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Are my favorite travel khakis irreplaceable?

My long-time favorite khaki pants for travel are getting too worn to wear in impressionable company, but the manufacturer has long since gone out of business. I mean it's been closer to thirty years than twenty since I got these, from
"The Original Khaki Co."
and that trademark was sold in 1995 and then sold again in 2007 to another licensing entity in Florida.

What's so great about the pants?
They had all the features of good hiking/travel pants but were in a 100% cotton fabric that draped well, held its shape, dried quickly, and needed just light touch-up ironing but could get away without it. Held the crease. Could wear them for several days.
Back pockets zipped closed; front left had a loop for a keyring, front right had an interior additional zipper pocket inside the slash pocket, there was a small velcro-ed pouch in the inside left waistband, and there are two zipped cargo-ey pockets built into the seams of the legs -- they kept a nice silhouette that looked like khakis, not cargo pants.

I know the current wisdom is against cotton, but there's cotton and then there's cotton, and these are the latter. Not wrinkly, dries quickly, smells much better than golf pants or other synthetics. Basically all the pluses of Royal Robbins with a better, refined aesthetic.

Anyone else in the RS Forum still sticking with cotton?
Let me concede that cotton denim jeans can take forever to dry, and that 'tropic weight' cotton pants often get wrinkly right away, but these old pants are proof that it isn't true for all cotton fabrics.

Posted by
8201 posts

I go to Kohl's and buy Croft and Barrow khaki pants. And the ones I purchase have a stretch waist band. They're a really premium pair of pants and fit great..
My trick when traveling is to have the laundry put heavy starch finish on my khaki's. I can wear them a week and they still look great. And they shed stains when starched.
Before retiring, that's all I would wear at work.

Posted by
23411 posts

I haven't used 100% cotton for years. My favorite travel pants was about 30% cotton blend but have the same problem. Been out of production for years and I wore the pants far too often - even locally so they are gone. At the moment do not have a good substitute. Am experimenting with an all synthetic (against better judgement) but giving them a try anyway. Did work well this past winter in the Caribbean.

Posted by
1259 posts

My favorite travel wear is from Royal Robbins. Not cotton. The best features are zippered phone pocket on the right thigh and a rear zippered security pocket hidden under the belt. The shorts and pants have the same design so I always know where everything is. Model is Active Traveler.

Posted by
91 posts

I too prefer cotton pants for travel, as they are cool, quick-drying, and don't retain odors like synthetics.

Van Heusen, which still has a few outlet stores around the state, sells some lightweight cotton pants for men and women, with a choice of flat or pleated front, tapered or straight leg, a tighter or roomier fit, and low-key colors from beige to khaki to navy blue. In the past few years, they've incorporated 2% Spandex, which has made the pants even more comfortable without, in my opinion, compromising the properties of the cotton. (For shirts I tend to wear cotton/polyester blends, and anything more than 30 or 35% synthetic is just not as good. A little plastic goes a long way!) Van Heusen's cotton pants are so inexpensive that I'll donate a pair or two in the last week of my trip, to free up capacity for souvenirs.

Ahead of my most recent trip, I discovered American Giant. They are mostly online, but do have a store hidden behind the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. They sell a comfortable stretch waist drawstring cotton pant, worth the money because it is made in the USA. It's perhaps not as good for security as it has small pockets and lacks loops for a belt. (I prefer Rick's belt-mounted "hidden pocket" to a money belt.)

I hope you find a good replacement for your trusty travel pants!

Posted by
1097 posts

No, I never wear cotton pants for travel. Never found any that didn't wrinkle, stain or get sweaty. Both DH and I wear Costco Kirkland brand travel pants. 100% synthetic. They wouldn't be good for really cold weather but I am comfortable in temps from the 40s on up. They dry super fast and repel stains like crazy, and if they do get a stain, they can be spot cleaned and will dry by morning. The mens have a zipper wallet pocket and ladies have a zip pocket on the side seam (as well as real front pockets that you can actually use, not short "pretend pockets"). They have a comfortable amount of stretch to accommodate any vacation weight gain. Best of all they're less than $20 and are sometimes marked down even more than that.

Posted by
2616 posts

Premium women's jeans are usually made from a lighter weight cotton mixed with a bit of spandex or lycra for shaping and I find I have no trouble sink washing them and they generally dry overnight. My favorite brand is Hudson--they are not cheap but they are comfortable, well-made and flattering, and perfect for travel as well as my regular life so that makes them worth very penny.

Posted by
132 posts

I really like the Eddie Bauer horizon pants. They have a zip pocket on the thigh, 2 zips in the back and decent regular front pockets. They do come in roll tab legs. They are lightweight but I found a pair of silk or wool long underwear can be worn comfortably underneath for an extra layer. EB always seems to have them on sale and I found the Capri version at Costco last year. Synthetic with a little stretch. I just hung them over a chair to air them out at night (like I do with all clothes I wear multiple times when traveling) or spot clean if necessary.