Looking for the perfect men’s travel pants? You will find them here! In six years of full-time travel, I’ve learned exactly what men’s travel pants need to be comfortable and versatile for all day, every day wear. Read on to find your next pair of ideal travel trousers.
If you’ve done much travelling, you already know that most mens pants (aka trousers my British friends) are not ideal for travel.
They can squeeze you in all the wrong places if you sit for too long, they can leave you feeling hot and sticky, or constricted and itchy, and things are alway falling out of your pockets at the worst times.
When you travel a lot, you also start to realize that there are two types of pants that most travelling men wear.
First, there’s the cargo pant, with lots of pockets and absolutely no shape, always in some shade of tan or army green. Then there’s the elephant pant, that goes along with the top-knot, a scraggly goatee, and an ultra-spiritual persona.
But thankfully, in 2019 you don’t have to settle for one of those looks.
In the six years since I started travelling full-time, men’s travel fashion has come a long way. Now (as Jane constantly complains) men’s travel clothes are way better than the women’s equivalent.
There are plenty of great comfortable options out there with lots of speciality travel features on board. And there are styles for every guy and every type of traveller, too.
Read on to find…
The Best Men’s Travel Pants for Your Next Adventure
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What All Great Men’s Travel Pants Have in Common
After travelling non-stop for the past few years, I realized any pants that were good enough to be in my suitcase would need to include a few basic features.
Let’s start with the obvious. The best travel pants are comfortable. But not just a little bit comfortable — more like, “I want to live and die in these pants” comfortable. Heck, all pants should be that comfortable! But it can be really hard to find comfortable men’s travel pants. They might start out OK but when you’re 7 hours into a 9 hour flight, that’s when the true test arises.
All the pants I suggest below have been designed to be comfortable. Yes, even for long flights.
This is another feature that I think all men’s pants should have. But wrinkle-free fabric is especially crucial for travelling.
Not only is there nowhere to iron, but there’s no time for ironing when you have sights to see and new cultures to explore.
I’ve yet to find pants that are truly wrinkle free — no decent fabric can stand up to being smushed inside a backpack for days, especially in humid climates — but many of the ones on this list are truly wrinkle resistant!
The best travel pants for men need to look good without sacrificing comfort.
I don’t need to look like a Milan runway model wherever I go, but I do like my travel trousers to be presentable enough to go from plane, to city street, to dinner with friends, and into a decent hotel.
Not looking like you just rolled out of bed goes a long way when you are trying to get seated in a crowded restaurant, want to negotiate a better discount, or are in line for a free upgrade at the hotel!
Nice-to-Have Features for Travel Pants
The three features above are non-negotiable when I’m choosing travel plants. There are a couple more which are very nice to have.
Hidden pockets or zipper pockets
Though it’s not an absolute deal-breaker, travel pants with hidden pockets or zipper pockets are an excellent way to add extra security while travelling.
I don’t use a money belt or a wallet — instead I like to just shove a bit of cash into my hidden pants pockets and go. Zipper pockets keep my cash safe from sneaky fingers and the (much greater) danger of everything falling out when I sit down.
Hidden zipper pockets are also great for things like your hotel key card, phone, or passport.
It might seem like quibbling to fuss over a few ounces of fabric but after dragging your suitcase or backpack across a dozen countries, you’ll want your travel pants (and all your clothes) to weigh less. Plus, lightweight fabrics tend to be more breathable, cooler, and dry faster too.
Of course, if you’re heading somewhere cold you’ll want to opt for slightly heavier travel pants or bring a base layer to go under them.
Quick dry pants are great for light packers who want to have the option of washing laundry in the sink and having it dry for the next morning. They’re also handy when you get caught in the rain or are doing a spot of white water rafting.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of wet outdoor activities, you might want to go the extra mile and get some water-resistant pants for your travels.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Travel Pants
Size IS everything
Don’t believe what they say… size matters, at least when it comes to travel pants. If you get them a little too small, you’ll be itchy and uncomfortable before the plane leaves the runway. Too long and you’ll be dragging in the mud, too short and you’ll just feel foolish.
I know it’s tempting to just guess but, before you order, get out the measuring tape and figure out your correct sizes! Then check the sizing chart on the website before you order. Also, leave enough time before your trip to return and exchange the pants if they don’t fit.
