Posts Tagged ExOfficio
Whenever and wherever I’m going in my travels, at least one pair of travel pants is going in the bag, often two or more of them. These Kukura Trek’r ones from ExOfficio are now on top of the stack, a grab and go pair of pants that works in multiple situations and climates.
While I love the typical thin, quick-dry travel pants that will dry overnight (or an hour in the sun), they’re not ideal for cooler climates and can be kind of baggy on your body. These Kukura ones from travel pants champ ExOfficio are a little thicker and have a key attribute for active pursuits: they stretch. Whether crammed in on a plane or hiking the Andes, that extra bit of give makes these comfortable enough to wear all day every day.
I wore these pants on a trip to Turkey recently, one that involved flying Tampa-NYC-Istanbul and then hitting the ground running when I arrived to research an article. Usually I’m ready to shed what I’m wearing at that point, but I kept these pants on the whole time and wore them much of the following week as well. They looked brand new no matter what and were super-comfortable. I especially appreciated the expanding waistline feature when I was enjoying all that good Turkish food.
These are marketed as technical pants, good for hiking, rock climbing, or other active pursuits. I’m taking them with me on a biking tour trip this coming week and if the weather is too cold for shorts, I could bike in these as well.
Being travel pants though, they’ve got lots of thoughtful features built in for travelers. I like that both of the back pockets are secured: one with Velcro, one with a zipper. The pattern is repeated on the side, with a zipper pocket and a Velcro pocket on the leg. That doesn’t make them pick-pocket-proof I know, but it helps. Then there are two regular pockets you can stick your hands in, one with a loop for keys or whatever. All the pockets have mesh liners to cut down on weight and allow air to circulate.
Like most ExOfficio products, these pants are built to last and will still look great after 20 trips. They’ve got a DWR treatment that repels stains and water—a feature I got to try out when someone spilled coffee on my leg and it wiped right off. The “Indestructible Button System” uses fabric loops instead of bound-to-unravel thread.
While you could argue the Craghoppers stretch pants I tried and reviewed recently are more stylish, with no side pockets on the legs, these are nice enough to wear in most non-business situation where you want to look presentable. When you don’t, they’re ready to take on any challenge.
You can toss these Kukura Trek’r pants in the washing machine no problem and if you do sink wash them, they should be dry by morning. They come in black or gray and list for $110, which is certainly not cheap, but it’s not an exaggeration to say they could last you a decade or two and you could easily wear these and nothing else for a week straight if you’re trying to pack light.
See more reviews of ExOfficio travel clothing.
There are times you need to be fully covered even when it’s not cold. When you start out exercising on a cool morning, at the beginning of a hike, or when you’re going to spend way too much time in the sun. When your body starts heating up and producing perspiration, suddenly those long sleeves (and maybe even a hood) don’t feel like such a great idea anymore.
Several companies are coming out with new clothing lines this year, however, that can cool your body back down as much as five degrees when they start getting wet. This Sol Cool Hoody is one of them, armed with Icefil technology, a compound “found in the birch tree and mint gum.” The idea is that it arms you with UPF 50+ sun protection all over, but keeps you comfortable in the hot sun or during a workout.
I’ve used this on two trips and an in-town biking trip now and have been happy with the results. I didn’t carry a thermometer around to check my body temperature, but it did get noticeably cooler when I started sweating and a breeze kicked in. I’ll definitely be packing this for an upcoming bike tour and my next trip to the beach.
I found another handy use for it too, off-label so to speak: as a snorkeling cover-up. I’ve got nothing close to a full head of hair anymore, so this ExOfficio hoody allowed me to swim around on the surface for an hour without getting burned anywhere—including on my head.
I didn’t have anyone take my photo doing it though because I’ve got to admit I felt a little like a 1970s science fiction movie character with the hood on. You’re probably not going to wear it casually around town.
Like the other items in ExOfficio’s Sol Cool line we’ve reviewed before, this shirt is lightweight, wrinkle-free, and dries in a flash. It’s thin, stretchy, and comfortable. It’s got quality flat seams and thumb holes for getting more of your hands covered.
See more reviews of ExOfficio travel clothing from this gear blog.
Flying critters that bite can make a vacation more uncomfortable than fun when you’re not prepared. Sure, you can bring the DEET, but help yourself out with a secondary method of protection: the ExOfficio BugsAway Lumen Hoody.
The lightweight hoody has a breathable, open mesh weave that protects you from bugs while keeping you cool. On my recent multi-day hike on New Zealand’s Milford Track, I also managed to wear it in the misty mornings, and paired with a tank, I felt warm enough to start on my day of hiking. The short’s drawstrings and thumb loops allow you to hunker down during the worst insect attacks (or cool weather)—but the mesh still keeps you from getting overheated.
