As outdoor enthusiast we spend hours pouring over reviews, reading about updated pieces and analyzing new materials for outdoor apparel. Jackets, rain wear, boots, even socks; but most of us over look our most basic layer. This layer is so critical that it could easily ruin a trip. How could a pair of underwear possibly make or break a trip you ask? The one word answer is 'chafing'. Runners and cyclist know what I am talking about, we lather up with mystical creams trying to avoid the dreaded chaff. The default is to just wear what you have. Most likely a basic cotton piece you bought in a 6 pack at a box store. Perfectly acceptable for the urban landscape, but potentially painful in the backcountry. There are a few good options available but there is only one that really stands out.
Initial impression- I got my hands on two models from Exofficio, designed for the active individual. The first model was the Give-N-Go Boxer Brief Classic. The second model I tried was the Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Boxer Brief. These underwear are nothing new, they have been winning awards for years in the outdoor industry (although the sport version is newer). The Give-N-Go Classic is made primarily of nylon with a hint of spandex thrown in for mobility. The nylon material is a thin mesh material that encourages airflow. The material is treated with a compound that combats odor causing bacteria. The mens comes in four sizes fitting waist from 28"-46". The womens come in seven sizes fitting waist from 25"-47". Both genders also come in other styles that will satisfy the demands of most adventurers.
Use- The first model I received was the Classic design. The material is a soft to the touch mesh that feels luxurious against the skin. The beauty of the design is that the mesh is thin enough to encourage airflow, yet strong enough to handle the abuse of the backcountry. If you hold the classics up to the sun you can see the light through. Even though you can do this the mesh is not see through on the body, you are safely hidden. Walking around in just the briefs you can feel a significant amount of airflow coming through. I have a 28" waist and large thighs and the size small felt roomy. The waist was spot on, and the leg openings were not tight. The problem I had with this pair was the 5.5" inseam. It was too long for my liking and made them feel like I was wearing a parachute for underwear. Other then the fit issue, the material has held up to multiple backcountry adventures and weekly washings showing no signs wear. When line drying the Give-N-Go briefs they are nearly dry by the time you finish hanging the rest of the laundry. Having two pairs on an extended trip would work great, as the pair you wash in the evening would be dry the following morning. Overall the Classic design performed great, but the fit was a bit of a disappointment.
Just before finishing this review I acquired a pair of the Give-N-Go Sport Mesh model. This pair is build using the same materials as the Classics but has a 3" inseam instead. The fit of this model in comparison to the previous is like night and day. There is no excess material below the crotch (like on the Classics) and the fit is dialed in. Up until this point i had no intention on acquiring more of the Classics, but after trying the Sport Mesh model I am convinced these are the best underwear on the market.
Exofficio created a winning combination of fit and function for an often overlooked piece of clothing. Although the Give-N-Go Classic model was not the right one for me, individuals looking for a looser fitting style may enjoy them. I am positive that more pairs of the Sport Mesh model will be finding their way into my underwear drawer over the next couple months. If you have never owned a pair of technical underwear, look no further then the Give-N-Go series from Exofficio.
*These products were given to me for personal use.