When you travel, a lot of thought goes into the types of items that you bring with you. If you’re like me, everything that you have serves multiple purposes. I like to pack light, and too many single-use items quickly start to add up.
I usually travel with a single pair of pants. I want to make sure those pants will last a long time! Picking a good pair of pants is based on a few qualifying factors. A pair of pants should be durable, flexible, good quality, not doofy and should serve a secondary purpose like being suitable for a second occasion.
It’s rare that I find a pair of pants that fit properly after taking them off the shelf (or getting them delivered). I’ve recently discovered that getting pants tailored (or tailored by Becca’s mom) is a way to make the exact fit not a deciding factor.
Let’s get started in checking out the following men’s brands that have fashioned unique types of travel pants.
My pair of Aviator Jeans are one of my favorite pairs of pants. I have owned these for a while, and they have been an amazing asset for me. They were the first pair of pants with zipper pockets that I ever owned. They’re also stretchy and very comfortable.
Interested in hoodies? We wrote a review of the First Class Merino Hoodie, by Aviator.
What are the best features of Aviator Jeans?
I like that Aviators have pockets specifically for a phone, a wallet or a passport. You can zip things in place and you don’t have to worry about your things falling out or being stolen.
I was once on a train, and I was wearing sweatpants. Would you believe that my wallet fell out?
Luckily, I noticed this before the train left the station and I was able to recover my wallet. Since this experience, I’ve really come to appreciate zipper pockets.
Wearing Aviator Jeans is a nice experience because they’re comfortable and stretchy. The blend of fabric is soft and durable. I’m confident that they’ll last if I wear them every day and they’re durable enough to withstand some wear and tear.
Which features of Aviator Jeans can be improved?
I think there’s too much fabric in and around the pockets. They sometimes feel a little bulky around the sides. Their bulkiness makes sense because some of the pockets are double pockets and you need the extra fabric for the zippers.
I also had to get these jeans tailored considerably (again, by Becca’s mom – thanks!). With that said, they legs fit a little on the wide side.
Update, Aviator now offers free hemming when you order! They’ll also reimburse hemming up to $10 if you show a receipt. Keep in mind that sales are final once you make any alterations.
The hidden zipper pockets that keep your valuables stored and safe, and help you avoid petty theft during travel days and transit.Buy from Aviator
Western Rise is a cool company that creates versatile clothing for men. Their focus is on minimalist products that maximize features you need and slash those that you don’t.
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What I like about the company is that they are product-focused, and their garments perform great in all different types of temperatures, occasions, altitudes and activities.
What’s more is they don’t chase fast trends; instead, their men’s line is timeless and functional. If you were wondering, the name of the brand reflects the feeling of the Rocky Mountains (which are in the American West).
Western Rise has an amazing ‘try at home’ service that gets you a trial run of up to four products, for seven days, free of charge.
Shop Western Rise and look for the Try at home button on the product pages.
I recommend two of their travel pants for men:
Are Western Rise travel pants worth it?
The Evolution Pant
The Evolution Pant happens to be ultra-lightweight and moisture-wicking, and it is also stretchy. I like wearing these on the weekend or if I’m taking a short train or bus ride these days.
These pants are perfect for the summer (or hot weather) if you’re looking for something light weight and versatile. When I took them out of the packaging, I was surprised how thin they actually were.
The AT Slim Pant
For the AT Slim Pant, they’re meant to replace jeans and work pants, so to speak. They have a two-way stretch, and elevate qualities of being breathable, water-resistant and no joke, Western Rise wants you to work from home in these.
I actually got caught in the rain while I was wearing these. I was able to brush the rain drops right off and I stayed fairly dry. Pretty cool!
The lightweight proprietary fabric that's unique and stretchy. It doesn't feel stiff after hours of wear, so the pants feel like weightless chinos.Buy from Western Rise
Photo via Western Rise
I like Bluffworks because they’re specifically designed to be multipurpose. Plus, there are many different products to choose from.
All of the Bluffworks travel pants are wrinkle-resistant, breathable and moisture-wicking. They all do an excellent job of being durable while you wash them, holding your phone (or other items) and secretly having pockets (in other words, they have hidden pockets).
Why is Bluffworks the original travel pants?
Their original travel pants are made from super lightweight material. I tried these on during a hot day, and I could have sworn that they had an air conditioner inside of them. These will be great pants if you’re wearing pants in really hot climates. They’re very wrinkle-resistant, so if they’re rolled up in a ball for a few days, you can shake them out and they look presentable.