The Lumen Hoody is treated with Permethrin, the active ingredient in ExOfficio’s Insect Shield apparel. It repels mosquitoes, ticks, flies, ants, chiggers and midges. In New Zealand’s Fiorland region, known for magnificent landscapes and irritating sandflies, wearing the hoody allowed me to enjoy the first without too much trouble from the second. Permethrin binds to the fibers of the shirt, and ExOfficio claims that it remains active through 70 washings.
Speaking of washing, the shirt dries quickly—leaving you bug-vulnerable for only a limited time. Make sure you don’t dry clean it, however, as the Permethrin doesn’t stand up as long to that kind of cleaning.
The only bummer for me was that the shirt is better able to accompany the wearer on passive adventures, rather than particularly active ones. Small bits on my backpack snagged the fabric a couple of times, and my camera strap (worn across my chest the entire 34 miles of the track) wore the fabric a little bit fuzzy where it rested. That said, I’ll still wear it, and would even love to get a backup hoody for more relaxing pursuits.
See more Practical Travel Gear reviews of ExOfficio travel clothing.
ExOfficio is best known for its lightweight, quick-dry travel clothing, but over the years they’ve steadily added more items for the cold months too, like the Alpental Fleece Jacket (still selling well three years after its debut) and the packable Storm Logic jacket.
This Men’s Roughian Long-sleeve Sweater has been my g0-to pullover this season when the temperature drops and I’m taking it with me for apres-ski action in Park City week after next. Wool and synthetics both have their drawbacks for winter wear, but this sweater is a blend of both. The 42% wool provides warmth and natural odor protection, while the synthetics provide some stretch, washing machine compatibility, and softness. Speaking of softness, there’s an additional fleece lining on the inside of the front and back (but not the underarms section, smartly) that makes it even more comfortable.
For just wearing around at home I like the feel and warmth of it, plus the zippered pocket on the sleeve makes it handy for travel—an extra place to stash some cash or a credit card. Many phones will fit in there as well.
As far as space goes, it’s going to take up more room than a technical base layer, but less than a jacket and it’ll compress better. It weighs considerably less than a straight wool sweater too. I picked this color pictured here to illustrate where the flatlock stitched seams are—off the top of the shoulder in case you need to carry a pack. If you don’t like being able to see them so easily, pick the black version instead. It also comes in brick red.
You’re advised to wash this in cold water and line dry it because of the wool, but you can toss it in the washing machine without worrying about it shrinking to doll clothing size. If you do have to hand-wash it or it gets wet, it’ll dry in a reasonable amount of time.
Normally we put links at the bottom of a review for you to go check prices around the web, but in this case the best price you’re going to find on this sweater is likely at the ExOfficio site. Unlike a lot of brands, they’re not afraid to discount prices on their own site in order to move out seasonal inventory, so this $95 sweater is currently $75.
Check out the Men’s sweaters section for this Roughian one in different styles like hooded or with front snaps. There are also two Roughian models in the women’s sweaters, though they’re decidedly un-rough looking, naturally.
See more reviews of ExOfficio clothing from this travel gear blog.
What was the best travel gear of the year? Which were the most interesting travel clothing items, shoes, gadgets, and bags?
We review a useful piece of travel gear or outdoor clothing each weekday. Taking out a few holidays here and there, that’s close to 250 items in the course of a year. We keep on using a lot of them after we’ve posted the review, seeing how well they hold up and how useful they are in our frequent jaunts around the country and the globe. Here’s what stood out for us in 2012, in the writers’ own words.
Ramsey Qubein’s Business Travel Gear Favorites
I love my Able Planet Clear Harmony noise-reducing headphones. They are affordable, lightweight, and come in a great, sturdy carrying case with an airplane adapter. When used to plug into audio channels or for watching videos on an airplane or with my laptop, the sound quality is impeccable proving they were worth taking up the valuable space in my carry-on.
Dressing up and dressing down is often a challenge too, but my Bostonian travel shoes from Clarks make that task easy. The loafers are easy to slip on and off at security and on the plane, and pounding the big-city pavement in these shoes is very comfortable.
My Briggs & Riley carry-on bag expands when I overstuff it, but still fits easily into overhead bins of most planes (I still dread those regional jets as much as you). This Baseline suitcase is great for business travelers because it supports folded suits well while also providing easy-to-access pockets on the outside.
