Jeans are the best travel pants

In Defense of Denim: Why Jeans are the Best Travel Pants

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As far as I’m concerned, this topic is NOT up for debate. Hence this manifesto. Jeans are the best travel pants, without question. The opposition’s arguments are, frankly, wrong. Let’s look at both sides of the case.

The Case AGAINST Jeans

Jeans Take Up Too Much Space
Since jeans can be worn in a variety of situations and are durable enough for repeated (read: daily) wear, you only need one pair for short trips. Wear them on your flight, and they won’t take up any space in your bag. Next?

Jeans Are Too Hard to Wash (or Dry)
No, jeans are not easily washed by hand in a tiny hostel sink, nor will they dry in a few hours like some technical fabrics. I’ll concede those points. However, jeans need to be washed very infrequently, rendering this argument moot. Worst case scenario: if your jeans start to get too smelly, steal a few squirts of someone’s Febreeze. Problem solved.

Jeans Don’t Convert to Shorts
No kidding. Zipoff pants are hideous. For reference, see the monstrosity pictured below. Here’s a tip: if something claims to do two different things, it probably doesn’t do either of them well. Case in point: ugly pants that turn into ugly shorts plus two extra pieces of fabric for you to carry. Convertible pants are also an indicator that their wearer is a tourist, so button your cargo pockets tight, because pickpockets will see you as a mark.

Convertible, zip off pants
(Photo: Amazon)

The Case FOR Jeans

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • Dark enough to hide stains

Aside from the above, jeans also look better than the alternatives, assuming you aren’t wearing Ed Hardy, True Religion, or the like. Before you scoff at attempts to look good while traveling, remember jeans and leather shoes are the minimum level of dress required for many nightlife spots, especially in western Europe. Before you go chasing that hot foreigner into the trendy new club, make sure you didn’t pack like a dork.

Please stop dressing like your dad and being a tourist. Dress like a person. Be a traveler.

Go ahead, I dare you to prove me wrong in the comments!

(Photo of rivet: flickrohit)

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  • I agree with parts of your argument (depending on where you’re traveling). I think the best argument against jeans is that they can make you SO hot. I spent a summer in Thailand and a summer in China. I packed 2 pairs of jeans- I didn’t put them on once because it was 100+ degrees and about 90% humidity almost everyday. Granted they were skinny jeans but thats mostly what guys where now too!

    P.S. When my boyfriend came to China he was so thankful he had those hideous zip off pants!

    • Fred Perrotta

      Thanks for the feedback, Jenna. I agree with you on the temperature
      argument, although I didn’t mention it in the post. If only jean shorts were
      socially acceptable (like in middle school), guys could have the best of
      both worlds.

  • Anonymous

    I love this post Fred! I argued against quick-dry zip-off chinos with my boyfriend for our entire RTW trip! He: They’re so practical. Me: They effing revolting! I picked up a pair of lighter-weight black jeans mid-trip – they were good for cool climates and when it was too hot and not that heavy I resented putting them in my pack. I don’t understand why so many people think that high-tech/expensive/heinous bushwalking clothes instantly transforms them into a “real” traveller. I hate being in hostel and some snot dressed head to toe in khaki looks ME up and down in disregard! Surely it’s how you do things, not what you’re wearing? Anyway, thumbs up Dude!

    • Haha Thanks, Lindsey. I couldn’t agree more. As always, the clothes don’t make the (wo)man. Being a traveler is about what you do, not what you wear.

  • Anonymous

    Great post by travel clothes – we also run advice on what to take with you on a backpacking holiday:http://gapyearblog.org.uk/2011/02/23/5-of-the-best-socks/ etc

    Good stuff!

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