Im headed out to Quetico for little over a week, and I need women's underwear that will last a long time, limit chafing, dry fast, and rinse well. Any suggestions? Nicole Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Sounds lovely. Quetico, as many readers know, is a provincial park in Ontario that borders Minnesotas famous Boundary Waters. It offers great canoeing and fishing in a beautiful setting. And its also sort of humid and buggy. So you want underwear thats light, dries fast, washes easily, and is comfortable (Wait! Thats exactly what you said, isnt it?).
Patagonia Active Hipster
Id probably start with Patagonias Capilene 1 (formerly Silkweight). Ive found that its an excellent warm-weather material, as its made from recycled polyester that is exceptionally soft and comfortable, manages sweat well, and dries quickly. Something such as the Capilene 1 Tank Top ($32) would be a good start, along with a Capilene Mesh Bra ($35), which doesnt look out of place worn as a top on warm days. Add to that the Patagonia Active Hipster ($20) and youre all set.
A lot of the chafing from traditional underwear bottoms comes from the leg bands. To avoid that altogether, try a boy-short style. Smarty Pants, for example, sit comfortably below the waistline and come down over the tops of your thighs, eliminating the often-chafing leg bands in that oh-so-sensitive area. This design also means they stay put during active pursuits. Like much outdoors clothing, Smarty Pants wick sweat, resist odor, and dry quickly.
Other makers also are turning out top-flight, warm-weather underwear. REIs Lightweight MTS V-Neck ($24), designed for women, is made from polyester (a material that doesnt absorb much moisture) so it dries fast and wicks well. And it has an SPF factor of 50, so the sun cant get to you. For something a little more stylish (no reason not to look good!) take a look at the Isis First Class Tank ($34), a lightweight tank with a touch of stretch in its polyester material that comes in solid colors as well as some nice prints. Isis also makes some very fine undergarments, such as the Peony Bra ($28), with chafe-free construction and a special finish that helps transfer moisture
Whatever you choose, get two setsone to wear, one to have drying after a wash.
Have a great trip!
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