The Best Men’s Travel Pants for Every Trip: An In-Depth Review

Best Men’s Travel Pants

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

$125

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Versatile style, all-day wearability, 10 secure pockets, with the perfect stretch and comfort for long flights. Honestly, they’ve become my go-to pants over the past six months of world travel across a dozen countries and half as many climates and scenarios.

Why We Are Men’s Travel Pants Experts

To find the truly perfect pair of travel pants, Shawn tested 12 pairs of travel pants over six months of adventures—both at home in New York City, and during an extended around-the-world-trip across Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia/NZ. Basically, he lived, worked, and traveled in each of these travel pants to see how they would fit, feel, and perform in the most common (and not so common) travel situations.

That includes over a dozen flights, multiple (sweaty) train rides and (air-conditioned) busses, plenty of walking tours, biking day trips, moped rides, hiking treks, and of course a few meetings, coffee house writing sessions, happy hours, and a handful of big nights out.

These are our favorite men’s travel pants for long flights, European vacations, and even the best travel pants for warm weather destinations. If you’re a one bag minimalist, budget backpacker, frequent business traveler, or just want to grab a great pair of pants for a weekend getaway, one of these travel pants is perfect for your next big adventure.

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

$125

Buy from Bluffworks

Best Men’s Travel Pants

Versatile style, all-day wearability, 10 secure pockets, with the perfect stretch and comfort for long flights.

Who these pants are for: Minimalists & business travelers

The Bluffworks Ascender Chinos ($125) take the prize for the best all-around pair of travel pants. Honestly, they’ve become my go-to pants over the past six months of world travel across a dozen countries and half as many climates and scenarios.

In my last travel pants review, two years ago, I fell in love with the Bluffworks Tailored Chinos (sadly discontinued!), but the Ascenders are the improved successor to what was already my favorite travel pants. 

If you’re a minimalist traveler looking for a go-to pair of pants, or someone who likes to travel in comfort without sacrificing style, the Bluffworks Ascender Chinos are fantastic. These pants are great. They’re comfy, durable, stylish, and wearable in all climates (I’ve worn them in Dublin and Bali). 

What We Like: Stretch, Style, and Security

  • All-day & multiple day wear: I get at least a full week of wear between washes 
  • Superb pocket design: 10 pockets including the always useful hidden interior zippered front and rear pockets
  • Great stretch without feeling like a pair of jeggings: I rock climb in these pants
  • Wrinkle-free packing: Just roll ’em up, stuff ’em in, and go (although I usually wear these on my flights and long travel days)

What We Don’t Like: You Really Need a Belt

  • The waist line stretches with multiple wears: You really need to wear a belt
  • Possibly too “nice” looking for some travelers: I like it

Style and Comfort

Don’t let the word “chino” fool you. With built-in stretch, wrinkle-free fabric, super comfortable, yet durable construction, and zippered security pockets (more on that later), these stylish travel pants are the perfect pair of travel pants for both working digital nomads and active adventure seekers.

If you’re looking to streamline your packing list to just one pair of pants, or you’re minimalist traveler packing in a smaller bag (30L or under), this is the perfect pair of travel pants.

They’re great for long air-conditioned flights and all-day wear, and can be worn multiple times between washes. I’m getting about a week of wear between washes, but I’m pretty sure I could push that a lot further. 

I wear these pants for the occasional meeting and coffee shop writing session, but they’re also surprisingly great for active travel days. I’ve worn these pants on several walking tours during the heat of the day and didn’t have to change before going out at night for drinks. I even biked to work in these for weeks and arrived fresh every time. 

Usually, I cuff the pants when I’m walking around town to beat the heat, because I think they just look better that way. However, the best part of these pants is what you can’t see (the pockets… keep reading).

All About the Button

Unlike Outlier, Bluffworks chinos feature a soft plastic button instead of the hard rivet style button you’re used to on jeans and other pants. Don’t panic, it looks like a real button—it’s just soft to the touch.

It might seem like a small tweak, but little touches like this make the Bluffworks Ascender Chinos so great for travel, especially long travel days. When you’re wearing a seatbelt (or your backpack waist belt) you notice that metal button digging into your tummy. At least I did. Not with these.

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

$125

Buy from Bluffworks

Best Travel Pants with Hidden Pockets

The zippered security pockets are easily my favorite feature, and one of the reasons I recommend the Bluffworks Ascender Chinos so highly.

The front pockets are more than roomy enough for your phone and front pocket wallet (the only way to travel in my opinion), and the back zippered security pocket is great for keeping your passport safe yet handy on travel days.

