Posts Tagged travel clothing
A travel shirt that looks like a regular short-sleeve button shirt, this Huxley from Mountain Hardwear is good for traveling men who want to look decent in their quick-dry, wrinkle free clothing.
When I was backpacking around the world for years, I hardly carried anything that wasn’t a t-shirt or a polo shirt. Now I need to look a bit more respectable when I hit the road and am working, so I like to pack wrinkle-free shirts with a collar. I can wear this one tucked-in for dinner or hanging loose for casual times.
You get a 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend, which seems to be the best of both worlds in this case. It doesn’t dry as fast as a pure synthetic shirt, but definitely much faster than an all-cotton shirt: about half the time when this was side-by-side with a regular t-shirt.
It’s impressively wrinkle-free though, which is the big plus when traveling and trying not to look like a slob. No hotel iron needed: it looks fine coming right out of the suitcase or backpack and doesn’t get wrinkled when hung on a clothesline to dry. No hotel iron needed. Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of features to talk about: just two chest pockets you can button up to keep prying fingers at bay.
At $55, this isn’t going to break the bank. Based on how it has performed so far, including with a heavy pack on my shoulders a few times, it feels built to last. So far no fading, stains (even though I spilled some food with chili in it), or loose threads. This is expected based on our experience with Mountain Hardwear items in the past. It comes in three colors: this blue, “pesto,” and “shark.” Sizes go from S to XXL and aren’t too fitted.
You can get this Huxley short sleeve shirt direct from the Mountain Hardwear site, where they made us think this shirt was meant for us with this line: “Designed for the practical traveler who appreciates a bit of style…” You can also shop for it in three colors at REI or Zappos.
I’m a big fan of quick-drying synthetic clothing for travel, but when it’s time to be social and go out at night, it’s nice to have something a bit nicer that also feels soft against the skin. This OD Solo Shirt from Ibex is my favorite whenever I’m in a short-sleeve climate. For me that’s most of the time, so I’ve worn this shirt a lot.
Think of this as a short-sleeve version of the OD Heather one I reviewed a couple years back. It’s made from fine New Zealand merino wool and assembled in the USA. Considering it’s not from a Chinese sweatshop and is made well, you’re going to pay a good bit more, but this also feels like a superior piece of clothing the minute you put it on. The stitching is well -done, the fabric soft and fine, and the details are right. The buttons line up like they’re supposed to and the collar lies down where it should. This drapes on my body nicely and makes me look like I’m in better shape than I really am. Flattering and comfy.
Naturally you get all the great benefits of merino wool. You don’t have to be washing it every time you wear it for a few hours because it’s very odor resistant. It does dry quickly when you wash it though and stays surprisingly wrinkle-free after being on a clothesline. It feels great and wicks moisture, so even though it’s made of wool, it won’t make you hot and clammy in a hurry. You can wear it in warm weather and be fine, especially in a dry climate where your shirt won’t be soaked in five minutes.
Although I don’t recommend carrying a backpack with a nice merino wool shirt like this because of the pilling risk, it does have seams that are off the shoulder so they won’t rub if you’re carrying a light daypack or messenger bag.
You have to treat this a little carefully in that you probably shouldn’t put it on the heavy duty washer cycle and then put it in the hot dryer, but for me it has held up fine tossed into the washing machine with cold loads and hang drying. And like I said, I’ve worn this a lot, probably going on 10 months now, so it’s had some good real-world endurance testing.
Sunday Afternoons makes affordable, high-quality sun protection clothing for kids and adults. They’re based near my hometown in Oregon, but trust me, Sunday Afternoons knows how to block bright sunshine. We took both a child’s hat and tee along for a Southern California desert camping trip through Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks, and my fair-skinned Oregon-native boy lived to tell the tale!
Sunday Afternoons’ Radiant Tee is the perfect all-purpose, no-frills sun protection t-shirt. It’s a simple crew-neck with long sleeves and a roomy cut, is quick-dry, and rated to UPF 50. It does feature anti-micrbial properties (I look for this when purchasing outdoor clothing for my boys) and can get tossed in the wash with all the other clothing (no special treatments required). It’s long-sleeved but lightweight and comfortable in heat, and comes in multiple colors for boys and girls (tide pool, white, and blue fin for boys, the same for girls plus dahlia). Best of all, the Radiant Tee is only $20 on Sunday Afternoons. Sizes start at 2T and go to Large, which is approximately a child’s 10-12.
