My search for the “perfect” pair of travel pants is over.
A few months ago, Bluffworks sent me a pair of their new Tailored Chinos to review. Now that I’ve had a chance to truly test them out, here are my conclusions:
- It must have taken a lot of experimentation, but Bluffworks has truly created the “goldilocks” travel pants: comfortable (but not “technical”), stylish (but not flashy), and versatile (to go with any outfit). In other words, they are just right for 99% of travel scenarios.
- If your style of travel is like mine (i.e. most of the time I’m in cities, with only the occasional hike), you might as well look no further and just get these in your size.
- They are not as thick as denim, so if you’re looking for a travel solution for colder climates you’ll still have to layer these with leggings when it drops below 5 Celsius or so. Otherwise, they are perfect for warm/hot climates.
Here’s what they look like:
At first glance, they look like your typical tailored chinos – which is a good thing. This means that they can be dressed “up” or “down” easily, and look just fine when paired with more formal footwear (e.g. lace-ups). This is contrast to a lot of other “travel” pants on the market, which often err on the side of technical features while neglecting style.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t need my travel pants to look good on the trail. But it helps that I can just dust them off, put on a button down and suddenly be ready for meeting in a nice restaurant or lounge. If you’re a fan of “one bag” (minimalist) type travel, you should seriously consider the Tailored Chinos.
Note: I specifically asked for the Navy color, which I believe to be one of the most versatile for any kind of men’s pants. Otherwise, these are available in four other colors: Charcoal (grey), Stone (light grey), Khaki, and Harvest Gold.
Materials and feel
The pants are made from 100% polyester, and the pockets are 80% polyester / 20% cotton. From the outside, the fabrics feel like your typical synthetic technical pant. Most importantly, they feel very comfortable – and I’ve been happy to lounge around them for hours on end.
I must have got the sizing just right (I’m 5’11, 170 lbs and wearing the 32 waist size) – they sit very nicely on my waist, while offering enough stretch and flexibility. Bottom line: these are comfortable enough to jog in, and I would not hesitate to ski or hike in them either.
They are lightweight, at 5.3 oz/yard (compare to jeans, which are typically 12-15 oz/yard). This makes them perfect for hotter climates (e.g. South East Asia), where breathability is key. I spent a good chunk of this winter in Canada, so I had to pair these with some warm merino leggings when going outside.
According to my primitive luggage scale (accuracy not guaranteed), they weigh ~400 grams (0.88 lbs). Made in China.
How they fit
In short, they fit like your favorite pair of … tailored chinos (this is what Bluffworks was going for, after all). More than anything, it feels like I’m wearing pants that could be worn to a West Coast job interview – just formal enough to not get a second look from judging eyes.
Now for some “guy” talk: not to worry, these offer ample “freedom” down there. As a bonus, they do a decent job of “accentuating” your posterior, so to speak.
My only nitpick: I would have preferred the leg opening to be a tad smaller – maybe by 0.5” – but perhaps that would be too “fashion forward.” Personal preference, really. From a pure style perspective, I think these pants look much better worn with lace-ups and boots (of any kind) than with running shoes or sneakers.
Pockets and other features
First of all, there are a lot of pockets. Two back pockets (one zippered), two front pockets (each with their own, separate zippered deeper compartment), and one special back pocket that allows you to sit down without sitting on top of your phone (it’s just big enough for an iPhone 6/7/8). There’s no shortage of places to stash your valuables (e.g. passport, cash when on the go), safely out of reach of pickpockets. As someone who quite OCD about these things when traveling, I appreciate the various compartments they’ve included here.
Note: the separate zippered “deeper” compartments on each front pocket are sizable, and would fit any smartphone on the market (as well as things like passports, boarding passes, etc.)
Water resistance: outstanding. I’ve walked with these in the rain (and snow), and they simply refuse to let water through. As a bonus, they dry very fast (within 15-20 minutes) of being indoors after rain. With that said, I haven’t yet tried them in a proper Asian monsoon – but I’m guessing they would stand up to the challenge (we’ll find out).
How they compare to other pants
If you’re a traveler, it’s important to consider all the options first – after all, it’s not like you can bring 5 different pairs of pants with you (I mean, you could – but you really don’t want to).
Here’s how the Tailored Chinos compare to a couple other options:
Bluffworks Chinos vs. Jeans: while there’s nothing that will take a true beating like heavy denim, there’s simply no comparison when it comes to comfort and water resistance. In heavy rain, your jeans (and anything underneath) will get absolutely soaked – while the Bluffworks will be fine. The chinos are lighter, and will pack into a much more compact size (important for minimalist travel).
Bluffworks Chinos vs. Outlier New OGs: this one is tougher, but for me the Bluffworks still win out. While the OGs are a bit comfier and allow for more stretch/mobility, they also look closer to “technical” hiking pants than the Bluffworks. For some reason, the OGs look a bit blotchy after they get wet from rain. If your entire trip is going to be boulder hopping and scaling walls, by all means go for the Outliers. For an urban adventure, however, go with the Tailored Chinos and don’t look back.
In the last few years there has been an explosion of new travel gear – with every brand promising to change (and improve) the way we travel. While all these claims should be taken with a grain of salt, I can confirm that Bluffworks really is changing the game.
If you’re looking for a great travel pant that hits the sweet spot of versatility, style, and features – the Bluffworks Tailored Chinos are it.
Thanks for reading – and safe travels!
The Tailored Chinos are available for $125 on the Bluffworks website (they offer Free shipping and returns for US customers).