Posts Tagged quick-dry
The latest line of shirts from Mountain Khakis is out now, with an array of good-looking and practical choices for travelers.
We’re big fans of the look and the attitude of Mountain Khakis products, and it’s not just because they hand out shots of whiskey and have mechanical bull riding contests at the Outdoor Retailer show. They make shirts and pants built to stand up to repeated use in the real outdoors—not just look outdoorsy for a fashion spread.
I’ve been trying out a range of different shirts from their new spring and summer line and realized on one trip they were about all I’d brought along. It’s a versatile bunch!
This Fairway Polo shirt looks and feels like a regular cotton polo shirt you’d buy at any department store, but you can’t always trust your senses. It’s soft and supple, but is actually made from recycled PET bottles. As in the kind travelers keep drinking water out of and chucking into the trash. (Not you of course, those other people.) Depending on size, each of this polo shirts has kept up to 14 bottles out of a landfill.
I’ve worn and washed mine about 20 times now and it still looks new. It’s comfortable, has snaps instead of buttons in the front, and the way the shoulders are stitched this is a good shirt to wear when you’re carrying a backpack. When you shed the pack though, you’re looking good.
With a name like Equatorial, this long-sleeve but lightweight blended fabric shirt has to be ready to travel. It’s especially ready to travel to Portland or Brooklyn as all the bearded hipsters seem to be wearing this retro style now. (Oh, if only I’d held onto my shirts from high school…)
This is a bit modernized though, with softer color patterns that have some depth. It’s also somewhat ec0-friendly, with 70% cotton and 30% of a material derived from cellulose fiber, using an organic process. It’s not as wrinkle-resistant as your average synthetic travel shirt, but not too shabby the times I’ve had it in a suitcase for days The fabric is thin enough that the shirt dries overnight when sink washed. The two front pockets are secured with a button, but also have a side stash pocket behind that for sticking in your sunglasses or something else you need to get to.
The Granite Creek model isn’t new. That name is to Mountain Khakis what Air Strip Lite is to ExOfficio – the foundation for the travel line. Amy has reviewed some Granite Creek women’s wear in the past and I checked out the short sleeve shirt last year.
I’ve been wearing a long sleeve version for the first time however and have mostly been happy with it. There’s DWR baked in to make it stain resistant. It wicks moisture, dries fast, and is vented in the back. I like the 2-section pockets (one zippered each side) and the loop on the collar for hanging it on a hook.
What I don’t like is that my seamstress making this shirt seemed to have downed a few too many Tsing Taos the night before: I had to get out a sewing kit to secure two of the buttons that were coming loose the first time I wore it. Not something you expect to do with a shirt listing for $90. Hopefully mine was an anomaly, but if you ever experience something like this after buying a Mountain Khakis product, you’ve got a one-year warranty against defects.
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.
In case you haven’t noticed, yoga has hit the road. There are yoga tours, yoga resorts, and there’s a pretty good chance that beach resort where you’re staying has a class running at least once a day. I’m not the person to ask about yoga clothing to take traveling, but my wife Donna is a personal trainer and yoga teacher, so she is. Tell us about the New Balance Anue line Donna!
Traveling can be rough on the body. I don’t mean hiking or rock climbing. I mean, sitting in a car, or an airplane, or even in an airport for hours on end. My body gets stiff. So when I get to my end destination, I like to do some yoga. Whether it is alone in my hotel room (with my trusty travel yoga mat) or seeking out a yoga class.
New Balance has come out with new additions to their Anue yoga collection called Nirvana. They are all made from recycled fibers that are soft and supple, wicking moisture in all the right places.
Their Spree Capri is exactly what you want in a yoga pant. It hugs the body in all the right places but allows for total freedom of movement. It’s made from recycled polyester with a bit of spandex, so it should dry quickly if you need to do a sink wash in the room.
Same with their new Cami, pictured top right, which went over so well it’s sold out at HQ. (For now you can still get it at Amazon.) With a soft feel and flat seams, it’s comfortable for a workout or around town.
The nice thing about these pieces are they are lightweight, easy to pack and can be used for layering outside of the yoga studio. I was recently in Nashville on vacation with my family. After using my new yoga togs on the mat, I was able to wear the Capri underneath a skirt for added warmth when the temps dropped into the 30s. And the Cami made a wonderful layering piece as well. The best part is, because these are exercise clothes, they remain breathable and are not bulky. Easy to pack and multi-purpose.
