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Travel Clothes

I am a highschooler and love traveling. I want to purchase some fast-drying, lightweight, comfortable yet affordable and cheap clothes. Everything I see is really expensive and doesn't seem the best. I want to get some travel convertible pants, shirts, long shirts, socks, and pants but I don't know where to purchase them and they are all really really expensive. I was wondering if there are any suggestions.

Thanks.

Posted by
16883 posts

If you can find those characteristics in items already in your wardrobe, or in places you usually shop, then there's no need to pay a premium for clothes that are marketed for travel. In addition to your criteria, consider durable fabric that stands up to multiple wears with possible friction from a backpack, etc., wash-ability, and useful pockets. You'd be surprised how many "travel" clothes are sold that have to be dry cleaned! If you find lightweight shorts and pants that better fit your budget, you might not really need the convertible type.

Also, check winter clearance sales at your favorite stores, or places like REI.

Posted by
21067 posts

Especially for outerwear, bargains can sometimes be found at thrift stores like Goodwill. Over Christmas I found a never-worn (still with tag) Old Navy fleece jacket for $5.99. I paid somewhere between $50 and $70 for a very similar product from L. L. Bean.

Most of the tops I take to Europe for my warm-weather trips are 100% cotton, and they are Macy's cheapest house brand, priced at under $15 each. I don't know what they have in the Men's Department, but as Laura said, all your clothing doesn't need to be specially-designated travel gear.

I will spend what it takes to have shoes that will stand up to months of walking, but you may already have a pair of athletic shoes that will work for you.

Columbia makes some active wear that's less expensive than many of its competitors. You can sometimes tell the difference (thinner fabric, for example), but it may not matter.

Posted by
2648 posts

Stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall's often have travel clothes from name brands who are clearing out remaining sizes from last season's lines. They sell them for significantly less. You just have to be willing to keep checking their racks as new items come in from other stores.

I've also found near-new travel clothes and outerwear at Goodwill stores, sometimes with the tags still on!

Posted by
1729 posts

Also outdoor clothes have the same characteristics as travel clothes. We have outlet stores for Northface and Columbia where I have bought clothes.

Posted by
6635 posts

kevin, we can't tell what country or city you are from since its not in your profile. But if its the US, Costco and Sam's Club often have inexpensive travel clothes.

Posted by
2088 posts

Check the Sierra Trading website, a REI-type store. They have some fantastic clearance sales. However, the best items sell very quickly, so you must order as soon as you see something that fits your needs and budget.
Safe travels!.

Posted by
5784 posts

With quality clothing, you can bet by with a wear one, have the second in reserve. REI branded clothing and Columbia are good values.

REI
2450 Charleston Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043

Your nearest Columbia Factory Outlet:
https://www.columbia.com/stores
Columbia Factory Store Milpitas #442
447 Great Mall Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 273-7000

Posted by
8769 posts

I think you should focus on thrift stores. In your area you will have plenty of travelers with more disposable income who might donate new or gently used travel clothes. This time of year people like to clean out their closets. Also check Costco. I saw men's convertible pants at my Costco a few days ago. They also carry other articles of travel clothes or things that work well for travel. It might be a little early in the season, so keep checking.

Posted by
1217 posts

REI has an online outlet that sometimes has good deals.

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage

I'm also a fan of prAna's pants that are made from what they call Zion technical fabric. Their MSRP is not cheap, but they will last forever despite heavy hiking use and still look good and feel comfortable. Backcountry.com and Moosejaw.com often have some decent sales on them.

Posted by
21067 posts

I loved the Pr'Ana pants I used on my 2019 trip. They are 97% nylon. They pack light and are relatively comfortable on a hot day (much better than polyester). With a pair of merino wool long johns underneath, they kept me feeling warm and dry on a couple of rainy 40F days--and I'm very cold-natured. But they are expensive. Dedicated checking online may turn up a substantial markdown in a size that fits you. The pants seem to wear very well.

Posted by
1290 posts

Why do you think you need special "Travel clothes", especially fast drying? Are you doing a hiking trip where you need to have mesh pockets, snack pockets, and all the features to keep you comfortable on a hike? Those features are wonderful for that type of adventure. But for simple sightseeing, walking around, traveling on planes, trains and buses, normal clothes do just fine. Spend your money on the trip, not clothes! I second (3rd? 4th?) goodwill or thrift shops. I just picked up Two Patagonia water Girl shorts for under $10, perfect condition, at my local thrift shop. I am always finding REI hiking pants too.

