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Jock itch and wool boxer briefs..
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/28/2013 18:03:06 MST Print View

I've been using synthetic boxer briefs (under armour) just because they generally rock and I've been happy with them.

However, I think I'm going to switch to wool... better heat issues as well as the fact that they are breathable.

On longer trips > 5 days I've noticed that all the sweat and moisture can lead to jock itch.

This could basically ruin a longer trip if I'm not careful.

What's been your experience with them? Has anyone switched from synthetic to wool?

just Justin Whitson
Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/28/2013 18:42:44 MST Print View

Any really good antimicrobial fabric that dries fairly fast, will help to cut down on that kind of issue.

I use Linen. Dries faster than wool, and is sturdier/longer lasting in those thin forms.

Polygiene silver treatment and the like might also help for synthetics.

There are different kinds of jock itch too.

There is the Candida yeast type (affects both women AND men) which is more of an internal issue wherein too many carbs and sugars are being eaten and not enough non starchy vegetables and probiotic foods being eaten. While it's a very internal issue, it can show up strongly in the more moist parts of skin that are constantly covered, like ones crotch. Often times this is more an off, on thing which flares up at different times (often due to diet, stress, a lot of sweating, lack of proper hygiene).

Then there is a more true jock itch which is more purely an outer skin infection from a common fungus. If this does not get treated well, the infection can go deeper and become very chronic.

I've had both before, and found they need to be treated very differently in some ways, and yet in other ways similar.

The former needs to be treated primarily via diet, the latter primarily through external applications. Both are helped with very breathable, anti-microbial fabrics, keeping clean and dry, etc.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 00:27:07 MST Print View

> On longer trips > 5 days I've noticed that all the sweat and moisture can lead to jock itch.

Try washing every day. Works wonders, just like at home.

(And yes, we have washed in glacial water - quickly.)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 00:38:53 MST Print View

I am a full convert to wool underwear. The difference is amazing. After days of hiking in synthetic underwear my crotch feels sticky and nasty, that doesn't happen with wool underwear. I will never go back to synthetic underwear for hiking.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 12/29/2013 03:09:21 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/24/2015 11:47:55 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 05:12:28 MST Print View

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is caused by fungus and not by eating certain foods.

Risk Factors (see website link):
-Are a man
-Wear tight underwear
-Are overweight
-Sweat heavily
-Have a weakened immune system
-Have other skin conditions

If you keep scratching your skin and cause open sores, you may then get a secondary bacterial infection.

Edited by jshann on 12/29/2013 05:20:11 MST.

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 06:02:13 MST Print View

+1 to Justin's comments. They're not cheap, but I've converted 100% to Merino boxers for daily wear and will never go back to synthetic.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 07:45:14 MST Print View

John, my repeated sucky experiences with this has taught me there are definitely two kinds, the fungal and the yeast kind (tmi, the latter even smells different and "yeasty"). I could go into the lurid details of the different kinds, what they were like, how I treated both, etc but I don't think anyone wants to hear that.

They are not the same thing but ultimately they both produce crotch itch, discomfort, redness, etc, and both are made worse by lack of hygiene, lots of sweating, warmth, and humidity, crappy clothes, etc.

I'm well aware of the conventional medical opinion on this BTW.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 12/29/2013 08:08:17 MST.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 08:31:15 MST Print View

Yeast are fungi.

Ken Strayer
(TheRambler) - F
Re: "Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.." on 12/29/2013 08:46:58 MST Print View

+1 on rinsing them every so often. All of the sweat and funk buildup is conducive to jock itch developing.

There is another factor to consider as well. It is possible that you have a very minor allergic reaction to wool. This can definitely be the case for the nether regions/less weathered skin. No way to know if this is the case for sure without wearing the wool boxers daily for awhile, but keep them clean, and see if the same thing develops after a few days.

I had this same issue. Wool doesnt bother me anywhere except for my inner thighs and groin region. But it takes a few days of wearing them for it to develop. It looks very similar to jock itch, and usually takes a day or two to go away.

I just use the exffico boxer briefs now.

Edited by TheRambler on 12/29/2013 08:49:06 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Wool allergies and some solutions on 12/29/2013 08:59:23 MST Print View

"I went with the black color one, because I can take the pants off, . . . without offending."


I use synthetic, snug-fitting boxer-briefs that look like bicycle / exercise shorts which lots of people hike in. But as UW, they are really light, cheap and dry fast. If it dries fast, you can wash them each day. If you can't find the privacy to strip and do that, you could just wade in, use them as a swim suit, rub yourself as much as is decent and they'll be dry in 20 minutes of wear.

"you may have a very minor allergic reaction to wool. "


I tried Smartwool socks for hikes and loved them for the long-lasting cushioning, warmth when wet, and reduced funkiness. So I stocked up and starting wearing them around town and get an slight allergic reaction the more I wore them. Now I wear them only for hiking on day- and weekend trips. For longer events I was surprised how well Ray Jardine's suggestion of thin nylon socks worked (as long as the weather is warm and the shoe fit well).

