View Full Version : Pants for packing light

08-27-2008, 07:14 PM
Anyone find that the travel or hiking pants from places like Ex Officio too light for the fall or winter? I bought my first pair that converts to shorts and they seem very flimsy for cold weather. I'm thinking either people get different pants for the cold or they wear thermals with these. Then again this pair has built in support so thermals wouldn't be fun with them. REI has a sale and I was going to buy more but I wasn't sure it would be wise for the cold.

I love to wear jeans but I fear my next "one bag" trip because I can't see how to wash jeans on the road and have them dry. Any tips would be appreciated.

08-27-2008, 08:44 PM
If you like jeans, you should check out:

I have a pair myself and have been complimented on them. Tilley has even more jean styles for women. The jeans do have some stretch to them, so depending on how, ah, "solid" you are around the waistline, they might stretch unacceptably over time and extended use. You'll probably need a belt, and Tilley carries a great style lately.


In terms of zip-off shorts/pants combination, I have a much older version of this one:


Keep in mind that Tilley has a classic fit (higher waisted, narrower thigh), and a newer more relaxed fit that suits the younger crowd (let's say under 50). I bought the old style ages ago before they had the newer cut, and I ended up getting it extensively altered to get it to fit nicely. However, they have some newer shorts/pants combos. I only mention this one because if you're looking for a more durable material, the "adventure cloth" is tough stuff: reasonably breathable, but much more solid feeling.

... and no, I don't work for Tilley, but I've bought a lot of stuff from them in the past. Between Tilley, Tom Bihn, Mountain Coop, cameras, and laptops, it's amazing that I have any money left to eat! (Just kidding, I'm better than that!)

08-28-2008, 10:51 AM
Jeans are much too heavy to pack for trips, I'd also
try LL Bean since they have lite travel pants.

08-28-2008, 01:40 PM
True... I'd normally agree. The Tilley jeans, however, are much lighter than normal jeans, and do dry overnight. "Travel" denim if you will. They also are much more stylish looking than your usual $20 specials (not that there's anything wrong with $20 specials...)

08-28-2008, 10:31 PM
You could try these (http://www.travelsmith.com/jump.jsp?itemID=10624&itemType=PRODUCT&path=1%2C2%2C251%2C258&iProductID=10624&sortBy=0) pants from Travelsmith (for men) or these (http://www.travelsmith.com/jump.jsp?itemType=PRODUCT&RS=1&itemID=1061&fromNewSearch=true&mercadoResultId=0) for women. I have two pair of older Anywhere Pants and I like them a lot. Mine have diamond gussets in the crotch area for ease of movement, whether it's mounting a horse or climbing temple ruins in Mexico - or katas, even. You'll never lose the belt and they have no metal on them to set off a detector.

I don't know if the redesigned pants have the gussets; you could always call or email them and see. They wash quickly, dry in a flash, and don't feel icky. They pack flat as a pancake, too. To solve the cold-weather problem, I bought two pair of Terramar Thermasilk Pointelle silk liner pants, one in a full length style, and one in a shorter cropped version (if your local shop doesn't carry Terramar, you can get the the cropped ones and a sleeveless tank at Magellan's, or TrailGearUSA for any of the others. You might as well get a sleeved top or camisole while you're at it; once you have one you'll never travel in the winter again without the lot of them - and they'll all roll down into a ball the size of a large pair of men's fleece socks. Weigns just ounces, too. Terramarsports.com lists several online sellers if TrailGearUSA doesn't suit you; I've used them and been very happy with their service).

A warning: using silk liners under the zip-off pants is usually a disaster, as the zipper catches on the silk and trashes the legs on your liners. Use a synthetic liner and don't spend a lot for them! Or, if you have pants which cover both the inside and the outside edges of the zipper, full steam ahead with the silk.

The Anywhere Pants show up on eBay a lot; search for 'nylon pants (Travelsmith),(Travel Smith)' and look at the ones with the built-in web belt. Past colors included a nice indigo, an olive green, and a dark charcoal if none of the current colors suit you. Also, I've never paid more than $10 on eBay for a pair; they're sturdy and most people wear them only on trips. I've never gotten a pair I couldn't wear.

