TRAVEL GEAR THAT WORKS – Clothing
Every time I head out on a new journey it seems I debate about what gear I should take with me. Each trip and destination is a bit different so I always adjust my gear accordingly. Still, it seems that there are certain items that always join me on my journeys. Why? They work for me and my style of travel. I’ve previously written about Travel Gear That Works – Bags & Luggage. Check that article for great information and recommendations. And now, continuing with more Travel Gear That Works, here is my list of my regular travel clothing.
Travel Gear That Works – Clothing
I’m a pretty casual traveler. My main priorities are to visit and experience some awesome locations, meet some interesting and fun people, and hopefully make a few good photographs along the way. I try to keep the costs down and experiences up. With my style of travel I’m looking for clothing that is light weight and easily washable with quick drying qualities. It’s best if it’s versatile and can be dressed up (at least a bit) or down according to need. My travel budget is limited so cost is a factor. My travel clothing needs to be durable and good value for the money.
Travel Clothing –
I have tried and used various brands of travel clothing and honestly there are a variety of really good products available. But my “go to” brand has become ExOfficio. And for those lady readers in the group – yes, ExOfficio offers an excellent line of ladies apparel.
Why I Travel With ExOfficio Clothing – I travel light. I recently completed a 5 week photo journey through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam using three shirts and three pairs of pants. My travel clothing needs to serve a variety of purposes. It needs to be comfortable, interchangeable (mix and match), be sturdy enough for trekking in the jungle but good looking enough that I don’t get kicked out of nice restaurants! (OK – that has happened – but only once in Hong Kong.) Easy washing and quick drying qualities are critical – and I need lots of pockets for my camera and tech stuff.
Shirts – Great styles for my needs include long sleeved shirts with double patch pockets (one has a zippered security pocket inside) to carry my stuff. Some include insect repellent and sun protection qualities as well as adjustable collars for more sun protection. Other features include a utility tab for sun glasses, side venting for increased air flow, and roll up sleeve tabs.
Pants – Again there is a great selection of styles. My preference is for multiple patch pockets as well as zippered security pockets for lots of safe storage. Water repellant treatment is helpful and UPF +30 sun protection is built in. Quick drying makes these pants great for the traveler.
ExOfficio gear is available through Amazon.
Packable Down Jacket –
Even though I’m originally from Michigan, I do admit that cold weather is not my favorite. I generally try to avoid traveling to colder climates, but weather can be rather unpredictable. For that reason I always bring along several layers of clothing which can be added or adjusted just in case colder weather hits. My light weight Patagonia Nano Puff Coat is one of my great cool weather layers.
Why I Travel With The Nano Puff Coat – This jacket is very versatile. It is warm and also light weight. It is “packable” which means it can be stuffed down into it’s own internal pocket. In “storage mode” it is small but soft. I place it at the bottom of my back pack to cushion my camera gear. I can also use it as a small pillow when the need arises.
The Patagonia Nano Puff Coat is available on Amazon.
Packable Rain Shell –
Call me crazy, but I just don’t like to get terribly wet when I’m traveling. When wet weather moves in – I pull out my rain shell.
Why I Travel With this Packable Rain Shell by NorthFace –
This shell is light weight and waterproof. There’s an attached hood which has proven very helpful on extended open boat trips in the rain. A variety of vents are incorporated into the design to increase air flow. It serves as another of my “layers” when the weather gets cold. The jacket is washable. Finally, it is packable into it’s own pouch making it easy to store. I place it at the bottom of my backpack to cushion my camera gear and again, it can serve as a nice pillow if needed. It also comes in a wide range of colors and color combinations.
The NorthFace Packable Rain Shell (Men’s Venture Jacket) is available on Amazon.
Travel / Photo Vest –
My Travel / Photo Vest is always a part of my travels. From the photo above you can tell that I’ve put a few miles on it. I actually have two different vests at the present time. (And I continue to keep my eye open for better vests.) The one pictured above is by Woolrich and is great with loads of pockets which are expandable and can hold all the gear I need such as strobes, lenses, water bottles as well as smaller items. The only negative for me is that the vest is rather heavy and as such is not really something I use in warmer climates ( think Africa and SE Asia). It is good in cool weather and works well as an additional layer when the weather turns cold. The other negative – for you that is – is that Woolrich no longer makes this vest and doesn’t seem to have anything similar.
I have tried a number of other vests in my search for a lighter weight travel vest. I have tested several and unfortunately they turned out to have big limitations. They looked great but the pockets were small, didn’t expand and as a result the functionality was very limited. At present the closest I have come to a good light weight vest is one I have which is made by RedHead, the house brand of Bass Pro Shops. Unfortunately I can’t find this one listed any longer on their web site.
I personally find a vest to be an important part of my travel gear. Sometimes I have actually loaded mine up with tons of heavy gear, using it in this fashion as an extra wearable “carry on” when traveling by air. Unfortunately, for reasons listed above I am unable to give you information about finding the exact vests that I use. You can find all sorts of vests listed on Amazon Photo Vests. My suggestion is find one that appears to meet your needs in terms of number of pockets, color, size, comfort with full load and weight. Then check out the return policy closely. You won’t know if the vest is workable just by looking at a photo. Try it on, load it up and take it for a “test drive”. Yes, the process is a pain but worth it. I’ve done it a number of times. If the vest you have doesn’t measure up – send it back and try again.
Below is an example of a vest currently available on Amazon. Looks like it has potential but only a “test drive” will tell.
Thanks for visiting and reading. Feel free to share your comments, observations and / or your own travel favorites.
Bruce W Bean, Travel Photographer & Writer
I own and use all of the items mentioned above. I hope you found this information useful. And I should mention that if you are interested in these or any other items – any purchases made by clicking through the links above will help support this website – but at no additional or extra cost to you. Sort of a “Win / Win.”
To read about more Luggage and Bag Travel Gear That Works click the link below:
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