When I do get time off, the Sierra Designs Frequency jacket has surprisingly proven a sharp favorite because I can scrunch it up into a tight corner of my bag, wrap it around my waist, or wear it anytime I am in cool weather without it being too bulky. Plus, the stylish accent colors on the black, zip-up jacket are attractive in almost any setting.
Amy Whitley’s Best Outdoor and Family Gear Bests
The Osprey Aura-50 literally saved my neck on a four-day backpacking trek last July, earning it a place on my list of top travel gear for 2012. What sets the Aura-50 apart from other backpacks is its customization: with plenty of ways to adjust the pack and harness, it will fit you correctly, reducing neck and back pain as you hike with heavy loads.
I reach for the Aventura 2-in-1 dress more often than any other item of travel clothing. It’s a halter dress and a skirt, and can be dressed up or down. Put it over a swimsuit or take it out on the town.
I use my Haiki Hobo 2 bag every single day, and it shows literally no wear. Plus, it’s made of recycled materials, so I can feel good as well as look good.
Our whole family now wears Polarmax technical base layers. What I love: they’re high quality without the high price. These base layers are no-frills goodness.
Tim Leffel’s Globetrotting Traveler Gear Picks
It’s getting harder each year to find something truly unique and groundbreaking, so this Camelback All Clear stood out for solving a huge plastic bottle garbage problem in a unique way. Using a similar technology to the SteriPen (a perennial favorite), this water bottle purifies any tap water you put inside it. I’ve used it in five countries where you can’t drink the water normally, and everything was “all clear” in the health of me and my family.
The item I probably used the most this year was a simple one: the Eagle Creek packable daypack. The company gave these away at the Adventure Travel Summit last year and every well-traveled delegate I’ve met since is still using it and raving about it. It packs down tiny in any bag, but is strong enough to be a functional daypack for sightseeing.
I was thrilled to see more companies putting out lightweight, easy-to-pack travel shoes this year. I liked all of them and have used the Teva Mush Frio ones the most, but these Timberland Camp Shoes that zip in half win the innovation prize. The only ones all year that made my 12-year-old say “That’s so cool!” Honorable mention to Wolverine for their adjustable disk to customize rugged hiking shoes for different feet and situations.
It’s been hard to avoid hearing about P^Cubed Pants if you’re someone who reads travel blogs or magazines, or checks out the SkyMall catalog even. The Pick Pocket Proof Pants scream “backpacker” in the original style (fine for real adventures), but the business pants are nice enough to wear to meetings, while still making sure you won’t get pickpocketed walking from one place to the next in Rome.
The gadget I loved at first use has been with me on every long trip since: the Innergie 3-in-1 PocketCell Travel Charger pictured at the top of this post. I know I can get on a flight across an ocean and still have power when I arrive for my Android cell phone or fast-draining iPod Touch. And the same cord works for both.
Last, a shout-out to Microsoft for finally creating a mobile interface that doesn’t make people want to throw their devices across the room. Their tile system on Windows phones and the new Windows 8/RT operating system for tablets is terrific, making the home screen interactive and informative at a glance. And hey, you can surf Flash sites and use Windows Office programs to get real work done, meaning you don’t have to carry a tablet and a laptop on business.
Jill Robinson’s Outdoor and Active Gear Favorites
A lot of my travel this year has focused on outdoor adventures, and it’s not always easy for me to find clothing that I’d be happy to use on nearly every trip. But once I do, I’m a loyal girl. The ExOfficio Nomad Skirt is not only comfortable and stylish, it dries super quick—which is optimal when you pack so light that you rely on evening hotel room sink laundry sessions. Also, for those of us who abhor having to use an iron on a regular basis, it’s wrinkle resistant.
Similarly, the Isis Rim Rock Short is something that gets tossed in my bag almost every time. The shorts are lightweight, durable, wrinkle resistant, and rugged yet cute enough to wear on city streets without getting weird looks.
The Eddie Bauer BC-200 Hard Shell Jacket is my go-to storm jacket for my travels. It protects me from the wind and rain, but it doesn’t take up much of my valuable suitcase space.
I test wheeled, carry-on suitcases out all the time, and while I like many of them, I’ve used the Gregory Cache 22 Suitcase for most of my trips this year. The wide handle allows me to pack my clothing flat, and the oversize wheels help me manage a variety of terrain without the bag spinning out.
The item that’s made the cut into my everyday life is the LifeProof iPhone Case. Not just for travel, it keeps my phone dry and protected from falls without adding bulk. It’s great when I’m on the water, in the snow, in dusty places, and even when I’m around kids or other folks who spill a lot.
How about you? What did you pick up in the past year that you couldn’t bear to part with now?