Own your travel style
Though you might be tempted to think of yourself as a rock climbing, hiking, white water-rafting he-man type, be honest about the amount of activity you’re really going to do on your trip. Will you mostly be sitting at the bar sampling the local craft beers, or will you really be out and about in all weather?
For super-active guys, you’re going to want to go with the prAna or Columbia active travel pants we recommend below. You might be a little underdressed in the evenings, but it’ll be worth it for the added durability and comfort you’ll get.
On the other hand, if your trip is going to be more about sophisticated fun, go for a pair of Bluffworks jeans or chinos (you’ll find them below) which look great but also function well for the occasional outdoor activity. Grab a Bluffworks Gramercy Blazer (also wrinkle-resistant and quick dry) to really sharpen up your look.
What’s the weather going to be?
If you’re travelling to hot countries or to Europe in summer, leave the jeans at home and grab a pair of chinos or moisture-wicking technical trousers. But, if you will be in cold weather, travel jeans are much better — they’ll give you way more warmth than a pair of chinos.
For super-hot weather, I like the Bluffworks Chinos. For cool and cold weather, I usually wear jeans. If it gets super-cold, I layer a pair of yoga tights underneath!
Thought it’s tempting to get a pair of camel-coloured chinos, it really is true that dark colours are just better for travelling. They don’t show the dirt as much and they look dressier when the situation calls for it. For hot weather, it is nice to get slightly lighter colours though, since they are a lot cooler.
What are the best pants to wear on long flights?
Ideally, on a long flight, you’d wear your old baggy sweats, right? What could be more comfortable than that? Alas, sweats are pretty much useless for all other parts of travel, so I don’t recommend that they even get to come on your trip.
Instead, I’d go for one of the pairs of prAna pants we recommend, or the Bluffworks or OHMME jeans if you tend to be cold on planes. If you get the right fit, any of the travel pants on this list will be comfortable for long flights, because they all have a little stretch, are breathable, and comfortable.
What are the best pants for travel in Europe?
Especially in cites, Europeans tend to dress a lot better than we do in North America. If you don’t want to feel like the stereotypical American tourist, you’re gonna want to leave your cargo pants at home. If you don’t want to feel like the stereotypical Canadian tourists, don’t wear your shorts all over the place — Europeans do not wear shorts except to the beach or the gym.
If you’re heading to Europe in summer, one of the chinos I recommend above is probably perfect. Of course, if your whole trip is going to be spent trekking the Alps, you’ll want to go for the Columbia or prAna active trousers.
My Favourite Casual Men’s Travel Pants
No matter what your travel style, there’s always a lot of walking involved in travel. The walking pants we’ve chosen here work great for lots of city walking plus the occasional hike or bike ride.
Best men’s travel pants with hidden pockets
- 5 colours, 5 inseam lengths
- Choice of tailored fit or regular fit
- Technical lightweight breathable polyester
- Quick dry
- Wrinkle resistant, no iron
- 2 x hidden zipper pockets
My Bluffworks Chinos are great. They are stylish enough that I don’t feel like a grub, even on the streets of Milan or Paris. They are also casual enough that they don’t scream “rich tourist, please steal from me” like a lot of speciality travel clothes do.
Most importantly, they are the most comfortable travel pants I’ve ever worn. They have a little bit of stretch and there is some extra room in the crotch, so I can even do full splits (Hanumanasana) in them without feeling any pinch.
“Great for street yoga” might not be a selling point for most male travellers, but it also means you can use them for active stuff like hiking and cycling — and even more importantly, you’ll be comfortable wearing them on a plane for hours on end.
They include 2 hidden zipper pockets and are made from wrinkle-resistant, quick-dry fabric.
We have been fans of Bluffworks for years and love their commitment to creating quick-dry, wrinkle-free travel clothes that really work, look good, aren’t made in sweatshops, and consider the environment at the same time.
Best men’s pants for long flights
- 4 colours
- 98% Organic Cotton / 2% Spandex
- Slim fit (for relaxed fit try the prAna Brion)
- Fair Trade Factory Certified™
- Slightly stretchy
These pants probably don’t technically fit in the chino category, as they’re more of a cotton jean. I’m putting them here because they’re the kind of pants you can wear to the office and then to the climbing gym after work.
