Posts Tagged travel clothing
Hands down, Smartwool’s action bras are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. They’re designed for action–hiking, running, and other work outs–but I’ve been wearing my Seamless Strappy Bra every day it’s clean. It certainly always makes the traveling team, finding its way into my bag every time I leave town. What makes it great? It’s seamless, which means I skip any pinching or rubbing against my skin. It’s made of Merino wool throughout, which wicks away moisture like a boss and is equally comfortable in cold or hot weather. Pick between the Racerback model or the Strappy; both are comfortable enough to sleep in. They come in sizes S-XL in three colors for $60 at Smartwool or a few bucks less on Amazon. It’s also stocked at Backcountry.com. For a tougher bra with harder core control, upgrade to the PhD Racerback for $70, also at Backcountry.
Photo from left to right: Give and Go lacy bikini underwear, PhD Seamless Strappy bra, Gore Essential brief.
ExOfficio is a known authority on travel-ready clothes, so it only makes sense to trust them with your base layers, too. Let’s get real: underwear and bras need to last the distance while on the road more than any other item of clothing, right? Any frequent traveler would vote them ‘most likely to end up rinsed out and drying on a hotel bathroom sink’. ExOfficio is here to tell you those days are over, however. Their Give and Go underwear line is treated with a microbe shield which helps maintain freshness. In other words, they don’t smell. (Really.) They’re also extremely quick-drying, which means less sink-drying time, and highly breathable. I have it on good authority that river rafting guides the world over swear by Give and Go underwear, because they dry much faster than swim suit bottoms. The best news? They’re not ugly: travelers pick between no fewer than nine colors and nine styles, from boy shorts to lacy bikinis to full coverage. Not to over share, but I have the lacy bikini style and am a very satisfied customer. Pick up a pair for $22 at ExOfficio (I know, but they’ll last you!) or shave a few dollars off the price on Amazon.
If your travels include serious exercise, like all-day hiking or biking, Gore’s Base Layer Briefs will be your new best friend. These briefs are extremely lightweight (they’re described as ‘barely there’ and very breathable (made from polypropylene). Seams are present, but minimized, and the waist sports a soft elastic band. They stay put on your body and take up very little space in your bag. The cut is fairly high, without quite being bikini level. Pick up a pair in black or white for $29.99 or do yourself a favor and get them for as little as $17 on Amazon.
Rain jackets can be bulky to pack, and not always a joy to wear, even if you like the rain. But the lightweight (only 23 ounces!) ExOfficio Deluvian Rain Trench folds and packs easily, because it’s made from one of the company’s classic shirt fabrics, and crafted into a waterproof and breathable layer using a laminate and a Durable Water Repellent treatment.
I’ve worn it in the slamming rain and didn’t have any trouble staying dry. The jacket is seam sealed and has a zippered snap-closure storm flap to protect you from the elements. There’s also a removable hood, for decent weather days.
The stylish jacket gets a better fit with an included belt and adjustable snap cuffs. The nylon/polyester laminate shell is easy to clean by machine washing and hanging to dry.
Aside from its packability, my favorite thing about the trench is that inside is an eight-pocket travel system to help you keep your things safe and somewhere you’ll remember them. The security pockets are labeled for glasses, passport, keys, cell phone and more. You almost feel like James Bond, with everything tucked away for that moment when you need it.
There’s also a men’s version of the Deluvian, at the same price and with the same pocket set-up. We were going to do a “he said, she said” review together, but the men’s version is so radically different from a styling standpoint that Tim will handle that one separately in another post.
If you’re not familiar with Sherpa Adventure Gear, the brand has a nice story behind it: founded by Tashi Sherpa in Nepal, purchases help support the education of Sherpa children. The company donates $.50 for every product sold to the Paldorje Education Fund, which then grants scholarships to deserving students. Plus, purchases help support the families of Sherpa guides through a royalty on sales.
This is awesome, but you’ll want to buy their products regardless; their clothing includes the features I look for most in travel wear: versatility, comfort, and rugged construction.
The Naulo pant is tough enough to withstand a full day on the trail, hiking or scrambling, but lightweight enough pack down small in your bag and comfortable enough for a long plane or car ride. They’re true four-season pants: they breathe in summer and yet protect enough for winter excursions in mild climates. They’re not waterproof, but very water resistant, which makes them a great pick not only for wet days but for travel use (i.e., spills will wick right off). The waist is fitted with a comfortable snap and zippered fly closure, with a soft fleece panel lining at the waist. The 4% spandex helps with the comfort factor. Four flat zippered pockets are convenient (you get two at the top and two mid-thigh). The pants look much more fitted and sleek than standard trekking pants, with the same wicking and range-of-movement benefits. On a strenuous hike in the Canadian Rockies, my Naulo pants took a beating with mud and snow, then were packed away in dirty laundry for four more days. Upon arrival back home (and into the washing machine), they washed out perfectly. Of course, you can play it safe by treating them with Nikwax, my favorite stain block for outdoorsy travelers.
