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This Earth Day, why not celebrate the environment the American way and pack yourself up in some hemp underwear? Hemp, legalization activists are fond of reminding us, has a long and unimpeachably American pedigree — both Washington and Jefferson grew it on their farms, and drafts of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were likely written on paper made of it.
For now, only a few companies are producing men’s underwear made from hemp fiber which is a shame, because as an alternative fabric, it’s one of the best around. Its fibers are longer and stronger than cotton (each hemp fiber is a foot long or greater, compared to two to four inches for the best cotton fibers). What’s more, hemp fibers are hollow like linen, which means that it breathes and cools as well as linen and better than cotton, yet is more durable than either—in fact, it’s 26 times stronger than cotton. All this in a fabric that requires far less water, fertilizer and pesticides than cotton to grow.
The legality of growing hemp for commercial purposes seems to limit some brands willingness to try it out, though certainly not everyone is scared away. Sporting/outdoors heavyweight Orvis sells a full line of hemp-made shirts and pants, though sadly it stops just short of underwear. However, at least three smaller brands have stepped up to fill the gap.
Rawganique is a brand that sources all of its hemp from Europe to make its low-rise, no elastic drawstring waist boxers. The drawstring adds to the handmade, Old World feel of these boxers, and could make hemp a real hit in your drawer. Available in Ecru Natural Chambray, Earth Brown, Sage and Black, these handsome hemp sell for $25.
Ohganix is 95% hemp, 5% spandex blend allows for a smoother, more polished look, and the slight stretch of the spandex lets this close-cut boxer cling to the legs almost like a boxer brief.
Sabine, another hemp[er], sells these hemp-made boxer briefs, too, alongside much skimpier bikini cuts. The bright colors and assured lines of the underwear itself don’t seem to reveal that this is a one-woman operation. However, the handsome fit and the absence of other strong competitors make Sabine’s boxer briefs a desirable pair.
Go green this Earth Day, go green! And, if hemp isn’t for you, check out our eco-friendly underwear picks!