For travel, they tread that line between looking good enough for almost any restaurant or hotel lobby, while still being great for hiking or walking around all day.
prAna calls the Tucson their go-anywhere pant, so if you’re going anywhere, these might be perfect for your suitcase. They are breathable, not too heavy, and comfortable for long walks or hikes.
My Picks for Hiking and Active Travel
Best mens lightweight pants for outdoor activities
- 6 colours, 4 inseam lengths
- 97% Nylon / 3% Spandex
- Regular fit
- Lightweight at 7.6oz
- UPF 50+
- Stretch ‘Zion’ performance woven fabric
- Durable water repellent (DWR) finish
If your travels are going to be bit more rugged than a few gentle hikes and some short bike rides, then the prAna Brion pants might work best for you. Designed to handle the stress of rock climbing, the Zion fabric stretches with you and resists water, dirt, and abrasion.
They make great active travel pants because, though they are tough and can stand up to a lot of activity, they still look good enough for stylish city cafes and bars.
They are water-resistant and quick-drying and, as a bonus, they are wrinkle-resistant too. They’ll look equally good straight out of your bag or after a 9-hour flight.
Best men’s travel pants for light packers
- 10 colours, 5 inseam lengths
- 100% nylon Silver Ridge ripstop
- Regular fit
- Convertible pants & shorts (available in non-convertible too)
- Technical moisture wicking fabric
- Partial elastic waist
- Zippered leg pocket
If you’re looking for men’s hiking pants that will do well on the streets, too, Columbia’s perennially popular Silver Ridge Convertible pants are the answer.
These are THE classic convertible travel pants, with zippered legs you can off remove to convert them into shorts. The shorts actually look pretty decent too — they’re not too short, and not too long, and you’ll still look good on the beach. It’s a quick zip to get them ready to head to dinner once the sun sets and it cools down.
The moisture wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry during sweaty activities and the ripstop nylon should make them tough enough to withstand extreme activities.
While you won’t win any fashion awards wearing them (they are convertible travel pants after all), these are tailored enough to look decent on a casual night out.
My Picks of the Best Travel Jeans for Men
Best men’s travel pants for Europe in cool weather
- 5 inseam lengths
- Special cotton and polyester blend
- Choice of regular fit or slim fit
- COOLMAX blend that breathes well
- They have plenty of stretch
- Two hidden, zippered pockets (plus 5 normal jeans pockets)
- Lightweight at 11oz per yard
- Soft and breathable
One of the things I love about Bluffworks is that they only make men’s clothes for travel. That’s it. They’re not for the office or rock climbing or cycling or some other random activity. They optimize everything for travel — and yes, their clothes can do double duty as office wear and active wear.
I love wearing jeans and have missed not having them on the road — so huge thanks to Bluffworks for sending me a pair of theirs. Unlike a lot of jeans, the fabric on the Departure Jeans is slightly stretchy and soft, like a pair of jeans you’ve owned for 10 years.
For me, the slim fit is just the right combo of relaxed and tailored, so they look great but will also be comfortable for long flights and bus rides. I’m a skinny guy though so if you have a bit of butt and thighs, then you’ll probably like the regular fit better.
They are thicker than a pair of chinos or active travel pants, so I suspect they’ll be perfect for travelling in Europe, even during winter. The only problem so far is that Jane keeps trying to steal them away from me.
Best men’s travel jeans for hiking
- 3 colours, 3 inseam lengths
- 99% Cotton, 1% Elastane
- Regular fit, straight let
- 2-way comfort stretch and comfort waistband
- Omni-Shield™ water and stain repellent
- Zippered security pocket
These jeans were made for outdoor activity and have the features you need if you’re an active traveller. I especially like the addition of Columbia’s Omni-Shield technology, which helps keep water and dirt away — perfect for hikes or getting caught in a downpour.
The relaxed fit means they’ll be comfortable on the plane and they’re a little stretchy too, giving you more freedom of movement. Jeans in dark colors look great for evening activities too, so you could get away with wearing these straight from the trail to the bar.
It can be hard to find the perfect pair of travel pants, especially for those of us who want to pack light, be active, and look good too.
Luckily, there are now lots of options out there for guys who want to have it all when travelling. So ditch those cargo pants, say f*** no to elephant pants, and check out some of the trousers we recommend above.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
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