REVIEW: All Underwear is Not Created Equal!

Yes these are photos of my well used collection of boxers. Yes they are clean! I got hooked on high quality technical underwear about 7 years ago when a girlfriend bought me a pair as a gift, the blue pair of Patagonia boxers with surfing squirrels on them that I still have, and wear, today. I prefer loose-fitting boxers over boxer briefs or briefs, but I’m sure that most of this info applies to those styles of underwear as well. The reasons why technical underwear is far superior to cotton and other options is that they are lightweight, anti-stink, quick drying, durable and extremely comfortable. There really aren’t that many options out there for technical boxers, so here is a quick review of two well established players in this niche market (Patagonia & ExOfficio) and the new guy on the block (ScottEVest).

Patagonia Silkweight Print Boxers

Price: $32

Colors: Colorful bright prints with 5+ different options each year

Material: 3.4 oz silkweight 100% polyester (50% recycled) jersey with Gladiodor treatment

Patagonia has been making technical underwear for some time now and had the market cornered until a few others stepped up their game and offered very competitive products. The silky finish of the Patagonia material is quite comfortable, but does tend to build a static charge sometimes and bunch up. The tagless design is super nice as you don’t have an annoying itchy tag in your butt crack. The cut of the Patagonia boxers is a bit baggier than the competition, which in the end you’ll either love or hate. The bright colors and patterns are what really set these boxers apart from the others. I have to admit that I love being over 30 and wearing underwear with surfing squirrels on them:) The waist band on the Patagonia boxers does seem to come apart quicker than the other boxers in this review. The larger strands of elastic seem to be the culprit as they seem to break down faster than the thinner woven elastic strands in the waistbands of the competition.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer

Price: $26

Colors: Black, Grey, Green, White, Blue

Material: 94% nylon and 6% Lycra materials with Aegis Microbe Shield treatment

ExOfficio has made quite a name for themselves in underwear. I’ve been to more than one overlanding event were enthusiastic customers come up to the ExOfficio booth showing off the waistbands of the underwear they are wearing. The best thing about these boxers is their tailored cut that seems to always be comfortable, no matter the clothes you wear over them. They also seem to dry quicker than the others in this review, although they all dry relatively quickly. Besides all these things I also have to mention that they look very stylish and “grown up.” You really can wear these boxers with any outfit or in just about any scenario, from a backpacking expedition to the boardroom.

(A whisper in my ear recently mentioned that there might be some bright colors and cool patterns coming out soon from ExOfficio.)

ScottEVest Travel Boxers 2.0

Price: $20

Colors: Black or Grey

Material: 93% nylon and 7% Lycra materials with Aegis Microbe Shield treatment

ScottEVest has designed their boxers specifically for the traveler, as is the case with all of their product offerings. The first thing you’ll notice is how similar they are to the ExOfficio boxers, but with some key differences. ScottEVest’s signature pockets, one front and one back, are the first difference you’ll notice. The idea being you can carry your passport, some cash, credit cards and phone in a very secure location. I have to admit I tried it and while it is probably more secure than other places to stash these items the discomfort and inaccessibility are drawbacks that don’t work for me. Just imagine digging around in your pants for your passport while you wait in the customs line at the airport! ScottEVest also advertises these as usable as shorts/swim trunks due to their button fly. I’m not a shy guy when it comes to not wearing much, but the super thin almost see through material is not something I’d wear in public, especially when wet. The material is also very similar to the ExOfficio boxers, although they seem to wear faster with machine washing, dry slower when line dried and be a bit more see through in nature. The biggest drawback to the ScottEVest boxers to me is the cut, which seems to be loose in all the wrong places and tends to bunch up when wearing relatively tight pants. With all that said at $20 these are a great value and valiant attempt to battle the big guys with some innovative features.


I’m not really sure why but all these brands seem to pitch the 6 weeks of travel in one pair of boxers story, most of which have switched it up to 2 pair for the same time frame. While I’m all for minimalist travel, especially when it comes to clothes, I have to admit that 2-3 days of travel in one pair of boxers, without washing them, is really all that I feel remotely comfortable with. With that said cotton boxers are usually uncomfortable, smelly and way past their expiration with less than a full day of travel in them. The real key is being able to quickly hand wash and dry while on the road, allowing you to carry less in the first place. The boxers being light weight and compact are great bonuses as well.

Patagonia gets points for their tagless design, silky smooth material and fun patterns. ExOfficio gets points for clean style, quick drying material and a super comfortable cut. ScottEVest gets a nod for their pockets and ultra light material.

I have to admit that in the end, when all factors are considered, I’d spend my money on the ExOfficio boxers. They are just plain comfortable, stylish, and durable. Although I do hope that they will follow Patagonia’s lead on the tagless design and maybe introduce some fun colors/patterns as well.


What underwear do you swear by?


TIP: All of these boxers hold up and last way longer if machine washed cold or hand washed, and line dried. Machine drying destroys the elastic in the waist band and tends to unravel some of the stitching.

Other Available Options (not tested by Exploring Elements): Icebreaker Bodyfit 150 Relaxed Boxers ($45)

(For the record: I have purchased or been given as gifts all Patagonia boxers, I have purchased one pair of ExOfficio and been given another pair by ExOfficio at OEX and ScottEVest gave me a pair at the Keystone TBEX conference.)

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