Whether you plan on globetrotting across the world or are heading out for a weekend hike, a quality pair of travel pants should not only fit well but keep all your gear secured close to your body.
In this guide we not only review the best men’s travel pants in 2020, but we take it a step further and look at all the important considerations you should take into account when deciding on the right pair of travel pants for your needs.
If that weren’t enough, we also answer a few popular questions that men have when choosing (and wearing) travel pants, along with taking a quick look at some worthy alternatives.
Let’s dive in:
Table of Contents
The Best Men’s Travel Pants of 2020 Reviewed
1. Best Overall: Proof Nomad Pant
This bulk of this pant is 100% polyester, while the pocket has 8% spandex to allow for a little bit of give if you are carrying a lot of gear. Not only does this pant come in a variety of travel friendly colors, but it has a two way stretch twill construction that ensures this pant won’t restrict your movement.
There’s a covert zippered pocket that will keep your important belongings secure when you’re on the move or getting on and off from public transportation in an unfamiliar city. The soft fabric of these pants and woven twill is the ultimate travel pant material. The fabric of the pant has a water resistant treatment, meaning you won’t have any trouble bringing this pant to humid or wet climates.
That being said, it has a distinct style that leaves it seeming more like a pair of chino pants than a super functional pair of true travel pants. Nonetheless, that’s what they are.
- Articulated style and technical features make this pant well rounded
- Stretch fabric increases durability
- Choice of slim or straight cut
- No cargo pocket
- Design is not meant for heavy duty activities like climbing
What You Need To Know
2. Best For Europe: Faherty Brand Travel Pant
This pant looks like a chino, but has everything you would expect in a true travel pant, and even has some of the features of cargo pants. The fabric has a four-way stretch which means this pant lends itself to a lot of walking and will rise to the occasion whether you’re traveling across Rome for the day or across Europe for the summer.
It’s our favorite pant for wearing to Europe both for its comfortable fit and reserved design, this pant doesn’t call unwanted attention and is one of the best pairs for keeping both flexible and stylish. The drawstring waistband is a great technical feature– not needing a belt makes one less thing you need to feel around for in your luggage, and you can be sure they will fit even if you slim down a bit during your travels.
This is one of the best travel pants for long flights as well, as the waist band makes checkpoints easier and the pockets are relatively secure with buttons on the back so you can feel secure that your wallet or passport is not going to slip out when you’re waiting in an airport terminal.
- Style looks comfortable but not touristy
- Super soft stretch fabric adds to comfort
- No zippered pockets
- Not wrinkle-resistant
What You Need To Know
3. Most Affordable: Columbia Travel Pant
Not only is this a nice travel pant for guys who are on the rise and working on a budget, but it also has excellent features. Zippered security pockets are always a crucial feature in travel pants and these have one, as well as several other mesh pockets. They also have moisture wicking and quick dry fabric which will help keep you dry no matter what you’re doing that day.
The pants come in a wide variety of colors, black included. The classic cargo pant design is great for guys who also need to look like they’re ready to get things done, and the UPF protection these pants offer means that they’re a favorite for wearing to the beach or day on the lake.
- Moisture wicking fabric
- Zippered security pocket
- Excellent value
- A bit too casual for some occasions
What You Need To Know
4. Best For Hot Weather: REI Convertible Travel Pants
Hot weather can create problems if the pant you decide to wear doesn’t have a hot weather design. That’s why it’s important to chose a hot weather pant if you’re going to be deep in the jungle or just out in the open terrain on a hot day, and this pair is one of the best travel pants for hot weather available.
These pants are not only convertible, which is excellent when it turns out you should have worn shorts, but they’re also non-chaffing and made from a lightweight nylon. The UPF 50 rating means that you’ll be protected from the sun, and can take these up the next cliff no problem.
A thoughtful feature of this pant is also that its low density fabric not only provides for a light wear, but also packs down into luggage with ease. You’ll be surprised how little space these pants take up, which is pretty important when packing for a long trip — especially to hot whether areas where light packing is the sign of an experienced traveler.