The brand is known for their sun hats, and my kids have been wearing them since infancy. My nine-year-old’s current favorite is the Scout hat (pictured above), probably because it looks a lot like Mom and Dad’s. He’s outgrown the billed hats and the bonnet-styles, but the Scout looks downright cool. He’s worn it everywhere from Disneyland to Death Valley. It does equally well when soaked in water (while river rafting) and in wind or rain (it does still have a draw cord for the chin). The Scout hat comes in Iris, Morning Glory, Tan, and Sand, in baby or youth sizing. Pick one up for only $26 on Sunday Afternoons, or on Amazon for the same price.
I have a new best friend for water play and summer travel! The Exofficio Sol Cool Ultimate Hoody is the latest from Exofficio’s Sol Cool line, utilizing the company’s Icefil treated fabric and offering sun protection up to UPF 50+. Like all Sol Cool products, this hoody breathes wonderfully: on a hot day, it wicks away sweat so well, I’d rather be wearing it than nothing but a swim suit.
The ultimate hoody is more than just a swim cover-up (though it does that well, too): you get underarm mesh ventilation, which means it performs well while river rafting, kayaking, and just about any other activity on or around the water. There’s a nicely sized security zip pocket for keys or a room card, and side cinches that can give you a roomier fit or slimmer fit.
The full-sized hood is just as light as the rest of the hoody, and includes a drawcord for a nice fit when needed. I wore mine with a hood on a particularly hot day in Death Valley National Park less than a week ago: I pulled the hood up over my sun hat to keep the sun off the back of my neck. I also appreciated the thumb loops and the fact that Sol Cool fabric is odor-resistant (or perhaps the others in my party appreciated that even more than me).
The hoody is form-fitting without being clingy, as it’s made from 91% polyester and 9% spandex, and comes in XS-XL in Oyster (kind of a gray), Pizazz (pink) and Varsity (dark blue). Trust me, if you like the hoody, you’ll be back to Exofficio to purchase more from the Sol Cool line. You’ll pay $75 for the ultimate hoody, but will wear it nearly daily when traveling on water or in humid, hot environments. Find it on Amazon and Moosejaw as well, for a bit less.
See Tim’s earlier review of the Sol Cool Hoody for Men.
Lightweight wool clothing, especially merino wool, is often a favorite travel staple. Why? Because it doesn’t itch, it breathes well and it keeps odor at bay (meaning you don’t have to wash the clothing item as much). Adding to that, lightweight items are almost always easy to pack. Let’s take a look at two great travel pieces made by Ibex.
The Juliet Zip Tunic is my new favorite airplane top. Made of 100 percent Merino jacquard double knit, it’s cozy like a sweater, but isn’t nearly as bulky. Plus, it can be worn a few ways: as a dress with leggings, as an open cardigan, or as a zipped-up tunic. The tunic also has zippered hand-warmer pockets, a shaped cuff, and hits about mid-thigh—making it an easy go-to travel clothing item.
The Synergy Fit Pant is a nice crossover pant that works well in yoga class, on hiking excursions, or for just hanging out. The blend of 49 percent organic cotton and 48 percent New Zealand Merino wool (plus 3 percent Lycra thrown in there) makes it comfortable enough for a lounge outfit, but it’s stylish for every day use. The pants have a 2.5-inch waistband, a curved back yoke, and there’s no tag inside to make you itch.
Both the tunic and pants are machine washable and dry relatively quickly. Just be sure to line dry, rather than tossing them in the dryer. I’ve also washed them in my hotel room sink, which works fine if you’re not near a washing machine.
The Ibex Juliet Zip Tunic comes in branch jacquard (a blue/black stripe) or goat jacquard (a gray base with orange goats) and on sale for $99.99 on the Ibex website. You can also find it at Moosejaw or Backcountry.
See more Ibex clothing reviews from Practical Travel Gear.