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What are Good Pants for Travel

What type of pants are good for traveling?

Military fatigues. The armies of the world wear these pants for a reason: they are light weight, loose fitting, keep you warm in cold weather, and cool in hot weather, they allow for air circulation,  you can comfortably wear long underwear beneath them, they have cargo pockets, are durable, and can be easily repaired or adapted to meet your needs.

If you ask me theoretically what are the best pants for traveling I would say without hesitation that a good pair of army surplus fatigues are by far the best: they are made for rugged use, they are made for travel.

Military fatigues can be washed by hand easily, dry relatively quickly, can be condensed and packed easily, are relatively light weight, do not look expensive, and are comfortable to wear and to sleep in. They can also be adapted to better fit your circumstances: they can be rolled up into shorts or even cut into shorts in a mere moment. It is also easy to sew security pockets into their interiors.

Warnings about traveling with military fatigues

  • Carry some thread and a needle are good to carry with you if you choose this kind of pants, as they sometimes open up at the seams and need to be sewn closed again.
  • Don’t keep anything that you would mind loosing in the cargo pockets, as they are easy to pickpocket.
  • Many guidebooks say that you can’t wear military fatigues in many countries — as it is illegal to impersonate how the military dresses — but this is just regurgitated guidebook bullshit. Though it may be better to get a pair that are not military green.

I say that military fatigues are probably the best pants for travel, but if you ask me what I wear, I would have to answer that I can usually be found in light stock jeans. Why? Because I like the way they look better, its as simple as that.

I use to only wear military fatigues as a rule, but I have since realized that if I am not walking 20 miles a day or biking 100, it does not matter too much what kind of pants I wear. Jeans are a little more difficult to wash by hand, but, as I only wash my pants once a week, this is not a drastic concern.

Military fatigues are good for travel

Though if I were to set out on a long walking or biking trip tomorrow I would consider picking up a pair of fatigues today. I suppose the pants that you choose are based upon what your motives are in travel. If you are taking public transport between places, staying in hotels and hostels, having someone else wash your clothes or are using laundry mats, or you are not planning any real excruciating outdoor activities, it really does not matter what kind of pants you wear.

I now wear jeans: I hike in jeans, sleep in jeans, travel between places in jeans. My last bicycle journey across Europe I had two pairs of pants with me: one pair of fatigues and one pair of jeans. The fatigues were more comfortable and were clearly better for the circumstances, but the jeans were not all too bad either.

Hope this helps.

Walk Slow,



Original question about what kinds of pants are good for travel

Travel pants. I’ve found it hard to find a versatile pair of travel pants. Ideally, I’d be looking for something somewhat suited to slightly warmer weather, and verasatile in the sense that they could be rolled up/converted to shorts as needed. Something with cargo pockets for carrying all my needed daily items? linen? light cotton?

Any suggestions?

As a side note, keep up the fantastic work on the site, love how its transitioned recently.

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Filed under: Clothing, Travel Gear, Travel Help

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3165 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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