Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Outdoor Underwear Roundup

When you're traveling or backpacking, you know every little thing you pack is important.  You want the best functioning stuff you can find and you want to be comfortable and look good.  And you want to keep that weight down.   Everything should be fast drying and wicking, even your underwear.  That way you're more comfortable and can hand wash your stuff in a hotel sink or the back country to wear the next day.

Wool underwear has been around a while, but I was never that interested.  It just didn't sound very comfortable to me.  Well guess what--it's so comfortable it's luxurious.  Of course it is, wool keeps you cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold, I just never equated it to under garments.  Now I'm hooked.

Wool has the added benefit of being odor and moisture resistant, so it's perfect for when you can only have a few pieces.  Check out this Siren Cami and matching Hipkini by Icebreaker.  I love the feminine details--I don't care if I'm out in the middle of nowhere, I still like to wear pretty things under my clothes.  But this is subtle, it's not overly girlie, it's more elegant and fits in perfectly with a natural setting.  I also like Icebreaker's Siren Tank which can be worn alone or as another great layering piece. The straps are adjustable for a more custom fit.   The tank is gorgeous in black and can easily be worn alone as a top.

Sizing on the Icebreaker can be tricky for me.  I wear a size 8 pant and with the underwear, the medium is perfect.  On top, I'm a 10, and usually a medium in most things, however with Icebreaker I tend to take a large.  With the cami, I could have gone medium.  Icebreaker offers free shipping and returns so you don't have to worry about getting the right fit, you can easily exchange if you need something different. 

Ibex makes some wonderful undergarments as well.  Check out these cute Balance Briefs which fit and feel great.  I love their Ibex goat logo on the front--I am not a logo person.  Normally I really don't care for logos much at all and wish they weren't there.  Ibex's logo is more like art, I love it and was happy to see it on the underwear.
The Woolies Camisole is great for layering or wearing alone.  The Ibex is especially soft, and a little thicker than the Icebreaker undergarments.  I found the underwear to run small, so you might want to order up.  I needed a large for the underwear, but for the cami, a medium was fine.  I think you could wear this as a tank by itself with a pair of jeans or skirt, it's butter soft and very cute.
Next we have Smartwool.  Of course they make great underwear, their socks are fabulous and so are their clothes.  Smartwool also has a cute and unassuming logo by the way, not found on the  underwear.  I love their camis and the underwear also does not disappoint.  It comes in a hipster, thong, and bikini styles and my favorite is the bikini.

Size-wise, I take a medium in the Smartwool, usually both top and bottom.  They're a great weight, and super comfortable.  Now is the time to stock up on Smartwool, Ibex and Icebreaker, and I have found some amazing and irresistible deals on all three brands on Amazon and Departmentofgoods.  I found some things I couldn't believe I was getting such a great deal on--I found some hundred dollar tops for $30, so don't let the expense of wool put you off, there are great deals out there.  And even if you do pay full price, the wear is so worth the extra cost, this stuff lasts forever and it's so high performance I find it to be worth every penny.

And last but not least, Ex Officio underwear is legendary for being the perfect underwear for travel and adventure.  Have you heard about the person that took one pair of underwear around the world and they were in perfect shape when they finished their trip?  That was Ex Officio underwear.

I love the Give-N-Go Lacey Low Rise Bikini.  They are feminine, come in pretty colors and fit great.  I took mediums in the Ex Officio underwear and they were very comfortable.

The Give-N-Go string bikini is cute and fits great.  You would never know these two styles are performance underwear at all.  There is a texture to the fabric which makes them easier to clean, you can work up a lather with very little eco friendly soap.  I don't know how they did it, but this underwear is feminine and also hard core at the same time.  I'm new to Ex Officio, but so far I can really see why people love this brand.