Travel Gear Review: Underpants!

Jun 06, 2015

Yes, this is a post about underwear. Knickers, grundies, undies, tightie-whities, boxers, briefs, panties, manties, drawers, butt-huggers, skivvies, chonies… no matter what you call them, we all wear ’em and everyone likes a good comfortable pair. In this post we’ll quickly talk about our top picks. This is a co-authored post so you’ll get a few perspectives on comfort but our goals are the same, to give you some guidance on buying the best underpants for traveling.



I’m just going to put it out there, I’m a VS kind of gal when it comes to my unmentionables. Not at all because I like the brand, in fact I generally have strong feelings against the brand, but their things are comfortable, fit well, look nice, and they can have killer sales from time to time, which is obviously when I do my shopping. With that said, finding travel undies that truly suited my style were somewhat hard to come by. I could have easily gotten away with bringing along my favorite VS underpants and been fine. But I decided to go with ExOfficio. They are way more expensive than I would normally ever pay for underwear ($18 per pair), but after buying and testing out one pair, I discovered that they are extremely comfortable and that they would be worth the expenditure on five more pairs to bring along. They come in several different colors, a handful of cuts, and you can choose to go cutesy lacey or a regular waistband. I chose to go the brief and thong route with the lace band, simply because it tends to be a little more forgiving in the love handle department, if you know what I mean. Again, over one year later, I still find them to be as comfortable as the day I got them and they are holding up just as well. I will admit that there are now a few tiny separations in the lace, but otherwise all is well in panty-land. The other great part about these ExOfficio undies is how easy they are to hand-wash and even more so, how insanely fast they dry. It’s unreal and it’s awesome and I can almost always count on them to be dry in a matter of hours. They also do a great job at not smelling no matter what. Not that I would know what smelly underwear is or anything of that nature, of course; obviously. But I’m just saying that I’ve never known them to smell….that bad. So while I’m sure there are other equally lovely panty options out there for the traveling lady, I’m 100% happy with my ExOfficio decision.

As for ExOfficio bras. I think I tried one on once and it was absolutely awful and I never ever want to go back to that ever again. So I just brought along my old faithful VS bra and a few sports bras.




I’m a boxers guy. Not just any boxers though, I prefer skivvies with a little give and for travel, no cotton. I consider two important factors when looking for good travel drawers. First, will they stand up to constant activity without bunching or being restrictive? Second, will they dry quickly for those times when I get completely soaked and need to wear them dry or need to wash them at night and have them be dry by morning? If the answer to those two questions are both “yes,” then you’ve got my attention. I found the boxers I purchased for our trip at EMS, the “Techwick Boxers” were perfect for me. They are comfy, durable, fast drying and easy to wash. Did I mention that they are comfortable? They are a polyester/spandex blend with diamond pattern weaving for fast drying and have plenty of give. These boxers also feature Aegia (whatever that is) microbial polymer treatment that is supposed to resist odor and allows for easy cleaning. They also feature flat-lock seams (basically seamless) and a simple comfortable elastic waistband. Comfortable, quick drying, easy to wash and ready for all sorts of action; what more could you ask for?




I differ from the travelers’ consensus of ExOfficio and instead prefer to don Adidas Sport Performance Climalite boxer briefs. Light, durable, packs up to a miniscule roll, quick to wash and quicker to dry checks all the marks when it comes to quality travel shorts. Plus Climalite, Adidas’ trademarked fabric, does a great job of wicking moisture away from the skin. Best part of all, they are HALF the price of ExOfficio.




When it comes to covering up the bathing suit area for a trip this long, you need something that’ll last countless hand washings, dry quickly and won’t ride up and wedgify. I know everyone says ExOfficio is their favorite brand to fit this bill, and I have to say they are 100% correct. I have never had such a durable and comfortable pair of underoos before! The price tag of around $20 per pair is a bit of a kick in the tuchus, but they’ve proven to be worth every penny.

