Best Jeans for Travel

by eslevy17

Is it possible to make jeans for travel? The answer is yes, but you have to know where to look. Find the best travel jeans on the planet, and go adventuring.

When it comes to international travel, jeans get a bad name. But a few manufacturers have figured out that everyone loves jeans, and everyone loves performance fabrics.

They might be hard to find, but it's not impossible to find high-quality travel jeans that will make some of the best travel pants you can find, so you can be stylish and comfortable from Paris to the Amazon.

What makes good travel jeans?

And why are travel jeans so hard to find?

The rigors of international travel involve extreme temperatures, occasional unrelenting rainfall, unpredictable sprints to catch the train, and the unapologetic social demands of stylish presentation throughout such conditions.

The best travel clothing will welcome and thrive under such pressure, wicking sweat from the body, drying quickly, warming in winter, cooling in summer, and you'll be able to hand wash them in a sink and hang them up to dry by morning. Ever wonder why all clothing isn't this way?

The problem is cotton, which backpackers of all sorts know is only suitable for casual apparel. It can't regulate temperature nearly as well as other fabrics, and it soaks up moisture and stays wet all day, taking far too long to dry than is required by ultralight backpackers. It works only under moderate conditions, and if you don't plan on washing often.

This is why jeans are so useless for travel. They're twice the weight of travel pants, can't easily be hand washed, and get too hot in the summer, when most people travel. It's hard to justify such a heavy piece of clothing that isn't suitable for a wide variety of weather and temperature conditions.

So why not make it out of quick-drying fabric? The design itself is perfectly acceptable for international travel, for practical as well as fashionable reasons, and if the cotton is replaced with performance fabric, it'll turn into the perfect travel pant. Right? RIGHT?

Yes. Yes it will. Sadly, very few people have arrived at this conclusion, and finding the perfect travel jeans is a task that often ends in enormous disappointment.

Luckily for you, I have done the legwork for you. Here are the best jeans for travel currently available from the slow-moving world that is the fashion industry:

Coolmax Polyester Travel Jeans

Quick-drying travel jeans for all sorts of adventures

The absolute best way to ensure travel-friendly fabric is to include polyester. Although plenty of other fabrics can be comfortable in all sorts of temperatures, polyester is the only fabric that will dry fast enough when hung up to dry after a sink wash, or after a torrential downpour that leaves you irreversibly soaked. And yes, it will happen sooner or later.

Polyester is moisture-wicking, quick-drying, temperature-regulating, lightweight, durable, and comfortable. When used in jeans, it is generally combined with more familiar denim fabric, so it appears entirely ordinary, but has performance characteristics.

Most travel jeans made with a polyester blend include a large percentage of cotton, typically around 70%. Although the polyester content will significantly reduce drying time and help keep you comfortable in extreme weather, keep in mind that the typical pair of these jeans will mitigate the problem of moisture retention, rather than solve it entirely. It's advisable to carry these jeans to complement rather than replace typical travel or hiking pants (one for everyday use, one for outdoorsy adventures), though their reduced weight will help to justify their inclusion.

Tencel Travel Jeans

Cooling fabric for great travel jeans

Tencel (also called lyocell) is a relatively new addition to the clothing market, manufactured from wood pulp, and likely to become far more popular in the near future. It is soft, strong, temperature regulating and quick drying. It's more absorbent than cotton, so it feels better on a hot day, but it also dries faster, so it won't get overly saturated. As a bonus, it's also far more environmentally friendly than cotton.

While it can't dry as quickly as polyester, it will be far more comfortable in hot weather than a typical pair of heavy denim jeans, making it great for hot but dry climates. Hand washing in the sink will still be challenging, but since Tencel will keep you cooler, they're not likely to need cleaning as frequently.

Tencel is most often blended with cotton to give the familiar denim feel, but the fabric is generally much softer than fabric of typical jeans.

As an added bonus, most of the women's jeans use Tencel, polyester, elastic, and other fibers combined together to provide unparalleled comfort and performance, with only a minimum of cotton to provide familiarity.

Men's Tencel/Lyocell Travel Jeans

Click to buy from Amazon!
Silver Jeans Co. Men's Zac Relaxed Fi...
Only $98.65

Nylon Travel Jeans

Quick drying and durable travel jeans

Nylon blends offer some of the same performance characteristics of polyester, though nylon typically will not dry as quickly. It will, however, be a lot better than cotton, though nylon jeans are not exactly commonplace enough to find readily available options for anyone who might want them. Men's nylon jeans seem practically nonexistent, and generally resemble hiking pants far more than a typical pair of jeans.

There is a major exception for women's jeans, which are far more diverse when it comes to variety, whether in style or fabric. It's quite easy to find all sorts of jeans with 25% nylon or other materials which will help make jeans into suitable travel apparel.

Men's Nylon Travel Jeans for Sale

Click to buy at Amazon!
Royal Robbins Billy Goat Mountain Per...
Only $60.00
Royal Robbins Cabin Denim - Men's
Only $80.00
Kuhl Men's Jeans
Only $61.95

Finding the Best Jeans for Travel

Outfitting your comfy adventure

Now that you know the secrets of finding the best jeans for travel, you can pick out a few pairs that will take you all over the world, rain or shine, night or day, city or farm, summer or winter, from classy parties to windswept mountaintops.

Or at least, that's the aspiration every backpacker should have. Hopefully in the future we'll see even more options for travel jeans, but in the meantime we at least have quite a few choices that will help keep you just a little drier, and a little more comfortable, while still looking classy and presentable, no matter how many sleepless nights of train catching or disco dancing you may have experienced.

Check out other travel tips in the articles below, and get adventuring!

More Travel Articles

Travel tips for amazing adventures
The best daypacks for world travel will take you on adventures around the world and never weigh you down. Pick one up and go explore!
Buy moisture-wicking, quick drying underwear for hiking, camping, backpacking, travel, and comfort
Find the best travel dresses, because there's no reason you can't look nice when you're traveling around the world.
Review the best portable water purifiers, for hiking, backpacking, travel and more. Compare the best and buy online!
Updated: 05/01/2012, eslevy17
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