The rear zipper is visible (barely), but these pants don’t scream “I’m a traveler!” which is the best way to keep your valuables safe. You can even keep your wallet tucked away while still, you know, using your front pockets for other stuff. Security is nine-tenths obscurity—if you don’t look like a target, you probably won’t have any trouble.

It’s worth noting that I don’t actually use the dedicated “cell phone” pocket on the back of the pants, but that’s just me. You might find it useful for your phone or even something like a multi-tool or other every day carry essential. Either way, you’ll have loads of options to customize your carry set up.

At $125 the Bluffworks Ascenders may seem a tad pricey, but compared to other travel pants on the market (and on this list), they’re a steal—especially once you realize that you can travel with just this one pair of pants—even on longer trips. A great way to streamline your packing list down to one go-to pair of do-everything travel pants that will last through multiple trips.

Mine are still going strong after six months of abuse.

Things to Consider

While I love these pants, they’re not perfect. I’m a rock climber and cyclist, so I need a pair of pants that can stretch and move with me throughout the day. I’m also 6’1” and like to cross my legs and put my feet up when I travel, so I appreciate the amount of stretch in the Ascenders. 

However, like any pair of pants with synthetic stretch fibers, eventually the pants can get a tad loose in the waist and caboose—especially if you’re carrying a phone, wallet, and something like a point and shoot camera.

For the best results, I recommend wearing a belt with these pants, which can be a deal breaker for some travelers, but hey, it’s your call.

If you’re not a huge fan of the “chino” look, these pants might not be the best option for you. While I don’t think they look like office pants—especially when I cuff them at the ankle—if you’re a rough and tumble traveler, you might stick out a little at the hostel in these. Style aside, these pants can perform with some of the most rugged travel pants out there without looking like travel pants, which is a big plus for me.

Outlier Slim Dungarees

$198

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Best Travel Pants for Europe

Durable, lightweight “workcloth” fabric, and effortless style for a top-notch alternative to heavy travel jeans and overly “techy” travel pants.

Who these pants are for: Minimalists, urban travelers, and fashion-forward flashpackers

Packing for Europe in a carry on bag can be a challenge. Obviously, you want to look your best in fashion capitals like Rome and Paris, yet it’s important to stay mobile with a sleek carry on bag for budget flights and of course, the occasional Tuscan Vespa excursion.

If your ideal trip to Europe involves riding a city bike along the river, exploring ancient ruins and sipping Aperol Spritzes in the piazza at dusk, these are the perfect travel pants for you.

The Outlier Slim Dungarees ($198) were practically engineered for European travel. They’re rugged enough for almost any activity you can think of, yet still fashionable enough to wear for a night on the town with those hip locals. Dress up your capsule wardrobe with these durable, versatile, stylish travel pants. 

What We Like: Rugged Sophisticated Style

  • Workcloth double weave canvas fabric: Unlike any other pair of pants on the market, the tough, yet comfortable, workcloth fiber is the secret sauce for the look, fit, and feel of these pants
  • Great stretch for “jeans”: The 2-way stretch is just enough stretch for comfort, but still looks and feels tailored
  • Super durable: Odor and stain-resistant, as well as fairly water-resistant for light rain
  • Wrinkle-free packing: They roll up and pack like a boss

What We Don’t Like: A Few Minor Flaws 

  • The price: There’s no getting around the price tag. We think they’re worth it, but $200 is a lot to pay for a pair of travel pants
  • Stretching with multiple wears: These pants will stretch out a bit between washes, so pack a belt
  • Metal button: It’s a weird oversight for “travel pants,” but the metal waist button can dig into you on long flights or when you fasten your backpack waist belt
  • No zippered pockets for travel days: The front pockets are nice and deep with a good horizontal cut to keep your stuff from sliding out, but no zippers here
  • The inseam runs really long: I always need to cuff these pants
  • Not great for summer: These pants breathe, but they can still get a bit muggy on hot days (or long bike rides)

Honestly, if you’re looking to pack just one pair of pants for your trip to Europe, these should be a top contender. Outlier has been a leader in travel clothing for a few years now, and the Slim Dungarees are their flagship pants. 

The hybrid canvas fabric (82% nylon, 16% polyester, 2% elastane) can take days of punishment and still look great, but still feels stretchy enough for climbing and biking. They have a few minor flaws, but if you get a really good fit (size down just a bit) these can be your one and only travel pants, especially for classing up your packing list in Europe.

