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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > REI Mesh MTS Brief > Owner Review by Ken Helms

REI Mesh MTS Brief - Men's
BY Ken Helms
July 09, 2007


NAME: Ken Helms
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Boise, Idaho
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

The backpacking bug bit me around 1984 when I moved to California and has stuck around through the years. It even prodded me into snow camping and ski touring so that I could get into the mountains during the winter. I've visited the back country in California, Wyoming, Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and my home state of Idaho. I've lowered my pack weight and enjoy trails and off trail pursuits with my wife and dog throughout the year. Our trips typically range from two to six days and we usually camp between 25 and 40 nights each year.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Recreational Equipment Inc. or REI
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $16.00
Listed Weight: None Listed
Measured Weight: 2.1 oz (60 g)
Fabric: 95% polyester/5% Lycra spandex
Available Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X Large, XX Large
Available Colors: Heather Gray, Black, Blueridge
Heather Gray Front
Heather Gray Rear

Blueridge Front

A further description of these briefs as given on the REI website is that they are made from a stretch polyester mesh that wicks moisture and dries quickly. They have an elastic waist with flat seams at the front fly opening. The flat seam construction minimizes chafing.

Additional waist sizing information from the REI website is:
Small 28 in - 30 in (71 cm - 76 cm)
Medium 31 in - 33 in(79 cm - 84 cm)
Large 34 in - 36 in (86 cm - 91 cm)
X Large 37 in - 40 in (94 cm - 102 cm)
XX Large 41 in - 44 in (104 cm - 112 cm)

Care: This information is on the label on the inside of the brief: Machine wash cold. Wash dark colors separately. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Tumble dry low. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.

The tag that came with the briefs states that Moisture Transport System (MTS) polyester moves perspiration from your skin to outer layers for evaporation.

Field Use

Like any frugal backpacker, I used my department store cotton underwear for years. While on a trip, I noticed that my wife's synthetic briefs were almost dry after a rinse while my cotton briefs hadn't even finished dripping. I bought two pair of the REI briefs after returning home.

I've used them for two seasons. I typically wear one pair while hiking and the other pair is either in my pack or drying on the back of my pack.

I've worn them in the mountainous terrain in Idaho while backpacking or day hiking at elevations from 5000 feet (1524 m) to 10,000 feet (3048 m).

The temperatures during these trips have run between a low of 12 F (-11 C) to a high of 105 F (41 C) with conditions ranging from sunny to cloudy, rain, snow or hail.


There were three performance issues that I was looking for: (1) no chafing (2) minimal odor retention and (3) quick drying.

Chafing: I haven't had any chafing issues with these briefs. They have a more snug fit than my everyday brief and if I don't make sure that the waistband is below my pack hip belt, I get some "ride-up".

Minimal Odor Retention: My typical method of washing my briefs in the wilderness is an end of the day quick rinse while swimming in a lake or stream or a wash and rinse in a bucket of water at camp. I then wring them out and hang them to dry on a nearby rock or bush. I seldom use soap so I wanted a material that wouldn't hold odor. These briefs hold very little odor if any after a simple water wash and rinse.

Quick Drying: This really depends on items like the temperature, humidity, sun exposure and wind speed. I've had them dry as fast as 20 minutes or still be damp after spending the night in a sealed tent during rain but, in general, they dry noticeably faster than my old cotton briefs and are comfortable when damp.

My frugal nature steps in after the performance issues have been attained. I want the briefs to last a long time! They cost quite a bit more than my old cotton briefs. So, after two seasons of use and home launderings after the trip, the waistband shows no sign of losing its elasticity. There are no holes, rips or loose seams on the briefs and it appears that I will get many more seasons of use.


No chafing, minimal odor retention, quick drying.


A small amount of waistband "ride-up" when not positioned properly.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > REI Mesh MTS Brief > Owner Review by Ken Helms

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