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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Mountain Khakis Bison Boxers and Briefs > Test Report by Richard Lyon

MOUNTAIN KHAKIS BISON BOXERS
Test Series by Richard Lyon

Initial Report May 8, 2019
Field Report July 13, 2019
Long Term Report September 7, 2019




PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 73 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Waist: 38 inches (97 cm)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Backcountry trips are often planned around flyfishing opportunities.

INITIAL REPORT - May 8, 2019

MK 1The Product. I have read that once upon a time the Native Americans made all their clothing [and tools and shelter] from assorted parts of the bison.  Thankfully the bison in these boxer shorts is purely marketing, reflecting their manufacturer's headquarters location in Jackson, Wyoming, a wonderful town adjacent to the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains whose sole flaw is too much faux-Wild West decor. The Boxers are made [in China] of two modern fabrics, nylon [92%] and Spandex [8%]. The Spandex is a one-inch [2.5 cm] waistband in the same color as the boxers' body [black in my case] imprinted with Mountain Khakis' name and a bison in bright red. They have a standard right-side-opening fly.

Manufacturer: Mountain Khakis [MK for short]
Website: mountainkhakis.com
Listed in Men's sizes S-XXL. Mine is size Large. The website and the side panel of the package have a sizing chart.
Color: Black. The website lists four other colors.
Measured length: 17.0 inches [43 cm]

Measured weight: 3.75 ounces [106 g]
MSRP: $27.95 US
Related product: Bison Boxer Briefs [The other two Test Reports in this series address the Boxer Briefs.]
Listed features: Quick-Dry, Antimicrobial, Stretch [for "freedom of movement and all day comfort"], Lightweight & Breathable, Brushed Waistband, Inseam Action Gusset, Flatlock Seams, Alpine Mesh [the fabric mix].

First Impressions. The Bison Boxers look very much like many boxer shorts I own or have owned. The only distinctive visible attribute is a pebbled appearance of the fabric, which I guess is intended to aid breathability. Like many boxers and hiking shorts I have worn, they are slightly longer in the back than the front. They certainly feel lighter in weight than the cotton boxers I wear in the front country or the meriino wool boxers that I wear when hiking. [A quick weighing bore out this observation.]  The package gives cleaning instructions more typical of wool than synthetics: machine wash cold, no bleach, no softeners, tumble dry low, do not iron. I'll need to remember this as I normally wash synthetics with cotton rather than wool.

Trying Them On. The Bison Boxers fit very much like the boxers I wear everyday - rather loosely everywhere but the waist. This was something of a surprise, as most boxers I've purchased for athletic use tend to give a snugger fit, almost a cross between boxers and boxer briefs. [The side-by-side photos on MK's website suggested that this would be true of the Bisons. I'd say they have a more relaxed fit than pictured there.] That's all to the good as far as I'm concerned; I'm not fond of clingy underwear. Even though I'm at the upper end of the chart for size large, the elastic isn't particularly tight but it's tight enough to keep them in place.

I wore the Boxers on a couple of short hikes yesterday, in clear weather at about 60 F [16 C]. Nothing special to report - no slippage, no scratchiness, no bunching up. The temperature wasn't warm enough and the hikes not strenuous enough for any serious perspiration, so a report on wicking must await Field Testing.

FIELD REPORT - July 13, 2019


Over the past two months I've been wearing the Boxers regularly while hiking, working, and everyday activities. Results have been excellent. Read on for details.

FIELD CONDITIONS

service trip Despite its being the second week of July summer hasn't really arrived in this neck of the Northern Rockies. The weather has been cool, with temperatures rarely reaching 80 F [27 C], and with frequent showers and thunderstorms. I have worn the Boxers on about a dozen day hikes with the mercury anywhere from 40-80 F [4-26 C], in the rain, under overcast skies, and occasionally in fine weather. Most hikes have been in shorts, though occasionally I've worn long trousers. The runoff has allowed a few fishing days, in similar weather conditions. When fishing the Boxers sit under Gore-Tex waders. Two of the day hikes were work days, assisting a work crew with backcountry trail maintenance. Both of these were overcast at about 60 F [16 C] with minor showers - pleasant weather for manual labor but not a true summer test for the Boxers.

OBSERVATIONS

One piece of good news is no news at all. On most days when wearing the Boxers I barely notice that they are there. They stay in place except for the occasional hiking or work moment when they are pushed down slightly by my pack, and even then the elastic doesn't allow major slippage.  Other boxers I've worn have now and then bunched up during physical activity, but not these, at least not yet.  The fit is great.

