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Fast Drying Travel Underwear for Women

quick drying travel underwear

When I travel, I can wear a shirt a couple of times, and pants several times, before putting them through a wash. My hair can go a few days or more without shampooing; jackets and sweaters may go the entire trip before needing freshened.

But underwear– that is non-negotiable.

I need a fresh pair every single day, and sometimes I might need two.

For me, the main reason for packing fast drying underwear is the fact that I hand wash and hang dry those bad boys on the regular. (I pack light, even in the underwear department.) I need to know that when I do, I’ll be left with a pair of dry underwear in the morning, no matter the conditions.

Even if you don’t think you’ll ever be washing your unmentionables in the sink, or waiting for clothes to dry in your hotel room, there are still a number of reasons to pack fast drying underwear.

Reasons to Pack Fast Drying Underwear for Travel

  • Travel can get unpredictable. You might pack a dozen pairs of underwear. You might think you have enough time to do a load of laundry. But plans don’t always work out as expected, and you just might be needing a fresh pair of underwear in a matter of hours. Quick drying fabrics for your damp, blow-dryer-less dorm room is your best option.
  • You can pack less. Since they dry so quickly, hand-washing as you go is simple. You can then rotate between a few pairs instead of packing dozens.
  • Less stink to haul around. Since you can pack less underwear, and you are likely to wash your underwear more often, you’ll have a smaller stinky underwear pile building up in your luggage.
  • It’s better for your body. Imagine you’re out walking or hiking and your underwear gets sweaty… and stays sweaty. That’s not good for your nether regions. And it’s not good for your body should the temperature drop. Keep that wetness off your skin for a more comfortable experience!

Fabrics for Fast Drying Travel Underwear

merino travel underwear

Quick dry fabrics may be a synthetic blend, particularly with nylon. However, those who love natural fabrics can look into merino wool, which works surprisingly well as travel underwear. Merino wool is naturally anti-microbial, and it helps you to regulate body temperature while also wicking moisture away from the body. It’s not itchyThe downside is that merino can’t be placed in a dryer.

The Best Fast Drying Underwear for Travel

icebreaker travel underwear
Icebreaker underwear dries quickly on the line.

I’ve traveled with all kinds of underwear over the years. Sure, my super thin cotton undies would dry fairly quickly on the line, but it was different story when actually wearing them. And while I like the idea of bamboo’s anti-odor properties, I find the drying time to be quite poor unless they are made of a super thin cut.

For me, the best fast drying underwear were either my Exofficio or underwear made of merino wool. (It’s not itchy, in case you were wondering!)

Here’s a rundown of some of my favorites below. This list is not complete, and we will update as we experience different brands.

Exofficio Quick Drying Underwear

Exofficio travel underwear dries quickly
Exofficio travel underwear dries quickly. They come in loads of fun colors.

They’re popular for a reason. Ever since I discovered them years ago, I rarely go on a trip without a pair in my arsenal. It’s nice to know I have a pair that will wash and dry overnight, and with the Give N Go Lacy line, they look cute, too.

They manage the test of time, so even though the cost is high, you will get plenty of wear out of each pair. You can travel with far fewer pairs, hand-washing as you go, so really the cost per wear lessens even more.

The biggest gripe for Exofficio underwear is that pads and panty liners don’t adhere as well. I’ve been able to use some brands of panty liners over others, but it’s probably best to move to Diva Cups for that time of the month.

Note: As per comments, ExOfficio underwear tends to run large. My lacy underwear has held up fine, but others have not been so lucky. If looking for more durable pairs, stick to the lace-less.

>> Check out an assortment of Exofficio travel underwear on Amazon.

Icebreaker Merino Wool Underwear

Icebreaker travel underwear
Icebreaker travel underwear

Icebreaker’s underwear is made of lightweight 150 merino wool, so it’s thin and wearable (and not itchy!) in both warm and cool weather. And boy does it dry quickly! I’ve definitely enjoyed this fact when getting sweaty and then feeling fresh again in no time.

It also smells less- probably less than Exofficio in my opinion. There’s something a little more satisfying knowing the material is of a natural source.

Besides the price (over $30 USD), the biggest gripes for Icebreaker underwear are the delicate nature of the lightweight fabric and the fit. Beware that the new Siren bikinis have been made with a skimpier cut which may not work on many bodies. But if you can find them to fit your body, they are an awesome option.