Bluffworks pants have been around for a long time. In fact, they were created in 2012. They have an interesting history that is worth checking out.
Bluffworks also makes a travel suit
The same technology that goes into the pants is also in their suits. If you need to travel with a suit, the suits from Bluffworks are sure bets for having a suit that doesn’t wrinkle or smell during a trip.
The technical features like pockets and fabrics that are the best value-adds in all their products. I like Bluffworks because all their clothes make you feel decent and put-together, even if you just throw them on in a minute.Buy on Bluffworks
Photo via Bluffworks
Before I was wearing my DUER pants, I was wearing custom pants that I got in Argentina.
The pants from Argentina are some of my favorite pants, ever, but weren’t practical for traveling. They had shallow pockets, and the seams were not reinforced. The insides of the pockets started breaking because they weren’t sewn well, and overall, it was time for a trusty pair of pants for me.
When I walked around South America during my year of working remotely and traveling, I was nervous that my pockets would get pick-pocketed.
I also blew out the seams a few times, and they currently have a patch on them. I can’t say that the material is the most durable, but they are very comfortable!
I still wear these around New York City. My phone often slides around and is exposed in the corners of the pockets. I always have to make sure nothing falls out of the pockets.
I found DUER pants as an answer to all of the problems that my Argentina pants had. DUER pants are incredibly durable and have nice deep pockets. They have a lot of different styles to choose from, and all styles offer features that are unique.
The pair that I have lasted about three years of daily use. That’s something like 1000 wears! They have since worn out a bit, but that’s to be expected because I don’t think any material really lasts forever.
What types of DUER Pants do I have?
I settled on the “No Sweat Slim” pair. They didn’t need any alterations or modifications. With that said, they are a slim fit, so they might not work for everyone. In any case, these are my go-to jeans that I could wear essentially any day of the week, and I always feel great in them.
I’ve worn these pants on hikes, with a nice shirt at a fancy event and almost every day during casual days. I also have DUER’s newest summer shorts, the Weightless Poplin AC Shorts for men.
I only have nice things about DUER pants and actually, I bought them with a friend who also raves about them equally. The DUER pants don’t have zipper pockets, but that isn’t a big deal unless you’re looking for them.
What makes DUER Pants unique?
I wanted to call out that DUER pants have a lot of reinforcement in certain places that usually fall apart on other pants that you wear often. Their pockets are also some of the deepest that I’ve seen in any other type of pants. This means feeling good that things won’t fall out of your pants even if you are doing a cartwheel.
The DUER signature gusset and the overall fit. I haven't found travel pants that fit quite as perfectly as DUER jeans, and they're built to last, even if you wear them during long-term travel or every single day of the week.Buy on DUER
Because I like my other pair of DUER jeans, I’ll mention that DUER also has a pair of joggers. I like joggers for travel because they are comfortable and versatile. You can wear them on travel days and for walking around cities and exploring various destinations.
Joggers aren’t the best for hiking, but they do hold up very well for more active activities like working out and riding a bike.
They look great and would totally work for the traveler looking to find a great looking pair of pants that can be worn on multiple occasions.
What's special and new about DUER's jogger is that the style mimics jeans, down to the pockets and the fly, which I haven't seen in other joggers from competing brands.Buy on DUER
Photo via DUER
prAna is a socially-responsible company. You can learn more about their sustainability mission on their website.
Their sustainability line offers recycled wool and organic cotton. Their clothes are also fair trade certified! Quality and durability are important to the brand. They mention those two pillars in their mission statement.
Are prAna Brion pants work it?
Their pants are crowd-pleasers! The Brion line is the most popular pair of pants that prAna makes. The material is cut from their original stretch zion fabric. They have a lot of useful features that are specific to travel needs, like reinforced rivets, water-repellent materials and sun protection.
prAna Brion: deep dive
A personal consideration about these pants is that the pants are not tapered. If you have the pants tailored, you can get them to fit you exactly how you want. If you don’t typically wear slim fit pants, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
The pants contain 97% nylon and 3% spandex. If you weren’t sure what their original stretch fabric is, this is it!
You can use these pants for almost every occasion. They’d be good for hikes, climbs, casual Saturdays, office attire and for riding a bike.
These travel pants are more traditional, so they're good for someone who likes a slim fit that's not a skinny jean. prAna's commitment to sustainability is awesome, so sustainable shoppers will like the Brion.Shop on Backcountry
Photo via Backcountry
The Stretch Zion pants are a great option for hiking and a more comfortable travel experience. They are classified as technical pants, which I believe speaks to their ability to offer features such as an adjustable waist, stretchy material, an inseam gusset and roll-up snaps.
