Underwire, G-Strings And Lace: Underwear to Avoid While Hiking
By Bella Westaway
I once read an article which recommended lacy G-strings as the perfect underwear for travelling.
“Quick dry!” it exclaimed, as if the speed of drying was the most important metric for success when it comes to your undergarments. “Packs down small!” was the other major selling point.
I don’t know about you, but even my biggest knickers “pack down” when scrunched. And, while fast drying time is great - comfort, durability and, erm, not getting thrush are higher up on my list of priorities.
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for what undies to wear while walking, but I believe there are some hard-and-fast rules for what not to wear. Here goes…
I’m all for underwired lingerie when the situation calls, but on a hike it most certainly does not. Aside from being uncomfortable, underwire has the unfortunate habit of chafing, sometimes causing underboob welts or a nasty rash.
Save your underwire for date night and stick to soft, supportive sports bras. If you have bigger boobs and need underwire… never fear! Our Marketing Manager Sasha has some tips for you, below.
I know, I know, this one is controversial. Some women love G-strings while hiking. I personally believe these women have been brainwashed to believe a VPL (visible panty line, for the uninitiated) is the height of embarrassment. If that’s you… you do you! I judge no woman’s choices. But the record, VPL’s are ‘in’ now.
From a practical standpoint, though, I just can’t understand how a wad of fabric between your bum cheeks doesn’t cause discomfort while you’re walking. Science says it should. When I wear one, it rides up so uncomfortably that I spend 90% the hike trying to discretely fish my undies out of my bottom!
I think briefs are better for quick swims (they’re basically bikini bottoms!), getting changed in semi-public places (which is common on a hike), and concealing your bits when you do a bush wee. Winner.
If you’re really worried about the VPL, you can get so many different types of seamless undies that do the same job, without the wedgie.
On the list of Things That Aren’t Bad Enough To Send You Home But Will Ruin All Your Fun, thrush is right up there with blisters and severe ant bites.
And lace - along with sweat, wearing clothes to bed, and less frequent showers than normal - creates the perfect environment for thrush to thrive.
Girl, you need to let your bits breatheeeeeee.
Stick to natural fibres such as merino, cotton or bamboo.
So, what should I wear?
Like everything, finding what works best for you is a trial-and-error process. It depends on the shape of your bottom and the size of your boobies!
I would recommend wearing your favorite, most comfy undies, in a natural fibre. The ones you always choose for days on the couch, watching a movie. Or the undies you like to wear when you have your period. For me, it’s Calvin Klein briefs. They are medium rise and cotton modal jersey, which makes them super soft. Some women prefer the fancy hiking merino underwear. Eh, I don’t love them, and they’re really expensive. Some women love Bonds. They have some cool new styles but I haven’t tried them.
For a bra, I wear a Lululemon yoga bra, which has no clips or clasps, but I don’t have big boobs. You may prefer something with more support, but check it doesn’t rub on your pack, on the straps, the front clip or at the back.
For our more well-endowed ladies, our Marketing Manager Sasha has some tips…
“I have learned the hard way that cute crop tops just don’t cut it if your cup spilleth over a D-cup. Double bras for support, underboob rash, inter-boob sweat pooling and the dreaded mono-boob. What a pretty picture.
The alternatives in the past have generally been reminiscent of armoured breastplates, and just as comfortable. They’ve also been in bog-standard black, white or “nude” (don’t even get me started on who’s actually ever that shade of nude…). It’s so obviously underwear unintended for public view that it can feel quite exposing to strip down for a swim or bathe on trek.
Fortunately, there are now much better options! Freya and Panache have both acquired loyal followings for their D-H cup sports bras (I particularly like Panache’s sports bra, which comes in wired and wire-free options) but even Lululemon has introduced some crop tops in bigger cups sizes to their range.”
Ultimately, you want underwear you can forget you’re wearing, so you have a more comfortable – and enjoyable – hiking experience!
Want more cheeky hiking tips? Find them - and a community of epic women - in the Wild Women Community.