- Lightweight fabric
- Sun protection
- Doesn’t provide the insulation of jeans or thicker travel pants we review
What You Need To Know
The Stretch Zion spandex blend fabric (a mix of nylon and spandex) from prAna brand is really how these pants made it on the list. It’s a great lightweight fabric that gives you comfort and a breathability that you’ll love, while staying lightweight. During our research, one of the reviews we found specifically mentioned the switch over from denim to this fabric as a tip for guys who live in hot climates.
Obviously this fabric can stretch, but the design of this pant also makes it a comfortable wear for guys different sizes, from a 28″ to 42″ waist. The water resistant fabric is also a good feature for guys who need a check on the weather, and the pant legs can also roll up so that you can wear them walking on the beach or through a stream.
Although this pair has cargo pockets and a waist strap that would usually be an obvious sign of a travel pant, the silhouette of this pair is similar to chino pants and it makes them pretty versatile in terms of occasion.
- Excellent stretch fabric
- Cargo pockets for extra gear or phone
- Fabric not as light as previous choices
What You Need To Know
This is a great pair of pants for taking out in the city as they have all of the features you’ll want to check off before grabbing a great pair of travel pants from this list. They’re quick drying, have stretch fabric (96% nylon), and feature a button close fly. Pants fit can be a problem sometimes with travel choices, but these will have you enter into a more dressed up situation with ease. Zip back pockets prevent these from being versatile enough for a formal occasion.
Although this pant doesn’t have four-way stretch fabric, two-way is usually good enough except for the most arduous climbing, or when you’re trying to post a new record on a hike. That being said, whether you’re deep in the woods or just spending too much on tips at the local bar, these travel pants will be a great close companion for the whole trip.
- Chino fit makes these versatile choice
- Quick drying means you don’t need to be close to the hotel for a change
- May not be as appropriate for formal occasions as other choices on the list
What You Need To Know
A great pair of pants for taking bouldering or on the trail. These pants have a side zip pocket where you can put your phone and other important belongings, and an articulated knee which means these are great pants for high mobility movement.
One of the reasons we love these pants and why they made the list is their simplicity, especially while still aligning with a lot of the travel tips that you’re going to want to follow when going on an extended trip. Not only are they designed for comfort, but they have a moisture wicking waistband which means you’ll be dry no matter how deep you’ve gotten yourself into the crag.
While simple in design, these pants have a decidedly active wear look, and are similar in that sense to some of the cargo pant styles on the list — they’re probably not the best for taking into town, and you probably shouldn’t try to pass them off as business pants.
- Excellent outdoor qualities — water resistance and flexibility
- Convenient side zip pocket
- Good price for quality and features
- Doesn’t follow Europe travel tips, a bit touristy
What You Need To Know
If you’re looking for a travel pant, but also want apparel that you can take in to any size business — whether it be the local coffee shop or your corporate gig, this is the best versatile pant we found in our review process. It has the critical features you’re looking for in a pant that will see a lot of action, but unlike many of our previous selections, is quite dapper in its presentation and could easily make its way through the office.
The pants are breathable and quick dry, which is just as important in the office as it is when you’re supervising your kids while they’re out in the backyard. They’ve also got wrinkle free fabric and an anti-theft security pocket. Because of their style and features, these are also some of the best travel pants for Europe on our list.
- Excellent price for versatility
- More formal than previous selections
- Not the best choice for intense outdoor activity
What You Need To Know
Made with ultra comfy Japanese stretch fabric, this Rhone pant is another excellent choice. These are one of the more stylish products on our list, but not at the expense of function. There are lots of added details for added comfort and range of motion, including double belt loops, a sewn gusset inseam, and unparalleled stretch.
Rhone has also considered the safety of your belongings and added a zippered security pocket, as well as media pocket for your phone and keys. As a bonus, the Japanese stretch fabric is wrinkle-resistant and you can wash these at home in your washing machine.