If you’re more adventurous, the Zion pants will help you perform better in your activity of choice. If you like to travel with a pair of pants and feel like you can do anything in them, then the prAna Stretch Zion would be a great option for you.
A stretchier Brion travel pant, these performance pants are made of recycled nylon and have a ventilated gusset, which is great for active days or a workday that turns into a hike day.Shop on Backcountry
Photo via Backcountry
Icebreaker is known among the serious traveler crowd because of their quality and their use of merino wool.
Merino wool is one of the best materials to use for clothes. You can wear merino wool several times and the smell never really knocks your socks off. Well, unless they’re socks, and you take them off.
Sustainability is a big part of their philosophy and core values as a company. They also make other great items for travelers, like their well-known socks, shirts and hats.
How are Icebreaker Merino Shifter pants?
Their pants are solid. Icebreaker has a few options for pants, and I’ll focus on their Merino Shifter Pants.
I think they’re interesting to highlight because this is a case in which this might be your secondary pair of pants. Although I typically like to travel with a single pair of paints, I can see having a second pair.
Traveling with two pairs of pants is good if one is in the wash or is wet from the rain. It would also be good in case you lose a pair of pants (is that possible?).
When would you use Icebreaker Merino Shifter Pants?
If you have the capacity for multiple pairs of pants or if you aren’t traveling full-time, these are still great pants to have.
They’re super cozy and have numerous uses. You can take them on a run during a cold day, be warm while relaxing around your house, pretend these are “adult pants” and wear them to work and more!
You might have a harder time in tailoring these; however, you might not need to because the pants are already tapered. They also have an excellent stretchy material called LYCRA® that helps a lot with the mobility and “stretchability.”
These merino fitted jogger-style pants are more like a tailored comfy pair of sweatpants that'll get you through travel days with the soft merino wool jersey knit. Also great for lounging around.Shop on Icebreaker
Photo via Icebreaker
The Rhone Commuter are not your generic “travel pants.” They appear to be from the outside, but when you dig a little deeper, they have some nice features.
How can travel pants have features?
The Rhone Commuters come with a few things that can be useful for someone who travels a lot. They have a snap button, back pocket zipper, phone pocket, articulated knee and a gusset. Why are these useful features?
A snap button is useful for times when you only have one hand available. It’s also more comfortable, in my opinion. Back zipper pockets are helpful to keep things from falling out. I explained more details about this below! I like the phone (or media) pockets for phones and phone-sized-things, like passports. Having an articulated knee in a pair of pants is only useful if you’re doing a lot of movement.
One of the best features about buying Rhone pants is their ability to hem your pants. Not needing to hem these pants yourself saves a trip to a tailor and makes them a bit more custom when they get to you.
Wait, what’s a gusset?
A gusset is a piece of fabric in the undercarriage of the pants that reinforces the area and helps prevent the ripping of your pants.
These commuter pants are a great travel pants choice because they include a few important features, namely a zipper pocket and mobility gusset, that make them all-star travel chinos.Shop on Rhone
Photo via Rhone
Mountain Hardware is a well-known outdoor brand. I first heard about them because of their jackets. Their Hardwear AP™ pants are their flagship hiking and climbing pants. Can pants have a flagship model? I guess so!
They’re mostly cotton and nylon. Most people don’t like cotton for travel clothes, but I don’t mind it. I think that cotton gets better with age and is more comfortable. It doesn’t usually do well in wet weather, though.
What to expect wearing Mountain Hardwear AP™ Pants
You can expect normal pants-wearing-things with these. Aside from covering your legs, you’ll find zip pockets, articulated knees, reflective strips and a cell phone pocket. The reflective strips are useful when you roll up the bottoms of the pants. When you’re on a bike, it’s an extra protective measure for being seen in darker conditions.
Standout features for the Men's AP pant are that they look more like hiking pants that have a decent side, so that you can walk into a brewery after the hike during your trip, and avoid looking messy.Buy on Backcountry
Photo via Backcountry
Public Rec is a new ‘leisure for everywhere’ brand specializing in soft and breathable products for men. I tried out their “All Day Every Day” (ADED for short) jogger, which is a style tailored for travel and comfort.
What can you expect from the Public Rec jogger?
At first glance, the jogger looks like a tailored type of sweatpants, but it’s more than that. From far away, these pants look great. I almost wanted to wear these to work! Now that I work from home, I can wear them to work. There’s an elastic waistband with internal drawstring, along with front and back zipper pockets that you can keep some crucial items in during travel.