When it comes to over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders, the name of the game is comfort and durability when you’re backpacking long term. Hanes brand Barely There bras are super duper comfy, come in all sorts of levels of padding, shapes and designs, and are relatively inexpensive as most that I saw were $20 or less. Suck on that Victoria! There are even some that are pretty cute. What I like about these is that they feel similar to wearing a sports bra, but they have many options that clasp in the back, which I prefer over the standard over the head design. In 13 months, I have only had to replace one of these in my pack making them a pretty solid choice in my book.




Panties party!  I am always thinking about what is in my pack, what to change and what I’m happy with, as far as the panties go; I’m ready to swap some out!  I currently have Victoria’s Secret, GAP Body, and ExOfficio.  I’m dropping the Gap and ExOfficio ones, and buying more from Victoria’s Secret next time I get the chance.

I’m ditching the GAP ones because they are too much cotton and take forever to dry as a result.  As for the ExOfficio line, I’ve got to say, I’m just not impressed.  I think they are over-priced and don’t offer anything that the panties I’ve already got can’t do.  They admittedly dry quickly, which traditional cotton panties don’t do, but I’ve found that buying something a little more lacey tends to make up for the time crunch and you save a bunch of money.

My personal fav’s are all from Victoria’s Secret, the (Floral) Lace-Trim-Thong-Panty and the Lace-Waist-Hiphugger-Panty… I’m waiting until I get home to try their new Pink-The-Date-Cheekster-Panty.  The ones from Victoria’s Secret are super cute, comfortable, and dry nearly as quickly as the ExOfficio ones so long as they are plentiful in lace and if you catch them on sale are quite a bargain!  I’m sure GAP has some similar panties to the VS ones, I just don’t have them with me nor a desire to seek them out.

Aside from brand, I’d suggest bringing a few different types because they pack so small and you never know if you’ll have a day where you were wishing for a little bit of a change… something sexy, seamless, comfy, whatever. I’d also look for a pair that can masquerade as bathing suit bottoms, or just bring an extra swimsuit bottom to wear on possible, but not definitive, beach days.

When it comes to the Ta-Ta’s, wear what makes you comfortable!  I’d recommend at least one nude-colored selection because they come in handy and offer more variety, especially if they have straps that can be moved around, and one of your choosing.  I’d also bring two sports bras, one that could be worn as a bathing suit top for days where you’re in a pinch, and one that can handle some activity (not a flimsy-barely-there one or a sexy-strut-my-stuff at the gym push up). 

Again, I’m going to stick with Victoria’s Secret for my everyday use, but that’s just out of habit, any brand you like will do.  I’m not brand loyal towards sports bras, so I tend to go with something from TJ Maxx or Marshalls because they’re priced to compete.

Just to touch on the topic of Bras once more, I’ve got to say ExOfficio really failed here.  I ordered several of them looking for the right fit, I read user comments when the sizing seemed completely crazy to help me narrow it down, and still came up with nothing that I liked.  After constant returns I tried to “make it work;” it doesn’t.  At least their underwear was just lackluster, but their bras were truly disappointing. 




Exofficio for sure. They have so many advantages over regular cotton that I could never go back. Their biggest benefit is how much they breathe. I have gone swimming with them several times and they often dry before I put my pants back on. They are also much more durable than any other kind I have tried.. I still have solid color pairs from when I made the switch in 2012 that look and feel new (some of the pattered ones faded). Maybe I can stretch them to retirement!  They’re also very light and packable. The biggest downside to Exofficio is their cost but they make up for it in many ways, especially how long they last. You should be able to find them on sale if you wait (as low as $12 a pair, usually $20-25). I would suggest buying two sizes to try them out or 1 boxer and 1-boxer brief so when a sale hits you can pull the trigger on a bunch.


So there you have it, we all have our preferences but one common theme is found throughout, comfort and durability are key. Our collective recommendation is to try some stuff on and to pick up a pair of your chosen garment before your travels begin so you can give them a test run. Click the links provided on this post to purchase any of these excellent products and then thank us later when you're nice and comfy in your new knickers. 




Written by Teague O’Connell
Teague is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and Operations Management/Workforce Management expert with a passion for travel, adventure and the magnificent journey that is, life.

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Category: Products

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