Ever gotten caught in a rainstorm and gotten your jeans soaked? Fought those uncomfortable creases you get when you sit in tight pants for too long? Gotten a stain you just couldn’t remove? Moaned about the tiny pockets on women’s pants?
I feel ya, friend. There are solutions out there – four way stretch fabric that looks as nice as it feels, treatments that resist water and stains, pockets that are smart phone sized. But they’re ridiculously hard to find. Brands discontinue beloved products (see the bottom of this post for obituaries), other companies are just starting up, others bury their ideal pants in a heap of “not-quite-it” garments. It can be a real mess to sort through, so I’ve done the work for you! Below are 9 pants that fit several of my requirements for the perfect travel pant. Pants are listed from cheapest to most expensive.
Prana Meme Pant, 85 USD
What an unfortunately named garment. (I can imagine the disastrous boardroom discussion: “what do kids like today, Harold?” “MEMES.”) Yikes
Happily, it looks like it performs better than its name would suggest.
-Two clean patterns and two colors (including lighter colors if you’re heading into a hot climate)
–DWR (durable water repelent) treated
-plenty of pockets!
–Not your pants if you’re looking for dressy. I’ve seen them in action and they don’t exactly pass for nice-dinner-out pants.
-DWR treatment means some limitations on washing
–Prana sells another pant, the Halle, that’s a bit dressier and better-named. It comes in sizes 2-14 and five different colors, with three inseam lengths available.
Levi’s Commuters, 88 USD
-Water resistant via ECOREPEL
-Jean feel and cut
-Multiple colors, including light ones
-Extra deep pockets
-Reflective strips (for biking)
-Mixed reviews regarding how water resistant they actually are
-Since they’re jeans, they’ll be hot in hot weather
BetaBrand’s Travel Cargo Pants, 98 USD
BetaBrand’s clothes run the gamut from “really cool” to “what the heck?” But everything they make is voted on by customers and crowd funded, which means that there’s a demand for their weirder stuff…somewhere. (These pants are 98$, but if you use this link they’ll drop to 83. When I updated this post they were on sale for 49$.)
-low profile and hidden pockets
-regular, long, and petite sizing
-BetaBrand’s sale scheme means that you essentially never have to pay the stated price.
-Some strangely placed pockets are no doubt practical, but look a little odd
-Limited color options
-Reviews note possible issues with fit and stitching.
Dish and Du/er Pants (Example is 109 USD)
This is the only generic company post on this list. It is also the only post that doesn’t include water repellent pants, because I don’t want you to pass it up. These folks make performance denim that’s tough, wicking, and stretchy, with odor and temperature control features as well. Most of their pants have extra coverage in the back and reinforced stress points. They do carry DWR jeans, but only for men. They size by waist and inseam and have a huge variety of cuts and colors.
ODO Jeans, 115 USD
I backed Odo’s kickstarter , so now I’m watching them closely, a mix between an investor and a proud parent. I don’t have my jeans yet (a review is coming when I get them!), but I have high hopes for them. Pros:
-two fits, three shades of blue plus black
-standard and light weight options
-reflectors for biking
-extra deep pockets
-impressive size range. Odo seems very focused on fit, which is great.
-water, stain, dirt resistant Cons:
-I’m guessing they’re hot in hot weather
-Lightweight option isn’t available in black
Alchemy Equipment’s Stretch Tech Chinos, 180 NZD (~127 USD)
-DWR for water and stain repelling
-Sizes are XS-XL
-No pictures of the pants in different colors
-Several sizes are unavailable in particular colors.
-Alchemy has a sizeable women’s selection, but this seems to be the only pair of DWR pants.
Ligne 8’s Portia Classic Pant, 128 USD
-durable, breathable stretch fabric
-water and stain resistant
-higher rise in the back
-grip tape at waistband
-reflective binding on lower legs
-Basic sizing (2,4,6 etc), no petite, tall options
-Biking features may be a bit much if you just want to travel
-Only one color available.
Ligne 8 has other, similar pants, like the Grace pant. They also have some nice DWR technical jeans.
Rohan’s Women’s Dry Roamers, 98£ (~140 USD)
-Three neutral colors
-Sizes up to 18, with short available
-Nice and not too outdoors-y, but not exactly dressy
-Only sizes 8-18 available (good if you’re an 18, not so much if you’re on the smaller end)
Nau’s Device Pants, 145$
-Two colors, sizes 2-14
-Zipper pockets (pro for security, con for style)
-Reflective tape when pants are cuffed
-Two-way, not four-way stretch
-No discussion of how light, wrinkle-resistant, or quick drying they are
Outerboro’s Motile Breeze Pants, 148 USD
-three colors (Black, Shadow Gray, Dress Blue)
-light weight and quick dry
-DWR (stain and water resistant)
-four-way stretch fabric
-Only 4 sizes
-As of writing, several options are out of stock
The Willary’s Pants, 198 USD
-stain, water, abrasion resistant
-four way stretch with optimal recovery (meaning they won’t stretch out)
-hidden pocket, deep pockets
-belt loops (so many pants miss this somehow)
-made in the USA
-I’m not sure how well they wash, how quickly they dry, or how light they are.
Pivotte’s 24/7 Pants 220 USD
Pivotte’s a new kid on the block and I love their stuff. I hope they stick around because their simple-but-elegant designs and high tech fabrics are a wonderful combo. But 220 for pants? Ouch.
-hidden zippered pockets
-water, stain, dirt resistant
-the price, as mentioned
BONUS ROUND: Bring them back, please?
Outlier Slimmer Dungarees
Outlier, I am hurt and betrayed. You had so much going for you – glowing reviews on page 1 of Google results! Funky color offerings! The reputation as the best women’s pants in the industry! A model doing something other than staring into the camera in a studio somewhere in San Francisco!
And then…nothing. You decided, for some reason, that it was a good time to discontinue your whole women’s line. Candidly? That was a bad idea.
Proof NY Visser Pants
For women who like tech pants, Proof NY was first Outlier’s younger cousin. Then, when Outlier discontinued women’s products, they were the new go-to for women who biked to work. Proof NY has been essentially offline for about a year now. Perhaps they’ll make a return, if we’re lucky.
That’s it. I know. So few. It’s unfortunate, but hopefully we’ll have more options in the near future.
If you spot an error or know of another brand I should look into, please let me know in the comments. I’m hoping to keep this list as thorough, updated, and accurate as possible. If you’ve written a review of any of these pants, I’d be happy to include a link in this post. Just hit me up here or on twitter.
-Switched the Ligne 8 Grace pants for Portia pants. I like the cut better, and they’re also 50$ cheaper.
-Added Alchemy, Rohan, and Nau pants.
-Added Dish and DU/ER.
-Removed Makers and Riders pants as the link was dead. They seem to have gone the way of Outlier by removing their women’s line.
–Removed ODO Jeans because at worst they’re a scam and at best they’re wildly behind schedule with terrible customer service.
-Updated Pivotte pants to note new color available.