>> Check out Icebreaker travel underwear on Amazon.

Modibodi Active Air Brief

Modibodi merino wool underwear
Modibodi makes a merino Active Air Brief underwear that’s quick drying.

Modibodi is an Australian based company, so apologies to all those overseas. I discovered Modibodi after a community member raved about her undergarments from them, and I’m glad I’ve added their Active Air Briefs to my packing list. Made from “smart merino,” they are another example of why merino wool is amazing for underwear!

The material works well for active days, and also for days when the weather is plain hot. I wear these underwear to the gym, and there’s a noticeable difference from days I don’t. The cut might not be “sexy,” but it doesn’t ride up, cause wedgies, or inhibit movement in any way.

They’re unfortunately almost $30 AUD, so it’s best to look for sales before stocking up. The fabric is also a little thicker than the Icebreaker merino, so while they are quick drying, they are a tiny bit slower.

>> Check out Modibodi Active Air Briefs on their official site.

Check out our Womens Travel Underwear Guide for more on travel undergarments.

Do you have a favorite pair of quick drying travel underwear? Share your experiences below!

fast drying underwear options for travel

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Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jaye says

    I’ve replaced my everyday underwear over the years with Ex Officio Give-and-Go full cut and bikini briefs in black and nude. They have more than paid for themselves in comfort and durability. A few pair live in the pre-packed section of my go-to travel bag so I don’t leave home without them! Having only two color choices and styles makes life even simpler. 🙂 I have a couple of Icebreaker t-shirts and love them for layering but I haven’t tried the underwear yet.

  2. Laurel Watson says

    I second your choice of merino wool underwear. I thought it would be itchy so did not try them until I was given a free pair of Icebreaker. Amazingly comfortable as well as quick drying and odour-free. The downside in addition to a higher price is they are not as durable as synthetic fabrics.

    • Brooke says

      I know, it’s crazy… whenever I have them on, I’m like I’m wearing WOOL UNDERWEAR… WHAT?! It still kind of blows my mind that they aren’t itchy 😉 Super comfortable. I wish they had more cut options though.

  3. Alyssa says

    I travel in a lot of rougher, Caribbean conditions (think out in the bush in Haiti) for work, so I wanted something a little more durable, but would also dry quickly. I’ve actually found that Under Armour 3″ compression shorts fit the bill nicely. They dry pretty quick, even in a humid hotel room, and they wick away sweat during the day. I pack two pairs and rotate them.

  4. Emma says

    Be aware that the Ex Officios are pretty big for the sizes, though! I bought a few pairs some years ago, but being a regular European size xs, even the smallest ones were way too big for me. Otherwise they’re pretty nice, even though the fabric felt a little weird (probably just because I’m used to cotton). I especially liked the fact that they have cute-looking thongs, which I thing is rare for sports/travel brands!

    • Brooke says

      I think all ExO bottoms run on the larger size, so thank you for pointing that out. I found out years ago what I was in their underwear, so that has been something I don’t think about anymore. I also love that they have so many options now!

  5. Isabel says

    *sing-songy* Favorite post everrrrrr!

    You chose right to bold that line about NON-NEGOTIABLE undies. I am slowly changing my whole chonie drawer with travel chones because I must have fresh undies and these types are so easy to pack and wash. I stuff as many as I can in my “diaper” wet bag though I’m sure rolling them would save more space… I’m on a mission to always always always pack smaller and that’s why I’m ovsessed with this website. ❤️🎒

  6. ziona says

    I’m afraid I’ve been a little disappointed in the travel underwear that I’ve tried, considering the price. I like my non-lace Ex Officios quite well, but the lace pair I have started falling apart after maybe 2 years of not that frequent of wear. (I agree with the above comments that they run a little big.) I also have the boy cut icebreaker undies and they don’t stay in place and end up really distracting. Maybe that’s due to the cut more than the fabric, but I think also due to being so thin.

    • Brooke says

      The cut of travel underwear is still lacking a bit from many brands. I just got a pair of the boy cut Icebreakers- fit well, but we’ll see after more wear!