Posted by
5 posts

Andrea, thank you, I have the Costco convertible pants, however, the issue that I have is they don't dry very quickly and they are very heavy. All the pants I normally wear during the winter is the convertible pants from costco.

Posted by
5 posts

Letizia I would agree except I find that the clothes I have are pretty heavy and bulky. Another reason I would like to get something like that is I want to be able to wash them while I am in the shower or in a sink and have them dry overnight. Most of my clothes don't dry that quickly either.

Posted by
1179 posts

Sierra Trading Post was mentioned. Also January sales are going on right now at most places like Ex Officio, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, North Face, Marmot, etc. You will need to go to each individual web site. Go to REI and Look at the brands for an idea of what is available. Then head over to the brand website.

Sometimes I find good stuff at much reduced prices on eBay. This is especially true for some of my now discontinued favorite items.

REI garage is a good place on occasion. People buy stuff, use it once, and it goes into the garage.

Also look at REI Outlet.

Stanford may have a resale exchange somewhere.

Target golf pants and golf shirts aren’t bad, as well as Champion undies.

Uniqlo has some great stuff. Heattech and Airism underlayers. Cheap down jackets and raincoats.

Sometimes I find light shirts at H&M.

Decathlon has a store in San Francisco.

Here is a good article on budget sources.

Your goal is light weight and quick drying. You can layer for warmth.

Invest in good shoes and good rainwear. Most other things can be of lesser quality.

In general I go for one lightweight pant minimum and one lightweight shirt minimum. Then I can add in from my regular clothes. As I’ve aged. I’ve made sure that most of my clothing are also travel worthy.

Posted by
5697 posts

As the article in Cindy H's post suggests, for short-term travel good-enough is good enough. And buy "travel clothes" that can be part of your regular wardrobe.

My husband's travel shirts are white, collared short-sleeve polo shirts which can sink-wash with a two-day drying time and still look nice enough for most restsurants.

Some great suggestions above.

Posted by
1767 posts

I have bought several clothes from Sierra Trading. get on their email list. Some of their sales are fantastic. Traveling to the airport one day in a shuttle van, a lady mentioned Sierra and I told her that I was wearing pants, belt, shirt, and jacket from there!

Check out Duluth Trading. Get on their email as they have sales all the time. If you are fully grown, it is worth it to spend a little more for something that will last for years. I like their “dry on the fly’ pants for travel.

Posted by
24 posts

Along with all the previous suggestions, you might want consider my go to choice, Eddie Bauer for travel clothing.
Particularly I select from their First Accent and Travex lines.
The quality is excellent and you never need to pay full price as they are always offering sales from 20%-60% off and if you are tempted to get on their email list, you will get almost daily emails. The joke in our house is "wow, did you know EB is having a sale?"
As just a thought, you might consider separate pants and shorts as at least in my mind, nothing says tourist like convertible pants.
Happy traveling.

Posted by
248 posts

Costco has nylon 'travel' pants at various times. Here is a link to one https://www.costco.com/Eddie-Bauer-Men’s-Trek-Pant.product.100488118.html. I don't have these, but the Kirkland brand travel pant which I think they will possibly have available again this year. As another poster said, keep looking at the store and/or website. (They are not convertible.)

My nylon ones dry overnight or sooner. Perhaps you haven't tried this method: Hand wash, wring, then roll up in a towel, and stand (put weight) on the rolled up towel and pants to absorb more water, hang to dry.

Posted by
5017 posts

Lynn, that's pretty much what we do, too. Almost anything will dry overnight using that or a similar method.

And I also recommend Goodwill and thrift stores. None of our travel clothes are "travel clothes." The only items we spend much money on are shoes. The older we get, the more we appreciate good quality shoes. Most of our other clothes come from yard sales, Goodwill, or close-out sales.

Posted by
21067 posts

Laura mentioned earlier that some travel clothes have to be dry-cleaned. That's obviously not good for anyone except a businessperson on an expense account. Another issue I've seen with "travel" clothes for women--and I am guessing it may apply to some men's items as well--is that the focus is on preventing wrinkles rather than light weight and comfort. So you'll have a garment that can be wadded up and compressed beyond all reason for 3 days yet will come out of the suitcase looking perfect. But it will be two or three times the weight it should be, and possibly made out of a fabric that's totally unsuitable for hot-weather travel.

