There are pants and then there are travel pants. You may not know the difference, but it’s there. Travel pants offer more comfort, flexibility, breathability, and convenience (read: pockets!). They also tend to have a sturdier structure and won’t wrinkle as easily. For all of these reason, I choose to buy travel pants for vacations.
We’ve been traveling extensively for over 5 years now. You can imagine that I’ve testing dozens of pairs of travel pants in that time. There have been a few duds along the way, but in the mix there have been some really great pairs that I’ve come to firmly believe in.
To help you avoid all this testing, I’ve put together a guide to the best travel pants and jeans to make the search easy for you! The pants listed below are my favorites – the tried and true few that have made the cut. You can trust all of these to be high quality and more importantly NOT dad pants.
Best Travel Pants Brands to Look For
The first issue you’ll run into when looking for travel pants is the range of brands available. Who can you trust and who delivers the best product? After many road tests and trials, we’ve come to trust the following travel brands, who offer a reliable product as well as something extra, like security features, extra pockets, and high-quality fabric.
Quick Pick List – Best Men’s Travel Pants 2020
Below you’ll find a chart of the top men’s travel pants for 2020, with price and review info (Note: these are affiliate links.) You can click on any of them to see more reviews or learn more about them. Below the chart are our personal reviews of each pair of pants. We’ve done extensive research of our own to find the best pants for frequently travelers like ourselves.
*Our Top Picks
Bluffworks Men Travel Pants
|Buy Now Read Review|
Aviator Travel Jeans
|Buy Now Read Review|
How to Chose the Best Travel Pants
Comfort, obviously! It’s not quite that easy to find the right pair of travel pants, but comfort is a big part of the equation. Once I found comfort, 50% of the work was done. What are the other criteria to looked for in the perfect travel pants?
- Deep pockets
- Quick Drying
- Flexible Fit
Yes, it’s a long list! Is it possible to find all of these attributes in a single pair of pants? Maybe not, but I got pretty darn close.
For most every day travelers — I’m not talking about the high adventure types who regularly hike mountains and stuff — there are a few things you really can’t be without, which you can read below.
Travel Pants For Men – Must Haves
The most important thing in men’s travel pants is breath-ability. Sweating all day in material that doesn’t breath is not a good way to go.
⇒ Deep Pockets
That time when my ID fell out of my pocket in the taxi on the way to the airport immediately comes to mind as the top reason for needing deep pockets. I keep my wallet, keys, change and phone in my pockets, so if the pockets aren’t deep enough to hold those things, the pants don’t make the cut.
Materials that typical pants are made of are usually not water-resistant. A good pair of travel pants have to be water resistant, so you don’t get soaked in a sudden downpour or ruin your pants when you spill wine on them.
⇒ Quick Drying
I often take half the clothes I need on longer trips and wash them in the sink halfway through a trip. They need to dry quickly so they can be worn again the next day. A pair that takes a full day to dry is just not going to work.
Men’s Travel Pants Reviews
★ Our Top Pick – Men’s Travel Pants
I have a few pairs of the Bluffworks Chino pants that I wear while traveling. They are made from a quick-dry polyester material that looks and feels like cotton, but has a bit of stretch and is wrinkle resistant. These are just the kind of pants you want for travel. I can fold them up in my suitcase (they’re really lightweight!), then pull them out and wear them immediately without worrying about wrinkles.
They are comfortable, flexible and, most importantly, breathable.
Another feature of the Bluffworks pants that I really like is the abundant pockets. The front pockets appear to be normal-sized pockets, but there is a hidden interior, zippered pocket where you can stash important things.
My entire wallet fits inside that zippered pocket, eliminating the fear of losing it to pick-pockets. There’s also a hidden loop on the inside of the front pocket where you can clip a badge or keys. The back pocket is deep and wide enough to fit a Kindle.
The best part of these Bluffworks travel pants is the ultimate versatility they offer. I can wear them pretty much anytime. They are stylish enough to wear to a nice dinner, but they are flexible enough to wear hiking or climbing. One pair of pants that suits every occasion is exactly what light packers like us have been looking for.
These pants fit true to size, so you can order your regular size with no worries about fit. There are two different styles – the Classic and the Ascender. Both are soft, wrinkle-free stretch material, but the Classic are more tailored and the Ascender Chinos are built for performance and have 10 carefully designed pockets.
HEY GUESS WHAT: Bluffworks now has travel jeans!
Pros: Stretchy, breathable material that doesn’t wrinkle. Design and fit that look really nice and specially tailored. Abundant pockets and security features. Do not looks like “travel pants”.
Cons: Difficult to slip things into the front pockets because there are additional pockets inside to get snagged on. Fit is rather slim (order original for a looser fit).
Use this Bluffworks coupon code for 10% off your order (not applicable on sale items).
★ Our Favorite Men’s Travel Jeans: Aviator Jeans
(“The best travel jeans in the world” – USAToday)
I have a pair of the summer travel jeans in Cool Faded Blue Indigo. These are probably the best pair of jeans I’ve had in years. They fit very well – being neither too baggy nor too tight, with just the right amount of stretch and flexibility to be comfortable and stylish at the same time. They look really great on.
What makes them particularly well fitted for travel are two things. First, they are made to be lightweight, breathable and fast drying. In summer weather, I rarely ever wear jeans because they are too hot and constricting, but I don’t mind wearing these Aviator jeans, because of their breath-ability.
