than you need, or far more than you want to know but here you go. The three takeaways from today are vital to finding the perfect pair of hiking undies: 1. materials 2. cut 3. fit.
1. Wasting no time, let's start with materials!
While you may know of a few obvious no-no’s to fabrics such as silk or lace, another big glaring no is an everyday favorite...cotton!
And let me tell you why you may want to shy away from the cotton (unless it is absolutely necessary to prevent UTI’s or other medical reasons). Clothing’s main function is to keep you warm by trapping warm air near your skin, yes this applies to more than just your under layer.
When cotton gets wet it gets these little air pockets that fill the fabric up with water which then does the opposite and takes heat away from your body. You are also sweating while you are hiking which creates moisture for the cotton to soak up which puts you back into the same dangerous cycle as listed above. These may all be fine and bearable for short distances, but try a pair of one of the recommendations below and trust me you will feel a difference!
Now you may be thinking she has just listed every material of underwear I currently own...what do I wear?
Also yes, before this gets weird I do suggest wearing underwear. To the girls who go commando while taking long hikes ya’ll have some sort of special super power that us normal people just seem to be lacking!
What I recommend is any moisture wicking material such as Nylon, Spandex, or a blend! One brand I specifically like is ExOfficio. Merino wool is also a nice material for its antimicrobial properties (will stay fresher for longer!). A good brand for Merino wool would be Smartwool PhD. I have also found nice Patagonia pairs as well!
2. Let’s talk about cut!
This one is as easy as you think...you want a cut that will be comfortable during those long ascents and descents, through climbing and bouldering. The usual cuts are briefs, boy-shorts, bikinis, or thongs. This all goes by personal preferences and trial and error as well!
How a nice pair of underwear fits is paramount to your comfort on your trail. You want to find a nice fit so it alleviates any chafing or rubbing right? This section is a full section simply to stress the importance of trying a pair out on a short hike and knowing that it will move with you as you move. Know your size, and stick to it. Nature doesn’t care how you look, so go with how you feel!