We all wear wicking t-shirts and gym shorts yet many of us still use cotton underwear simply because it is more comfortable and that is what we know. With long-term travel, cotton is simply not an option. For the trip, I have been testing three different types of performance boxer briefs: ExOfficio’s Give-N-Go, REI’s Midweight MTS, and the EMS Techwick.
- ExOfficio’s Give-N-Go is a marvel of modern apparel. Not only does it dry quickly and wick moisture away, but it is also anti-bacterial, making it the best option for all day sweating under a hot sun or multi-day ‘wash in the sink’ use. While this material is technically superior to just about anything I’ve ever worn on my body, it is far from the most comfortable. [ad#ad-3]I have found that the tendency of these to ‘ride up’ coupled with the extremely synthetic feel make these the least comfortable of those profiled on this page. Despite this, these are my go-to briefs when heavy sweating—or even swimming—is on the schedule. The best thing about these is that no matter what you do to them, they simply won’t ever smell. Darker colors can run over time, however.
- REI Midweight MTS Boxer Briefs dry just as quickly as the ExOfficio but make no claims about an anti-bacterial finish. Additionally, the material is surprisingly thin for something classified as ‘midweight.’ While these are far more comfortable than the ExOfficio, with regard to both the feel and the fit, the durability of the fabric is just not there. These will wear out after heavy use and the smell is omnipresent from the time they go on.
- EMS Techwick Boxer Briefs claim to be lightweight but really feels more of a midweight, the opposite of the REI brand. As a result these feel the closest to cotton of the three but are still able to wick moisture without a problem. Due to the thickness of the fabric they are much more durable than the REI brand but don’t come close to odor stopping abilities of the ExOfficio. Just like with the REI, these make no anti-bacterial claims.
Let’s get one thing straight; every one of these wick away moisture and dry real quick. The ExOfficio is probably the only one I’d ever use for swimming, but for normal use the other two are just fine. With regard to fit, I do have problems with the ExOfficio that I do not have with the other two varieties, but I believe this is more a function of my body type and not the underwear themselves. As for durability the ExOfficio wins hands down, followed by the EMS and the then the REI.
Bottom Line: If you are only going to purchase one pair of performance underwear for long term use, make sure it’s made by ExOfficio, there really is not a question about that…the performance is superior to everything else, hands down. If you’re going to purchase two pairs, then you should probably make them both ExOfficio. The only reason you’d really ever want to stray is if you’re looking to not wear the ExOfficio daily on account of the synthetic feel of the fabric. For that reason, I’ll be using the EMS as my “feels like cotton” option.
Disclaimer: All of our reviews are unpaid and based on personal experience. You may have different opinions or experiences with these products.