My Favorite Women’s Hiking Bras and Underwear

Choosing the best women’s underwear for you is a decidedly personal choice based on preferences. These are my favorite bras and underwear for hiking and backpacking.

Finding the right underwear for outdoor adventures can be a challenge. It’s important to find what works for you, whether that’s the fabric, cut, style, or sizing. Since cotton is not a good choice since it retains moisture, I’ve tried synthetic and wool fabrics for both bras and underwear. My preference is to wear a synthetic bra pair with either synthetic underwear or wool underwear.


best women's hiking underwear

I find that bras meant for active pursuits tend to be too tight and restrictive, and can be quite difficult to remove. In terms of fit, I’m a smaller person without a need for a lot of compression in a bra, so I wanted a bra that focused on comfort than on support. Being prone to skin rashes, especially under the bra band, I was also looking for fabric that wicks moisture well.

After trying many different brands and styles, including minimalist wool bras, my favorite is the Patagonia Barely Bra. Made from a blend of quick drying nylon and spandex with odor control, this racerback style bra provides the level of support I need without binding. It comes with removable internal cups that I prefer to take out for a lighter fit.
View at Patagonia


best women's hiking underwear

Over the years, I’ve tried many different brands and styles of underwear for hiking. These are my favorites:

Branwyn: Out of all of the brands I’ve tried, these are my most comfortable underwear for hiking. Made of merino wool, I especially like the higher rise and wide waist band. They provide great coverage and I find that the waistband doesn’t bind, slip or roll on me like other underwear tends to do. The wool fabric is soft without being scratchy at all… and I have sensitive skin that has a tendency to react to wool.
View at Branwyn

Exofficio Give-n-Go Bikini: One of the most popular choices for travelers, the Give-n-Go bikini is the quickest drying underwear that I’ve tried. Made from a polyester mesh with a narrower waist band, they are durable to withstand years of use. However, they aren’t the most comfortable for me due to seams on the sides. For multi-night backpacking trips, these are still a top choice due to being able to take fewer pairs and wash them each day.
View at REI

Patagonia Active Hipster: I wear these on a daily basis as well as on hiking trips. Made from a soft synthetic blend, I like the comfortable wider waist band, seamless construction, and overall fit.
View at Patagonia

Patagonia boy shorts: No longer available, these boy shorts from Patagonia provide more coverage in the front and are a stylish look for backcountry bikini. Hopefully they will be available again in the future.