Fall/Winter 2016: College Budget Technical Clothing Haul

Here are some quick reviews of shirts and pants I’ve gotten over the past few months. I’ll write these posts every so often to keep you up to date with travel clothes that are actually worth it.

This haul features a lot of H&M tencel and some Mountain Khakis pants. Read on for full opinions!

H&M long sleeve tencel shirt ($10)

This shirt is strange. I wanted a light, long-sleeved shirt that would cut the sun a bit and provide comfortable coverage for hot, conservative countries. I don’t hate this shirt, but it’s not what I was expecting. It’s got very tight sleeves, for one thing, so it’s uncomfortable to push them up. (I hate having my lower arms covered, so this is an issue for me.) It also hangs strangely around the shoulders and it’s l o n g. It’s practically a tunic. The stitches on the hems also look cheaply made.

Verdict? If you like the fit and want something cheap for a short-term trip, by all means get it! I won’t be getting it again.

H&M tencel tank top ($13) and tencel t-shirt ($15)

Both the tank and the shirt are built similarly. They fit nicely, although the neck drapes a little strangely on the t-shirt. Both shirts are incredibly soft and silky, and I frequently sleep in them after wearing them for the day. In certain lights or with certain bras, they’re a tad see-through. In general, I like them. I could do with another tencel tank, in particular.

H&M Tencel/Cotton/Modal jeans ($30)

Yep, this is the best picture I have of the pants.

Oh, boy. Yes, I know these jeans are more like jeggings, and yes, I know they’re cheaply made. But man. They are so comfortable I’m just choosing to ignore all that. They’re skinny without being suffocating and comfortable to wear while sitting for long periods. They also stretch nicely, meaning my movement’s not restricted, and they’re light wash, so they’re not super hot even in blazing sun. I’ve worn them on multiple flights, on field work, and for three days straight at Disneyland. No, they’re not perfect, but man, do I ever love them.

Mountain Khakis pants ($20, typically $90)

Mountain Khakis Traverse Pants Review
Mountain Khakis Traverse Pants

I got these deeply discounted during Mountain Khaki’s fall sale. I’ve already posted a full review of these, which you can see here.

Review: Mountain Khakis Traverse Pants

Ever since I discovered Mountain Khakis, I’ve been intrigued by their Traverse pants. They’ve got a yoga pant look but brag about being tough enough for rock climbing. They’re also DWR coated, meaning water falls right off them.

When the seasons change, I poke around at my favorite brands to find out who’s got the best sales. The Traverse pants were on sale for $20, a huge discount from their usual $90 price tag. The only hiking pants I had at the time were too big and soaked up the sun like no body’s business, leaving me uncomfortably hot on my once a week field geology treks. I ordered a pair the same day, even though I had to buy a 4 petite. (I usually wear a 2 regular.) Would they fit? I wasn’t sure, but for that price, I was willing to find out.

 

The good news: they fit! If you compare the fit when I wear them to the fit on the models, you can tell they’re a tad off—they sit a little lower and the hips are a slightly different shape. It’s not obvious, though, and because they sit lower, on the wider part of my hips instead of at my natural waist, the petite inseam isn’t an issue.

If you compare the fit when I wear them to the fit on the models, you can tell they’re a tad off—they sit a little lower and the hips are a slightly different shape. It’s not obvious, though, and because they sit lower, on the wider part of my hips instead of at my natural waist, the petite inseam isn’t an issue.

Mountain Khakis Traverse Pants Review

Mountain Khakis Traverse Pants Reveiw

I’m kinda in love with the fabric. It’s super silky but strong, and I’m not worried at all about transparency or ripping. It’s also super comfortable in the heat, as long as you’re not sitting in broad sunlight for long periods of time.

I was surprised by how much I liked the color. It looks kinda “eh” online, but it’s much more pleasant in person. It’s neutral, but not boring, which I appreciate.

The design is 90% yoga pants (the fit, the waist, the fabric), 10% hiking pants (there’s a logo on the back of the calf and the legs have those odd, sporty cross-calf seams). They’re not tight around the hips, like so many yoga pants are, which I appreciate.

The only real downside to these pants is that they can’t really be dressed up. They look a lot better than regular hiking pants if you want something versatile, but the yoga pant style waist and hiking pant style legs make it clear these pants are meant for moving, not pairing with pumps and heading to a ballet.

The verdict? I like them enough that if something happens to them, I’d be willing to shell out the 90$ non-sale price for another pair.

 

 

 

Gear Round Up: Women’s Travel Pants

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

 

Image is from the Fitful Focus blog. You can read her review here: https://fitfulfocus.com/fit-fashionable-friday-prana-meme-pant/

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.

Pros:
-Two clean patterns and two colors (including lighter colors if you’re heading into a hot climate)
DWR (durable water repelent) treated
-stretchy
-plenty of pockets!
-wrinkle resistant
-quick dry

Cons:
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

Options:

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 Commuters88 USD

 

Pros:
-Water resistant via ECOREPEL
-Jean feel and cut
-Multiple colors, including light ones
-Stretchy
-Extra deep pockets
-Reflective strips (for biking)

Cons:
-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$, but if you use this link they’ll drop to 83. When I updated this post they were on sale for 49$.)

Pros:
-Four-way stretch
-DWR
-low profile and hidden pockets
-two colors
-regular, long, and petite sizing
-BetaBrand’s sale scheme means that you essentially never have to pay the stated price.

Cons:
-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)

 

Pros:
-DWR for water and stain repelling
-Four-way stretch
-Abrasion resistant
-Dressy style
-Three colors

Cons:
-Sizes are XS-XL
-No pictures of the pants in different colors
-Several sizes are unavailable in particular colors.

Options:
-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

Pros:
-durable, breathable stretch fabric
-water and stain resistant
-quick drying
-higher rise in the back
-grip tape at waistband
-anti-chafing gusset
-reflective binding on lower legs
-belt loops

Cons:
-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.

Options:
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)

 

Pic from foothills.uk.com
Pros:
-Three neutral colors
-DWR
-Moisture diffusing
-Hidden pocket
-Durable
-Quick drying
-Wrinkle resistant
-Lightweight
-Sizes up to 18, with short available

Cons:
-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$

 

Pros:
-Two colors, sizes 2-14
-Zipper pockets (pro for security, con for style)
-DWR finish
-Reflective tape when pants are cuffed

Cons:
-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

 

Pros:
-three colors (Black, Shadow Gray, Dress Blue)
-light weight and quick dry
-DWR (stain and water resistant)
-four-way stretch fabric

Cons:
-Only 4 sizes
-As of writing, several options are out of stock

 

The Willary’s Pants, 198 USD

 

Pros:
-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
-two fits

Cons:
-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.

Pros:
-wrinkle resistant
-three colors
-hidden zippered pockets
-water, stain, dirt resistant
-4-way stretch

Cons:
-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?

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.

 

UPDATE 6/18/16

-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.

UPDATE 3/6/17

Removed ODO Jeans because at worst they’re a scam and at best they’re wildly behind schedule with terrible customer service.
-Replaced pictures.
-Updated Pivotte pants to note new color available.

gearrounduppants