What’s the favorite women’s underwear you’d use in an emergency, in your BOB, or SHTF scenario, and why?

Since we women and/or people with breasts and vulvas have a greater variety of body shapes and needs, I think it would be helpful if we include as many details as we’re comfortable in sharing, such as bust and hips sizes, what you’re looking for in a bra or panties, does the material matter, would you change your selection between winter and summer, etc? If we keep a standard format it might be easier to find suggestions. I’ll propose the following format, but we could adjust/edit according to what you folks think.

Bust: 35 in (34A)
Hips: 36.5 in (M)

What I look for in a bra: My bust is not particularly large so I only need light support so my boobs don’t dance around too much when walking or hiking and my nipples don’t rub into the fabric of my top. I want a bra that’s not tight (don’t we all!) and is comfortable to wear all day long, but also that doesn’t dig into my flesh when I carry a backpack. However, my under bust is slightly larger than average, and so my biggest issue is that bras that are a great fit for my bust dig into my underbust, or if they are a great fit for my underbust, they are too large for my bust.

Favorite bra: Patagonia Barely Everyday Bra
PROS: This is so far the bra/lette that hits all the spots for me. Light support, breathable, comfortable when wearing a pack (as it’s a bralette it doesn’t have hooks in the back that are usually uncomfortable) and, most importantly, the elastic part under the bra is not tight at all, while still being elastic enough to keep my boobs in check. The first time I wore it camping I even forgot to take it off when I went to bed! 
CONS: It takes ages to dry! Ok, not ages, but slightly longer than I would like. A full day vs few hours, if that makes sense.

What I look for in panties: Mainly, four things: Is the crotch wide enough to keep me entirely covered when walking? I also suffer from cold butt syndrome, so if I camp or sleep outside I always keep my panties on. This means that I’m looking for panties that are generous in covering my whole butt. I usually go for either bikini, hipster, or shorts styles, but bikinis seems to be the most versatile and are the types I keep in my BOB. Thirdly, I want seams that are not too tight around my leg or waist, and that don’t chafe when walking for a long time. Lastly, are they breathable?

Favorite panties: Patagonia Barely Bikini Underwear. Breathable, the seams are super comfortable, and they cover everything generously. Interestingly, they have a round seam around the legs but they don’t dig in at all!
REI Co-op Active Bikini Underwear. Same as above: comfortable, super light, and they cover everything fine. I wear them quite often and after a couple of years I’ve noticed that the seams around the legs and waist started looking as if stretched out. I say “as if” beacuse the performance does not seem affected at all. I’m wondering if they are going to fail soon, or not. In comparison, this is not the case with the abovementioned Patagonia Barely underwear.

Mention of shame: Smartwool Seamless Bikini Underwear. I had to add this because I was shocked by the poor design of these panties. They are very comfortable and breathable, but the crotch is so narrow that I had to throw them away –  they were useless even when wearing them at home!


  • Comments (13)

    • 7

      As a plus-sized person I’m a fan of Exofficio’s Give-n-Go 2.0 Full Cut Brief. Lightweight, fast-drying, waistband and leg holes that don’t dig. I’ve replaced all my underwear with these.

      • 4

        Nice! I’ve been eyeing the Exofficio brand for a while (my husband is a fan), but wasn’t sure about the waistband (can’t stand anything too tight around my waist).

    • 5

      I missed this earlier.  I am a size 7 in panties and have a bubble butt even when I was a XS.  I too have cold butt syndrome and didn’t know it was an actual condition!  Ha!  I seek undies that don’t wedgie, cover well and breathe as I get swampy around that cold butt.  I have had success with Patagonia’s as well.  I also have found Warner Breath Freely hipster and Warner’s seamless hipster to both fit well and sink wash and drive overnight when traveling. 

      • 1

        Didn’t know about that brand – they look comfy, and I especially like the fact that they can dry overnight when washed. Big big bonus. Thanks!

        #coldbuttsunite  😀

    • 5

      Carlotta, my first thought reading your comment was that you are wearing the wrong sort of bra and you should get fitted by a professional. If you are correctly fitted, you bra should not be uncomfortable at all. For example, I went bra shopping with a friend and she thought she was a 38D, when correctly fitted, she was a 36G. Massive difference. A lot of women only think of the bra size, whereas there is a lot more to finding bra – style of bra is really important.

      For example, I am plus size. Bust is 440H. However my breasts are quite close together so I need a plunge style, as a full sized cup bra does not sit flat against my chest, meaning that it would just be an expensive tit warmer.

      HerRoom does a very good job explaining how breast size and shape influence what sort of bra you need.

      In NZ, I have to either shop by mail, or travel to Auckland (8 hours by car, 1hr flight) to buy a bra in my size. However an inperson bra fitting was invaluable for me last time.

      My current bra is https://www.richlingerie.co.nz/everyday/charley-plunge-bra-1

      As for underwear I go for a comfortable full brief from Kmart. If it is hot and I am wearing a dress, I go with shapeware as it prevents chafing.

      • 3

        I think you might be right: the only time I only got fitted once, and it definitely made a difference. I guess I’m just too cheap to make that a habit lol

        Joking apart, I’m getting more and more used to bralettes for everyday use. My new favorite is the REI Active Bralette:



        • Quick-drying fabric
        • The elastic band does a great job at keeping the bralette in place
        • The construction of both the cup (sewn in the middle), and of the racerback-style straps sustain the breasts better than a normal-scooped ‘lette.
        • Anti-odor
        • Comfy!!


        • None at the moment
      • 3

        I’m a 36B and can attest that the style of the bra makes all the difference for me in what size works or is comfortable.  My headlights would light the edges of the road vs. the center of the lane.  I want the bralette style with an adjustable band as they tend to start snug or even tight then loosen up too much.  I’ve used this Hanes for travel and will probably put it in my BOB and get another one for travel.  It’s lightweight, adjustable band and convertible straps (scoop or racer back).  It also packs really well.  Another I considered was this travel bra.  I liked the pocket options but it is pricey.

      • 3

        Update:  I ordered another of the Hanes bra I mentioned above, and it’s not the same.  This may or may not be a good thing depending on your perspective.  The straps are shorter which means that it’s less comfortable in racer back/cross strap configuration for me as I have them extended fully for the normal option.  The fabric is a different mix of Nylon/Poly/Spandex.  This makes it a bit snugger (+1% spandex) and thinner (more breathable possibly) but also makes it have less coverage (nippage). 

      • 1

        Oh no! Even though it’s not as comfortable as before, is it still within your favorites, or the new construction ruined it for you?

      • 3

        Didn’t fully ruin it, although I’m disappointed.  I put it in the BOB, and kept the original for travel.  

      • 2

        I don’t understand? Specialist shops (including department stores) offer the fitting free of charge? Do they charge where you live?

      • 5

        Fitting was free. What I meant is that I have been mainly using bralettes and they are usually cheaper than a proper bra. I can’t even remember when was the last time I wore a normal bra!

    • 3


      I found these recently at Walmart for about $15 for 6, and they just passed a tent camping, hiking, & kayaking trip in the Sierras just great! Comfy, light, cheap, quick dry, and good, non slip coverage, so they’re going in the BOB.