Testing Mens Travel Pants in Columbia

The Best Men’s Travel Pants of 2020

We’ve tested the best wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and comfortable men’s travel pants of the year. Pack your bags and get ready for adventure.

To say 2020 has been weird is an understatement. We’re all chomping at the bit to get back out there and travel. And when planes start to line up on the tarmac, we’ve got your backside covered with the best travel pants on the market.

From the Andean cloud-forests to deep desert canyons to high mountain peaks (and more everyday tasks, like punching the keyboard at work), these pants have been tested to tackle any adventure and do it all in style.

And if you’re looking for something more active, check out our picks for best hiking pants of 2020.

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Best Travel Pants

Best Overall Travel Pants: Western Rise Evolution ($149)

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Functionally stylish but with a little give in the weave, the Western Rise Evolution topped our list last year. And we love it so much that we’ve kept it on our list this year.

At the core of the pant is the nylon-elastane-blend material with a traditional jean-like cut. The nylon fibers are softened by running them through an “air-texturized” process and then weaving them into a dynamic yarn. The material has a durable weave that mimics denim (and is less like khaki). The DWR coating is outstanding and kept us dry while strolling historic Ljubljana.

Reach around back, and you’ll find a double pocket on the right, with a hidden zipper pocket that’s large enough to swallow your passport. Western Rise expanded the front coin pocket and made it large enough holster the largest iPhone.

Since the Evolution’s official release last year, it has received overwhelmingly positive ratings by buyers. We have to agree with them. The styling is tops, and the durability paired with breathability hits the perfect sweet spot. After your trip, roll them up and watch them disappear in your luggage. They tick all the boxes for traveling and were the envy of our photographer while cycling through Colombia.

The Evolution has become a GearJunkie staple. Simple, functional, durable; it’s what we recommend to all our friends who ask us, “What would you bring on the road?”

Fabric: Supplex (96% nylon, 4% elastane), woven in Sweden, cut and sewn in the USA
Fit: True to size
Weight: 13 oz.
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: For travelers who prefer jean styling but don’t want to compromise performance fabric; a fantastic option for warm-weather travel
Price: $149

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Runner-Up: Bluffworks Ascender Chino ($125)

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You won’t find Bluffworks through big retailers. You’ll have to buy these direct from the company. But you can take comfort in knowing you’re buying an incredible amount of thoughtful design and experience that went into making the Ascender Chino a top choice for travelers.

Our pants arrived in nice packaging and with speedy delivery. Out of the box, the attention to detail is spectacular, particularly with regards to pockets — all 10 of them.

Multiple hidden pockets ride inside the front pockets, including a hidden money pocket that’s accessed through the concealed left front zipper pocket. That’s right, they have pockets inside pockets. This inside pocket also has a second sleeve that you can access from the inside the pant.

Out back, a zip pocket sits on the left. Behind the right pocket rides a third “sleeve” to sheath a device.

The ability to secure your essentials makes this a true travel pant and competitively one of the best in our lineup. The downside of the Ascender pants is that they’re highly sought after, and popular colors in slim sizes can be hard to get. But they’re worth the wait.

The fabric and cut make the pant incredibly comfortable and light enough to wash and hang dry overnight to rinse and repeat another day. The Ascenders are available in straight-leg or “tailored” slim fit; either way, the pant has great stretch, with a touch of DWR to deflect a microburst.

The pocket number simply amazed us (and the result is questionably over-engineered). We initially struggled to find them all. Once we did, we stood in awe, scratching our heads, asking ourselves, “What would we put in them all?” But at the end of the day, their function is to ward off sticky fingers, and it does this well without compromising the look or feel of the pant. The Ascenders have a classy, timeless look and keep looking pressed after repeated wash and wear.

Still worried about buying online? Bluffworks offers free shipping and returns.

Fabric: 94% nylon, 6% spandex
Fit: Run large
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: For type-A travelers who want to keep their everyday carry game tight; more formal, less active — the Ascenders are best for travelers following Rick Steve’s itinerary
Price: $125

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Best Budget Travel Pants: UNIONBAY Rainier Travel Chinos ($30)

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These lightweight pants are a steal at just $30 (or less depending on the size and color combination). These chino pants come in four colors: charcoal, navy, black, and khaki. And for being such a bargain, they work surprisingly well. The nylon-spandex blend offers just enough stretch for a full range of motion, and we like how quick-drying they are.

And with a DWR coating and UPF of 50, you could even wear these hiking. They probably won’t last as long as other higher-quality pants on our list, but if you’re looking for a budget pair of travel pants, these are it.

Fabric: 94% nylon, 6% spandex
Fit: True to size
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: Cheapest pants on this list; a lightly stretchy, quick-drying bargain
Price: $30

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Most Stylish Travel Pants: prAna Zion Chino Pants ($79)

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Anyone planning the ultimate adventure travel getaway should check out prAna’s Zion line. The material can handle climbing, hiking, biking, camping, and city sightseeing with ease and style. It’s no wonder they’re a perennial favorite. Year after year, review after review, the Zion — like its canyon namesake — stands the test of time.

