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Salomon Endurance 3/4 Tights

When I travel, I travel light, so I need clothes that do double-duty. This goes for my workout clothes, too. Whether I’m traveling for work or pleasure, I don’t always know what my workouts will look like. Will I have time to hit the hotel gym? Will the hotel gym be any good? Will I be staying somewhere I can run outside? Hike? Lately, I’ve been packing my Salomon Endurance 3/4 tights to cover all my bases.

salomon-endurance-tightThe Salomon Endurance is constructed of a very thin, but very tough performance synthetic blend.  You get light compression with a skin-fit that looks good and performs well. I love the zipped pocket in the back (perfect for a room card or single key) and there are two additional gel pockets that you don’t even know are there if you don’t need them. I’ve worn the Endurance tights in the gym numerous times, but also on hikes, outdoor runs, trail runs, bike rides, and climbing sessions. They don’t lose their shape after numerous washings, and they are a breeze to rinse and air dry in hotel rooms. Instead of packing several pairs of tights or shorts for workouts when I travel, I can pack only the Endurance tights and easily clean them in my room. By afternoon, they’re 100% dry again.

They come in size XS-XL, with a weight of 11.8 oz. Unlike some workout tights, they do not slip as you hike, run, or jump, but stay in place with an elastic drawstring at the waist. The inseam is listed as 17 inches. Pick up a pair for $75 on Salomon or Amazon. They come in black, or black with red piping.

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New Travel Underwear From ExOfficio

ExOfficio travel underwearWhen ExOfficio debuted its travel underwear some eight years ago, you could have any color you wanted as long as you wanted black or gray. Like the “minimum viable product” touted in The Lean Startup, this test was a raging success as frequent travelers like me snatched them up and spread the word. Each year since, more colors and designs have rolled out the door.

The women have had more varieties to choose from than the men since, let’s face it, we’re not known to be all that particular about the color of our underwear. I’ve been trying out some new styles lately in my travels, however, refreshing the underwear pocket of my bag with some fresh looks.

Give-N-Go Travel Briefs

First up, the Give-N-Go briefs, which now come in 12 different colors. You gotta like the names: stop, go, rescue (pictured here), and curfew, for example. No, I haven’t been reading Men’s Health enough to get abs like the model in that photo, but I do tend to use briefs more than boxers, so I pack these for every trip. They pack tight, which is always good, but the main reason ExOfficio sells these by the truckload is that you can wash them in the sink at night and have dry drawers by morning. Heck, an hour if you put them in the afternoon sun.

These briefs are extremely comfortable and built to last. I’ve got a pair of boxers I’ve had since 30-some country visits ago and I’m sure these will be around just as many years. You can get them direct from the company for $20 or less or order them from Moosejaw.

Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs

ExOfficio Sport BriefWhen some people think of travel they picture cocktails on the beach and swinging in a hammock. Others look at that as torture and would rather be shredding a trail on a mountain bike, climbing rocks, or hiking 15 miles a day through the wilderness.

This underwear is for them. More like what athletes would wear than sidewalk surfers, these stretchy wicking briefs are for active pursuits where you need some support. Like all the Give-N-Go options, they’re treated to be odor-resistant as well. Made from nylon and lycra, they add almost no weight to your bag. Although these have more fabric than the regular boxers or briefs, they still compress down small. You can get the 6-inch length pictured here or longer 9-inch ones.

The Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs come in three colors, but I’m sure if they do well you’ll be seeing more down the line. They retail for $30. Get them direct from ExOfficio or from REI.

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Wear Your Coffee: ExOfficio Cafenisto 1/4-Zip Sweater

exofficio-cafenistoA sweater can be a bulky thing to carry when you travel, but a good one can get a lot of use and be the daily difference between shivering and being cozy. The key is to pack a sweater that performs beyond its weight class and won’t get stinky. This Cafanisto Sweater from ExOfficio fits the bill and will dry quickly after a washing as well.

The Cafenisto Collection is so named because recycled coffee grounds are embedded in the fabric fibers. So you can not just drink your coffee, you can wear it too. The science behind this is that the coffee increases the surface area of the fibers and out of that you get better moisture management and natural odor reduction.

I first tried this “S Cafe” technology out in the Javatech Polo shirt, which was one of my most-worn items this year. I was sweating a lot more in that than this sweater and can attest that it didn’t get smelly until I’d had it on for days.

If you’re going to pack a sweater for that cold climate trip though, you want it to keep you warm while making you look good as well. This is definitely a toasty sweater, with 29% wool blended in with the light, quick-drying synthetic fibers. It’s soft and supple, draping well and not looking too bulky. The pattern of this 1/4-zip one is unique and doesn’t look like a hundred other sweaters on the rack at your local department store.

