The 4 Best Bras for Backpacking
From ultrasupportive to odor-immune, these four models won us over.
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Finding the perfect sports bra can be a frustrating experience. Comfort, breathability, and support are even more important when you’re hiking or trail running, but the wrong bra can pinch, rub, scratch, squeeze, and pad in all the wrong places. To help you make a decision, our team of 12 women tested 25 models over three months of trail time. These are the four that checked all the right boxes.
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Best Overall: Kari Traa Froya
Of all the bras we tested this is the one we found ourselves reaching for again and again. Even though it’s lightly padded, we found that the Froya supported women with chest sizes ranging from A to D on hikes and trail runs. Its soft, polyester fabric and fiddle-free criss-cross straps don’t squeeze too tightly but compress where we need it most. “My traps didn’t feel tugged on or weighed down,” one tester says. Mesh trim running along the top edge dumped heat and helped the bra dry from sweat in 10 minutes on an 80°F day in Northern California’s Las Trampas Wilderness. Plus, for a bra that does it all, the Froya is a steal. $30; Buy Kari Traa Froya Now
Best Support: Patagonia Wild Trails Sports Bra
We used to think a supportive bra meant it would be too tight to breathe, but this structured Patagonia racerback model proved us wrong. A clasp in the back helped us achieve the perfect fit around the ribs, while the molded paneling around the bust and foam padding lay comfortably tight across the chest without creating a uniboob cage. The Wild Trails’ polyester/spandex material makes it less breathable than the Kari Traa Froya, but it’s better at keeping bounce to a minimum during trail runs, when its wide straps and high neckline held us in. Note: This bra is best for B to DD cups. $65; Buy Patagonia Wild Trails Sports Bra Now
Most Versatile : Body Glove Rush Rib Medium-Support
Looking for a little less support but a little more coverage? The Body Glove Rush Rib has a contour shelf bra built into a high-necked cropped tank that ends just above the belly button. Its ribbed, swimsuit-like fabric with a UPF 50+ rating makes it ideal for hiking in full sun exposure—and even better if there’s a lake along the way to jump in. Our C-cup tester also says the Body Glove Rush Rib provided extra sun protection and support during a 60°F spring ski day in Montana’s Northern Rockies. “When it was hot out, I felt comfortable and covered wearing just this bra,” our tester said. This bra is best for A to C cups, and D cups for light support. $46; Buy Body Glove Rush Rib Medium-Support Now
Most Breathable: Ortovox 185 Rock’N’Wool Sport Top
The pure merino wool fabric of this medium-impact bra staved off sweat and stink even after getting drenched multiple times during hikes, backcountry skiing, and bike rides. Backpackers will love the Rock’N’Wool because it doesn’t need spins in the washing machine to stay fresh, thanks to merino’s antibacterial properties. It’s also the only bra here with a strip of ventilation holes down the front and back, so it was the best at managing temperature and moisture, making sure we never got too sweaty during a sunny, 45-mile bike ride on a 70°F day near Salt Lake City. Downsides: It’s best for A and B cups and, on the rare occasions it does get drenched, dries slower than synthetic bras. $60; Buy Ortovox 185 Rock’N’Wool Sport Top Now