In order to not be confused with sweatpants, the joggers have a faux front fly for a more formal look. While you probably wouldn’t wear these right from the plane to a business meeting, you could for sure wear them for a day of sightseeing and feel pretty put-together.
What do the Public Rec Every Day Joggers feel like?
The joggers are a spandex-nylon blend, which makes them breathable and not a bad choice if you’ll potentially be perspiring.
Do you need the Public Rec Every Day Joggers?
Probably. If you like to wear pants that are not jeans when you’re in transit, and if you still want to look decent, then yes: you need the Public Rec joggers for men.
The Public Rec jogger will be the closest thing you can find to a stretchy pair of pants that will be comfortable, won’t wrinkle and will look pretty okay after 24 hours in transit (like on a flight).
Another question is: do you need the Public Rec joggers for a woman in your life? Maybe you do! This is a pair of travel pants in this list that also has a women’s version: the women’s All Day Joggers from Public Rec, and my wife Becca approves of them.
Can you run in the Public Rec Every Day Joggers?
Yes! In colder weather (below freezing) I like to run in pants. For me, shorts are ok as long as the temperatures are above freezing. On some of the coldest days of the year, I decided to research what types of pants to buy for cold weather running. I enjoyed all of the suggestions, but I like to utilize items that I already own.
I took the Public Rec Every Day Joggers out for a run and it was great! I stayed really warm, in fact, I was actually too warm at the end of my run.
There is a security pocket on the left side, which was perfect for holding my phone during my run. I typically have a lightweight running belt but it wasn’t needed when I was wearing these pants – all thanks to that pocket!
One of my favorite aspects of these joggers is that it's possible to work out in them, and also wear them on a plane and around a city. For joggers, they have a tapered and decent look to them, and come in nice colors.Buy on Public Rec
Photo via Public Rec
These Nelson Pants are going to be your pick for anything active. The pants are designed explicitly for climbing and have features that work with wearing a harness. They win the award for durability and movement.
Do you need these pants?
Maybe. You can find triple-reinforced seams and super stretchy Cordura yarns. They have a side-zipper pocket and other small utility pockets. They’re best served for intense hikes, and especially for hikes that have some scrambling. If this sounds good to you, then they seem like a good fit!
These travel pants are specifically for hiking and climbing, so if you're into those activities, having a nice-looking climbing pant is right for you when you're on a trip. They're very durably built, for robust types of heavy action.Buy on Foehn
Photo via Foehn
What features should you look out for when choosing your next pair of travel pants?
Zipper pockets can help keep your valuables safe
No matter how careful you are, it’s always a possibility that you can get pickpocketed. Zipper pockets are an easy way to protect yourself from someone reaching into your pockets and snatching your phone or wallet.
With everyday use, zipper pockets are also great for making sure you don’t lose valuable items that you keep in your pockets!
Depending on what you’re doing, you need to put a lot of trust into regular pockets for making sure you don’t lose anything. It’s really easy for a phone or wallet to slide out if you’re traveling all day and get up from a chair or bench. Having a little extra security can really go a long way.
Hidden pockets are an extra layer of protection
You might want hidden pockets (or inside) pockets if you really want to feel secure about keeping your valuables close to you. Alternatively, you could also look for a money belt.
Secret pockets are a great place to stash things like your travel documents, your keys or phone. Hidden pockets may also have a zipper that can help when you take off your pants and forget something is inside of the pockets.
Articulated knees make pants more comfortable
Having articulated knees built into pants is an interesting feature. They help to avoid having your pants bunched up or cutting off circulation. It makes it easier to go into a full squat as well. Having this feature in pants is a useful for hiking and going to the gym. The stitching pattern gives off a “travel pants” vibe.
I suspect that custom-fitting pants with articulated knees might introduce some challenges for the tailor (or Becca’s mom). For these types of pants, I take the stance that they’re specifically for hiking and that they don’t require any custom fitting.
Cell phone pockets protect your phone
I generally like cell phone pockets because it means more pockets for other things. When you travel, sometimes you have odd items. It’s not uncommon to have a passport with you while you’re out, or to have an oddly-shaped piece of paper. Using such a pocket for those items is often a better idea than using it for your cell phone.
Any pants that have some type of spandex built into the fabric is a nice touch in making your pants more comfortable. You’ll see a benefit of extra mobility and the pants will be more forgiving for different situations.
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Last updated on May 19th, 2022