- Comfortable, wrinkle-free Japanese stretch fabric
- Rhone products offer free hemming
- Sewn gusset inseam for added mobility
- Somewhat expensive, towards the higher end of our range
What You Need To Know
Once known mainly for making yoga pants for women, Lululemon has become a favorite athleisure brand for men as well. These pants are somewhat of an outlier on our list as they were actually designed with outdoor exploration in mind; however, they offer water repellant fabric, double layered fabric at the knees for added comfort and support, and zippered pockets for valuables — great features for most anywhere your travels may take you.
These pants look and feel great, but the quality of the Lululemon brand does come with a high price tag – those on a budget may need to wait for a sale.
- Both stylish and comfortable
- Durable, breathable construction
- Very pricey
What You Need To Know
8 Tips on Finding the Best Travel Pants
Let’s start by going over several factors that are important when considering the best travel pants options.
Traveling can literally take you through the full scope of global climates and weather conditions, so it’s important to pick the right pants for the right scenario.
Flexible fabrics are great for outdoor pants which are going to be used for hiking or general movement — there are a wide variety of lightweight and comfortable options available that are also ideal for hiking. It’s important to look for materials that can resist the rugged conditions that will come up when out on an adventure. Fast drying fabrics are a necessary rather than extra feature for hiking, to give security against rain and sweat.
There are a couple important features to look for in a pair of pants for urban exploration — you’ll want a security pocket to protect your everyday gear as well as important documents for your trip. This type of pant is also great for everyday pants, and can give you a “commuter” look to blend in with the locals. Lightweight and breathable fabrics are a great choice, while the stretchy fabric necessary for climbing is not.
Pants with a casual intent can be used when not traveling, and a slim fit pair of trousers can be dressed up or down. Many slim options are similar to chinos, and many are wrinkle-resistant which will ensure nice presentation on an everyday basis.
The versatility of a tropical pair of pants is due to one of their main added features — they can convert into a pair of shorts to accommodate warm weather. Often they will have UPF protection when in direct sunlight, and moisture-wicking lightweight features are important for humid climates, so keep that in mind if any trips take you to the equator.
Cold Weather / Snow
Cold weather pants are great for an adventure in the snow — they’re made for warmth when outdoors. Quick drying fabric is one of the critical features for a pair of pants that will be used in the snow. Another important feature to secure your belongings is zippered pockets, to prevent your gear from falling out into the snow.
Cotton fabric is highly breathable and comfortable, which makes it an easy choice for a travel pant as well as for daily use. Cotton may slightly restrict your movement compared to synthetic fibers like spandex or elastic, which are made to give pants some stretch. Cotton is both washable and fairly durable, so it’s a generally a good fabric to take on your next adventure. Chinos and jeans, both common pants in for the city or suburb, are also made from cotton, just woven differently.
Synthetic / Man-made
Synthetic fabrics are great for climbing and hiking because they’re extremely durable — they may contain fabrics like ballistic nylon which is designed to handle a lot of abuse and so is perfect in a pair of hiking pants. Polyester has gotten much better since the 70’s, and is a bit more durable and breathable than it used to be, while spandex provides a four-way stretch which makes prolonged walking super comfortable, whether you’re in the city or climbing up a mountain. These materials can also make for some of the best lightweight travel pants.
If you’re looking for warmth, wool is an extremely good choice — it’s naturally water-resistant and is perfect for travelers heading to cold climates like Norway, Sweden, or Canada. Wool has some hidden natural stretch too, so it’s not as cumbersome as one might expect.
Quick-drying clothing makes a great fit for trail hiking. Sweat marks (particularly near the crotch or knee) will disappear quickly and so they can be good if you’re going straight from the hike into the city to meet with a guide. The length of drying time however depends on the quick-dry material blend and how it was treated.
Sun / UVA / UVB Protection
This feature is really important in a pair of travel pants as it acts as a quality rash guard — providing protection from the sun. It’s a hidden feature that is a must for travel to the Caribbean or other equatorial destinations, and a sun protection treatment can be paired with a linen pant for a more lightweight and comfortable pair of travel pants.
