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Gear Review: Boxers or Briefs?

Although perhaps not as sexy as a brand new Gore-Tex Pro hardshell, the most basic of baselayers is a crucial component of your backcountry enjoyment. We put three mens' styles to the test.

Best Value – Patagonia Men’s Active Boxer Brief
BACKPACKER has been a fan of Capilene ever since Patagonia shipped a half-and-half shirt for testing in the mid-80s. All of the traits I love about the Capilene shirts I’ve owned – softness, comfort, odor resistantance, durability – translated brilliantly to the Active Boxer Briefs.

After an extended weekend of tramping through talus and snow in the Palisades, there was a nominal amount of stretching, but nothing that rendered them unbearable. On the downside, although the briefs incorporate odor control, 72 hours of non-stop wear rendered the Gladiodor (Patagonia’s “natural anti-odor alternative” ) defenses only partially effective. To put it succinctly, you better hope you already know your tentmates. These also received the lowest score for appearance, but given the softness of the Capilene, I really didn’t care.

Bonus points to Patagonia for making these recyclable through their Common Threads Recycling Program (and let’s be honest: undershorts are better as recyclables than hand-me-downs). Bottom line: they might not be the cheapest briefs in the market, but considering all of the good stuff you get, they’re a steal. Patagonia Men’s Active Boxer Briefs, 3 oz (Men’s M), Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL, $29, patagonia.com 

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