You’ll notice that this Cafenisto sweater looks a bit more technical than your usual ones also, so it says “traveler” more than “holiday party.” You can treat it with more tough love than your standard wool sweater too: tossing it in the washing machine post-vacation is fine as long as you use cold water.

This 1/4 zip version comes in four colors—three in this pattern and solid black if you really want the coffee look. It lists for an even hundred bucks at ExOfficio and you check prices for it at Rock Creek and Zappos.

My only beef with it has been that the collar never really lies down, so if I haven’t shaved for a while the flaps of it keep rubbing up against the stubble (as they would for the model in the photo above). That’s typical in most any 1/4-zip sweater, but if you hate the feel of having the collar up close to your neck, this may not be the best choice. So…there’s also a V-neck version that’s currently on sale for less at the ExOfficio site. (There’s a Jacquard style too that’s more like a conventional patterned sweater you’d see in abundance apres-ski.)

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Fast-drying Travel Underwear from Tilley

tilley-underwearYou don’t usually see travel underwear reviews in the likes of Outside or Travel + Leisure magazines, but we’ve covered the options multiple times here on Practical Travel Gear because you wear underwear every day. If you’re traveling light for 12 days, you don’t necessarily want to carry 12 sets of undies. Especially in a carry-on.

So for people who are good at packing light, fast-drying underwear is something they toss in the bag every time. The idea is that you take half or less the number of days you need, then do a sink wash along the way when needed. (Hint, shampoo is  a detergent if you don’t want to carry laundry detergent specifically.) If you’re carrying the right kind of undies, like this underwear from Tilley, then what you wash before bed will be dry by morning.

I like to give my travel gear a good workout before I write up my review, so two pairs of Tilley underwear have traveled with me to Colombia, Ecuador, Veracruz, the Riviera Maya, and Louisiana. They almost felt like normal cotton when on my body, but when I needed to wash them they easily dried overnight. In the sun, they’ll dry in an hour.

They’re not normal cotton though—they’re 100% polyester. They would fool you though as they definitely don’t feel clingy and slick or make you feel like you went back in time to sing for the Bee Gees. They wick moisture, but they’ve also got some absorbancy, which is important for a lot of reasons…

These Tilley Travel Briefs retail for $20, which is certainly more than you’ll pay for a pair of Hanes at Target. But they’ll last you a lot longer and will help you pack light in your travels over and over again—while still remaining comfortable on the move.

This travel underwear comes in white and gray. Get it direct from Tilley in six sizes or order from BeltOutlet.com or Amazon.

See this older review of the Coolmax underwear versions if you’re headed to a really hot climate.

 

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Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Pant for men and women

Mountain Khakis calls their lightweight, packable adventure pant the Granite Creek Pant. I call it the Do All, Go Everywhere, and Look Great Doing It Pant. (Wordy, but accurate. I’m sure Mountain Khakis will be calling me shortly to rename all their other pants, too.)

granite peak pantThe Granite Creek pant comes in men’s and women’s styles, and truly will perform for all travel situations and outdoor adventures. (By the way, we’re not Granite Creek newbies. Check out our reviews of other Granite Creek line clothing.) Unlike some trekking pants that get the job done but scream ‘outdoor excursion’, the Granite Creek looks downright casual while still featuring everything you’d need on said excursion. Both the men’s and women’s version offers a relaxed fit (women’s is called a contemporary fit), which gives you some style while still being comfortable. I’ve found all MK women’s wear to be a bit roomy; order a size down if you want a very slim fit. They are constructed of 100% brushed nylon, pack down small without wrinkling, and come to you Scotchgard treated. (Note: my husband and I took ours through the wringer on a multi-day backpack trip, and should have double-treated them with Nikwax stain guard in addition.)

The Granite Creek offers UV protection of 50, and wicks away moisture like a pro. Wear them hiking or in the rain, and keep your skin dry and your core temperature steady. As stated, the Granite Creek isn’t loud and showy with trekking pant features, but they’re there none-the-less: both men’s and women’s version offers five pockets, including a flat front and rear zip pocket, plus a cargo pocket with a hidden security compartment. Seams are triple-stitched to ensure the pants last you for years, and you get MK’s mudflap reinforced heel cuffs.

I took my Granite Creek pants on multiple travels, from an adventurous Alaska vacation to a Canadian Rockies tour via rail. My husband abused his backpacking and fishing. Both pairs enjoy frequent field trips out of the closet for everything from golf to dinner out to average work day use.

Pick up the Mountain Khakis men’s pant for $82 in four colors (see below), or opt for the convertible style with zip-off pants for just a few dollars more.  The women’s Granite Creek Pant can be had for the same cost, in ash, birch, pine, or mushroom. Find both on Amazon, Backcountry or Moosejaw for a few bucks less. Need something a little more polished for everyday wear? Opt for the men’s Teton Twill Pant or the women’s Everyday Chino Pant.

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