Top 5: Best Travel Clothing 2020
The Best Travel Clothing of 2020 Top 5 ranges from classic desert boots to lightweight performance shells, mid-layers and do-everything pants. In fact, if you carried all 5 you’d be well on your way to a very honed one-bag setup! But there can be only one champion… so let’s dig into the details!
The North Face is a behemoth in the outdoor industry, with an R&D team bigger than most brands’ entire staff roster, and innovation has been one of their pillars since their inception. So when they announced their new FUTURELIGHT fabric, the industry stopped and took note. Why? Because TNF had not only released a potentially revolutionary waterproof fabric technology, but they’d taken on Gore-Tex in the process – the go-to fabric choice of the world’s premium technical shells.
The goal of both Futurelight and Gore-Tex is simple: to be so breathable that the person wearing them remains dry inside and out. How? By using a porous membrane that lets body vapor and air escape while keeping rain or snow out. Simple.
What makes Futurelight different? Well, not only can it be tailored to be more or less breathable to meet different athletes and users’ needs, but it also uses recycled materials in its construction, it’s lighter, has more flex, and a softer more luxurious handfeel than its Gore-Tex counterpart.
So when you pair this technology with a windproof, super-packable shell with clean, urban styling, you get an exceptional piece that’s not only honed for hiking, camping, and adventuring, but also one-bag travel. Enter the Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT™ Jacket.
It’s super versatile, and different to most of its outdoor competitors because it comes with real fashion-forward refinement. There’s subtle branding, which almost calls for a second look (great for dressing it up and not looking too outdoorsy when you’re out for a nice meal), a stormflap that cleanly covers the center front zip, a panel that hides the hood’s adjustment cord, and the handfeel, as mentioned, is significantly nicer to touch with a smooth satin-like feel.
The tailoring isn’t too tight or large, and is designed to be friendly to lots of different body types. The main outer pockets are big and spacious and easy to access. And the basics are all nailed too: solid seam taping, adjustable Velcro® cuff tabs, a hem cinch-cord, solid chest pocket, and a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish.
This is a travel shell improved. It wins in the looks department and brings significantly nicer touches with a material that’s more comfortable to wear, lighter, and feels much better in the hand. It’s a really solid offering from TNF, and something that’s now in my steady rotation.
Wins in aesthetics
Innovative new fabric
Great for urban and outdoors
The chukka (or desert) boot was first donned by British soldiers in Africa during World War II. They’re reliable, soft-soled, laced up just above the ankle, and their silhouette suits just about any pant hem. And since then, they’ve become a casual staple for well-dressed gents across the world.
The Lems Chukka takes this tradition and improves upon it with real smarts. You see, most chukka soles are made from textured sheets of coagulated latex, known as crepe soles or even stacked crepe (with multiple layers of latex). But the Lems Chukka uses their injection blown rubber outsole technology (IBR), a unique, air injected dual component of EVA and rubber. The EVA material provides cushiony comfort, while the rubber helps grant traction and greater durability, making their Chukka wear more like a sneaker.
And weighing in at 1 lb., not only does the outsole weigh much less than traditional footwear, which can range anywhere from 2-3 lbs., but it also grants the shoes a level of flexibility rarely found with other shoes on the market.
Another innovation and signature of Lems here is their wide toe box and zero drop platform. The wide toe box keeps the foot in a natural position, allowing the toes to lay organically and spread out within the shoe. The ‘zero drop platform’ simply means that the heel and ball of the foot are in the same position, with no elevated heel. Traditional chukkas elevate the heel to an average of 14-24mm (0.5-1.0″). Having an elevation in the heel can throw off the alignment of the pelvis and spine, forcing an unnatural heel strike.
The result is a timeless desert boot fit for any type of travel. It can be casual or dressed up, with a comfort level enhanced beyond its more traditional equivalents, keeping your long-haul adventures (and long walks) way more pleasurable.
Super soft and flexible sole
Works dressed up or down
Will Watters and his Colorado-based team at Western Rise have been putting out technical apparel at the cutting edge since 2015. Their balanced execution of innovative industry-first tech fabrics, simple pared-back design, and hardy build has won them many fans in our community (and a Carry Award to boot). If you dive into any of our team’s wardrobe, you’ll likely spot a staple from WR, and more than likely two or three.
And so when they released their Diversion Pant, there was much anticipation – built with a fabric that took three years of development, in a new weave that blended the ruggedness of their AT Slim with the comfort of their award-winning Evolution pant, it was the marriage of performance that a lot of us had been waiting for.
