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

Fred Perrotta

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.


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