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How Many Pairs of Underwear Do You Bring on a Backpacking Trip?

Hiking in Hot Weather on the Maine, AT
Hiking in Hot Weather on the Maine, AT

How many pairs of underwear do you take when backpacking?

While some people (like myself) only bring one pair, no matter the length of the trip, most SectionHiker readers bring two pairs on multi-day trips, one to wear, and one to wash while hiking.

The vast majority of SectionHiker readers prefer Ex-officio underwear for backpacking trips because it’s synthetic, moisture-wicking, and don’t cause painful chafing. It also dries very quickly after being washed.

Other popular day hiking and backing underwear choices include:

All of these backpacking underwear choices are synthetic or wool because they won’t chafe when they get damp, unlike cotton which does and takes forever to dry after it’s washed.

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  1. Margaret Hutchinson

    Ex Officio panties, 2 pairs just like my socks. Wash a pair of each every day. That’s been my routine for all trips of about 5 – 7 days. On a shorter trip I might bring a pair per day. I have an upcoming trip of 9 days and might bring 3 pairs of undies and socks to reduce the washing chore….

  2. I usually take a single pair of Ex Officio boxer briefs. My trips are usually two to three nights so washing isn’t normally an issue.

  3. I bring 2 pair of ExOfficio ExGive-N-Go Boxers for Summer backpacking
    5-60 day trips. I wash one pair and within 2.5 hours in sun & wind I have a
    clean dry underwear. They are breathable, lightweight, odor resistant and no
    chafing even when damp or wet. In Winter backpacking 5-30 day trips I
    bring 2 pair of SmartWool NTS Light 195 Boxer Briefs they are warm, feel
    good, fit great and wear great! Again no chafing, moisture wicking, excellent
    in 20-70 degree weather. The waist band doesn’t dig in with layers of
    long johns, pants, and pack waist belt all pressing inward. They are little
    tight in the crotch but is manageable.

  4. Most of the times I wear Under Armour boxers, but almost any synthetic boxers are fine. Sometimes I carry an extra pair but usually I’ll just wash the ones I’m wearing. Never really had any chafing problems so I haven’t thought about underwear that much.

  5. I hiked the first two-thirds of the Appalachian Trail (in 2.5 months) in one pair of generic cotton boxers, and in the next year when doing the second one-third (1.5 months) I switched to a pair of ExOfficio boxers (not the briefs). Since then I always take them on every hike and I never take more than the one pair I wear. I washed them about once every week in town when also I washed every other piece of my clothing.

    My hikes have shortened since finishing the AT, a ton of dayhikes and a couple of 2-3-4 night backpacking trips. Still the same underwear!

  6. I bring 3 pairs of exofficois bikinis. One to wear, one to wash, and one for when I get to town. They are so light weight, it feel I can afford to take the 3.

  7. I usually ear one pair and bring a second pain of the thin Starter Compression shorts as underwear. They give great support, don’t chafe and can serve as a quickpair of swim trunks if needed. My trips usually last between three to five days.

  8. I wear one and bring one since my trips are only a few days. I’ve never chaffed, so I just wear Under Armour that I wear every day.

  9. Patagonia Active Hipster because they dry extremely quickly and the waist band sits comfortably and doesn’t roll up or cut into my hips. I typically go on long weekend trips but sometimes go on week long excursions. No matter how long my trip, I take two pairs and try to wash the spare pair daily. The waist band on my ExOfficio doesn’t dry as quickly as my Patagonias, which causes discomfort and chaffing on my hips.

  10. haha, is this REALLY any of your business? Just kidding ;)

    I take long hikes (month-long) and take two Jockey bikinis…and – the Goddess forbid – they are a cotton blend. Yup, dry super fast, feel awesome and keep my seat from blemishes and chafing.

  11. Three pair of REI MTS briefs for trips longer than three days. I wash socks and underwear every couple of days. I take a basin cut from the bottom of a milk jug. It is also handy for dipping water out of streams where a bottle doesn’t really work. Or if you carry collapsible bottles.

    I change socks and underwear when going to bed. I learned to do that as a Boy Scout in Louisiana. It greatly reduced the number of chigger bites.

  12. I only take the pair I am wearing and then have a swimsuit that also doubles as a night pair. I then wear swimsuit and rain jacket while doing laundry. Average trip a 7-10 days.

  13. Skip the grundies, go commando. Just make sure to bring your Goldbond

  14. I take 3 pairs of Under Armour boxers. 2 pairs to hike in and 1 pair for sleeping.

  15. I take 2 pairs with me – every day I wash the used one. So far my trips haven’t been longer than 7 days and two pair system was working fine for this duration.

  16. 2 pairs of Under Armour Boxerjock – everyday I wash the used one. Great for hiking and never had any issues

  17. I generally take 2 pair of Ex Officio mesh boxer briefs, washing the used pair and letting it dry as we hike/camp. They’ve held up well. My trips last from 2 days to a week.

  18. For 2-3 day trips just one. Longer than that I bring a spare. I use Smart wool 150 merino boxers in all weather. They are light, comfortable, and last a long time.

  19. I take two pair: REI boxer briefs and Ex Officio briefs. Wash one, wear one, every other day. Some trips will include a pair of REI mid-weight long underwear for sleeping in to keep my bag clean and for warmth. Trips lately have only been weekend trips of less than 15 miles.

  20. I take three pairs. 2 sets of ExOfficio boxer briefs and one pair of glorious soft silk boxers to wear at camp. That will take care of me for anywhere from 2 to 7 days,

  21. I’m typically a weekend guy (1-2 nights) and wear 1 pair of box store polypro compression boxers. I’ll rinse out and/or line dry when I reach camp where I put on a pair of cotton (GASP) boxers for comfort sake until morning. Thinking of switching over to mesh though.

  22. During the warm weather I wear Denver Hayes Active shorts feature driWear and antimicrobial and anti-odour treatments.
    During the winter I wear wool icebreakers.
    I do backpacking from 2 to 5 nights out.

  23. typically i my trips last for 3 – 6 days, I take around 3 pairs usually. Hanes Men’s Xtemp is my brand. it’s relatively cheap and comfy. It’s good enough for me!

  24. I always take 3, one to wear, one that is drying (after rinsing) and one just in case I need it.

  25. I take one pair of smartwool merino boxers on typical trips for 1-3 nights. For longer trips I’ll add another pair.

  26. depending on the length of the trip, I typically take 2 – 3 ExOfficio sport boxers . One to wear and one to wash.

  27. 2 or even 3 on longer trips (2 weeks or more). Mostly just UA compression shorts.

  28. I take one extra pair of synthetic underwear that I found at Target. Don’t know the brand

  29. What’s underwear? I typically bring a pair of running shorts and a skirt when hiking during summer for a week or so.

  30. I usually take two pair of Russell Athletic polyester briefs on most of my trips that last three or more days

  31. If I’m leaving for more than a day, I’ll take two pairs. I’ll never take more than that. After a more strenuous stretch of hiking, once my camp is set up, I’ll often swap to the clean pair, throw the worn pair into a Ziploc with some soapy water, and knead them clean. Hang them up to dry overnight, and the next morning, you’ve got a fresh clean pair for next time.

    That said, I sweat a lot in any kind of warm weather, and it STINKS. I wouldn’t skip out on clean underwear, socks, or deodorant on any trip. If I did, I’d never find anyone to hike with.

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