Posted by
128 posts

Another vote here for buying second hand clothing. I found a Columbia fleece vest for 19.00 and Vera Wang light weight pants for 12.00 second hand. Also, Keen boots are expensive but I have found used ones on eBay and Thredup (which unfortunately is mostly women's clothing). With eBay make sure that the seller allows returns since fit is often an issue with boots. Another outlet online is https://www.swap.com with a lot of athleisure wear in nearly new condition. You can search by brand so try Patagonia, North Face, and Columbia.

Also, my Columbia capri pants dry within an hour which I discovered after being drenched in a rainstorm. (Even with an umbrella)

Posted by
1179 posts

On convertible pants:
I want to echo others. It’s better to get regular light weight pants and a pair of light shorts that are knee length or so (culture restrictions).
The best shorts are quick dry shorts that double as swim trunks.

I will also echo acraven about heavy “travel” clothing. And know this: if something is heavy it will take forever to dry- guaranteed.

Also consider saving money by buying less clothes of better quality. Here’s your goal:

Ultralight Packing List

Minimalist Wardrobe

How to prioritize travel purchases (I would put a good raincoat higher on the list)

If you don't mind some basic shirts that look like hiking/scrub type tops, then I recommend Beallsflorida.com and their store brand - reel legends. I use these shirts a lot. There are both long sleeve and short sleeve versions in lots of different colors. The colors are always changing. These are shirts that can take a beating, light weight and comfortable, easy to wear and wash, dry quickly, durable, sun-block fabric. Easy to use for layering. Don't wrinkle - no matter what you do to them. Cheap. (Not thrift shop cheap - but, still cheap. Around $15 - 17 per top.)
This is a good alternative to Columbia products for lower budgets.

I just checked the beallsflorida online site. There are a lot of Reel Legend shirts for men available in different styles and colors. Cheap. Also, reel legends mackerel convertible pants for $31. The pants have zip-off legs and be used as shorts. Light-weight, quick drying, durable.

Posted by
6871 posts

My travel clothes are the same as I wear at home all the time. Difference is I send the pants (including jeans) to the dry cleaners and get them heavily starched. They hold up so much better and shed stains starched.

Posted by
13492 posts

Kevin, looking at your profile, you've traveled to a VERY impressive amount of destinations for a high schooler! It might help to know HOW you travel? For instance, are you (or do you intend to be) a backpacker/hosteler or do you prefer hotels? I'm guessing, because of your age, that almost all of your travels so far have been with your parents/a parent? What have you been packing for trips taken recently? And what sorts of activities do you mainly participate in when you travel?

Other than that, yes, I'd regularly comb local consignment and thrift stores. They are hit and miss, for sure, but it's possible to land some very nice bargains if there at the right time. Maybe save your pennies just for the items which are probably the most difficult to find 2ndhand, such as the convertible pants that really fit.

Oh, and welcome to the forums!

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Kathy,
Thank you yes I do usually travel with my parents, however, I do a little bit of travel on my own not internationally, however. When we travel we pack a lot of stuff and we have a lot of clothes that are heavy and bulky. Usually, I pack a week worth of clothes and then we let it air dry for about two or so days. Usually, I like to walk around cities and roam around the cities. I do enjoy walking around cities especially in Europe. We do move a decent amount when we are on trips. thus, I do want light compact fast-drying clothing because we move places quite a bit. participate in when you travel?

Posted by
7699 posts

Go to REI or another outdoor store. They feature quick drying ,wicking clothes that work well when traveling.

Posted by
4467 posts

Another option for lightweight pants and shorts are golf outlet stores. My husband does golf, but he also really likes those pants for travel because they dry quickly.

Posted by
5017 posts

Jean, my husband lucked into a sale of golf pants at Dillards once. He didn't want to try them on, because, well, they were golf pants. But I persisted, and they are now his favorite travel pants. Lightweight, don't wrinkle, dry quickly. And comfortable.

Posted by
1179 posts

Another bit about eBay - you can set up alerts. You will need an eBay account.

Basically you go in and set up the alerts. Example: “convertible pants 28 in waist 34 inseam”. Every time someone sells an article like that you’ll get an email alert.

It’s great. Set it up and wait. The important thing to know is the store price for the article. I would never buy new off of eBay because I worry about knock offs. But used onesies are great.