But does it deliver? You bet. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable and fashionable pant that has the do-all DNA of the Diversion. Made in a blend of bluesign®-approved 4-way stretch spandex and nylon, and with a gusseted crotch, the pant allows superior movement, while still staying strong and durable, thanks to the nylon. This is the do-everything pant. You can jog, stretch, lunge, do yoga, you name it. But the slim fit and textured outer still maintain super urban-friendly vibes for hitting the town.
There’s also a DWR coating to hold off dirt, water or spilled drinks and food – a handy feature when you’re only rolling with one bag.
The pocketing makes total sense too. Not an overloading of options or pocketing and strangely placed zippers on the side of the leg, like you’ll find in some ‘travel pants’. Simply two front, two back (totally classic), and one for your phone up front. And the other a secret security pocket at the back closed by a zipper. It’s all you really need, keeping things uncomplicated and uncluttered.
The Diversion Pant is another step forward for Western Rise in their constant pursuit of better gear. It’s a quality addition to any packing list. Versatile, super comfortable, and made to hold up to the rigors of most any travel, while looking damn good in the process.
Wins in comfort
Can be dressed up or down
Honed travel feature set
When you talk about precision in apparel design, Arc’teryx is at the top of every list, and has been for years. The Canadian-born brand perpetually play on the cutting edge, delivering some of the world’s finest gear for extreme use, and in styles refined down to the most intricate of details. Making it the go-to brand for athletes in the outdoors who need performance without failure, but who also care about good looks and utility.
And this performance-led culture not only places them at the apex of outdoor gear, but also delivers travel-ready results that benefit from the R&D put in for the climbers and skiers of the world.
With the Delta LT, they’ve released a performance light jacket and mid-layer made from a Polartec® Classic 100 micro velour in a tight grid construction. This voided construction allows for a great warmth-to-weight ratio and packability. And the fleece is naturally hydrophobic (lending to quicker dry times), has awesome stretch and recovery, and durability (because, hey, it’s designed for climbers scaling rock faces).
It’s the perfect blend of tech and performance in a silhouette that looks great in a zip jacket for more formal style, and is available in a hood when you need more protection for your head and ears.
And when you drill down, there’s the signature Arc’teryx love-of-detail all over: gusseted arms, so when you’re active, throwing your arms in the air, climbing, and reaching, the bottom of your jacket won’t lift up. A No Slip Zip™ prevents the zipper from self-opening at the collar, so the wearer can unzip with one hand when needed. Smartly done by a series of bumps on the top few teeth of the zipper to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the zipper to come open on its own. And, of course, low-profile seam constructions and minimal hem finishing really make the end product a piece to behold.
So if you’re traveling or simply want a good-looking technical fleece as a wardrobe staple that’s designed for all sorts of mid-to-high output outdoor activities, then look no further than the Delta LT.
Fantastic warmth to weight ratio
Dresses up or down
The Exposure/2™ Gore-Tex Paclite® Plus is a jacket for travelers who keep off the beaten path. If your adventures include hiking and backpacking then this is the lightweight shell to pack. Weighing in at just 9.07oz / 257g it’s wafer-thin and takes up no room in your one bag. The Gore-Tex engineered PACLITE® Plus is a new innovation 2.5-layer fabric that dishes up this lightweight goodness but with Gore-Tex’s signature membrane tech breathability and durability, thanks to the ripstop nylon outer, which helps to safeguard against snags and tears.
In the looks department, it’s very much in the outdoor space with its high-coverage neck and loose fit (allowing for thick layering beneath) but still minimal and pared-back enough in darker colorways to be versatile and not scream ‘trailblazer’ when you’re dining out.
The construction is world-class with precise seam taping and waterproof zippers across the board, and the stiff brim on the hood ensures it can handle inclement weather with ease.
Smart details like articulated shoulder seams to reduce rubbing and abrasion from backpack straps, and a soft-lined panel near the neckline to avoid your chin scratching against the zip head really round out a solid feature set.
Add in the fact that it can be packed down into its own pocket and you have a shell that travels super well, made even better thanks to a build designed to embrace 3 to 5-day hikes. Giving you peace of mind that it will last the journey, and keep you dry in the process.
Super light and packable
Honed for active travel
VOTING FOR BEST TRAVEL CLOTHING 2020 CLOSES 20TH SEPTEMBER