Things to Consider

Outlier clothing is a bit pricey, and these are expensive pants. They’re unlike any other travel pants—in fact, I don’t even think of them as travel pants. They’re more like “really great pants that travel well.” However, they’re not for everyone. 

Don’t let the word “dungaree” fool you. These aren’t jeans, and even though they’re rugged as heck, they’re not quite as tough as a good pair of denim.

My only real gripe with these pants is how they stretch out fairly quickly between washes—especially in the waist and crotch. That simple fact made me less likely to wear them than since the fitted look is part of what makes them so stylish. Wash them every few days for a crisp, tailored fit. If you’re looking for consistent slim, tailored fitting travel pants, these aren’t the pants for you.

These pants are truly one of a kind. Just make sure they’re what you actually want.

Western Rise Evolution Pant

$149

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Best Lightweight Travel Pants for Warm Weather

Shockingly rugged, absurdly ultra lightweight, and they roll down to the size of a t-shirt so you can (and should) take them anywhere and everywhere.

Who these pants are for: Active urban travelers, hikers, cyclists, and stylish minimalist adventurers on the go.

If you’re not familiar with this Colorado brand, Western Rise, get excited. Because the Evolution Pant ($149) might just be the first pair of “trail” pants you can proudly on a long hike and a happy hour in the big city.

What We Like: Lightweight Packability 

  • Wrinkle-free packing: These pants pack down to nothing and weigh even less
  • Rugged construction and water-resistance: Built for adventure, take em hiking, biking—rain or shine
  • Lightweight “Supplex” stretch nylon fabric: Ridiculously lightweight pants that are ideal for warmer climates or active travelers with a carry on bag
  • Zippered rear pocket for your valuables: Nice
  • Urban appeal in an adventure shell: These pants just plain look great

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Only one zipper pocket: I had a slight issue with the zipper lining material ripping on my rear zippered pocket
  • Not a ton of stretch: The 2-way stretch has a little less give than other travel pants, but that might actually be a good thing in some cases 

Cool Travel Pants for Hot Places

Here’s the thing about packing for warmer destinations like Southeast Asia—you don’t want to bring a lot of bulky clothing you might not wear very often. But you also need a pair of pants or long sleeve shirt for chilly flights or cold evenings. That means the last thing you want to pack is a pair of heavy hiking pants you might only wear once (or not at all). The solution is a lightweight pair of stylish pants you can actually wear during your trip. Even when it’s hot.

That’s why I like the Evolution Pants so much.

These pants are great for hitting the trail or hanging onto the back of a moped on hot sweaty days. They’re also stylish enough to wear to the bar or even the beach. Just cuff ’em up, and you’re good to go. But the best part about these pants isn’t the style, pockets, or rugged water-resistant construction (although it’s nice).

The best part about the Evolution Pants is how they pack down to nothing when you’re not wearing them. 

Warm Weather Packing

I’d been looking for a great pair of lightweight travel pants for the Southeast Asia leg of my around-the-world trip, and the ability to stuff them in my bag without adding a lot of weight sealed the deal. My travel backpack, the Setout Divide, is usually in the 26L mode, especially in warmer climates, so I can’t travel with bulky pants I barely wear.

These obscenely lightweight trail pants (13 oz) roll down to about the size of a t-shirt, so I never have to think about packing them. And the nylon “Supplex” fabric is thinner than other travel pants, which means these pants breathe a lot better than heavier hiking pants.

The Evolution Pants are great when you need them and gone when you don’t, which is a great option for hot climates when you don’t want to work up a sweat carrying a big suitcase.

Oliver Passage Pants

$148

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Best Comfortable Travel Pants for Long Flights

Effortless freedom of movement with featherweight, breathable cordura fabric for a stylish pair of travel pants you can wear for hours on long flights, without looking like you just stepped off a red eye.

Who these pants are for: Minimalist one bag travelers and frequent fliers

Originally, I thought this category would be a toss up between the Bluffworks Ascender Chinos and the Outlier Slim Dungarees, but I recently got a chance to test the aptly named Passage Pant from Oliver, and they’ve become my go to travel pants for long flights.

What We Like: Stretch, Style, and Ease of Movement

  • Great stretch: The subtle stretch and give are a standout feature, better than the Outlier since the Cordura fabric feels significantly lighter
  • That soft waistline button: The waist button is metal, but there’s no hard metal nub digging into your waist
  • Stylish as heck: These pants just look good; not at all like travel pants which makes them a pivotal pair of pants for hectic travel days where you don’t want to look out of sorts
  • Don’t need a belt: Unlike the Outlier stretch “jeans” I’ve worn these pants for days without washing, and while they obviously stretch out a bit, I haven’t felt the need for a belt; that’s a big deal when you’re traveling

What We Don’t Like: No Zipper Pockets

  • Security: It’s a minor flaw in an otherwise great pair of travel pants, but I’d like to see at least one secure zippered pocket. 