      • Nyssa says

        I bought the boy cut icebreaker for trekking in Nepal. They worked quite well, quick dry even in the cold but since returning I’ve been a little disappointed in how they are lasting – at least 2 have developed holes. So I’ve taken them out of normal circulation and put them in my “travel only” pile. I do wash them the same as all my other clothes, not wool only.
        Also in Nepal we couldn’t find laundromats but rather you give your clothes to someone to wash for you – so it’s possible they have been washed in hot water and through the dryer.
        Anyway just something to consider if you are looking to “invest” in these undies!

  7. erin says

    I invested in a few pairs of the exOfficio with the lace trim and was really disappointed with the quality of the lace. Almost immediately after purchase, my finger went right through the lace, ripping a big hole. After about 6 months of regular use, almost every pair looked shredded. I did love the rest of the material, though. Since I have since switched to the non-lacy Give-n-Go and my new favorite the Give-n-Go Sport Mesh–which is the same material as the men’s’ sporty boxer briefs. Both of these also run on the large side.

    • Brooke says

      Glad you found an alternative that works for you! Thanks for the comments, I’ve updated a note in the ExO section. My lacy have been OK so far, but it’s good to point out so others can make a better decision.

  8. Svenja says

    Icebreaker all the way! I travel with 4 pairs (wear 1, pack 3) whenever I travel for more than a week, otherwise it’s just wash 1, wear 1 as they literally dry in a couple of hours (yes, I am that kind of nerd that stops drying time before committing to packing “quick-dry” clothing…).

  9. Ioanna says

    Great post, Brooke!
    I’ve been using merino (Icebreakers) during my last long hike and I loved how fast they dried and how little they added to any funk production! BUT I must advice the extra sensitive folks – even merino wool can cause irritation. Normally I don’t have an issue, but in places where there is rubbing (like backpack’s belt or strap) there might be irritation, redness or even (!) swelling. I was shocked when I first saw it after a long hike! I had bumps of swollen, red skin where the briefs got heavy rubbing on the sides of hips. The next day I was wearing a synthetic top and actually stuffed the lower part between skin and panties to make a barrier 😉 But with time skin got used to it all and there was less and less swelling or redness.

    Now i just bought a pair of synthetics from Arc’teryx – will test them during my next hike in Spain (in February).

    Ioanna (A Woman Afoot)

  10. Adrienne says

    I have traveled all over the world with the Victoria’s Secret Lacie thongs or the Hanky Panky brand lace thong. They literally wash and dry in minutes and take up no space in luggage. I can fit about 15 in a tiny packing cube. They are a very stretchy lace, so very comfortable and I don’t even feel I’m wearing them. Also gets great reviews from the husband 😉

  11. Rachel says

    I tried a pair of Patagonia at some point and found that I didn’t like the feel of the material. I usually travel with 5 thongs, which are my preferred cut in my regular life, and 2 pair of bikinis for bloated feeling/menstrual days. The thongs are cotton but always dry overnight (even in an draftless bathroom), and the bikinis are poly-blend and also dry overnight – I usually wash them in the shower at night and they are dry in the morning. The whole bundle takes up less room than one pair of my husband’s socks. I personally prefer having a few extras with me rather than the wash one/wear one routine. To each their own!

  12. Deb says

    For my last 3 month trip I bought Kathmandu (on sale) quick dry and merino undies and they were awesome but in our family of 10 there are 6 females – 1 adult, 2 teens and 3 children – and since we are travelling permamently now I just went to BigW and Target and bought the synthetic and low Cotten count undies. They dry overnight and are cheaper since we need so many. If it was just me I would stick with the Kathmandu ones as the fit was brilliant.

  13. l says

    Any recommendations on a pair to wear under full length swim tights for casual snorkeling (since for some reason no one makes a full length swim tight with a lined gusset)? I find that bikini bottoms are a bit thick or have extra details that look weird under my tights. Not to mention vpl. I have some ex officios but I’m not sure they’d dry quickly enough for walking around the beach /boardwalk after.

  14. Cathy Anderson says

    I love my hi-cut merino wool (non-scratchy) undies from Merino Country in Australia. Even with shipping costs to the US, they are ultimately cheaper than cotton undies because they last so long. I am fastidious about clean underwear, but I have no qualms wearing them two days in a row before washing. I hang them to dry after washing and they take much less time than cotton undies. I wear them every day and for travel.

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