Gear Test: Travel Clothes

P1000651I had a trip to India for work planned about a year and a half ago. This was going to be for over a week, with time at my work doing presentations to coworkers, and of course some looking around. To get ready for this, I wanted to update some of my gear. Mostly clothes. I actually already have a lot of good travel computing gear, adapters, etc. These are critical in a technical sense, but I wanted to improve some of my other travel stuff. I actually did all this before our trip to France last year, but never really wrote about it. So here goes:

I grabbed an Ex Officio Travel Vest a few years back from the Ex Offico store in SeaTac airport. This was a totally random purchase, but I’ve really loved it ever since. The whole pocketing system works great, I pack it full of what I want at my seat (typically, headphones, wallet, tickets, phone, USB cable, a water bottle, and something random I stuffed in there. ) That lets me stuff the rest in my bag and put it away until we take off. It’s also a pretty good top for just a bit of warmth.

Next I started buying shirts.  What’s neat about that Ex Officio store in SeaTac airport is they actually have a pretty good clearance rack. So I began picking up Ex Officio Air Strip shirts. These are Long-sleeve shirts that have cooling vents built-in, buttons to hold your sleeves when rolled up, a hidden zipper pocket, and a little tab to hang your sunglasses from. They are also synthetic blend, so they are light and clean easy. I’ve never liked synthetic clothes, but the easy cleaning when travelling has really been amazing.

I bought one pair of Convertible Pants from Ex Officio as well. The legs zip off to make shorts, but then found that Costco had a similar pair that were just as good for about a quarter of the price. The only trick is you have to watch for when they appear at Costco. They aren’t always there. I actually like the Costco ones better. They have more pockets, an integrated key clip, and they are cheap. Same kind of synthetic, easy wash fabric. It’s amazing.

I also grabbed some packing cubes, synthetic shorts, a bug-proof shirt, etc. . These clothes aren’t cheap, but they are amazing. I thin I have three pairs of pants, and six different shirts. It actually looks very presentable when I’ve gone out. much better than jeans and a t-shirt from previous trips.

I also picked up a new hat from Tommy Bahama. I have a really nice Straw Hat I wear around home, but I got a synthetic Straw hat that is pretty much crush proof. I don’t have much hair left, so the hat is getting more important every year.

All together, I can pack a weeks worth of clothes into a single duffel bag, and wash it all in a sink to drip dry in about an hour. Its a great set. I can pack quick, it all looks good together. Everything is practical. It just takes some of the stress of travel away in general.

I never did get to go on that India trip – it was cancelled. But I appreciate the update in clothing.  I use it every trip now, even overnight. It’s well worth the money if you like to travel.