The second thing that makes them great for travel is the hidden pockets. There are two pockets that are zipper protected and hidden away inside other pockets. You can easily store your valuables in these pockets. One of them is even large enough for your passport. The front and back pockets of the jeans both are large enough to fit a Kindle, which is important to me while we’re traveling, so I have somewhere to store my Kindle while getting on and off the plane.
One of the worries we always have about jeans with stretch in them is that they’ll stretch out of shape and start to fit awkwardly while traveling. I tends to re-wear jeans a couple of times at least between washes. I was happy to find that the material recovers well and doesn’t stretch out too much. If they had to be washed while on a trip, it wouldn’t be too big of a deal because they dry really fast.
Aviator jeans also come in an original fit and four colors: Dark Indigo, Jet-Setter Black, Khaki, and Silver Gray. They are made in a family-run factory in Los Angeles. If you order the wrong size, it’s not a problem. You can return them for a new size. Worldwide shipping is available.
Pros: Lightweight, breathable and fast drying. Fit really nicely and don’t lose their shape quickly. Abundant pockets, with added security.
Cons: These jeans don’t come in differing lengths, so you’ll have to get them hemmed to fit when they arrive.
The Outdoor Research pants for men aren’t necessarily ideal for all situations, but they are great for active adventurers who will appreciate the additional features they provide, like water and wind-resistance.
They just have a few extra styling elements that make them harder to blend into nicer environments, so they can’t really be dressed up easily.
They have drawstrings at the ankles so you can pull them up to any length and secure them there with the pull string, though that feature probably isn’t going to get used very often. You can also use the tightening drawstring to secure your pants around your ankle so they don’t get caught in the spokes of your bike, or ride up when climbing.
One of the things I like the most about these pants is the amount of stretch and flexibility the fabric has, but they don’t get stretched out easily, they retain their shape well, likely due to the nylon/lycra blend. As for pockets, there are two front regular pockets that are not incredibly deep, two zippered rear pockets, and a zippered pocket on the thigh, which is deep enough to hold a cellphone.
Pros: Flexible, stretchy fabric that doesn’t lose its shape, good features for adventurers
Cons: Too casual for dressy situations
The PrAna brand has a few different styles for men, including the Zion stretch that is best for really active adventurers. The Brion is more for every day wear and for when you want something more multi-functional.
They are cut slimmer with straight legs and a fixed waistband, so they look decidedly less “adventurey” and more able to blend into any situation. The black pair can easily be dressed up and look nice enough for a classy restaurant.
The slimmer fit doesn’t make them any less practical as travel pants. They are water-repellent, quick to dry and are very lightweight for packing purposes. The stretch fabric is made specifically to allow maximum comfort when moving around.
The only thing to be aware of is that the pockets in the Brion are not nearly as functional for people who like to keep multiple items in there. The front pockets are pretty deep and can hold a wallet and keys, and the back pocket can hold a wallet. There is no leg cargo pocket.
Pros: Slim fit, perfect for most every day use, can be dressed up easily
Cons: Pockets aren’t ideal
These pants are the perfect combination for both active wear and evening wear. Aside from the small logo on the front of the leg, you really can’t tell these are technical pants. They pair well with both active casual shirts and dressier shirts.
The material is very soft to the touch, but it’ s durable. It’s also water and stain resistant, which is always a good thing when traveling. There’s a good stretch to these pants, so they’re comfortable to wear on the airplane, while hiking, or just for casual walking around. They don’t seem to stretch out with extended wear.
For pockets, there are two in front and two in back. I was worried about the zippered thigh pocket, but you really don’t notice it and it provides a great place to store your phone. They come in two colors: pilot grey and tui blue.
Pros: Exceptionally soft and comfortable material, bonus phone pocket at thigh.
Cons:Slim fitting and tight at the calves – may have to go up a size if you have larger calves.
These pants are 100% nylon with plenty of flexibility of movement. They have an exterior waistband adjuster to easily take them in or out. Columbia is always good at including extra features to combat the elements in their clothing, so it’s no surprise that these pants have moisture wicking and SPF 50 protection built in.
Though they aren’t water-resistant, they are quick to dry due to the moisture-wicking technology. The material is soft and comfortable, and they don’t make much of a swishing sound when you walk.
Although the waistband says it’s partially elastic, it’s still pretty unforgiving, so proper sizing is important. We’ve found that the belt it comes with is pretty useless. It can easily be removed. We’ve also noticed that the inseam doesn’t seem to be correct, so it might take a few tries to find the right fit if ordering online.
There are six pockets in these pants. The front two regular pockets and two rear pockets with tab closure and velcro to secure them shut. There is also one pocket on each leg, one with velcro and one that is zippered. I don’t think anything would fall out of any of those four pockets, but it’s nice to have the zippered one for added security.
Pros: Plenty of pockets, lightweight and good for summer
Cons: Difficult to find the right fit
|Buy Now Buy on Amazon|
With all of these great choices, you should be able to find the best travel pants for you. I have a pair of each of them and use them in different situations. What I love the most is that I can easily pack a few pairs in my backpack in a fraction of the space it would take to pack regular jeans, so I can have a much greater variety of things to wear, while still packing light.
If there are any pairs of travel pants for men that you love that I left off the list, let me know and I’ll review those as well.
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Nick Lynch travels the world in search of great experiences, food and drink. While he primarily provides photography and website support, he occasionally writes about his journeys, too.