The inseam for the regular is fairly short, and the pant comes in sizes 2-16. They’re $124 on Sherpa or as low as $89 at Idaho Mountain Touring, and you’ll be able to wear them for every aspect of your trip, from dinner out to the day on the trail. Pick between black and tan.
The Langtang jacket is an indulgence you’re not likely to regret. The softest zip-up, lightweight jacket I’ve ever owned, the Langtang is made of high pile polyester fleece, and so soft you’ll think you’re wearing some sort of fur. For an extra treat, wear in the spring or fall with only a t-shirt underneath to feel the material against your skin all day. The design is simple, with two front zippered pockets and a front full-length zipper closure. You get a nice, subtle Sherpa emblem on the back, and no other exterior design. The Langtang comes in four rich colors, including a gorgeous coral in sizes XS-XL, and can be picked up for $90 at REI or on Sherpa.
See reviews of other travel clothing on Practical Travel Gear.
Aventura clothing is ideal for travel. Why? Their pieces are made to mix-and-match or layer, plus most fabrics are natural and lightweight, making items easy to pack and comfortable to wear in all climates. The Aventura Jasper long-sleeved top is no exception: this stylish top will go with everything from skirts to jeans, and is so light I’ve layered it over camisoles even in tropical climates and felt comfortable. Pack the Jasper for trips where you’ll need to cover up at temples or other religious destinations, for climates with frequent weather changes, and for chilly airplane cabins.
The Jasper is 60% cotton and 40% polyester with an elegant burnout pattern in five colors. (I’d suggest buying at least a few.) It’s definitely cut to flatter: the Jasper is not tunic length, but extends past the waist. It it fitted, but doesn’t cling. You can machine wash it of course, and because it’s quite thin, it dries quickly if you need to spot-wash it in the hotel sink. The Jasper packs down very small, too: it will easily fit in a hydration pack pocket or even a large cargo pocket. Pack it during a day traveling, then slip it over a cami or tank top in the evening for an instant dinner-out change of clothes.
The Jasper is not completely see-through, but when worn solo, hints of skin will show in certain light. Paired with a camisole or action bra, it covers completely, or wear with a lightweight coat or jacket open at the front. The burnout pattern calls to mind intricate lace for a very classic look that stands out from most patterns seen today.
Jackets are hard to come by that are water-repellent, wind-resistant, keep you warm, and are also breathable. More often, they have some combination of the list, but rarely all of the above. But with the Eddie Bauer Women’s Propellant Jacket, the list is all-inclusive.
The jacket uses Polartec’s Alpha poly/knit insulation for the warmth and breathability factor, and has StormRepel DWR treatment to cause moisture to bead on the surface and not soak into the fabric. The stretch lining is also moisture wicking, which allows you to be flexible in your pursuits while staying fairly dry. I tested the jacket while out ice climbing in Colorado last season—before it was available to consumers this year.
While I think it’s safe to assume that not everyone reading this review will need a jacket for ice climbing, it was an ideal example for testing, and this is why: Ice is wet and cold, and when you’re ice-climbing, you’re either working hard or resting. Often, you have to choose layers for those kinds of adventures, so you’ve got the combination of a clothing item’s ability to breathe and keep your body’s core temperature protected at rest and at peak activity. But maybe you need a jacket for cycling, hiking, skiing, or climbing. It’ll work for those adventures, too.
The oversized venting pockets are mesh lined and allow you to regulate your body temperature even more when open or closed. They also fit a lot of gear when you don’t have a pack along. There’s even an internal zippered chest pocket with a media port, so you can enjoy your tunes without getting things all tangled up. And the low-profile hood fits securely and comfortably.
One of my favorite things about the jacket aside from its do-it-all features is the fact that the shell is incredibly soft. It seems a small thing to ask, really, and yet not many jackets that go for full performance features are also pleasant to wear in a tactile way. The only thing that I’d love to see in this jacket: more colors. It’s my same old story, but I maintain that not all women love bright pink with purple trim. Even just one non-girly color selection would help. The version for men is gray with bright blue trim.
The Eddie Bauer Women’s Propellant Jacket lists for $249.99 on the Eddie Bauer website. On Amazon, it’s priced the same. A men’s version of the jacket is offered at the same price on both the Eddie Bauer website and Amazon.