Can't find exactly what you want and want jeans which dry fast, pack small, and look good on your rear? The travel jeans are usually made of Tencel. TravelSmith sells them as well. You can buy them in light denim, dark denim, or black denim, and there are other colors out there from other companies. Find the denim Tencel fabric if you don't like the TravelSmith design (or the price) and sew your own, or have them made. It's not that hard to do! With the silk under the jeans you can wear them into snow season.

08-29-2008, 07:03 AM
Diamond gussets, eh? :-) Reminds me of an old Chuck Norris ad I saw where he demonstrated his "kick anywhere" jeans.

... but back to topic, the Tilley jeans are similar to Tencel (heck, maybe even the very same). I don't usually wear jeans for extended travel myself, but sometimes, I don't feel like walking around in khakis or chino type pants day after day.

09-02-2008, 12:26 PM
I know jeans aren't going to be the best option but I am more comfortable in them because I know that I can sit in the dirt or on a rock or bump into just about anything and they won't easily stain. Seems like as soon as I put on anything khaki I immediately attract all kinds of stains.

I'd like to try the Travelsmith or Tilly but jeans are a tough thing to fit right so I'd have to see them in the store. Tilly is supposed to be in REI stores but I don't think they carry them locally. I will have to look into it more.

09-03-2008, 02:53 PM
Agreed with pretzelb -- jeans may be heavy, slow drying, inappropriate in many social settings, but they're strong, comfortable and dirt-hiding. I will often make comfortable jeans my wear-on-the-plane pants, if I know I'll get a few days' wear out of them on my trip, too. (However, I am a complete lightweight traveler* in comparison to many here; IOW my mileage does vary.)


* As in "novice" rather than as in "I take only one toothbrush bristle, to save weight -- taking the whole thing is just needless waste."

09-03-2008, 02:59 PM
Don't mean to hijack this thread with more jean talk, but if you're looking for a good pair of jeans, check out Texas Jeans (http://www.texasjeans.com/). Made in USA out of really nice denim. (Men's, anyway: I didn't have much luck with the women's but that could be me. I still wear Levi's.)

BJ Nemeth
09-04-2008, 05:28 PM
Don't mean to hijack this thread with more jean talk, but if you're looking for a good pair of jeans, check out Texas Jeans (http://www.texasjeans.com/). Made in USA out of really nice denim. (Men's, anyway: I didn't have much luck with the women's but that could be me. I still wear Levi's.)

Levi's 501 button-fly jeans have served me well for the past 20 years. I have yet to find anything more comfortable. :-)

09-04-2008, 08:54 PM
Levi's 501 button-fly jeans have served me well for the past 20 years. I have yet to find anything more comfortable. :-)

Yay for Levi's! I tried a lot of the premium denim brands: Levi's fit the best and had the best "wash", IMO.

BJ Nemeth
09-05-2008, 02:26 PM
Yes, jeans are definitely heavy and thick for one-bag packing purposes, but after trying out some alternatives, I've decided that my Levi 501's are worth the compromises.

While I change shirts every day (The ExOfficio Trip'r is the perfect travel work shirt in my opinion; lightweight, professional, and easy to wash), I have no reservations about reusing the same pair of unwashed pants for 2-3 days of normal wear. (Obviously not if they become particularly dirty, or if I sweat while wearing them.)

For most of my trips, I wear one pair of jeans on the plane, pack another pair in my Aeronaut, and pack one pair of lightweight REI Adventures Pants. The two pairs of jeans give me a combined 4-5 days of use, and the REI pants fill in the rest. If a pair gets dirty or the trip is longer, the REI pants are easily washed in a hotel room sink and dry overnight (with the assistance of a hotel-provided hairdryer) to give me however many extra days I need.

ExOfficio Trip'r shirt:

REI Adventures Pants:

As for the original cold-weather question, jeans have always served me well unless it gets freakishly cold. Thin travel pants (like the REI Adventures Pants) are obviously a different story, with very little protection from the cold. The only lightweight pants that I'm aware of that can keep you warm in cold weather are jogging pants made out of windbreaker-like materials -- definitely not an option for me when I travel for work.