Posts Tagged travel shirts
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.
Want a travel shirt that was actually meant to be used with a backpack? One that won’t look totally shot after the straps have rubbed it for weeks? This Sierra Designs Pack Polo was designed for the real world, not for the runway.
There’s one little four-letter word that we travel clothing reviewers utter with a lot of frequency: “pill.” As in “It didn’t take very long for that shirt to pill.” Or maybe “This f-ing jacket started pilling the first time I strapped on a backpack.”
Whether a verb, a noun, or a gerund, it’s not a happy pill, that’s for sure. It refers to the little fuzz balls on the fabric that come up when it’s rubbed. I’ve tossed some pieces of clothing in the trash can without reviewing them over this and it’s my number one beef with merino wool items in general. Some manage to avoid it, but more often they look good for a few wears and then have fuzz balls all over if you don’t treat them like the Shroud of Turin.
So when Kelty rolled out this new line of shirts that actually had “pack” in the name, I was downright excited. I first saw them at the Outdoor Retailer show, when the rep rubbed sandpaper against one—and kept doing that all day. This polo doesn’t feel like sandpaper though: it’s as comfortable as any other travel shirt I wear. It’s just a whole lot tougher.
Besides the fabric meant to take abuse, you’ve also got shoulder seams that aren’t on your shoulders. If you’ve trudged across Southeast Asia as a backpacker or hiked along a major mountain range carrying what you’ll need for days, you know seams right under the highest pressure points of your straps are not a good thing. There’s also a front zipper pocket that’s barely perceptible, but you can actually get to it despite having a pack on with a sternum strap buckled. Now that’s smart design!
You get all the properties you would expect in a quality synthetic fabric travel polo shirt: lightweight, quick-drying, wicking, and wrinkle-free. It’ll probably be the longest-lasting $69 shirt you’ll ever buy.
Bottom line: this is my new favorite travel shirt. I’ve worn it hiking and taken it traveling. Each time upon my return, I have tossed it the washing machine on a setting far above “delicate.” It looks like new and feels great.
Did know know Tilley Endurables makes more than just hats? Their line of women’s hiking, travel, and outdoor wear is comprehensive and high-functioning. I spent the better part of my summer in a pair of their pants and one of their shirts, engaged in activities ranging from river rafting to backpacking to international traveling.
Venture Trek 4-in-1 zip-off pants:
Since I received the Venture Trek Tech 4-in-1 pants, they’ve been my go-to pant for all things outdoor and adventure related. Why? They’re water-resistant, dirt and stain resistant, adjustable, and so very comfortable. Plus, with four length configurations, they’re pretty much the only pants you need. The waist is higher than most women’s pants these days (called a contemporary fit), and while I think the popular low-cut style is flattering, having a waist that sits at your hips isn’t very comfortable when I’m hiking or sitting. The trek tech pants manage to be flattering and slimming while still feeling roomy enough to actually take a full stride in.
The stretch ripstop nylon material dries overnight and moves with your body, plus rappels everything from water to wine. You get UPF 50 with these pants, making them a great choice for outdoor activity, and they adjust between four lengths: zip-off shorts, two length of capris, and full-length pants. I like the second of the capri lengths, as they fall just short of my ankles…not much of a fashion statement but perfect for camping or backpacking when you’d rather not drag your pant hem in the dirt. The trek techs feature five outside pockets, including a hidden security pocket. The side cargo pockets are extremely roomy, and button closed.
The Venture Trek 4-in-1 pants retail for–brace yourself–$175. Ouch, I know. But add up the cost of a pair of quality travel pants, two pairs of capris, and one pair of shorts. See what I mean? Plus you save all kinds of room in your carry-on. Are they the only pants you’ll need on your next adventure? Pretty much. Just bring one back up in case you spill something you can’t wipe off. They come in black, khaki, and olive and can be found directly at Tilley or from local brick and mortar stores everywhere.
AIRFLO long-sleeved shirt:
Tilley’s AIRFLO long-sleeved shirt spent a five-day, four night river rafting trip with me, where its UV protection and quick-dry material performed on the water and off. I wore it under a life preserver, over a bathing suit, and as a cover up. A few weeks later, it came with me to Mexico where it kept the sun off my back while helping my body manage coastal humidity. The shirt is made from 100% ripstop nylon, is quick-dry, and wrinkle resistant. It features mesh airflo ventilation, two buttoned-down front chest pockets, and adjustable sleeves (roll them up or down with velcro straps).
I have other quick-dry sun shirts, and the AIRFLO is lighter, thinner, and cooler than any other. It’s feather-light, really, and looks almost dressy if needed. My only disappointment: after a day hiking with a pack with chest/sternum straps, I found some pilling on the shirt where the straps rubbed. Hopefully this was an isolated incident, because a high quality tech shirt should not pill when used with a backpack.
The AIRFLO will set you back, but not quite as much as the pants: pick one up in white or butter yellow at Tilley’s for $120. Is it worth the price? Here’s my take: every serious traveler should have at least one quick-dry, sun-protectant travel shirt in their closet, and Tilley’s AIRFLO is the most comfortable one I’ve found.