If you’re a backpacker, or if you just travel light, you’ve probably struggled to find good men’s travel clothes to bring on your trips. When I travel, I bring 2 shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, a few underwear, one pair of socks, one pair of running shoes, and sandals. That’s enough for indefinite travel, as far as I’m concerned. But for that to work, you’ve got to pick the right clothes! Before traveling to Asia for 6 weeks this year, I spent a bunch of time looking at “travel clothes” (this may be my most hated tasks). What I found was a ton of really expensive clothing that claims to be superior for travel – but I’m not so convinced. To me it mostly just seemed expensive. Here are the best lightweight travel clothes for men that I’ve found – I bring these on every trip!
The Best Travel Shorts
There’s really no question here: my pick is the prAna Brion Short, which cost between $35 and $50 on Amazon depending on the color when I bought them. They dry super quickly (fully wet to fully dry in about an hour), they’re extremely comfortable, and they’re light. They also look normal, so you don’t have to wander around in 35-pocket cargo shorts like a weirdo. I’ve worn them every day this summer (including on a trip through rural Mongolia) with no visible wear or problems. I really can’t recommend these enough – they are the only shorts that I need for any purpose, and they’re way cheaper than the extremely fancy $100+ travel shorts that are out there!
If you want a few more pockets, there’s also the prAna Zion Short, which is very similar to the Brion but has side pockets.
Finally, if you’re looking for pants, these shorts come in a longer version: the prAna Brion Pant. As far as I’m concerned, these are the best travel pants for men, and this is my go-to pant at home as well.
A Great Travel Shirt
I usually find shirts harder to buy than pants or shorts – they are all cut differently, and you never know which ones will fit. This is annoying and usually results in my never buying new shirts, which is fine with me! But for a longer trip in tropical climates, having light, quick dry shirts is critical. There are lots of fancy, expensive travel shirts out there, which I bet are great – but they’re way out of my budget.
Turns out, you don’t need to look far or spend $100 for a totally ok travel shirt, which is exactly what I wanted: the Peak Velocity Men’s Performance Shirt, part of Amazon’s clothing line. It cost me $19, and while it’s very similar to other short sleeve athletic shirts out there, it’s cheaper than the name brands and it’s great for travel. It’s moisture wicking, light, and cool – I hiked in 37°C Taiwan for hours this summer, and the shirt was breathable and didn’t even end up soaked.
I brought two of these to Asia and wore them every day. As long as you’re not trying to look stylish (why would you do that on a trip), these shirts are perfect.
Travel Socks and Underwear?
If you ever look at r/onebag, you’ll see endless praise of merino wool. It’s supposed to be light, quick-dry, odor-resistant, and comfy. Some of that is true! But it’s also expensive and not all that durable, which is why I didn’t recommend merino for travel shorts or shirts. But for socks and underwear, I think there are some great merino products that are worth it for backpackers.
For a great pair of socks, I’d stop thinking about it and just get these: Darn Tough Ultra-Light Merino Wool Socks. These are probably the only socks I’ll buy from now on – they’re $17, which you might think is crazy for one pair of socks, but it’s not. These are comfy, very quick drying, and amazingly don’t smell after getting sweaty, and are STRONG – they won’t fall apart after months of backpacking, and I also use them for running. Totally worth it as far as I’m concerned.
Never thought I’d post on the Internet about underwear, but again I think there is a merino wool option that’s great for travelers: Woolly Merino Boxers, or their similar products. These are super light and really dry insanely fast. And it’s really true that if you air them out at night, they generally don’t smell… they’re about $30, pricey for underwear, but I expect them to last for a long time.
Finally… Travel Shoes for Men
Most of the time, I wear sandals. When I went to buy sandals, I had no idea some of them cost $100+ – crazy! But again, I found a great off-brand sandal for much less: Kunsto Men’s Sandals. I’ve had these for two years now, and they’ve held up great – the velcro straps are still strong, and they’re showing no signs of falling apart. Plus, they’re only $29, and are super comfy – just as much as my shoes for walking. I’ve walked over 200 miles in these this summer alone with no problems!
Now for the hardest item: finding good, versatile shoes for travel was tough. On trips I run, walk a ton (10-15 miles a day), and hike sometimes. Finding a shoe that does all of these well may be impossible… but I think I’ve found a good contender. I have the Nike Swift Running Shoes, which I got for $70. I like them because they are fine running shoes, comfy for walking all day, and also look fairly normal – they’re not bright orange like all running shoes inexplicably seem to be. They’re definitely not hiking shoes, but for all but the most strenuous hikes I’ve found them to be fine. They are somewhat water resistant, but certainly aren’t waterproof – if it’s raining I just wear sandals. Plus, waterproof shoes are waterproof both ways – rain can’t get in, but your sweat also can’t get out! So for hot-weather trips I’d prefer a breathable shoe, which these are.
If you’re looking for waterproof shoes, look no further than Vessi’s, which Rebecca loves and wrote a review of!
And… a Travel Hat?
If you hate putting sunscreen on your face every day, wear a hat. I have this $10 cap from Hat Depot which I like – easiest form of sun protection.
That’s it! That’s all the travel clothing that I have, and what I bring on most trips. Obviously you can bring a coat if you go somewhere cold, but I rarely do that. All together my clothes weigh about a kilo – not bad!
Any great travel clothes for men that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!
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