Posted by
114 posts

Hi, not sure if you have a Uniqlo in San Franciso or not but that is where my partner buys his travel clothes - they have a good range of quick dry pants and shorts, airism or heat-tech singlets and T shirts (and briefs), lightweight puffy vest and jackets. We have used Uniqlo stuff for two 5 week trips now and it's very easy to wash in a hotel sink and then just hang in the cupboard. Airism items dry in about 15 minutes, heat-tech takes about 2 hours. The promised sweat wicking and anti-microbial (ie. body odour protection) properties seem to be really good. And nothing has started to pill yet.

Forgot to say that the Uniqlo ‘travel’ clothes all get worn regularly for normal use. They look like regular clothes but just have the quick dry properties.

A bit of a warning, but a convertible pant screams tourist and can make you a target for pickpockets. Take pants and shorts - if quick drying you can wash overnight for the next day.

Posted by
1179 posts

All those man made fibres and frequent washing is pretty bad for the environment as well.

Frequent washing with biodegradable soap is worse for the environment than manufacturing extra garments needed for a larger suitcase? Or what about the extra jet fuel for the extra weight? I could go on and on. The environment is a system and therefore must be evaluated using systems analysis. Your statement isn’t true in the whole.

I’d argue that one quick dry travel outfit is worth it’s weight in gold. It’s especially true if you participate in a wide range of activities and participate in outdoor activities. I can get my travel pants filthy hiking in the mountains, come back, wash them up, and wear them out to a nice restaurant the next day.

Posted by
1179 posts

we don't "need" special clothes for travel.

That’s highly dependent on the trip.

Posted by
128 posts

Here's my recent experience with "travel" clothes. Normally, I would take what I wear at home when visiting a Mediterranean climate since I live in one. But, I will be trekking in Nepal this Spring and need to pack layers for both warm days at lower elevations and cold days, with possibly snow, at higher elevations. So, I found a pair of North Face trekking pants for 23.00 marked down from 65.00. They still have the tags on them. The pants can be worn for day hiking also when I'm camping. The point is that versatility does not have to be expensive. The important thing is if doing a lot of outdoors stuff you want clothes that will wick away the moisture but still not be too hot.

Posted by
1217 posts

All those man made fibres and frequent washing is pretty bad for the environment as well.

If you were standing downwind of me after a sweaty hike, you'd say not washing clothes after that is bad for your local environment too.

And a well-made technical fabric is darn near indestructible and results in net less clothing ending up in a landfill. I have some adidas running tights that I can still exercise in public in after 15 winters of use-I'm not careful with them in the wash but they will not die. (Which os good because I really like them) Similarly, the prAna Zion/Halle pants will still look and perform great long after cotton jeans have disintegrated away into uselessness.

Posted by
358 posts

Since you're located in Palo Alto, your retail options are endless up & down the Peninsula.
Travel apparel is subjective, some people will define it as endless number of pockets and features. Others will define it as all-synthetic fabrics to facilitate easy wash and moisture movement or, wrinkle-free. Whatever the case, you need to weigh your needs with where you're going, what time of year and what you plan on doing. If you plan on eating in a respectable restaurant, bistro or, such, probably a good idea to pack some chino's, or, dark denim, non-athletic/sandal type shoes and a collared shirt.

Keep in mind, if you're seeking specific 'travel clothing' the vast majority is going to make you look like a park ranger or, going on a safari...the whole marketing campaign for many of these brands was initially focused for travelers going on safari, all the imagery was hot, humid, tropical, bug infested: lots of khaki, lots of green, a few light blue shades, that's it. Low prices are generally going to include issues such as: material is basic polyester, zippers/buttons are not very good, cut/piecing of garment is crooked, thread-stitching materials are low quality resulting in puckering and uneven laundering.

Near where you live:
REI (San Carlos & Mountain View)
Sports Basement (Redwood City & Sunnyvale)
Redwood Trading Post (Redwood City)
The North Face and Arc'Teryx (Stanford Mall)
Columbia (Great Mall Milpitas)
West Marine (San Carlos)
Dick's Sporting Goods (Sunnyvale and Daly City)
Stevens Creek Surplus (San Jose)
Uniqlo (Hillsdale Mall & Valley Fair Mall)
Eddie Bauer (Great Mall Outlets and Gilroy Outlets)

Posted by
8626 posts

All those man made fibres and frequent washing is pretty bad for the environment as well.

Clothes made of natural fibers do not need washing???

Posted by
1179 posts

Keep in mind, if you're seeking specific 'travel clothing' the vast majority is going to make you look like a park ranger or, going on a safari

This statement is completely false. There is beautiful travel clothing out there. You could even wear it to work.

