Posts Tagged travel underwear
I hardly ever take a trip without packing a pair or two of travel underwear, so I was happy to try out some new drawers that Scottevest was giving out as samples at a travel bloggers’ convention. I hope they don’t take it the wrong way when I say these are almost just like ExOfficio travel boxers…but with pockets for your cash.
I consider that a good thing. We’ve been pitched on several types of “security underwear” in the past. Most we’ve passed on because they seemed impractical (a credit card pocket right in front of your crotch) or just plain silly. Ramsey did check out these Clever Travel Companion ones though and found them mostly okay, though too snug after a washing.
No fear of that with these Scottevest travel boxers though. These are made from nylon mixed with a bit of Lycra to make them more stretchy. So they won’t shrink when you wash them and in most cases they’ll dry overnight after a sink wash. In my tests they took about an hour longer than the ExOfficio ones to dry, mostly because of the pockets and button fly.
These are quite comfortable against the skin with shorts or jeans and are treated with Aegis anti-microbial for odor resistance. Note that they’re true boxers though, with legs that hang loosely, not “boxer briefs” if that’s what you prefer.
One stash pocket is on the front, one on the back, giving you two under-clothing places to put cash, credit cards, or a smart phone that costs more than the minimum monthly wage. The website talks about stowing your passport there too, but really the pockets are too narrow for that. You could make it fit, but that requires some stretching and will put pressure on the passport.
Overall though, I’m quite happy with this travel underwear option and will make this a staple of my packing list. You get the quick-dry and wicking properties that make packing light much easier and having an incredibly difficult place for pickpockets to get to is always a good thing, even if you just use it for emergency cab money or a credit card that will survive a mugging. It only takes once…
These travel boxers are available direct from the company or from Amazon at the same price of $20 each, which is less than comparable travel underwear from competitors. They come in gray or black in five sizes.
Tilley’s travel products are excellent companions for long business trips or even outdoor vacations. Laundry stuffed into a plastic bag can often leave odiferous memories of your trip especially if items are damp. I certainly have been caught in impromptu rain storms or traipsed through puddles that leave my socks drenched. These Tilley travel socks have moisture-escaping panels for quick drying, which not only keeps your feet more comfortable but also helps to eliminate blisters. The fast-drying material and an odor-reducing component in the material allow me to pack fewer pairs of socks during my travels.
Another problem that I seem to have with my socks is holes in the toe area. Frequent walking seems to be the culprit, and Tilley guarantees their socks to remain hole-free for at least three years. I have not owned them long enough to test that feature out, but just knowing that Tilley makes this promise is reassuring enough. These socks are also mid-calf length making them great for wearing loafers or higher boots.
Tilley’s travel briefs and underwear are composed of the same fast-drying fabric that is soft and comfortable. They come in a variety of styles including briefs and boxer briefs for men and low and high-cut briefs for women. The colors are a bit uninspiring with simple greys and whites predominating, but these are more about comfort and durability rather than fashion-inducing style.
The polyester fabric has a longer life than traditional cotton keeping it free from wear for more time than the traditional cotton would. Tilley’s moisture-reducing socks and underwear are available at Tilley’s website or on Amazon at prices starting as low as $17.
These are ideal for business travelers who spend time outside or scurrying through airports or train stations. But, they also double as excellent outdoor accessories for those who like to spend their weekends in nature.
We have all seen them. First the fanny packs and then the under-the-clothes travel pouches found at stores like Magellan’s to protect money, credit cards, or even passports. But, let’s face it. You can see them underneath your clothes, and they just scream nerdiness in my opinion.
Experienced traveler and entrepreneur Johanna Denize recognized these pitfalls, but also knew that pickpockets are everywhere. She designed and marketed a new product that keeps these valuables safe while integrating them into your clothing. Her Clever Travel Companion line includes underwear, tank tops, t-shirts, and long underwear with hidden pockets (perfect for skiers and snowboarders too) to keep money and other valuables safe.
I tested out the boxer brief underwear, which was surprisingly comfortable even with credit cards zipped tightly into the pocket on either side. It is not meant to fit everything in your wallet, but is perfect for a few currency bills, credit card, license, or passport keeping these items safe while in the subway, a crowded street, or busy train station.
