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Posts Tagged Travel Light

Packable Advocate Lace Shoes From Patagonia Footwear

Advocate Lace Smooth

We review a lot of shoes for travelers who will be walking a lot. Or hiking. Or doing something where their feet will constantly be getting wet. But sometimes you just want to go on a lazy vacation and not do a whole lot, right? If you want some flat-packing shoes to pad around in at a beach resort or you’re just going from cars to hotel rooms, check out these Patagonia Advocate Lace smooth leather shoes.

A few years back I reviewed the Advocate Weave shoes from Patagonia, which apparently didn’t do very well and quickly disappeared. I’m with the wisdom of the crowds on this one as I like these lace ones a lot better. The big orange “1% for the Planet” pull tab was pulled from this design and these just feel more comfortable.

They fit like bedroom slippers though, without much padding or support besides the insole. There’s a wafer-thin midsole and an almost flat sole apart from a bit of tread. They’re crazy comfortable to wear around your house or a hotel, but you’re not going to want to walk to the other side of town in them. Think of them as the casual equivalent of barefoot running shoes.

The uppers are nice leather on these Advocate Lace ones though, which made them good looking enough to wear out for the evening. The equivalent of a woman’s packable flats. Although there are laces, they’re meant to be left knotted at the ends and you just slip these on and off like loafers.

This being a Patagonia product, many of the synthetic materials are partially made from recycled waste and though the big ad is gone, the company does still give 1% for the Planet.

The Patagonia Advocate Lace shoes come in brown or black, in full sizes only, and weigh just 6.5 ounces. They list for $90, which seems steep for made-in-China shoes without a lot of raw materials, so check prices at the following direct links to find them on sale: Amazon, Moosejaw, or Planet Shoes.

There’s also a “Plaid” women’s version that has a thicker, warmer lining and a men’s version. Neither looks plaid in the pictures, but they cost less because the upper is fabric rather than leather.

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Pack More in Less Space with Eagle Creek Compression Pack-it Cubes

pack-it specter compressionThere are plenty of packing cubes, pouches, and folders out there to get you organized in your packing, but these Specter Pack-it Compression Cubes from Eagle Creek take the concept a big step forward. Instead of just giving you something to stuff your clothes into, they actually help you carry more in the same space.

It’s not a radical concept: we’ve long had Space Bags and other compression systems (Eagle Creek makes their own version too) to reduce sweaters and bulky coats down. You know, those clear plastic things that are shot if they get a tiny hole in them. But those are better for a one-time move than regular use. These cubes, on the other hand, are easy to work with, super-lightweight, and not dependent on having an airtight seal.pack-it specter compressed

Basically these are made like the regular Eagle Creek Specter super-light cubes, but with a key twist. You can use them normally, but then after you zip your things inside, you activate another zipper to compress the bag tighter. The fabric may be light but it’s super-strong, so the cube holds everything in well. Like a diet ad, the top photo is before it’s zipped up, the bottom photo is the after.

I was going to create a video to show this more clearly, but hey, Eagle Creek already did that:

These are stain and water-resistant, plus there’s a handle on top to pull them out and toss them in a hotel drawer. I’ve been taking one of these on trips for months now and while I often leave the other cubes behind, this one has become a regular on my list. I use mine a lot for dirty laundry because who wants that taking up a lot of room? You can cram a lot of socks, underwear, and t-shirts in here, then you zip it up and reduce the bulk in half.

These come in two sizes and are generally sold as a set for $38. You can get them in green, orange, or white with one of those as an accent. Get the zip-up Specter Compression Cubes direct from Eagle Creek or check online at Backcountry, Moosejaw, or Zappos.

See more of our Eagle Creek travel gear reviews.

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ExOfficio Storm Logic Jacket is a Traveler’s Dream

We love double-duty travel gear here and if a winter jacket can pull triple duty like the ExOfficio Storm Logic coat does, even better!

The original Storm Logic jacket we reviewed when it first came out a few years back was great for travelers: it turned into a travel pillow for the plane or bus, then unpacked to be a toasty insulated coat after the journey was over.

This new iteration takes it a step further, integrating eight pockets that cover the items most travelers will have with them on a trip. So you’ve got a place for a pen, for your passport, for an ID, sunglasses, a pocket camera, and keys (with a clasp). Of course there’s a pocket for your smartphone as well, with a clear panel over it so you can still swipe and tap to check if that important e-mail has come through or to see how cold it’s going to be outside.

ExOfficio Storm Logic reviewI’ve been trying this travel jacket out for weeks, even using it as a pillow once, and it has worked great. It’s surprisingly wrinkle-resistant for when you go from pillow mode to wearing mode and the Primaloft insulation works well and keeps it shape. I thankfully haven’t gotten rained on, but I did test the DWR in the shower and it stayed dry. If the insulation does get wet, it’ll still keep your warm though and will dry quickly—a big advantage over traditional down. I like the microfleece collar and the fit of this is good: not bulky, but there’s enough room to have a sweater on underneath.

