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Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs Review

Most of us (males) want to wear something under our trousers, but what? Ordinary cotton underpants have several disadvantages: the waist band often conflicts with the hip-belt on the pack, and when they get wet they can take a very long time to dry. The Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs largely solve those two problems.


Overall Rating: Recommended

They are tall enough at the waist to avoid conflict with a hip-belt, and they dry very quickly. Even in high summer they don't seem too hot and sweaty, and they do last a long time.
*Addendum 10/19/10: Author notes that Highly Recommended would not be inappropriate. However, BPL does not change ratings once posted.

About This Rating

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by Roger Caffin |

Technical Details

Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs Review - 1
Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs.

I should start by explaining that the photo here is a stock photo from Ex-Officio. My arms are not that hairy. OK.

Ex-Officio make two similar models of briefs: the Briefs shown here and some Sport Briefs. The latter are shorter in the waist, but otherwise identical as far as I can see. I will focus on the Briefs because I find them much better for walking.

Incidentally, Ex-Officio actually call them "Brief," in the singular. This is the same as talking about "trouser" - I can see the logic, but I can't do it.

The company claims that the fabric "air-dries within hours" and is "extremely breathable, moisture-wicking, odor resistant finish." I can confirm the fast drying bit. I would say 'fairly breathable' as they do get just a little sweaty during a hot Sydney summer day of 35 C and 80% RH - but so does the rest of me. I can neither confirm nor deny the 'odor-resistant' bit.

Frankly, the fabric alone is not enough to justify them. But look at the photo here of a range of (Australian) underpants. On the right you can see the Ex-Officio ones compared to two other sorts. There is a big difference in the bulk of the waistbands. On the left we have some (Australian) underpants with similar flat waist bands - but look at how the elastic has curled up during use. The Ex-Officio waist band does not curl up.

Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs Review - 2
Comparing waistbands.

The third feature I like is the design. The Briefs are taller in the waist region than many other (Australian) underpants. But the other ones seem to fight many hipbelts, getting either pushed down (most often) or pulled up. Neither is satisfactory. The waist region of the Ex-Officio Briefs is flat enough that they seem to stay nicely in position on my waist despite the movement of the hipbelt.

Field Testing

Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs Review - 3
Drying socks on the pack.

These Ex-Officio Briefs have been my choice for a three-month long walk through France in 2007 and a two-month long high-altitude walk through Switzerland in 2009. They have also been used for pretty well all my other walks in Australia in that time - walks typically under seven days, but up to nine or ten days occasionally.

In Australia I usually don't bother with a spare pair, so maybe the odor-resistant bit has some truth to it. But in Europe we often wash our socks and underwear every few days - depending on opportunity. Sometimes it took a couple of days for our wool socks to dry properly, but the Ex-Officio Briefs seemed to dry within a few hours in the sun - strung across our packs.

I should add that the pair of Briefs I took to France in 2007 also went to Switzerland in 2009 and are still in current use. To say 'long-life' seems appropriate.


Manufacturer Ex-Officio
Web Site
Model Give-N-Go Briefs
Main Material Body Fabric: 94% Nylon/6% Spandex
Waist band Elastic webbing 32 mm (1.25") wide
Colours Black, white, green, blue, charcoal
Sizes S to XXL
Weight (measured) Medium: ~60 g (2.1 oz)

What’s Good

  • Comfortable
  • Quick drying
  • Long life
  • Stay up

What's Not So Good

  • Nothing really comes to mind

Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement.


"Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs Review," by Roger Caffin. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2010-10-12 00:00:00-06.


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Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Briefs Review
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Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Smartwool boxer briefs on 10/29/2010 11:42:07 MDT Print View

Just wanted to report on the Smartwool boxer briefs.

Oh, yeah. Sooo comfortable and equal to the EXO's on the stink issue. My only concern: their long-term sustainability. My EXO's are rock solid after many uses over many days. The Smartools seem fragile, but I won't be able to evaluate them fairly on that score until I've worn them a bit.

Briefly yours,


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Smartwool boxer briefs on 10/29/2010 15:30:38 MDT Print View

Hi Thomas

> The Smartwools seem fragile,
My experience with wool too.
Report back please!


Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Smartwool boxer briefs on 10/29/2010 15:53:06 MDT Print View

I haven't worn the Smartwool boxer briefs, but have used them from Icebreaker & Minus33 quite a lot. In fact, I've found the things so comfortable I wear them daily as often as possible! I reckon each pair has a couple months of wear on them, & they all seem to be in like-new condition. Quite happy with comfort & durability! Of course, as I think about it, my boxer briefs aren't directly subjected to much brush bustin'...

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Smartwool boxer briefs on 10/29/2010 16:08:42 MDT Print View

Thomas, I hope your Smartwool boxer briefs last longer than mine did. In less than a year they became crotchless. Here's a link to a thread in another forum discussing the issue.