The problem is that people go to camping stores to find travel clothes. You know what kind of travel clothes are in camping stores? Camping clothes! Safari clothes!

Nau, Bluffworks. Wool & Prince, Ministry of Supply are all wonderful and fashionable. You can also find nice clothes at golf and tennis stores. Go eBay preworn if you would rather not see heart stopping prices.

And for that matter, Columbia, Royal Robbins, Prana etc also have nice clothes. But places like REI don’t carry them because they are a camping store. You’ll have to go to the manufacturers internet store to find them.

Most of the nice clothes are online only. You won’t find them at a camping store.

Zcorsair,
Your description of a safari applies very much to Florida. It's hard to "stand out" like a tourist in Florida, because there are so many of them! Also, many locals dress in all kinds of colors - especially if the neon colors are on sale and the darker colors are not!

Posted by
1217 posts

Central to North Florida, it's dead easy to visually split the tourists from the locals on a 55-60F winter day. The tourists are wearing shorts when while the locals are in their coats with a look of misery on their faces.

Selkie,
So True! My niece visited from Michigan once. I apologized for the semi-gray/cool weather. She didn't understand my statement. She asked me what I was talking about. She thought the weather was just fine!

Posted by
358 posts

This statement is completely false. There is beautiful travel clothing out there. You could even wear it to work.
Nau, Bluffworks. Wool & Prince, Ministry of Supply are all wonderful and fashionable. You can also find nice clothes at golf and tennis stores. Go eBay preworn if you would rather not see heart stopping prices.

Completely false...hyperbole much?
There's certainly attractive and modern apparel brands that are suitable for travel that don't make you look like you just walked out of the bush. A Brooks Brothers store, an Ann Taylor, any department stores you can find appropriate styles for travel, however the OP was looking for quick-dry synthetics suitable for washing in the hotel bathroom, and that's the domain of outdoor oriented brands. Golf & tennis stores are great resources, however like the outdoor oriented shops, you get what you pay for, the OP was looking for value.

Those brands you listed are struggling companies with seasonal finance and sourcing issues due to their small size. Production handicaps are constant as they don't order enough to secure a block of production from their vendors and factories, which also means inconsistent inventory and, sizing discrepancies season to season. Hats off for supporting them however, their shortcomings are the challenge of small brands.

And for that matter, Columbia, Royal Robbins, Prana etc also have nice clothes. But places like REI don’t carry them because they are a camping store.

All those brands are carried at REI, REI.com and most of the other stores I listed. Also consider Toad & Co, Kuhl, and Howler Bros. For wool, Ibex is back in business, as is Smartwool and Icebreaker.

Posted by
1179 posts

Completely false...hyperbole much?

Umm, you just said that travel clothes look like safari clothes.

All those brands are carried at REI, REI.com and most of the other stores I listed.

The brands are carried. The nicer styles within those brands are not. Camping stores carry camping equipment. They significantly restrict their inventory from the styles available at each manufacturer (both for style and sizing). You need to go to the manufacturers site to see their full selection of non camping styles. And there are many!

Posted by
13492 posts

And for that matter, Columbia, Royal Robbins, Prana etc also have nice
clothes. But places like REI don’t carry them because they are a
camping store.

Yes, they do carry those brands. I bought a pair of Royal Robbins pants some years ago at REI that definitely weren't made for camping. They have skirts and dresses for women which are appropriate for urban travel, and we've gotten some really good deals on the sale racks.

That aside, given the age range of the average RS poster, our high-schooler Kevin very well be interested in different sorts of style than what the more mature traveler might call "nicer"?

Posted by
2088 posts

Selkie,
it's the same here in Southern Ca- especially in Jan & Feb-
the locals are freezing, and the "snowbirds" visiting are wearing shorts and sandals!

Posted by
1179 posts

Yes, they do carry those brands.

(Sigh)

I will say it again. While the camping stores carry some of the selections they do not carry all of them. You need to go to the manufacturers website to see all the selections.

That aside, given the age range of the average RS poster, our high-schooler Kevin very well be interested in different sorts of style than what the more mature traveler might call "nicer"?

Slightly different. The best travel clothes can be worn for nice or casual. That usually means slightly nicer than the casual Californian. It’s also why I recommended the Snarky Nomad website as Eytan (the site owner) is closer in age to Kevin. But even Eytan recommends dressing slightly nicer for travel.

And again, that’s why I recommend the manufacturers web sites to see a wider selection.