Posts Tagged travel clothing
If you’re looking to snag a mid-winter ski jacket deal, I’d look no further than Free Country. Always a solid pick on a budget, Free Country’s softshell jackets, including the women’s Plaid Softshell, are nearly half off this month. But let’s take a step back: why a softshell in the first place? If your ski or winter travel ensemble already includes an outer waterproof shell option, a fleece or two for layering, and perhaps a down jacket, a softshell jacket is a great addition for those late winter/early spring ski days.
Free Country’s Plaid Softshell is water and wind resistant as well as lined, making it a one-piece option for days that fall in the mid-range on the chill scale. You get all the features you’d expect in a high-end jacket, including oversized hood, chin protector, and adjustable cuffs to fit over gloves, without the high-end price. Will your Free Country softshell be the absolute cutting edge of ski jackets? No, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead, I bet it’ll be your ‘reach for it most often’ jacket that simply gets the job done, as it does for me.
It’ll look good doing it, too. The women’s softshell comes in a variety of colors in the solid Saunter softshell version, and in two women’s plaid patterns in the Plaid softshell version. There’s also a floral option. All versions include a flattering women’s tailored cut (though I do wish more movement was allowed in the shoulders and arms), and all include two side zippered pockets. The plaid comes in either black or white, and the pattern is subtle.
Pick up a softshell for $55 (marked down from $100) from Free Country, or pick up a solid color at Amazon for only $40. Grabbing a softshell this winter will definitely carry over through the spring season and into next year.
In the market for a big ticket winter jacket? I count my two Canada Goose jackets as the warmest I own, and they’re among my most comfortable, too. Canada Goose’s Camp Hoody is also one of the most versatile, lightweight enough to grab for a travel day or a quick cover up, yet substantial enough for nearly any weather situation. It should be noted right out of the gate that the Camp Hoody retails for $450, which I realize is not unheard of in winter apparel, but still warrants explanation.
The million dollar (or in this case, $450) question, of course, is: is it worth it? What makes the Camp Hoody worth the price? Answer: it’s extreme warmth and coverage combined with its ability to stuff down to almost nothing. This is a highly functional jacket, built for technical situations experienced by true outdoors-women. On a backcountry winter excursion during which down warmth is required and yet space and weight is at a premium, the Camp Hoody would be priceless. For a day on the ski slopes with easy access to the car or locker? Probably overkill (though you’ll certainly be comfortable). Therefore, I refer back to my opening question: are you in the market for a premium winter jacket? If your outdoor travel warrants a ‘yes’, the value is definitely here.
The Camp Hoody is a dream to wear. It sits on your body like a cloud, and you feel light as a feather in it (which makes since, as it’s stuffed with white duck down. The fill power is 750, and the double-layer windproof shell provides incredible protection from the elements. I won’t lie: I haven’t trekked to the Arctic in this jacket (yet), but I have experienced wicked cold days on the slopes have haven’t felt a thing. On the other end of the scale, I’ve slid into this jacket with nothing but a t-shirt underneath to walk the dog in the Oregon fog and wind, and felt completely warm. You get a front storm flap to protect against drifts and wind, and a chin guard behind a two-way locking reversed-coil zipper. In other words, wind is not getting in here. The hood is full-sized and adjustable to fit over a helmet or hat, and the hem falls to the hip with a dropped tail. Once you’re in this jacket, you might as well be cozied up in a sleeping bag.
You get two front zippered pockets and an interior mesh google pocket, a Canada Goose logo patch on the arm, and elastic wrist cuffs that really keep out the snow (and which thick gloves can slide over easily). I squished up the Camp Hoody to bring it along via plane on a Colorado ski trip, and once folded and refolded, it fit in my palm about the size of a melon. Packing tip: lay it flat at the bottom of your bag instead of folding it, and let clothes on top compress it down to nothing.
Pick up the Camp Hoody at Moosejaw and Amazon. On the Canada Goose site, you get your pick of colors, ranging from sunset orange (highly recommended), summit pink, red, white, black, or ocean, though colors are more limited at the retail sites.
We do love Mountain Khakis clothing around here! If you’re sitting on some holiday gift cards or cash, treat yourself to a Mountain Khakis Old Faithful sweater. As Cousin Eddie of National Lampoon Christmas Vacation would say, ‘It’s the gift that keeps on giving year round.’ At very least, most of the year. While thick and plush, it’s breathable enough to wear as a single layer in winter, and as a jacket in fall or spring.
I love sweaters, but sometimes I feel claustrophobic when pulling them over my head; the Old Faithful is a top to bottom zip-up, which allows for versatility. I’ve paired mine with a tee or camisole only when going in and out of doors, or with a long-sleeved thermal when headed outdoors for significant time periods. It can be layered under a shell, or dressed up with a scarf while in a restaurant. The Old Faithful can replace multiple outerwear options while traveling (hello, carry-on space!) and is the perfect winter airplane travel companion.
The details: the Old Faithful is comprised of breathable brushed poly (no pilling), with a heathered look. The women’s version comes with princess seams for a tailored fit, and you get interior stash pockets as well as outer pockets. The cuffs at the wrists have snap closures for a more jacket-like feel. The men’s version is nearly identical, with the addition of upper chest pockets and a roomier fit.
The women’s comes in three colors (turf, high tide, and oatmeal) in XS-XL for $119, and the men’s comes in engine red, oatmeal, bison, charcoal, and navy in S-XXL for the same price. Pick one up on Amazon instead for as little as $68 in women’s (with only high tide color available…no worries, it’s gorgeous) or $61 in men’s.
A 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.)
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.