While I did not bring the Sutra Tank on this trip, I use it often in yoga class. I like the banded hem as it keeps it in place whether I am in downward dog or crow pose. However, this top will absolutely make it into the suitcase for my next warm weather vacation. Off the yoga mat, this little top will look sexy with a skirt or shorts.
The Anue line from New Balance is a nice alternative to the high-end yoga wear from the likes of Lululemon and Prana. The pieces here I tried range from $48 to $60 list price, less on sale sometimes at retail or online. Buy direct from New Balance or get them online at Amazon or Zappos.
This new tech base layer comes from Polarmax’s Comp 4 line, which is the warmest of Polarmax‘s three categories. My family and I have been skiing and snowboarding in Polarmax base layers for a few years now, and this company consistently manages to provide three things: affordability, comfort, and warmth. My kids think they’re cozy, I think I can afford to outfit everyone in them without taking out a loan, and no one complains that they’re cold.
What more could you really want from your base layer?
Well, we want style. Used to be, everyone wore the same navy blue or black long johns under their ski gear and called it a day. Now, each piece is a fashion statement. Polarmax already figured this out a few years ago with their tween Coolmax line (which my 11 and 13 year olds love), and now they’ve added a graphic element to their women’s Comp 4 half zip.
This arm and shoulder floral design is somehow both elegant and trendy, and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it. At upscale ski resorts, it’s practical to have one layer that can go from snow to apres ski, and the Comp 4 will take you there. Take off outer layers and lounge by the fireplace in this graphic base layer, or even wear it out with a wintery skirt, tights, and boots.
Any ski clothing item that can pull double-duty is getting priority in my bag. I’ve worn the Comp 4 for a day of skiing straight to the pub or ski village, and more importantly, it’s kept me warm on the slopes. It’s washed well, shows no sign of fading, and has not shank in approximately 10 washes.
The Comp 4 is made with heavy weight stretch fabric (this is the thickest layer Polarmax makes). The inside is brushed fleece, making it cozy against the skin, but it still breathes. You get dry moisture wicking and anti-Microbial/anti-Odor protection, so you don’t need to wash it between your ski day and your dinner out. The half-zip is nice because it allows for some extra breathability without sacrificing on style. It’s also nice to zip it all the way up on the mountain.
How does the Comp 4 compare to Polarmax’s other levels of warmth? I’ve tried items in their ‘warm’ and ‘warmer’ categories, and while comfortable and affordable, I won’t be going back. I now switch out between this new Comp 4 and their Comp 4 crew (without zipper). The thing I can’t live without? The brushed fleece lining.
The Comp 4 is made in the USA, and you can pick it up at Polarmax for $59.95. A variety of the women’s crew versions (in all warmth categories) can be found on Amazon, but you’ll want to order direct for the half zip with graphic.
We’ve often sung the praises of Columbia Sportswear travel clothing on this gear blog because most of their products are affordable to the average Joe, but they’re often cut better and packed with better features than items going for double the price.
Another good example is this Extreme Fleece Baselayer I took on a trip through southern Bolivia to the Atacama Desert recently. With another layer under it, I seldom needed to wear a coat, even at 15,000 feet. That’s partly thanks to Columbia’s Omni-Heat system, which is basically a series of reflective dots on the inside of the garment. These reflect back heat to your body, while the wicking fabric (without the dots in areas that get sweaty) allows any moisture to escape. I definitely felt toastier in this than with another simpler fleece I’d brought along as well.
It’s also anti-microbial, which means I was able to wear it for five days straight without my van-mates needing to complain about the odor, despite a couple hours of hiking each day. When I did sink-wash it later, it only took a few hours to dry.
It was thin and light enough to jam into a carry-on bag easily and it never got wrinkled. (It did get snagged threads twice on sharp surfaces though, so it might not be the best item for rock climbing.) It’s made of polyester and “Thermostretch.”
This Fleece baselayer is soft and stretchy, conforming to your body. So if you’re not so svelte, go up a size. Or assume you’ll be wearing it under a shell/coat.
This technical baselayer fleece comes in four colors and lists for $80—not bad considering some similar ones to this from other companies are starting to top the $200 mark. You can get it direct from Columbia or check prices at Altrec, Sunny Sports, or Zappos. There’s also a women’s version for the same price.
Or see other Omi-Heat items at Columbia Sportswear.