How To Choose Underwear For Winter Hiking

Knowing how to choose underwear for winter outdoor fun is paramount if you love the outdoors. You know that not even the cold can keep you indoors. However, while you may know about wearing layers to insulate from the cold, do you know what underwear to wear?

Winter time is fun time. It is also time for mommy to pack her travel diaper bag and bundle up the baby in layers for traveling, or for a short hike in the cold clean air. The clean crisp air is great for your lungs and so is the white of the snow.

Layering for winter

One thing you will love about your winter rendezvous with nature is that you will have all the outdoors to yourself, well, almost. Many people keep indoors in winter; others are at work and at school. But you … you will not let winter go to loss.

Camping, hiking, backpacking, trekking, mountaineering and biking in winter appeals to any person who takes pleasure in the beauty and serenity of an unspoiled winter wonderland. With winter gear available in the outdoor stores, you should not keep indoors. Get out there. Spoil yourself! Just make sure to pack your winter sleeping bag, you will need it!

If you are an outdoor freak who will not stay indoors because the weather is cold, you can try some layering techniques. This is where you choose soft camisoles, vests, slips and singlets over your regular underwear. The reason why it is called layering is because you wear one top of the others. Actually, you layer like an onion.

Choose what you layer with carefully, since you do not want them to show. You want to choose clingy items that can adopt the shape of your body. They will fit you snugly and will keep your body heat trapped next to your body, keeping you comfy and happy.

However, sometimes, layering will only work when you are going to work or school, not when you want to wear your winter hiking boots and hit the trails. When it is for the wintry outdoors, leave nothing to chance. Wear real winter underwear.

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How to choose thermal winter outdoor fun

Back to our topic of the day, with a little preparation, winter outdoor adventures can get extremely comfortable and enjoyable. The best way to get started is to find hiking underwear designed for cold weather.

Also called thermal underwear, the main benefit is that it traps your body heat, and keeps it from escaping. This is a good thing because it means that you keep your warmth and that your metabolism does not need to go crazy to help your body produce heat.

Good underwear not only provides temperature regulation, but also wicks any moisture away from your skin especially when you are active. This leaves your skin dry and comfortable. If sweat is left to stay too long on your skin, you could be very uncomfortable and it could cause blisters.

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Considerations for how to choose underwear for winter

When shopping for underwear for winter outing, you should consider the following factors:

Size of your winter underwear

Good underwear is that which fits you well because it will be able to preserve your body heat throughout the cold outdoor experience. Oversize underwear that only has loose contact with your skin will only make you feel colder because it cannot help with insulation.

In other words, your skin will be exposed to the environment, and this will lead to loss of heat and accumulation of moisture on your hair pores.

Washing care

Choose underwear that is easy to care for. For instance, you should consider washing instructions before buying. The best underwear for hiking, backpacking, trekking and skiing should be easy to hand-wash. They should also be able to dry faster so that you don’t wait for too long after washing.

Construction and durability

The best thermal wear for winter should be able to maintain its construction even after regular washing. Nothing is more annoying than your underwear falling apart when you are trekking or hiking.

The ones that have been constructed with flatlock seams are not only durable, but also offer you maximum comfort because they are designed to reduce chafing.


Needs no explanation. Men and women have different frames. Wide shoulders for men, wide hips for women and vice versa. Thus, only gender specific winter underwear is good for you. Buy the recommended sizes too. Buying a size too small or too big does not help matters for you.


Staying dry and warm is the simple and most important rule of winter outdoor adventure. Underwear is the immediate layer close to your skin.

Its ability to keep you warm and dry while you enjoy your outdoor adventure activities during winter depends majorly on the material it is made of. Therefore, it goes without saying that material of the underwear is the most important factor to consider.

Before you buy your underwear, you should first read the labels.