Moisture-wicking is not the same as water-resistant or quick-drying, rather, it draws moisture from the skin (here’s a great article from Vice explaining this). This prevents chaffing which is great if your legs rub together at all while walking — it will make the pants more comfortable and allow you to wear them all day.
Exterior Cargo Pockets
Cargo pockets are the quintessential travel pant feature (although some travel pants are missing cargo pockets); they allow for easy and functional storage of your devices (i.e. phone, keys, etc.). Some travel pants feature zippered pockets on the leg for added security — we recommend this feature if you’re doing strenuous activity so you don’t lose your important stuff.
Hidden Pockets / Security Pockets
Hidden pockets are essential if you enter an area where security is a concern (which happens all the time while traveling). Typically on the inside of the waistband, and possibly with a zippered pocket, you can keep your essential items with you, like cash and your passport. Some modern travel pants have interior lining within the back or side pocket as a secret pouch where you can carry your stuff.
Convertible travel pants have a zipper around the leg and are made from a lightweight fabric. They’re great for traveling because of their versatility in temperature variation, which is common when traveling during fall and spring, or up and down a mountain.
Odor control travel pants typically concentrate on breathability because an airy pant discourages bacterial growth — and they usually use natural fibers.
Waterproof / Water resistant
Water resistant pants are treated in a way to increase performance in rainstorms, but this feature may wear down over time. These features are great if you’re on a multi-day camping trip, however water-resistant pants may not be as stretchy or breathable than other travel pants.
4. Pant Fit
Casual / Regular
More material around the seat of the pants and from the knee downwards, comparable to straight leg jeans — this classic fit is good for wearing in an outdoor or urban environment.
Slim / Tailored
There is room in the seat of slim fit pants, and the material is tailored from the knee downwards, which makes for more classy and presentable pairs of pants. They’re great for going out on the town for the evening, and have more of the modern cut that is popular among men these days.
Relaxed / Athletic
Relaxed and athletic pants are a comfortable choice for larger or more athletic men. There’s room in the seat an extra material designed to make movement more seamless.
Travel pants can be found in both regular and big & tall sections. Big or tall selections will have much more comfortable picks for a naturally larger frame, and usually provide a better stretch for movement. Make sure you size accordingly as travel often does not afford the opportunity to pack backup clothes.
There are many different colors available here, we strongly recommend going with a classic and versatile color like black, khaki, navy, or gray. Travelers never know what kind of situation will arise and so the most ideal travel pants generally are not in colors that call attention.
While we have several notable travel brands in our reviews below, it’s best to go with what will fit and compliment your style. Don’t compromise on comfort and style for brand loyalty — you might miss out on the perfect pair of travel pants.
The perfect travel pants should cost you in the range of $75 to $150.
Men’s Travel Pants: Must Have Accessories
It’s often a good idea to pack other important travel gear with your travel pants.
Packing durable travel shoes is an ideal choice for a trip that might take you outside of the city, or into it for that matter. They’re focused on everyday comfort and prolonged walking, and are typically light to reduce fatigue. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, travel shoes are a great choice to take with you on the trail.
If you don’t want to leave your passport in hotel room all the time, it can be a bit stressful to bring your passport with you in your pocket. Many cargo pockets on travel pants can accommodate a larger passport wallet, and may even have zippered pockets to help keep it secure.
A good travel belt is worth packing — it keeps your pants secured around your waist, and a high grade belt will present well and last for years. The belt should match the occasion for which you are traveling — if you’re off to the tropics, a nice canvas and elastic belt will present well while being super comfortable.
Travel Pants FAQs
Q: What are travel pants?
Travel pants are designed to accommodate the specific requirements of travel — they may have an elastic or nylon waistband for comfort, extra pockets, a loose or stretchy cut and fabric, or even a water resistant or quick dry blend of fabric. They’re meant to be worn for long periods of time, rather than a quick commuter trip to the office. Travel pants are typically a bit more utilitarian and less style oriented than say chinos or jeans, but they can also bring in the best of both worlds and have a casual and stylish look.
