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Specialized Travel Clothes

For time to time there is a discussion about specialized travel clothes such as ExOfficio, TravelSmith, etc. Those brands, IMO, tend to be overpriced for the function. We have been able to build a wardrobe of clothing just for travel with well secured pockets and easy to careful for fabrics by just watching for suitable clothing at everyday locations. My favorite travel pants came from Sam's Club a few years ago. Unfortunately never to be seen again. Have picked up nice travel shirts at REI and Kohls without paying the price associated with items from ExOfficio or TravelSmith or getting the nylon or Safari look. We avoid all cotton since it is so slow drying and wrinkling.

Picked up a new shirt at Sams last week. It is a Field and Stream brand with some style and nice colors. It is a cotton blend with 45% polyester which makes for quick drying and min wrinkles. Best part - $16. As is typical of Sams and other discount warehouses, it probably is a one time offering. Just passing this along for anyone looking for travel related clothes for this summer.

Posted by
5697 posts

Agree!! If you're shopping for a trip leaving in 3 weeks, you're limited to what's currently in the stores but if you "watch for suitable clothing at everyday locations" throughout the year, you can get items you will need for future trips.

My other favorites are recommended-name items (possibly purchased by someone buying for a specific trip) which occasionally show up in thrift stores virtually unused at bargain prices.

Thanks for the tip, Frank -- I may check out the shirts at Sam's Club this week.

Posted by
786 posts

I think Frank's sentiment is that you don't need to pay a bunch of extra money for special "travel" clothes, regardless of what store you are talking about. I agree with this too. I recently bought a pair of Eddie Bauer travex pants and shirts. They were fine but not worth the extra money in my opinion. But the 5 dollar old navy t shirts and clearance pants were great!

Posted by
68 posts

I bought my first Ex officio shirt (at full price!) and was amazed - it was so much cooler and lighter than anything I had ever worn. We were in Florida, it was 90 degrees and humid, and I was in a long sleeved cotton shirt (history of skin cancer). Since then, almost all of our summer clothes are "performance fabrics". I have found that Ex officio, Travelsmith, Magellans, and others make quality clothing. Some of our shirts and pants are 12 years old, worn weekly all summer here in hot and humid Ohio, and still look great. We have some even older LL Bean and Eddie Bauer travel clothes that are still going strong.

Of course, after that first purchase, we no longer pay full price. I have found Ex officio, Travelsmith, Magellan's, REI, Royal Robbins, Gander Mountain, Solumbra, Coolibar, Cabela's etc. items at Goodwill, resale shops, ebay, Campmor, and Sierra Trading Post. If you sign up for Sierra's email notifications, you will always have a coupon for an extra 30 -35 -40% off their already discounted prices. Shop the sale and clearance categories at Travelsmith and Magellans- I have gotten some very good quality clothes up to 75% off.

Choose wisely and you can avoid the safari look if you do not like it. I have several pairs of Ex officio black pants without any external pockets, cargo pockets, etc. They look like regular black pants, but are sink washable, cool, comfortable, and have hidden security pockets. Magellans used to carry very dressy tank tops (coolmax/cotton blend) with a hidden security pocket. I am still using 3 of these and they are at least 8 years old.

No, you don't have to have special travel clothing, and I don't use any of these items just for travel. I do believe in purchasing good quality, classic clothing that will last for many years - but I would never pay full price again!

Posted by
8388 posts

Someone here mentioned golf pants so when I found Izods on sale for 30 some dollars, I got my husband a pair of navy and a pair of black. They are light, easy to wash, and best if all is that he really likes them. No plaids, though.

Posted by
1976 posts

I've never bought clothes specifically for travel. Before I went to Germany in 2010, during the heat wave, I bought a couple pairs of shorts at Target which were perfect for the trip. Each time I travel, I wear my old tennis shoes and clothes I already own.

Posted by
21709 posts

Over the years we have evolved into a wardrobe of muted colors, easy to care for fabrics - mostly synthetic blends, with pockets that are securing via zippers or velcro. It matches our travel style and provides a number of conveniences for us. You don't need specialized clothing to travel but for us it makes our travel easier than the early days when we were lugging heavy luggage with a lot of cotton based clothes.

Posted by
1179 posts

Most of my normal clothes are also clothes good for travel. I get them at REI, Kohls, Macys, and Dress Barn. I do have some specialized technical clothing that washes/dries even more quickly than my regular clothing. I use these for outdoor adventures. I paid good money for them and have found that they are worth every penny. 10+ years later they look the same as the day I bought them. That's with hard use - mountaineering, working in camps in the African bush, going on expeditions. The cut and color of these clothing items are also better than what I can find in the bargain stores.

Have I found some great deals with cheaper brands? Absolutely yes. Sometimes I get lucky. But not very often.
BTW, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sierra Trading Post. They have good deals on the expensive brands.