Seamless Travel Pants

The nearest competitor to the Passage Pants are the Outlier Slim Dungarees, and while those are excellent pants, I can’t help but give the edge to the Passage pants in literally every category.

  1. They cost $50 less
  2. They’re lighter
  3. You don’t need to wear a belt
  4. They feel great on air-conditioned flights and seamy bus rides

These are simply the new and improved Cordura fabric travel pants. If you need a pair of stylish pants for frequent travel, the Passage Pants will quickly become a staple of your packing list. I swapped out my other favorite travel pants – the Bluffworks Ascender Chinos – and I’ve been enjoying traveling with just one pair of pants for the past few weeks across Southeast Asia.

While they don’t have a zippered security pocket, the Passage Pants still manage to keep all my stuff (usually a phone, front wallet, and keys) safe and sound in my pockets. I like the horizontal pocket cut (instead of the less secure vertical design). I haven’t noticed any items slipping out, and I move around a lot when I’m on a flight.

The internal “fifth” pocket is more than enough to keep a front wallet from sliding around, and the back pockets are easily passport sized for seamless travel days.

I’m addicted to the 4-way stretch, which gives me full range of motion to kick back and enjoy the flight no matter where I’m sitting. And I’m talking full range of motion. You can do the splits in these pants (if you’re that flexible), which means they’re great for stretching out or curling up on long flights. 

These pants were clearly designed with travel in mind, but I’m continually impressed with how they just look and feel like a great pair of pants when I land.  The stretch fabric is discreet, stylish, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant, which means I always arrive looking fresh, rested, and ready to hit the ground running right away.

People forget that great travel clothing isn’t just about getting you through your next big hike or long travel day. You also have to wear that stuff when you land. 

How Were These Pants Tested?

I’ve been a travel writer with Tortuga (and a few other travel brands) for the past six years, and before that I was a bartender, surf instructor, copywriter, and long-haul travel specialist with nearly 20 years (yikes!) of travel experience in over 40 countries.

I’m currently on my second around-the-world trip, and I’ve had a blast testing all this clothing for you guys. I’m honestly obsessed with discovering and testing quality gear and clothing to find a packing list that’s lean enough yet tough enough to keep up with my active traveling lifestyle. I surf, climb, bike, and hike all the dang time.

I’ve been a travel writer with Tortuga (and a few other travel brands) for the past six years, and before that I was a bartender, surf instructor, copywriter, and long-haul travel specialist with nearly 20 years (yikes!) of travel experience in over 40 countries.

I’m currently on my second around-the-world trip, and I’ve had a blast testing all this clothing for you guys. I’m honestly obsessed with discovering and testing quality gear and clothing to find a packing list that’s lean enough yet tough enough to keep up with my active traveling lifestyle. I surf, climb, bike, and hike all the dang time.

I tested each of these pants, personally, in a number of travel conditions you’re likely to experience in Europe, New York City, and across Southeast Asia for the past six months.

Not all of these pants have been with me for the entire trip (I shipped a few pairs home, and received others during the trip), but they’ve all been battle-tested in real world travel environments including:

  • Flights
  • Busses
  • Rain
  • Heat
  • Cities
  • Mopeds
  • Bikes
  • Dancing
  • Drinking
  • Beaches
  • Mountains
  • And more 

Key Concerns While Testing

  • Comfort & Fit: How do the pants fit and feel, especially after a few days of wear?
  • Durability: How do the pants handle dirt, water, sweat, stains, weather, and wear and tear on the road (including day hikes and biking)?
  • Features & Performance: Are there any specific travel-friendly features including: zippered pockets (size, security, reliability), 2 or 4-way stretch, quick dry fabric, and any  wrinkle and odor-resistance? Also, how long can you wear these pants between washes?
  • Style: Do I actually want to wear these pants, and how fashionable are they in urban settings?
  • Value: Are these pants worth the price, and would I pack them for a certain type of trip?

That’s how I evaluate most travel clothing. Because, at the end of the day, the fit and feel of the pants are a huge deal, as well as how much I actually want to wear them on any given trip. Honestly, the only features that matter are the ones that you actually use, so I don’t get bogged down in specs like other reviewers. 

If a pair of pants are comfortable, durable, stylish, and affordable, I’ll let you know. 

 

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