It is important to remember to remove items from your pocket before washing them, something easy to forget with underwear. It was also a bit awkward getting my credit card while buying a subway ticket since it meant reaching into my pants. But, these pockets are really meant for valuable items that you cannot risk losing and will not need to access often. Perhaps it is smart to keep certain things within easy reach.
It was also awkward placing bulky Euro coins (which I absolutely hate for their hefty weight and size) in the pocket. But, again, the design of the pocket is meant for things you want to keep safe without needing constant access to during the day.
The garments may shrink a bit after washing making it advisable to purchase a slightly larger size especially since you will be tucking other items into them. No need to purchase something that is too “fitting.”
They come in a variety of colors and patterns giving then a snazzy edge over the traditional beige “pocket protectors.” With prices between $23 and $35 on at the Clever Travel Companion website, they are entirely affordable and make a great gift for the frequent traveler.
Despite what it’s covering, travel underwear is not really as sexy to review as fancy ski jackets and cool $200 shoes, but for most travelers its a very important subject. You probably wear underwear every day no matter what and let’s face it, that underwear requires frequent washing.
Fortunately you no longer just have to buy what’s hanging from a hook at Target or Wal-mart when you hit the road these days. You can buy underwear made specifically for travelers. This means undies that can be sink washed, will dry quickly, and will not stay soaked with sweat when you’re wearing them. Here are a few noteworthy types to choose from.
ExOfficio Give-n-Go underwear is probably the best-known for travelers because it was the first to really market travel undies heavily and raving fans (like me) helped spread the word after seeing how well they performed on the road. Many women weren’t as excited as us guys though because the original offerings were far from sexy. The new line-up has changed all that though, with these Give-n-Go Lacy Low-rise bikini ones saying “Technically Sexy” on the tag.
They’re still odor-resistant, quick-drying, and lightweight, but they wouldn’t look out of place at Victoria’s Secret. Unlike those though, these are treated with Aegis Microbe Shield and are made from nylon and Spandex so they’ll dry overnight after a sink washing. They come in six sizes, three colors, and list for $15-$20 depending on style. I’m no cross-dresser, but my bedmate tried them out and will use them on her next journey. Yes, they look good on. See the whole travel underwear line at ExOfficio.com and buy direct or see the Lacy l0w-rise bikini, string bikini, or Lacy regular bikini at Backcountry.com, where they have pretty much the whole line.
Polarmax AYG (for all year gear) underwear has been reviewed in detail on this gear blog before, but the company continues to expand the offerings and add new styles. Polarmax has put all the technical know-how it’s gotten from making great base layers and applied it to what’s under your shorts in hot weather as well. They now offer briefs, boxer briefs, and regular boxers. The first two come in “four-way stretch” synthetics that are anti-microbial, wicking, quick-drying, and breathable. These all work well, look good, and feel good, though if your size is borderline then err on the side of buying too large. These seem to have the world’s strongest waistbands and the medium is tighter than I would like in, ahem, some regions. These are great to have though if you’ll be involved in adventure activities or on tours that involve cycling or hiking. Good support and all that.
The boxers have a more traditional loose feel and are made with TransDRY “wicking cotton.” Yes, I know, sounds like an oxymoron, but although they won’t wick as quickly as nylon, they certainly do so much faster than your Fruit of the Looms. They’re also treated to be odor-resistant, which you’ll be thankful for if it’s been too long between laundry sessions while on the move. They’re made in the USA, but are priced in line with those put together in China. I’ve found these to be comfortable and they perform as advertised. My main problem with the whole AYG line is the actual footprint of the product: pack five pairs of these and it’s a rather sizable wad of fabric. It’s best to mix in one or two pairs with others that are more compact. See more details at the Polarmax site and check prices on the Polarmax AYG line at Amazon, including the TransDRY cotton briefs and boxers.
With this Saxx Underwear, there’s no worry about your junk getting squashed. Think of it as underwear that incorporates a jock strap, though it’s all in thin, lightweight stretch polyester that dries quickly when sink-washed. Its “ergonomic comfort pouch” keeps you cool and dry and it has “added compression to keep everything in place.”