Posted by
149 posts

My travel wardrobe is a mix of specialty clothing and everyday items and I wear the same clothes at home. The most expensive items came from Tilley but the quality makes the price tag worthwhile. Seven years of weekly wear and my Tilley socks are still holding up. Like others, I've also taken advantage of some choice finds in the thrift stores.

But the reason I chimed in is the new dress I ordered online from Title Nine for my upcoming cycling trip. It's brilliant: quick-dry polyester and reversible! One side is a colourful print, the other a plain blue. It's so lightweight that when I lifted the envelope out of the mailbox, I thought they had shipped the wrong item. I've already worn it four times since it came about a month ago so I'm sure it will be perfect for the trip.

Sure, some of the "travel" clothing is expensive but IMO, clever design and durability are worth it.

Posted by
4447 posts

Thanks, Maggie, for mentioning Title Nine! I haven't heard of that store and see there's one in Seattle to go see their options. I'm always looking for easy travel dresses because they feel cooler to me on a warm day, wash easily in a sink, and I feel like they fit better with the locals in some of the larger European cities.

Posted by
2081 posts

yes there are some less expensive travel clothes out there.

Ive been getting mine from REI so far. I will buy one to try and if it works out i will buy more but usually wait for a sale or the end of the fashion season.

some things like the marino wool stuff, i will wait for a general sale to get more. but again, if I'm in a testing mode, i will buy and try it now.

i use REI since it has a lot of the various brands. There are some other places that sell brands too but anther thing i like about REI is that they have a really great return policy.

happy trails.

Posted by
5783 posts

Title Nine's genesis is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Higher Ed Act of 1965 that mandates that:

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

Not discriminating against anyone is good business.

Posted by
2526 posts

Frank is spot on and quality clothes suitable for travel can be had at good prices. Also, all of my so called travel clothes are used as regular wear, save for nylon pants. I have started to use a light merino wool sweater and/or t-shirt during cooler temperatures....a fabric that doesn't reek like the synthetics.

Posted by
172 posts

My core wardrobe for travel is made by Tilley. Yes they are expensive, but I love their secret pockets as I extremely dislike wearing a money belt. Also, in the last 10 years I have spent about 15 months travelling Europe and this clothing still looks new. No problems with theft so far either!

Posted by
67 posts

My every day clothes are also my travel clothes. They tend to be easy care and color coordinated so I can create wardrobe capsules that are easy to pack and easy to wear for any place or season. I don't mind spending a little extra for quality clothing because items will last for years and cost-per-wear will be pennies. I also shop outlets, big box stores and clearance sales for clothing and shoes. I keep things simple both at home and on the road with comfort and durability as my priorities.

Posted by
930 posts

I agree with Frank's post except for one thing, I have been using the pants & shorts from Clothing Arts. The pants are designed to prevent pick pocketing and they are excellent! The clothes are $70-100 but I only take two pairs of pants & one pair of shorts when I travel so for me it worth the peace of mind,YMMV.

Posted by
21709 posts

Except that I cannot imagine how pants could be better designed to prevent pickpockets than the pants I picked up at Sam's a couple of years ago for $18. As a followup - just back from five days in New York with the new shirt and it performed better than expected. The new synthetic blends are getting better and better for comfort.

Posted by
18298 posts

I don't wear the same clothes at home and traveling. At home, I really prefer all cotton shirts and underwear, but they dry too slowly, particularly in the humidity of Germany. Therefore, I've built up a "wardrobe" of cotton/polyester blend shirts (4) and underwear (3 sets) just for travel. Of course, I travel often enough to warrant it.

Posted by
449 posts

I think collecting clothing specifically for travelling, is a good idea.

Felt that way when we were abroad.

We travel overseas at least twice a year, and especially like hiking. I have some LL Bean hiking pants. They were wonderful when it was super hot. Those who wore heavy, dark, jeans were miserable. I remarked that they ought to consider purchasing hiking clothes next time. Or at least at the end of the season when they lower the prices.

Posted by
2353 posts

Color me crazy - I wear the same stuff when traveling as I do at home! I like to be comfortable at home too. I do like some of the performance fabrics (especially whatever it is they use for some of the fishing shirts) but usually they only make shirts. I wear dresses all of the time - very few come with pockets.

I am not one to wear things with pockets and fill them with various sundry - that is why I carry a big-a@@ purse. We don't even carry a back pack when out and about anymore - I love digital maps & guide books. I even have a nifty thing that clips on the neck of most bottled water & has a carabiner that I clip to my purse.

I am certain if we were actually hiking it would be different. And I realize some folks carry photo equipment and accessories. I also know some of the pockets are hidden or secure. But I have just never found any of travel that would work for me.