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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.

No matter if you prefer boxers or briefs, it’s easy to overlook this next-to-skin layer of clothing. We went out and did the dirty work for you, coming back with three recommendations that should satisfy most folks’ needs for backcountry underbritches. Our contestants were graded in several categories, each with its own set of robust testing criteria:

A) Comfort: Did they feel good? Was there any waistband abrasion under a pack hipbelt?
B) Fit Over Time: Could you wear them for several days straight without getting stretched out? No one likes feeling like they’re hiking with a moo-moo under their pants.
C) Looks: An unbiased jury weighed in on the most aesthetically appealing of the bunch. Briefs typically double as my swimming trunks, and you never know when you’re going to need to impress a backcountry co-ed.
D) Funk Factor: After repeated days of extended hikes sans cleaning, how did they smell? For testing purposes, we didn’t even wash mid-hike (as is sometimes difficult on desert or winter trips). Since I don’t have any of my own interns, I had to blindfold friends and trick them into thinking they were going to do a smell test for new colognes. Needless to say, I had to find a new tester for each pair.

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