Q: What are the best travel pants?
The best travel pants are subjective based on your needs and travel destination. If you’re traveling to an arid and hot climate, water resistance is not a feature you should prioritize and may even make the pant less comfortable — light trousers will work better for you. If you’re going to a tropical setting, wearing quick-drying fabric is perfect. In either case, you may want find a pair that allows wearing in technical settings like forest trails and rock walls, but that is also stylish enough to take into a day or night life setting.
Q: Should I wear travel pants for a long flight?
Travel pants can be a good choice for a long flight, especially if they feature a soft fabric, nylon waistband, zippered pockets, or other features that will add to your comfort on a long haul flight. Having a stylish pair of pants is less important on a flight than comfort, but nevertheless, a travel pant can fulfill both roles.
Q: How do I not look like a tourist in Europe?
In general, Americans will find that they can’t fail by up-dressing their clothing when traveling in Europe, as the style there tends to be less athletic or commuter oriented, and more formal. In general, it’s also a good idea to always dress slightly more formal in places like museums and cultural sites than you would in the US — active wear is generally not the right clothing choice for these day trip locations.
Q: How to pack pants for travel?
Many travel pants have stretchy and soft fabric that packs well and won’t wrinkle easily — but in general, flattening the pant, folding it in half, and then tightly rolling it can help to avoid wrinkles: roll, don’t fold.
Men’s Travel Pants vs. Other Pants
It can be difficult deciding what pant choices to choose between when preparing to travel, as you have an unusual amount of scenarios that you have to be prepared for.
Chinos are the ultimate pants for office settings given their versatility and comfort. They have military origins and are quite versatile. The common thicker cotton weave is durable yet still has a comfortable feel.
While chinos are quite comfy, and can be a great choice if you’re in town, they’re not a good choice for your favorite rock climb or other occasions where a hiking pant or sweatpants may be more appropriate.
That being said, you can’t go wrong packing a pair for your trip so that you have a pair of pants meant for wearing out to the club. They will bring the formal style down a notch from khakis and will fit most semi formal occasions.
Denim is the ultimate versatile style pant, because it can easily be dressed up or down depending on the situation. Although breathability may be a problem because denim tends to be a bit thicker than other travel pant materials like polyester, the cotton based fabric is really comfortable.
Size is an important consideration when it comes to jeans as the fit is less forgiving than loose sweatpants or travel pants. You should also be aware that a different cut of jeans will be very different in terms of fit, so it’s best not to take a fit of jean on a trip that you’ve never tried before. Jeans are likely not to have a composition of stretch fabric, although some modern brands feature about 6% of spandex which can give them a bit more flexibility – commonly found in quality-made skinny jeans.
Hiking pants are built for performance — they’re moisture wicking, breathable, durable and light weight. While having a durable pair of pants is critical for hikes, they may not have the formal style you would need to wear them to other occasions.
Hiking pants may be fleece lined and have other features that make them useful for wearing outdoors for several days, but they’re not specifically designed for travel, so they’re unlikely to have a hidden pocket or other features that are specifically designed for travel versatility like being wrinkle-resistant.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Travel Pants for Men
In this article we looked at many different features, fits, and intents for travel pants. Whether you’re looking for a dual use pair of travel pants that can double up as a faux chino, or one that is strictly for staying dry on the Appalachian trail, there’s a bevy of different choices for you to find the ultimate pair of travel pants to fit your unique style.
Some guys want a stylish fit and pair of pants that can double as a travel pant, while others are just looking for a comfy pair of pants that will stretch as they make their way up a rock face. Either way, we’ve accounted for all the possible performance needs.
Our goal was to provide a terrific and well-rounded lineup of the best men’s travel pants 2020 had to offer, that can be great if you are traveling around the world, or just want a pair of travel pants for your urban adventures.
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