In a recent post I mentioned that there were several travel tools that were absolutely indispensable during our week and a half-long trip to Italy.  I suppose the trip would have been possible without them, but they made it much easier and more enjoyable.  In this series of posts, I’ll examine each of those tools in detail.

Traveling light, with versatile, washable clothing was a key goal when I packed for our trip, and that goal certainly extended to pants.  I brought three pair of slacks along, and for all intents and purposes, really used only two (I wore a pair of Ex-Officio nylon travel slacks one night in Rome; otherwise, they went unused).

The other two pair were a pair of TravelSmith “8 Days a Week” slacks, and the other, Orvis microfiber travel pants.  The latter were a standout, and saw a lot of use in both Rome, Sorrento, and London.

Key Features

First, the nicest features of these slacks:  they’re lightweight, semi-dressy, largely wrinkle free, and if need be, can be washed out and dried overnight.  In addition, as you might surmise from this post’s title, they feature 4 security pockets.  First, there’s a Passport pocket in the waistband on the right hand front of the slacks:

Secondly, there are two zippered security pockets.  The first is adjacent to the left front pocket:


One important distinction between these slacks and the TravelSmith “8 Days” slacks was immediately apparent:  the zipper on this security pocket operated smoothly and easily; that on the TS pants did not.  If needed, I could unzip this pocket while seated, for example, in the back seat of a taxi.  Doing that with the TravelSmith slacks was impossible, as the zipper was balky and difficult to unzip.

It should be noted, and as a right-handed person I am betraying my bias, but both zippered security pockets were on the left hand pockets, which is a pain for righty’s.  Why Orvis designed the slacks in this manner is a mystery.  Here’s the other zippered pocket, which by now you’ve likely figured out is the left rear pocket:

This zipper operated smoothly and easily as well.  Finally, the buttoned coin pocket in the front of the slacks isn’t merely decorative; its flap does in fact button, and it’s a great spot for storing an extra, large denomination bill:

In this case, I’ve put a bus pass in the pocket to convey how deep it is.  This pass is identical in size to a credit card, and as you can see, the pocket isn’t quite deep enough to accommodate it.  Before I travel extensively with these slacks again, I’ll have a seamstress deepen this pocket in order to make it capable of carrying an extra credit card.

They’re not perfect…

As is obvious from the above, the slacks aren’t without issues.  I’d much prefer that the zippered  pockets be on the right hand side of the slacks.  As mentioned immediately above, the coin pocket ought to be deeper, at least in my view.

Another less obvious thing I ran into is that I have difficulty folding these slacks over a conventional clothes hangar.  Specifically, I find it hard to line up the creases so the pant legs lie flat on the hangar.  Perhaps it’s the microfiber material; in any event, I find myself fussing with them every time I hang them up.  If your closet can accommodate them, clamp style hangars which let the pants hang their entire length vertically would be much easier.

As for the degree to which they’re wrinkle free, I think it’s slightly hyperbolic to say they’re entirely wrinkle free.  If you sit for hours in a pair of slacks, they’ll pick up some small wrinkling.  That said, I did in fact sleep in these slacks – however fitfully – on our transatlantic flights, and they came out of that looking pretty sharp.

One other note:  right before our final flight on our return journey, having traveled thousands of miles, visiting two countries, going on 5 flights of varying lengths, I finally managed to get a few spots of (what else?) grease on these  slacks.  When we arrived home I sprayed some Shout stain remover on them, tossed them in the washer, and they came out looking like new.

Finally:  these slacks are a bit dressy looking.  If visiting a dodgy neighborhood, or traveling on a crowded commuter train or bus that’s known for its popularity with thieves, I personally might opt for simpler slacks (or even shorts if appropriate) that aren’t as dressy.  If  you’re in a tough neighborhood, telegraphing wealth is not a good idea; I’ll cover my approach to foiling pickpockets and thieves in a future post.

Three colors, plain or pleated, cuffed or plain finished

As you can garner from the above subhead, the Orvis microfiber travel pants come in three colors:  grey, stone, or tan.  They’re available with pleated or plain fronts, and Orvis will cuff them or hem them plain finished at no extra charge.  I found them to be true to size, by the way.  Polyester; imported.

These slacks are lightweight and loaded with comfort; I wore them on several very warm days during our trip and they remained cool and comfortable.

Normally $89, they’re on sale as of this writing for $79.  See them here at the Orvis website – Orvis microfiber travel pants.

The Fine Print:  I have no connection with Orvis

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6 Comments on Indispensable Travel Tool #2: Orvis microfiber travel pants with hidden pockets

  1. Andy Mesa says:

    Did you ever try the REI Adventures pants? I’m still quite happy with mine.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Andy,

    I’ve not yet gotten a pair, but they’re on my list…

    kc

    [Reply]

  2. Chris says:

    I like your post and the idea, but I totally dislike having to spend money to buy specialized travel clothing.

    I’ve done similar things with dress pants and travel pants that I already had. First had a tailor in Bangkok do it, and did it myself later (didn’t look as nice but worked).

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Chris,

    Understand your POV. If it helps, both the slacks I mention in the post can be worn to work – and I do just that.

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  3. Gary Williams says:

    Thanks for this tip; I’m right now in the market for a new pair of travel trousers (brag: because I lost two inches off my waistline), and it looks as if these will be (almost, except for that one pocket) perfect.

    [Reply]

  4. Brad says:

    Kev – I’ll have a post linking to this tomorrow.

    [Reply]

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