Reviews You Can Rely On

REI Co-op Active Thong Review

The affordable price tag is alluring, though our testers were disappointed by the fit, durability, and longer drying time
REI Co-op Active Thong
Photo: REI Co-op
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $15 List | $14.95 at REI
Pros:  Affordable, breathable, nice waistband
Cons:  Not very durable, flatlock seams unraveling with minimal wear
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 13, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Comfort - 35% 7
  • Fit - 30% 8
  • Drying Time - 25% 5
  • Packability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

At first glance, we had high expectations for the REI Co-op Active Thong as it was the only synthetic thong that we tested. While we like the softer fabric, flattering waistband, and frontal coverage, we were ultimately disappointed that the liner is 100% cotton, a material that does not dry quickly. We were also psyched to try a more affordable option but were quickly disappointed when we noticed the flatlock seams begin to unravel after minimal wear. These quality issues made it difficult for us to recommend this garment out of fear it could fall apart during extended travel.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $14.95 at REI$28.00 at REI$16.95 at REI$12 List$16.57 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
70
89
71
70
70
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Affordable, breathable, nice waistbandSilky fabric, stays in place, cute design, breathability, bonded seams prevent chafing and panty lines, quick dryingBreathable, affordableInexpensive, soft, quick-drying, no bulky seamsBreathable, quick drying
Cons Not very durable, flatlock seams unraveling with minimal wearExpensive, runs largeQuality, durability, uncomfortable seamsImperfect fit for someFit prevents garment from staying in place during activity, runs large
Bottom Line The affordable price tag is alluring, though our testers were disappointed by the fit, durability, and longer drying timeSuper comfortable, breathable, and a flattering fit that allows you to forget about your undies and focus on your adventureWhile this model delivered a competitive performance, we were disappointed by the overall quality and durability as we watched the seams begin to unravel after minimal useSoft, stretchy, and quick to dry, this value-forward garment won us over without making us pay a high priceFeaturing maximum comfort and four way stretch, this bikini is one of our favorite more affordable options
Rating Categories REI Co-op Active Thong Modern Travel Bikini REI Co-op Active Bi... Pure Stretch Hipster Give-N-Go 2.0 Bikini
Comfort (35%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Fit (30%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Drying Time (25%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Packability (10%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Active Thong Modern Travel Bikini REI Co-op Active Bi... Pure Stretch Hipster Give-N-Go 2.0 Bikini
Material 86% Polyester, 14% Spandex Mesh, 100% Cotton Liner 82% Nylon, 18% Spandex 86% Polyester/14% Spandex 68% Nylon, 32% Elastane 89% Nylon, 11% Elastane
Measured Weight (oz) 0.4 oz (M) .8 oz (S) 0.6 oz (S) 0.7 oz (S) 1.2 oz (S)
Flat-lock Seams Yes Seamless No Seamless Yes
Cut Tested Thong Bikini Bikini Hipster BIkini
Cuts Available Bikini, thong Bikini Bikini, hipster, brief, thong Hipster, cheeky, thong Bikini

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Active Thong is a synthetic option at nearly a third of the price of its wool competitors. This garment is ultralight, weighing only 0.42 ounces. The material is soft and breathable but we were disappointed by the 100% cotton liner that increased the amount of time it took to dry on the line.

Performance Comparison


The synthetic blend fabric of the REI Active Thong is silky smooth...
The synthetic blend fabric of the REI Active Thong is silky smooth and soft to the touch.
Photo: Trish Matheny

Comfort


Comfort is perhaps the most important category when selecting a pair of underwear for a long road trip or an extended period in the backcountry. So we put these undies to the test by identifying the type of material and thickness of each garment, how that material feels on the body, whether it's soft or itchy, and finally how well the material breathes.

The Active Thong scored high marks for its overall breathability, performing well during trail runs and hot yoga classes. Constructed from 86% polyester, 14% Spandex, and a 100% cotton liner, this thong is silky smooth. However, we noticed that the flatlock seams of the garment lacked a bit of comfort and caused us to adjust ourselves due to itchiness while trying to log our miles.

Most of the undies that we tested made it easy to remove the tag in...
Most of the undies that we tested made it easy to remove the tag in order to increase comfort.
Photo: Trish Matheny

Fit


Fit is such an important component when selecting a new pair of travel underwear. It truly doesn't matter how well the material performs if you are constantly distracted by how your undies fit your body. For this metric, we compared each cut, from thongs to hipkinis, to evaluate and score which model fit our bodies the best, whether or not the material provided the appropriate amount of stretch to move with us while assessing whether or not the waistband did its job to hold the garment in place.

In our opinion, the thicker waistband is flattering but didn't quite hug our hips as we would like. And while the material offers a lot of stretch, we were disappointed that the stretch prevented the material from forming to our bodies. The Active Thong features a great, full-coverage fit that we love but the waistband lacked the ability to hold this garment in place during activity.

We loved the stretchy fabric of the Active Thong that allowed us to...
We loved the stretchy fabric of the Active Thong that allowed us to move freely in the mountains.
Photo: Trish Matheny

Drying Time


Our testers understand how important it is for travel underwear to feature a breathable material that dries quickly, whether due to hard-earned sweat or a quick hand wash in a nearby stream. So besides washing these undies during our backcountry adventures, we also conducted a more scientific test on a partially sunny spring day in Victor, Idaho to determine how quickly each garment would dry on the line after being soaked in water and wrung out by hand.

We had high expectations for the Active Thong, considering its synthetic exterior; however, with a dry time of 50 minutes, it was hardly competitive. The reason likely lies with the liner. The liner is 100% cotton and we attribute the longer drying time to the less breathable cotton fabric. Even though it was dry in less than an hour, it fell short when compared to other thong models that we tested in this category.

The REI Active Thong took the longest to dry out of the three thong...
The REI Active Thong took the longest to dry out of the three thong cuts that we tested.
Photo: Trish Matheny

Packability


Although underwear does not take up much space when compared to bulky climbing gear or thick puffy jackets, weight and overall compactness are significant factors to consider, especially when attempting to go ultralight in the backcountry. For this metric, we took out our scales and weighed each garment before comparing all the undies side by side to assess the amount of space they required in our luggage.

It is easy to give the Active Thong high scores here. It's less than half an ounce and packs down very small. The difference between the space each thong required in our backpack was negligible; however, if trying to go as light as possible, this is a garment to consider for your next adventure at just 0.42 ounces.

Weighing just 0.42 ounces, the REI Active Thong is an ultralight...
Weighing just 0.42 ounces, the REI Active Thong is an ultralight option.
Photo: Trish Matheny

Value


The Active Thong is one of the most affordable, athletic thongs available; however, you get what you pay for. The quality of this garment was noticeably lacking when compared to the more expensive wool options and the only garment to show significant signs of wear during testing making it difficult for us to recommend this model to perform well during travel.

Conclusion


While we wanted to love the REI Co-op Active Thong because of its affordable price tag, it was very clear to us after significant testing that it lacked the quality and performance of other superior options available.

While the REI Active Thong scored well in some metrics, the overall...
While the REI Active Thong scored well in some metrics, the overall quality was a deal breaker for us.
Photo: Trish Matheny

Trish Matheny