While it's stayed cool, physical activity, especially trail work, generates perspiration. I haven't noticed any dampness even on the work days, so the fabric's wicking capability has done its job. I've had no chafing at all. Good work, MK! After a day's use the Boxers are not odor-free but they don't smell sweaty.

I have washed the Boxers perhaps half a dozen times. My standard operating procedure with wool garments other than sweaters is to wait until I have a reasonably sized collection for a wash load, then do a wash on my no-agitator machine's cold cycle, using wool-specific or non-detergent soap [e.g., Woolite or Atsko Sport Wash]. Shirts, leggings, and shorts are air-dried, usually in my utility room. The Boxers dry in a day or less in the dry air here. [As noted in my Initial Report this procedure coincides with MK's washing instructions. I have been careful to ensure that the Boxers go with the wool and not the synthetics.] The Boxers have retained their shape and the waistband, as noted, has retained its elasticity. High marks for durability at this stage, ditto for ease of care.

SUMMARY

I'm going to wait for real summer wear to list specific pluses and minuses, but I'll say now that I really like this pair of underwear. Fit, function, and comfort have left me no cause for complaint.

LONG TERM REPORT - September 7, 2019

Very little new news on the Boxers after considerable use this summer. That means a favorable report on MK's new product.

FIELD CONDITIONS

BrasovI have worn the Boxers on several trail maintenance day trips and one overnight here in Montana, many more days performing outdoor chores around my house, and as my base layer on a four-night hut-to-hut trip in the Transylvanian Alps in Romania in early August. The only severe weather occurred on the Alps trip - heavy rain [two inches/five centimeters in two hours one day at its worst] and constant mist most of the time we here hiking; it cleared up somewhat on our day in Brasov. [The bad weather and a minor injury cut short my participation in the trek.] While I met with some showers and one thunderstorm in Montana, all were brief. We've enjoyed a lovely summer in the Northern Rockies, with temperatures rarely exceeding 90 F [32 C]. At night and early in the morning it's been as low as 39 F [4 C] but usually a few degrees warmer. It was cooler in Transylvania, about 50-70 F [10-21 C]. I estimate twenty days' use during the Long Term Test period.

On all trail work and in Romania I wore the Boxers under synthetic long synthetic trousers [my Westcomb Synchro Pants, still in good shape ten years after my Test Report!]. Most other times it was under hiking shorts, either synthetic or cotton.

PERFORMANCE

The Boxers have confirmed my long-held preference for true boxers as my backcountry lower-body base layer. The main reason for this is no clinging during exertion, something that, in my experience at least, cannot be avoided when wearing briefs or boxer briefs. [I've never backpacked going commando.] The risk with boxers is chafing caused by the loose fabric's moving about and rubbing against sensitive body parts. This risk increases when the boxers are wet with sweat and consequently is reduced if the fabric wicks efficiently - which the MK Boxers have definitely done this summer. I am especially grateful for this on service trips. Until now my toughest problem has been finding full boxers in fabrics suitable for athletic activity. My favored manufacturers seem to be going small. Thank you Mountain Khakis for coming to my rescue.

Fit has been great. I can detect no loss of elasticity in the waistband and no deformity in shape. In selecting size I followed my usual custom of sizing down slightly, and the Large suits my 38-inch [97-centimeter] waist just fine.

The Boxers are not odor-free; no boxers I have ever worn, front country or in the woods, have been, given proximity to a certain orifice. However they retain considerably less odor than other synthetic fabrics I have worn, another testament to good wicking.

Washing has been as described in my Field Report, except that I hand-washed the Boxers in my hotel room in Romania, using a travel packet of Sport Wash. They've been air dried on all occasions. Perhaps this elevated level of care - I normally wash and dry synthetics in my normal laundry - is responsible, but they really look as good as out of the box. No fraying and not a loose stitch. High marks for durability.

WHAT I LIKE

Boxer style - comfortable to wear
Excellent wicking
Durability

WHAT I DON'T

I can't find them in stores, even those that regularly stock other MK products. I'd like to buy some more. They were however a featured product in a recent promotional email from MK, so I'll keep looking.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

My Test Report ends here, with thanks to Mountain Khakis and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.




Read more reviews of Mountain Khakis gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Mountain Khakis Bison Boxers and Briefs > Test Report by Richard Lyon



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