Looking to buy some underwear for your next trip away? Forget the cotton – boxer briefs made from synthetic fabrics and merino wool are where it's at.
There's plenty of expensive travel-specific underwear out there, and some of it does a great job. Luckily though, you don't always have to spend a fortune to get something that can handle whatever even the longest trip throws at it.
Here are five of the best men's travel underwear options on the market.
Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs
Long the market leader in travel underwear for both men and women, ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs are considered the 'gold standard' by many. Depending on where you pick them up, you'll pay anywhere from $25 to $40 for a pair.
Made from a stretchable, breathable nylon/lycra mesh fabric, ExOfficio underwear is also treated with Aegis anti-microbial shield to keep things fresh. For those who like to travel light, there's no need to pack half a dozen pairs of underwear for a week-long trip – it's easy to wash in a sink if necessary, and dries quickly.
Highly-rated for comfort, most wearers find the underwear fits well, stays in place, and doesn't ride up even during long walks or vigorous movement. The boxer briefs do run a little on the large side, though, so consider buying a size smaller than you usually would.
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
If you're looking for comfort above anything else, it's hard to go past underwear made from merino wool. As well as being softer than other fabrics, it also wicks moisture away from the body to keep everything dry down below.
The wool is naturally anti-microbial, keeping bacteria and odors at bay, can be washed by hand or in a machine, and dries naturally within a few hours (or can be thrown in a tumble drier).
Merino comes in a range of thicknesses, and Icebreaker's Anatomica range of boxers is rated at a thin 150 gauge. They're a well-fitting, attractive short boxer, that don't tend to ride up or move around when you're on the go.
Although must customers have been more than happily with the durability of their Icebreaker underwear, a few have reported their pairs haven't lasted quite as long as they hoped. Inspect yours for any defects when they arrive, since they aren't cheap to replace.
Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Boxer Briefs
If you like the sound of merino, but would prefer an alternative to the Icebreaker range, Smartwool also make some great underwear.
The company offers both 150 and thicker 195 gauge wool, but unless you'll be spending extended time in very cold conditions, the thinner option is better. You'll usually pay a bit less for it, and it also offers more freedom of movement.
Reviews are very positive, including from those who traveled for months with these boxer briefs, and they're very much a premium product. Then again, with a retail price of around $50/pair, you'd expect them to be.
Under Armour Original Series 6" Boxer Jock
For the last few months I've been wearing Under Armour Boxer Jocks as I travel, and have been very happy with them. They're comfortable and supportive, even on long walks, and being 90% polyester, dry in an hour when hung out in the sun. As with the other brands of underwear mentioned above, the fabric wicks moisture away and has "anti-odor technology."
The woven mesh at the front has meant I've had no problems with breathability or heat buildup, even when wearing a couple of different pairs for a month on a 500 mile walk in northern Spain in early fall.
If you'll be doing a lot of walking in them, do be sure to get the 6" model, rather than the shorter 3" version. That number refers to the length of the inseam, and I've found the longer pairs are less prone to riding up, which in turn means greater comfort and less risk of chafing.
Arcteryx Phase SL Boxers
More like a boxer brief in style, the Arcteryx Phase SL Boxers offer a snug fit that provide great support, even during high-impact activities. The polyester/polypropylene fabric is very lightweight, and wicks moisture away from the body to ensure the boxers dry quickly and smell as fresh as possible.
They're the best option if your trip is going to involve lots of hiking, running or other energetic pursuits. Unlike some of the alternatives, they also come in a range of different colors -- important for the fashion-conscious!