The Best Versatile Travel Pants for Men in 2019
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 start to add up. A good pair of pants or jeans is no exception!
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.
It’s rare that I find a pair of pants that fit right after taking them off the shelf. I’ve recently discovered that getting pants made into a custom fit by a tailor (or by Becca’s mom) are the best thing that you can do for yourself.
My pair of green pants by Aviator Jeans are one of my favorite pairs of pants. I own them, and they’ve served a useful purpose already since I received them by mail. They were the first pair of pants with zipper pockets that I ever owned. They’re also stretchy and very comfortable.
Why do I like Aviator Jeans?
I like that Aviators have pockets for a phone, a wallet and a passport. You can zip things in place, and you don’t have to worry about your things. Wearing Aviators is nice because they’re comfortable and stretchy. The blend of fabric is soft and durable.
What don’t I like about Aviator Jeans?
I think there’s too much fabric in the pockets. They sometimes feel a little bulky. Their bulkiness makes sense because some of the pockets are double pockets.
I had to alter and hem these jeans considerably. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because I typically have a hard time finding pants that fit me without being tailored. I think it’s that I had to reshape them so much that it might make these a challenging fit for some people.
Before I was wearing my Duer pants, I was wearing custom pants that I got in Argentina. Those 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. When I walked around South America, I was nervous that my pockets were asking for a pickpocket to approach me and take all my stuff. I also blew out the seams a few times, and they currently have a patch on them.
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.
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. I’ve worn these pants on hikes, with a nice shirt at a fancy event and almost every day during casual days. I couldn’t say anything but nice things about Duer pants. They don’t have zipper pockets, but that isn’t a big deal unless you’re looking for them.
prAna is a socially-responsible company. 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.
How are their pants?
Their pants are good! 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 major complaint is that the pants are not tapered. If you have the pants tailored, you can get them to fit you exactly how you want.
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.
Icebreaker Merino Shifter
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 their pants?
Their pants are solid. Icebreaker has a few options for pants, and I wanted to 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.
When would you use Icebreaker Merino Shifter Pants?
If you have the capacity for multiple pairs of pants or 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.
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.
Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP Pant
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.
Thunderbolt Original Jeans
If I were to describe the Thunderbolt pants in two words, it would be, “performance pants.” The company is mindful of being practical and they do a good job fulfilling that promise. Thunderbolt makes their pants in Portland, Oregon, and only uses sustainable fabrics.
What’s so good about Thunderbolt jeans?
Thunderbolt jeans contain fabric that is breathable, quick-drying and repels water and dirt. This is a solid feature combination to have if you only want to own a single pair of pants. Materials aside, you’ll find a reinforced waistband and zipper pockets.
Bluffworks offers everything that you need, from good travel pants to full suits. They also offer free US shipping so that you can try on a few pairs and styles. I like Bluffworks pants because they’re specifically designed to be multipurpose.
All of their 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 (they have hidden pockets).
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.
Anything by Bluffworks is versatile
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 look very interesting.
Foehn Nelson Pant
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!
Features to look for in your next pair of travel pants
Zipper pockets: If you’re not standing or sitting, knowing that your items are secure is nice! Zipper pockets are designed for security, but I don’t think that’s true. Keeping things in your back pocket is a bad idea because you can never see behind yourself. If you’re in a busy crowd, it’s easy to get into a zipper pocket if there’s a lot of other movement around your pockets. I like keeping items in my front pockets, regardless of whether or not the pockets are zipped.
Articulated knees: 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: 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.