I saw the whole line on display at the Outdoor Retailer show and though it seemed kind of gimmicky, I’ve got to admit that I keep returning to the Pro Elite Boxer Briefs I got a sample of to try out. They’re quite comfortable, I do feel cooler when I have them on, and they’re great for outdoor activities in hot weather. These come in six sizes and the medium fit my 34-waist body well, as in not too tight. (Sorry ladies but no, that’s not me in the photo to your right…)
The company makes four main fabric styles, from 24/7 (cotton, w/5% Spandex) to Luxury (modal, cotton, Spandex). Each comes in varying leg lengths and three colors. These are thinner and take up a bit less room than the Polarmax ones and will take anything you throw at them in terms of the washer and dryer. Saxx also makes long johns, but for the regular underwear the list prices are around $24 to $35. See more at the Saxx site or follow these links to buy from Backcountry: Pro Elite boxer brief, Luxury boxer brief, or 24-Seven Trunk. (You can browse around from there to the others.)
The Ibex Balance Boxer Briefs are the most expensive here, at 50 bucks a pair list price. Most men aren’t used to laying out anything close to that amount for underwear, but in all fairness these are made from the soft New Zealand merino wool that Ibex is known for, plus a smidgen of nylon and Spandex to give them more stretch. Merino wool is naturally quick-drying, odor resistant, and wicking, so these accomplish what the all-synthetic ones do without needing additional chemical treatment.
Think of this underwear as a base layer for your torso. The fabric feels great against the skin and it’s very good at temperature regulation. In the interest of testing I wore these far longer than I normally would a pair of underwear on two recent trips and the odor-resistant properties are for real. These take some getting used to though as they’re about the most snug pair of underwear I’ve ever had in this size. I would strongly advise going up one size or even two if you’re at the high end of the range in waist size. Thes Balance Boxer Briefs are the opposite of the Saxx ones: there’s not a lot of extra room in the front. “Are those going to fit?!” my wife asked when I pulled them out of the package. They’ve got a lot of give, but go bigger unless you’re very small…
See more at the Ibex site or order the Ibex Balance Boxer Brief – Men’s at a tad off list price at Backcountry.com. If you buy last season’s color, the price drops more.
Merino (my wooly fiber of choice, as you may know by now) gets shoehorned over into the cold weather clothing cubby, and really, it makes sense. Stylish sweaters, soft long underwear and hoodies, it’s the kind of stuff that makes up good winter base and mid-layers. But Smartwool makes what they call a “microweight” layer, too, and believe it or not, it works well in hot weather, too. I know — I wore this stuff for a long sweaty day in 94F weather.
First, I really like the material. It’s soft, and no, for the 1000th time, it’s not itchy even though it is, indeed, wool. Smartwool’s “intimates” line is made of their 150 weight merino, which simply means it’s their finest, lightest fiber. It launders up nicely, getting softer each time I put them in the wash and while I prefer not to dry my woolens, the underwear made it through the dryer without shrinking.
Next up, the fit. Smartwool’s clothing seems true to size, meaning they fit exactly as I expect they would. The underwear stays put, no awkward climbing (a-hem). The adjustable straps on the camisole don’t slip. It’s all really comfortable, no itchy plastic-y stitching next to your skin, no bunchy seams, no weird lines wrecking your svelte (okay, or not so svelte if you’re me) profile.
As for wearing super light wool in next to the skin on a 94F day? I’m sold! Sure, things got a bit sweaty. But the clothing didn’t stick to my skin, develop that weird sweat plus artificial ingredients smell, and it dried quickly.
I tried the camisole and the underwear but Smartwool’s microweight line comes in a bunch of cuts and colors, for both men and women. As usual, Smartwool’s products aren’t cheap — the camisole is $45 and the boyshort/hipster underwear are $40. If you’re used to buying expensive underwear, this won’t surprise you, but it is a pretty steep price for a person who’s used to paying department store prices on three packs of boyshorts from Hanes. (And now you know more about my underwear than you ever needed to know. Apologies.).
That said, if you don’t mind paying the price, I can tell you that I have Smartwool in my travel and outdoors wardrobe that’s easily 15 years old and still performs very well. It’s tough stuff, it feels great next to your skin, and it lasts. That makes for great travel gear, even in the blazing heat.
Want your own microweight Smartwool underwear? Sometimes, you can find it for a bit less than Smartwool’s full retail price on Amazon.
Need more merino wool? We’ve reviewed a whole variety of stuff. Start here.