Look for underwear made from the following materials:


Polyester underwear will easily wick perspiration away. It also moves the sweat and moisture away from your skin to the outer layer. This greatly reduces the cooling effects particularly of evaporation from your body.

It will keep you warm and comfortable in cold outdoor conditions. Secondly, polyester is easy to maintain. For instance, it is very easy to wash, and it will dry faster as well. This also means that if you sweat or if you are rained on, and your underwear gets wet, then it will dry faster.

What’s more, its lightweight and you can pack a number of them in your backpack as you go for mountain climbing that might take days.

Polyester underwear is a perfect choice because you can use it in all weather conditions. So, you won’t have to shop for underwear for every season when you want to go hiking, biking and trekking.

Merino wool fabrics

Merino sheep are well known for their finest and softest fur. It is not a surprise winter underwear is made from merino wool. Such underwear will even offer you more warmth and comfort than the ones made from polyester.

Merino wool underwear is ideal for severe cold weather conditions. This material easily wicks away the perspiration from your skin to the outer layers for it to evaporate easily and quickly. Merino wool fabric is highly breathable and doesn’t hold sweat or moisture. Because they dry quickly, the time you will spend on wet clothing is minimal to negligible.

Being fine and soft, merino wool doesn’t itch. It is very comfortable on the skin, and this is something that you should not skimp on. Merino wool underwear is resistant to bacteria. For this reason, it doesn’t smell. This fabric is fire-retardant, and is safe to wear when you are near a campfire.

The only downside of merino wool underwear is that it is more expensive than polyester fabrics. However, the warmth and comfort it offers have no match.

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Cashmere fibers come from some breeds of goats. Underwear made with cashmere is a staple winter wear. It is soft, warm and keeps you dry throughout your winter outdoor adventure experience.

Even though it is more expensive than polyester, merino and cotton, it offers you maximum warmth and comfort. Cashmere underwear does not retain sweat or moisture. For this reason, it can keep you warm even under extreme cold weather conditions.

If you are looking for a material that is easy to maintain then cashmere underwear is not your best choice. Unlike other fabrics that are sheared, cashmere fabrics are brushed or combed.

Types of winter underwear to avoid

Knowing what to avoid packing in your wheeled backpack puts you several steps ahead towards choosing the right underwear for winter outdoor adventures.

Cotton Underwear

When you are shopping for thermal clothing for winter, you should avoid cotton underwear because it will absorb moisture and become wet. This moisture will definitely counteract the much-needed warmth that you are looking for when you are out in the field, mountain or forest during winter.

However, they are your best choice if you are on budget because they are not as costly as the ones I have listed above.

Heavy Underwear

Yes, heavy underwear is warmer. However, they absorb moisture faster and keep it for a long time. This beats the purpose of wearing it because instead of keeping your body warm, you will be spending most of your adventure time in wet clothing. This keeps your body wet and uncomfortable.

I hope this buying guide helps you in choosing the right underwear for your next winter outdoor activities.

As you consider how to choose thermal underwear, remember that these undies are sold in the specialty outdoor stores. Instead of ordering your outdoor winter underwear from WalMart, buy from a specialty store like Rei. You can also order online from Amazon.

Winter hiking socks

We cannot discuss how to choose underwear for winter without considering how to buy winter hiking socks. These socks are made with winter in mind. They should be warm, snug, able to wick moisture away.

They should also have antimicrobial property to prevent your feet from smelling. Avoid socks made with synthetic materials like nylon. Instead, go for socks made with a blend of nylon and merino wool. In the blend, the merino wool part is bigger and that makes the socks more breathable, more comfortable and warm.

Like the other underwear, winter socks should be bought with durability in mind. The last thing you want is a pair of socks that lose shape after washing and stretches to the shape of a skirt.


You can consider a lot of things like price, brand name and even customer reviews when considering how to choose underwear for winter. However, concentrate on two things mostly – comfort and quality. All of the others come second. If you are totally flustered about what to choose, just go with long johns.

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