OBOW Light Travel Forum > Clothing For the Lightweight Concept --- A User Opinion

Over the past years, I have moved more and more to the lighter weight travel approach espoused by this site. As an independent consultant, I travel about once a month to attend meetings and meet with clients. Hence, in the YMMV personal opinion mode, I should like to share a few of my observations:

1. For pants, I have been buying and using Roundtree and York Easycare pants from Dillards. They usually are about $50 a pair. The last pair I bought, in black, is of the microfiber variety, and I have two that are a poly mix of some kind. I heartily recommend these pants --- particularly the microfiber. Great value. Can wash them out in the sink, hang them upside down by the cuffs, and they will dry without wrinkles in about 24 hours. To determine if I need to wash my pants, I go by the dirt-smell test. No dirt and no smell = no need to wash for now. You could probably drive a truck over them and still wear them in a board room. Took these to my recent 16 day overseas trip and they worked wonderfully.
2. Another pair of pants that I wore on my big vacation trip: Royal Robbins Global Traveler. At first, I thought that I would not like these, but they proved me wrong. Somehow or another I got a pair off of Amazon for $17! They have a sorta hidden zipper pocket in the front right pocket. Lightweight/very fast drying/no iron/comfortable in hot weather --- a good value. When I washed them in a sink, I abused them mightily by wringing the living you-know-what out of them. Rolled them in a towel and hung them upside down by the cuffs to dry. They were dry in about 8 hours. I intend to get another pair of these in a different color.
3. For casual shirts, I have had good luck with short sleeve golf shirts in some sort of poly/micro material. I have two that are from the Greg Norman line of golf shirts. I really like these. Light/no iron/dry fast/will take abuse. I also have noticed that after a day of being out in the sun, where I sweated like a pig, these shirts did not smell at all. I think they have some sort of anti-odor treatment or something.
4. Dress shirts: So far the best that I have seen are the wrinkle-free button downs that come from Brooks Brothers. These work for both casual and dress-up. Other good ones that I have are from Lands End. Over a 25 year period, I have found Lands End shirts to be very good values. Heck, I have one cotton pinpoint button down shirt that is 12 years old and still going strong. Not a dress shirt, the vaunted Ex Officio Air Strip long sleeve shirt is also in my wardrobe. But, I have to tell you, as functional as these are, I do not like them. This is one of those personal things. To me, they are too baggy, especially with their distinctive front pockets. I ended up wearing one of these on my overseas trip only once. Drat. I paid $90 for one of these from REI.
5. Sox: Do yourself a favor and consider Merino wool socks to wear with shoes other than running shoes. I absolutely love ‘em. The only thing is that they cost an arm and a leg. The last pair that I bought, made by Pantherella, cost $17, and I was glad to get that price. Normally these run $35 a pair. Absolutely the best pair of sox I have ever owned. I have worn them quite a bit in my Rockport Prowalkers. They dry out very fast after washing. You would think they would be hot, but actually, they are cooler than cotton!
6. Shoes: Anything by Rockport. From a male point of view, for travel, I need only one pair of shoes. As a 20 year user of Rockport, I find they are as comfortable as running shoes, but yet still look good in the board room. This double-duty feature contributes quite a bit to the 1bag philosophy.

In closing, I have found that my comfort goes up as my weight goes down. Plus, I find that I am not sacrificing anything at all. It is rewarding to travel this way and have people ask is that the only bag you brought?


June 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I travel with a casual style so I use a little different clothing than you in some areas. For pants, I've come to use Carhartt twill jeans in a 65/35 poly/cotton blend, black. For shirts I like the Kargoolie shirts from White Sierra. They're discontinued but you find them once in a while. I use the all poly ones not the nylon. For socks, it's hard to beat Smartwool and for shoes, Rockport World Tour. With a wash kit, I can travel a long time with only one bag.
June 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLarry
Hello Larry. Thanks for sharing. I find it interesting that even though our styles might be different, our packing philosophy is pretty much the same. Thanks for the suggestion about the Carhartt jeans and the Kargoolie shirts. Will be on the lookout.

I do like Smartwool. I have 3 or 4 pair for hiking that I like.

During our 16 day overseas trip, I washed in the sink 8 or 9 times. Only took 10 to 15 minutes each time. I swear by this approach. I first did this in 1977 on a 2 week Europe trip and have been doing it ever since.

Be well,

June 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Steve, what you're realizing is the true secret of one bag travel. It's the philosophy of the whole thing.

Some people get it quickly, some people don't realize they're following it, and others never seem to get it.

When you compare those that understand it, you'll see that their style of travel is similar. You can line up ten people who understand and they can each have a completely different packing list.

It's not about the bag. It's not about the packing list. It's about the mindset.

Well done to you and to Larry who has known this for awhile.

When the new website is up, why not repost this thread in the new forum. I think it will be beneficial to our readers.

BTW, the first OBOW tutorial on the new site is the "Secrets of One Bag Travel."
June 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW
Absolutely, "It's about the mindset" as Frank says, ATTITUDE over specific items. For example, compare and contrast my approach to several areas to that of Steve or Larry:

For travel in URBAN areas, where one wants to look a bit "smarter," nothing beats darker shade lightweight all WOOL slacks. I just take the black and charcoal gray Lands End "Year Rounder" dress slacks that I wear every day to work, ever since my wife convinced me that khakis should be reserved for weekend wear. As for microfiber, they don't breathe as well as wool, not to mention threatening sheep with unemployment, and represent...microstyle.

For travel in more RURAL areas, nothing beats REI or the like brushed nylon pants, which are as light or lighter than the above dress slacks. If they get wet, they dry out quickly. I now have two pair, one in very dark gray, another in medium dark gray. As for "zip-offs," sometimes I take one pair, but for a purely rural trip, I'd just as soon take a pair of knee length nylon shorts.

Actually most trips I have THREE pair, two wool and one nylon for an urban trip, two nylon long and one nylon short for a rural trip, one nylon long and two nylon short for a tropical area, perhaps one wool and two nylon for a mixed venture. Inevitably I travel in a nylon pair. Khakis? No. Jeans? Absolutely not! While don't take a swimsuit unless I'm reasonably sure I'll be able to use it, the right pair can double as shorts.

As for UNDERWEAR, I now own five pair of Ex Officio briefs, all in black, far better than cotton, which of course I do wash during the course of a trip, but only about every four days. Sink washing is not my favorite travel activity.

As for FOOTWEAR, it would be an unusual trip that can't be done with two well-chosen pair of black shoes , one more formal, one less formal meant for extended urban walking, or perhaps one walking shoe and one pair of sandals on or rural trip, possibly if rain or rough terrain threatens my gray Lowa lowcut Goretex hiking shoes and one other pair. Of course only one pair of shoes is packed, usually the lighter pair.

I won't get into shirts, sweaters, socks, jackets or such. For lower body items alone there is quite a bit of difference, BUT chances are high that MY complete wardrobe would fit into Larry's bag or Steve's bag...and vice versa, and that all would fit into that fabled overhead bin.
June 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlan B
Hi Alan B. Thanks for a very well done post.
June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
i have found washable wool trousers to look 'more formal' if needed, and can be sink washed and dried. i use woolite.
i have a corp discount at brooks brothers, but usually wait for their 30% (or stackable) deals.
these days, i wear their 'better' shirts, 2 button cuff. i find these wear and dry better, but are also more expensive.
landsend is a good deal, again get them on sale (and free shipping), but it seems to me that their quality has been going down.
i have found that sportsmans wearhouse also has a decent selection of wool socks, including smartwool dress and casual (non hiking).
June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRalph