Posts Tagged travel shirts
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.
A polo shirt is a great travel item for men to pack in any warm weather situation as it works well for when you need to step up from a T-shirt but it’s comfortable and easy to pack. This performance Trace Polo from Tasc feels terrific and can go for days without a washing.
I’ve seen a lot of outdoor apparel trends come and go over the years and one that rose and fell quickly was the use of bamboo as a sustainable, eco-friendly material. A few years back, it came out that bamboo may regrow easily, yes, but the extreme chemical process that was applied to it in manufacturing before turned it into something not much different than rayon.
Tasc has led a return to bamboo in clothing, but in a more Earth-friendly, less toxic manner. You can see a whole explanation of the process on the bamboo page of their site, but this is a refreshingly honest summing-up of the pros and cons of going from bamboo forest to fabric:
We know making bamboo viscose is not considered the most eco-friendly process in the world. However, in comparison to traditional performance clothing (derived from petroleum) we have created a better alternative. To our knowledge, a bamboo forest has never polluted the Gulf of Mexico.
That out of the way, the performance advantages of this bamboo-derived fabric are extensive. It’s naturally odor-resistant, which is a big plus over normal synthetics, which have to be treated heavily to get to that point. Unlike a lot of merino wool fabrics, it won’t break down or pill up on you from backpack straps. Out of the box and a year later this Tasc shirt is breathable, moisture wicking, quick drying, temperature regulating, and has UPF 50+ sun protection.
Tipping the scales for me are the facts that this lightweight polo shirt feels really good and looks good. I’ve taken it on a couple trips so far and it easily made the short list for a trip to Ecuador that I’m on right now. With a mix of bamboo, cotton, and a bit of Elastane for stretch, this is the first shirt I reach for—and I can do that for a few days since it doesn’t get smelly.
On trips that are full of outdoor adventure, it’s not always easy to find the right clothing that hits all the highlights well. On my recent trip to Namibia, my favorite Columbia item was the Coolest Cool Short Sleeve Top.
When I hiked in the Fish River Canyon, I wore the Coolest Cool Short Sleeve Top, and while a colleague complained about the heat, I didn’t have a problem. Using Omni-Freeze Zero sweat-activated cooling technology, the shirt reacts with your sweat to lower the temperature of the fabric. It’s also incredibly light, antimicrobial and wicks moisture away, so you’re not sheathed in your own perspiration all day. After a nine-hour hiking adventure that had me scrambling over rocks and hoofing it through vast open plateaus, I may have been a little dirty, but I wasn’t dripping in sweat.
The top also incorporates UPF 50 sun protection, so even if you’re not hiking in the second-largest canyon in the world on a sunny day, you can still stay protected from the sun. Don’t let that keep you from adding sunscreen on your exposed flesh, though.
The shirt, made of 91 percent polyester and 9 percent elastane pinhole mesh, fits fairly snugly. If you like a roomy fit, consider getting a size up. I wore mine over a support cami during my hike, and never thought twice about whether I made the right choice.
The Columbia Coolest Cool Short Sleeve Top is available in zing (orange), white, mirage (gray) and black. It lists for $45 on the Columbia website. At Amazon, it lists from $53.80 to $55. It’s also available in a long-sleeve version and a men’s version.
See other Columbia Sportswear clothing reviews.
Want to have the advantages of one of those travel wallets that hang around your neck without the neck thing? The pockets on this Pickpocket Proof Shirt will keep your valuables next to you and safe.
These shirts aren’t quite as heavy-duty Pickpocket Proof as the P^Cubed pants because they’re not meant to make you look like you’re wearing a ScotteVest. Instead there are just two chest pockets that look normal.
They’re not quite normal though, because both are two pockets in one. The outside pocket is secured with a button, while the inside pocket is a hidden zipper one that’s not visible from the outside. It has a tiny zipper pull the same color as the shirt, plus the seam seals up when it’s zipped closed, so even with the button flap open nobody is going to know it’s there without pulling your pocket open and looking.
These shirt pockets would be the ideal place to store your cash and a credit card you need immediate access to—in several different spots. Or you can keep your passport and the rest of your valuables safely stored away in the P^Cubed pants. For once a matchy-matchy outfit would serve a real purpose. These look similar to other travel shirts you’ve seen though, so it’s not like anyone is going to know they’re the same brand as your pants.
What sets these apart from the competition is the feel of the fabric. Clothing Arts’ “Nature-like Nylon” is softer and more comfortable than the usual rugged but swishy nylon. The fabric has the same properties you want in a travel shirt though: moisture wicking, quick drying, and lightweight. It just feels better.
I’ve worn my sample long-sleeve shirt on a couple trips to cool climates and have been really happy with how it felt and performed. I like how it doesn’t scream “I’m an explorer,” even if that does mean there’s no button on the sleeve for rolling it up and converting it to a short-sleeve. It’s just a nice shirt with a secret.
These Clothing Arts travel shirts are just rolling off the production line and getting into the marketplace, but you can buy direct at that link for $70 (in white, tan, or dark gray) or wait until fall and find them in more locations.
Supposedly 9 out of 10 people on this planet live above the equator, so when we travel we tend to go somewhere hot. That means the kinds of shirts you’re packing for vacation are often ones suited for tropical climates. Then if you’re doing something active on top of that, wicking properties and a quick drying time after washing are especially important.
I’ve been packing three shirts on recent trips that have gone back into the bag for next time because they’ve served me well.
Craghoppers Pablo Solarshield T-shirt
With buttons like a henley but the fit of a t-shirt, this Craghoppers Solarshield for men looks good on a fit body and feels as comfortable as cotton…because it is. This is a technical shirt, but that’s because of what’s on it rather than what it’s made of. It’s treated with zinc oxide, that same stuff that’s in heavy-duty sunblock. As a result this doesn’t just protect your skin: it actually disperses heat and stays cooler than an untreated one.
I’m not usually checking the UV rays rating of the shirts I wear (I can’t ever remember getting sunburned through any shirt I’ve worn, but if you’ve got sensitive skin this will keep you looking good while you’re feeling safe.
There’s a nice hidden pocket for travel and a loop on the front for hanging your shades.
ExOfficio JavaTech Polo
Here’s a new twist on the coffee craze: a shirt that
embeds used coffee grounds in the fabric for superior performance. The fabric company website explains how this works. Supposedly the grounds help pull perspiration away from the skin, something that’s pretty hard to test, but I did have good luck with the claim that they neutralize odor molecules. This was a 2-day shirt no problem and I probably could have gone to three.
There’s a nice hidden stash pocket in the bottom hem, plus like most ExOfficio travel clothing this shirt dries in a jiffy.
You can get this fabric in a T-shirt or 1/4-zip, but I tried the polo shirt and really liked it.
New Balance Impact Shirt
This looks more like a running shirt than a travel shirt, but I’m seeing more and more of this type of shirt on backpackers and tourists alike in hot countries. This one’s better than most because like the Colombia items I reviewed recently, this shirt has a built-in cooling effect activated by your sweat.
The New Balance system is NB Ice with Xilitol and to me this felt noticeably cooler when I wore it on bikes rides and walks. Besides the ventilation to let out the heat, this temperature reduction fabric seems to help—the claim is it can lower your body temperature two degrees. That’s a big help. The reflectivity will keep you seen at night and the nanotech sun protection keeps you from getting burned in the daytime.
This Impact short-sleeve shirt looks good on me and it feels good, so it’s a keeper too on future trips.