One backpack per person, this should be every serious traveler’s goal, the more stuff you take the more time you spend worrying about said stuff and figuring out how to stow it on planes, buses and trains; don’t do this, just pack less. We’ve already written about our backpack of choice, but the question of what to fill that backpack with still lingers.
A single backpack does not lend itself to over packing. This is a good thing as the more restrictions you put on what you can pack the smarter you are going to pack. You want to take clothing that you can wear for multiple days with no smell, that you can air dry in a few hours after washing in the sink, and that serves multiple purposes so you can take it hiking through backwood trails, but also wear them to fit in at the nicer restaurants and clubs. You want what I have been calling “Techwear”, clothing that takes advantage of the latest advances in fabric tech to achieve the previously mentioned qualities. You DON'T want parachute zip-off pants or “let's see how many cargo pockets we can fit on the legs” pants…tldr; don’t wear stuff that flags you as a tourist.
So let's talk about pants, specifically travel pants for men. There is a company called Outlier that is making pants that blow away all other pants you have ever worn (note: their shirts are amazing as well). Let's talk about one in particular: the Slim Dungarees. These pants are the ultimate travel pants (others agree) and here is why:
- Comfort: I wore these things on two transatlantic flights, including the hell that is a layover in JFK and I barely noticed I was wearing any pants at all. If you are used to wearing jeans everywhere get ready for a surprise, the two-way stretch built into the fabric is way more forgiving than the rigidity of denim.
- Durability: I took two pairs of these as my only pants on a three week backpacking trip in Europe and in reality I probably only needed one. I wore them both hiking in the mountains of Cinque Terre as well as eating a Croque Madame in fancy Parisian cafes. I washed them about once a week, in hotel sinks, and they would dry in ~3 hours. Key success factor though: my wife never told me I looked like a bum.
- Stylish: Your mileage may vary here depending on your personal preference and body type, but I love the look of these pants. Think skinny jeans (but not too skinny). I got no funny looks of “look at that unstylish American tourist” while walking around Rome or Florence in these pants (at least I didn’t catch any, but hey my Wife didn’t either). If you aren’t a skinny jean type check out Outlier’s 60/30 Chinos.
Outlier’s website description does a much better job describing why this fabric is awesome. The price might be a bit of sticker shock, but if you are only taking a single pair of pants on travel then give these a serious look (note: I have no affiliation with Outlier, just a very happy customer).