This year, we particularly like the Zion Chino. It’s the most city-friendly cut of prAna’s Zion lineup, providing flexibility and just enough protection to deflect chaparral and the occasional rain.

The four-pocket design has a concealed fifth zipper pocket that runs down the left-hand pocket. Out of sight and away from the hip, the contents don’t bind when sitting, and the pocket zips shut to keep a passport from falling out.

We found these run about a half size to a full size too large, so we recommend you try before you buy.

They’re also available in shorts ($69), a convertible pant ($60-95), and the adventure-worthy Stretch Zion pant ($89).

Fabric: 97% nylon, 3% spandex
Fit: A little large in the waist
Weight: 13 oz. (on our scales)
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: Styled for the city, forgiving on the trail, and can pass at the office; a versatile pant that will become a daily staple
Price: $79

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Best Jogger Travel Pant: Patagonia Skyline Traveler ($119)

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The classic jogger is defined by an athletic fit that narrows around the ankle. Patagonia levels up this nostalgic look with a soft but durable techie material that’s robust enough to scramble ruins in pursuit of Instagram glory.

The pants ride comfortably mid-waist and secure with a snap. Patagonia added a drawstring lace to keep them up as your BMI drops along the journey. A zipper fly provides quick relief. The pants narrow at the ankle with a fat elastic cuff that closes around the leg, providing good visibility for foot placement. If things heat up, they have just enough give to pull them over the calves.

The Traveler has five pockets, with the fifth riding on the right thigh, properly sized to conceal your passport. The back left zipper hides under a welted fold top to secure essentials. The two front hand pockets are constructed from comfortable mesh that allows venting and hold the non-essentials.

Comfortable enough to catch the colectivo out of Huaraz, durable enough to boulder around base camp, the Skyline Traveler is a great pant (as you would expect from Patagonia). Our only downside is the material doesn’t breathe as well as we would like, making these a better choice for cooler weather.

Fabric:  64% recycled nylon, 25% polyester, 11% spandex double weave with four-way stretch
Fit: True to size, slim fit with ample room in the quads
Weight: 13 oz. (on our scales)
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: For those who stroll casually without sacrificing durability
Price: $119

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Best Denim Travel Pants: Aviator The Best Travel Jeans in the World ($125)

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It’s a bold statement to name your pant “The Best Travel Jeans in the World,” but Aviator walks the talk and the name speaks for itself.

Offered in a variety of fades in both slim and straight cut, these Aviators were born out of the soul for denim and a passion for travel. The pant has a whopping eight pockets, but you wouldn’t immediately know it.

Three zipper pockets hide inside the traditional pockets: two concealed in the back and one up front inside left pocket — each large enough to hold a passport. All pocket zippers use a nylon YKK zipper, allowing you to breeze through TSA. And the coin pocket on the right is large enough to snug even the largest iPhone.

The pant is primarily made from a summer-weight cotton blend that is soft to the touch but with a little give thanks to the spandex. It has a DWR, but it won’t dry as fast as fully synthetic pants. But it’s supremely comfortable and can walk out of coach into your port of entry in style.

Aviator is running pants at 20% off right now during its summer sale and tossed in custom hemming. You’re guaranteed a sharp-fitting pant at a great price.

Fabric: 77% cotton, 16% polyester, 5% rayon, and 2% spandex
Fit: True to size, offered in slim and straight.
Weight: 22 oz. (on our scales)
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: For denim-heads who can’t leave home without a pair of jeans
Price: $125

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Best of the Rest

Chrome Industries Madrona Five Pocket Pant ($120)

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Chrome knows a thing or two about comfort. A dedicated bike commuter brand, its iconic seatbelt buckle messenger bag is proudly slung over curriers threading urban streets. True to the brand’s roots, Chrome’s Madrona is a slim-cut pant with an exceptional fit (and no awkward binding).

The classic five-pocket pant has a sixth spare zipper pocket in the back that caches a passport or iPhone X. All pockets are tacked with smooth rivets for added durability. Chrome identifies the pant as a straight cut, but it’s supremely fitted, providing room to move without sacrificing style or comfort. Some bike commuters claim the fit is too baggy for cycling. Their loss is your win. We think it’s one of the most comfortable pairs of pants for everyday wear.

Of course, should you decide to ride the Green Bike or Bird Scooter back to the hostel, Chrome has stripped a reflective band inside both legs. Turn the cuffs up and you’ll be seen at night.