My main gripe is kind of a petty one, but it’s one that my teenage daughter spotted in 10 seconds. “Where does the cord go for your earbuds?” she asked. I was asking myself the same thing the first time I listened to music wearing this jacket. The smartphone or iPod barely fits in the phone pocket and there’s no hole to plug in the earbuds or headphones and run a cord up. So you have to move the device to the front pocket or one meant for something else, like the camera pocket or the front chest one, running the cord from there to your ears.

Otherwise though, the Storm Logic does everything it’s supposed to do very well and is reasonably priced at $150.

Get the Storm Logic jacket for men direct from ExOfficio or buy it from Moosejaw.

There’s also a vest, a hooded version (for only $5 more) and for women these plus a trench coat version—all of them equipped with loads of pockets.

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Equatorial Travel Pants From Mountain Khakis

Equatorial pants reviewLightweight, quick-drying, rugged, and comfortable, the Mountain Khakis Equatorial pants check off all the right boxes.

Here at Practical Travel Gear we’ve probably reviewed more pairs of travel pants than any other blog or website on the planet. So when we give a pair of them a big thumbs up, you can be assured they hold up well against some tough competition.

Mountain Khakis is best known as the company producing rugged, last a lifetime western wear for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Over the past few years though they’ve become a major force in more casual wear and travel clothing that is lighter, but has the same high quality. We’ve reviewed quite a few of their travel shirts and MK women’s travel clothing in that department. These Equatorial Pants are a further evolution and I highly recommend them.

First of all, they’re incredibly lightweight, which is great for both packing light and traveling to hot destinations where shorts are not really acceptable. (You don’t realize until you go traveling around the world that hardly any country’s men wear shorts as much as men here in the USA.) These travel pants weigh in at just 3.7 ounces, which is probably less than some of your t-shirts. So they take up almost no room in your bag and don’t but a smidgen of weight.

Despite that, they’re super-strong, with such a high-density weave that they’ll repel stains and drizzles, and also provide an impressive 50+ UVA/UVB sun protection. Naturally they dry super-quickly. When I hung them outside in the high desert of central Mexico, they were dry and hour later. So overnight shouldn’t be an issue in most climates.

Mountain Khakis travel pantsThese are quite secure travel pants in two ways: you’ve got hidden zipper pockets that are two of six total to keep away sticky fingers. Then you’ve got a snap cuff on the bottom of the pants to keep out pesky mosquitoes. Consider it extra malaria insurance in the tropics.

I’ve usually got something to gripe about with even the best products we try out, but I can’t find fault with these Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants unless it’s to caution you they’re probably too thin for cold weather trips. But that’s true for any of these lightweight nylon ones.

Get them in three easy-match colors and multiple waist/length combinations at Mountain Khakis, at Backcountry, or Altrec.

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Pickpocket Proof Adventure Pants Get Lighter

travel security pants

Keeping your valuables safe and packing light now go together better thanks to some soft and comfortable—but significantly lighter—P^Cubed Adventure Pants.

We’ve checked out quite a few items from our supporting partner Clothing Arts over the years, from the original pants to their Pickpocket Proof business pants and shorts. In a few weeks we’ll review one of their new travel shirts they’re branching into.

The company made their name with some innovative pants that I was impressed with the first time I saw them many years ago, as they were just getting into the marketplace. I loved everything about them except for one issue: they were heavy. Made out of thick canvas treated with Teflon, they were rugged and comfortable, but weighed as much as some pairs of shoes and were suited better for cold climates than hot ones.

pickpocket proof pants Now the P^Cubed Adventure Travel Pants are out in a new nylon fabric that’s much lighter, but is also rugged and solidly constructed. This “Nature-like Nylon” is also a much softer synthetic than you’ve probably felt against your skin too. It doesn’t feel slick and it doesn’t make the swishy sound many travel pants do when your legs rub together.

Naturally these will dry faster, whether that’s after being caught in a downpour or after they need a sink washing from a week of heavy wear. They’ll also wick the sweat coming off your body if you’re not in the humid tropics. And they can sit in your stuffed carry-on for a flight over the ocean and not be wrinkled on the other end.

The best part is, you don’t give up anything choosing these over the original heavy cotton ones except for weight. The nylon ones even have a “diamond gusset crotch” to allow more free movement. You still get all the terrific features that enable you to leave the money belts, money pouches, and hidden zipper products at home. It’s next to impossible for a pickpocket to get in and steal your valuables when you’ve got these pants on unless you’re passed out and drooling on the sidewalk.

Every pocket has multiple layers of protection in the way of zippers (that go up, not down), pockets within pockets, and button flaps. See a video running down the various features no YouTube or under “features” on their website.

If you’re in an area you don’t have to worry, you can just zip or button a pocket and get at your money easily. If you’re in a notorious pickpocket area like Rome or Barcelona though, you can go into lockdown mode and be sure you won’t suffer the same fate as so many others around you suffer each day, with double or triple protection.

The new nylon Pickpocket Proof Adventure pants come in three colors and will cost you around $110, but they’ll probably hold up for at least the next 10 years of travel and as I’ve said before, they’re also like buying insurance for your valuables. With a pair of these on, you’re not going to lose your money, credit cards, phone, or ID. How much is that worth?

You can also get these in a convertible style in nylon too. Get them direct from the P^Cubed website or buy at Orvis or Travelsmith.

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