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 09:46:13 MST Print View

i like the under armour boxer briefs. they must , of course, be washed regularly. a day or two is more than enough to warrant washing.
redness in the southern hemisphere is a call to arms, and to repel the badness i wash the area with a washcloth and a bit of soap, and i wash it several times a day. body glide helps if i am losing the battle.
it can get interesting a long trip, because there is only one washcloth, and it's getting used for "everything", so all that fugis and germs and whatever, is going to get spread around. that is the reality of life in the bush.
but cold water and a very small amount of soap keeps things happy over a very long trip, if i do my part in it.

wool boxers.
got several pairs. nice to sleep in ! ok for going to work on a cold day.
not so good for making miles.
just too much heat in the wrong place. and baggy too.

that is my input of crotch rot.
2 pairs of shorts. one the UA boxers, the other pair is of very light pair of patagonia briefs is a "spare". this lets me play off the filth issues one against the other, and i don't have to carry much extra mass.
sometimes it's just too nasty and cold to wash clothes, so that's what the spare set is for. if it stays cold, then i rely on Magic Bachelor Stuff Sack Purification Rays to cleanse the older socks and underwear for reuse.


Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 10:24:26 MST Print View

There's a reason most combat arms soldiers go commando. When you spend 2-4 weeks in the field with no access to showers, underwear is not conducive to good hygiene. Since I've been out, I've returned to wearing underwear (UA) when backpacking as they prevent chafe. If commando hiking is not for you, at the very least try to air out your nether regions at night when you're sleeping.

Polishing the undercarriage is definitely part of good field hygiene. To avoid cross contamination, I take a package of baby wipes and dry them out at home which greatly reduces the weight; I just pour a little water on them in the field. I ration one sheet per day on the trail and find that I can rip them in half to clean up twice daily. They are robust enough to use as a disposable washcloth so you can add soap and water to your routine. If you look online, there are biodegradable ones available for when you are using pit toilets like in a national park. I forget the brand of the top off my head but Yokes carries them locally. You can obviously pack them out or burn them as well.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 12/29/2013 13:06:40 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Jock itch and wool boxer briefs.. on 12/29/2013 11:42:36 MST Print View

"Yeast are fungi."

Yeah, and house cats and tigers are both "felines", but they are also different enough to have different other names, similar with the difference between Tinea (commonly referred to a fungal infection) verse Candida Albicans (commonly referred as yeast infections) otherwise they would all be referred to as just fungi. Mold also is technically a type of fungus, but we don't call it yeast, and it's not commonly referred to as fungus--it has it's own name, mold.

Point is, they both can cause jock itch infections and while there are similarities in treatment, there are also major differences. Ime, treating the candida was most effective through diet first and topical second, whereas the Tinea infection was treated by topical and diet didn't seem to matter much at all.

Also ime, the Tinea infection is much worse when it wasn't treated properly at first, the itching and eventual skin break down was much worse than the Candida infection. Also, the former was much more tenacious of an issue.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Prescription salves on 12/29/2013 12:55:30 MST Print View

You can take a small amount of prescription anti-jock itch salve to apply if daily washing is not conveniant.

Also you can clean your crotch area daily with hand sanitizer. Make it a habit to clean your crotch area every time you go to the potty. I use hand sanitizer year around for potty cleanup, general hand cleaning and even fire starting.

BTW, I PREFER synthetic briefs or knit, fitted boxers B/C I can wash them and they dry fast, even in winter. Clean briefs or boxers is the key. A clean crotch and dirty briefs = problems. For me wool fibers offer too many hiding places for bacteria and fungis.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/29/2013 12:57:23 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Prescription salves on 12/29/2013 13:13:58 MST Print View

"For me wool fibers offer too many hiding places for bacteria and fungis."

I don't understand the above, care to explain?

If you mean scales on the fiber, a lot of sports wool garments are treated to remove to the scales making the fiber smoother. They do this for laundering purposes (no felting and thus no major shrinking) and because it feels better on the skin.

(the potential downside is that it probably reduces insulation a bit, since scaly fibers will "trap" more still air than a very round and smooth one.)

Or, are you talking about something else?

(I'm sick today [VERY rare for me], not very active and so am very bored and not as calm, centered, or as positive as usually am. Grrr world, grrr).

M Blick
(mattblick) - F

Locale: Ohio
No more Lotramin and Monistat on 01/15/2014 08:44:53 MST Print View

Got crotch rot with synthetic BRIEFS, had to dose with 2 meds for a week after long trips.

I'm 5'11" and #200; I'm a bit overweight but don't have rolls to help the nasties breed.

Switched to loose-fitting synthetic BOXERS (Ex Officio) which keep the air flowing and haven't had yeast or fungus since.

Edited by mattblick on 01/15/2014 08:49:21 MST.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Advice on 01/15/2014 13:30:20 MST Print View

You should go commando if at all possible. Even if ventilation wasn't an issue (which it is), synthetic fabric, at least some synthetics, can be irritating. So you might want to sleep with cotton next to your skin.

Never apply any alcohol to your skin. Cleansing with hand sanitizer is a very bad idea. Wash gently with mild soap, such as Lever 2000. (Ivory soap for example is too harsh on the skin.)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Minimalist! on 01/15/2014 18:19:49 MST Print View

I'm a minimalist. I own 4 things that ride that close to my particulars:

2 pair Smartwool Briefs
1 pair Ibex Long-Johns
1 pair Icebreaker Bike Shorts

No problems whatsoever, even after 7+ days in any of them, with daily cleaning.