Fabric: 51% cotton, 38% nylon, 11% spandex
Fit: True to size; slim fit with straight leg
Weight: 14 oz. (on our scales)
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: Not just for cyclists, the Madrona is a great pick for any traveler who values form and function in a comfortable pant
Price: $120

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Public Rec All Day Every Day Pant ($98)

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Easily the most comfortable pant of the bunch, Public Rec’s All Day Every Day (ADED) pant is soft, breathable, and super stretchy. The pants wear more like your favorite sweatpants than a travel pant, and the faux fly reinforces this. But the fit! It’s fantastic, holding true to the ethos of a pant you want to live in.

The ADED pant comes with a DWR coating and two zippered pockets. A small coin pocket sits in the bottom of the right front pocket. The wide elastic waistband can be tied up with the drawstring. But the pants fit so well that you don’t really need those.

We got our hands on the jogger style and lived in them for months this spring. The straight pant is styled for more travel-friendly junkets. You can’t go wrong with either.

The pants win on all fronts, but its Achilles heel may be durability. The material is soft and would likely snag if you veer off the paved path. And the ADED imbue a casual vibe, leaving these just short of business casual, but these pants reign supreme as athleisure.

Fabric: 94% polyamide, 6% elastane
Fit: True to size, and perhaps the most comfortable pant in the bunch
Weight: 10 oz.
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: Most comfortable pant in the lineup, but comes at the expense of a less formal look
Price: $98

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686 Everywhere Slim ($95)

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If you’re looking for a progressive take on the traditional chino, the Everywhere Slim is a svelte pant with ample storage and lots of freedom to move.

The Everywhere Slim has plenty of room up top without feeling baggy. Off the shelf, they taper somewhat aggressively around the calves, still managing to leave room around the ankle. Tied up with the drawcord (which we loved), the Everywhere Slim pants fall closer to a jogger than a chino. The material gives after a few days of wear, relaxing into a comfortable fit.

The pants list 10 pockets, which is true, but we feel that’s a little ambitious. Five of them are small sleeves inside pockets to keep cards, coins, or cash. The front right coin pocket is an RFID-blocking security pocket, and it’s where you’ll want to put your credit card. A large thigh pocket rides on the left and can swallow the pants when turned inside out. It will easily hold a phone and passport.

686 offers the Everywhere in eight colors as well as a regular fit in addition to the slim.

Fabric: 92% nylon, 8% spandex
Fit: spot on
Weight: 13 oz. (on our scales)
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: Muted skater styling for fashion-forward travelers
Price: $95

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Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants ($80)

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Our friend Tyler Benedict at Bikerumor spends nearly 50% of his time traveling. He’s been wearing Eddie Bauer’s Guide Pro Pants for years, estimating they’ve logged more than four trips around the sun and have become his go-to travel pants.

Benedict shared, “They’re lightweight, breathable, comfortable, have well-placed pockets, and they stretch with my movement. Their two-way-stretch Flexion material has just enough movement to take on everything from parkour over ruins to strenuous hiking.”

The two zippered cargo pockets are flush with the pants, avoiding the militarized look of gusseted external pockets. They’re angled for easy access and fit the largest iPhone with a case, which is a nice bonus (not all cargo pants and shorts can claim this anymore).

They have a DWR treatment that holds up over time, and there are 10 colors to choose from, all running $80. But like they say about the weather, if you don’t like the price, just wait 5 minutes. Eddie Bauer runs its entire site at 40-50% off just about every other month. And the brand has a lifetime guarantee, which makes these pants an incredibly good value.

Fabric: 94% nylon, 6% spandex
Fit: Athletic, true to size
DWR: Yes
Bottom line: Durable travel pant for adventure-seeking travelers
Price: $80

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How to Choose Travel Pants

Style Matters

While comfort is key, we also need to be able to show ourselves in public. Travel clothes should manage a hike while looking sharp enough to stroll a museum or enjoy a fancy restaurant. The pants above look as good as they feel and don’t shout “tourist.”

Clean lines, darker colors, and traditional styling help you blend into crowds and stay off the would-be pickpocket’s radar.

Stay Organized

Look for deep pockets that prevent keys and change from accidentally rolling out. No joke, one pair of pants we tested (that’s not on this list) spit a wallet out at work without us even knowing it. A hidden zipper pocket will inconspicuously secure a passport or wallet. The material should be light and, in our preference, darker to minimize showing dirt collected along your way.

Choose Fabric Wisely

Lightweight performance fabrics can withstand repeated washings in a sink, line dry overnight, and stay wrinkle-free after weeks on the go. Today’s fabrics offer advanced sun protection, moisture-wicking properties, and are often water-resistant or water-repellent.

Many performance fabrics are standing up to use like never before, and shelling out a few more bucks for quality will add up to purchasing less clothing in the future.

With denim, look for stretch fabric with a bit of spandex for comfort and flexibility on the road.

Steve Graepel
By

Contributing Editor (and Gear Junkie Idaho Bureau Chief) Steve Graepel is allegedly a crook and a thief, conning his friends to steal away time from their families in pursuit of premeditated leisure, which typically involves a bike, a pack-raft, skis, running shoes, climbing rack, or all of the above.

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