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Unless your flight is under two hours or you identify strongly with the sociopathic community, you shouldn’t be flying in proper jeans. Or chinos. Or khakis. Pack all the stiff, scratchy, belt-requiring pair of pants you want, but don’t wear them to the airport. This, of course, presents the general conundrum of not looking like a total scrub at the airport — while the ’90s era of massive airport ‘fits are long gone, it doesn’t mean you need to look like you just rolled out of bed. No, you need a pair of travel pants.
Flights are uncomfortable enough (and getting more uncomfortable — less legroom is the new normal) without you needing to fidget and readjust after every hint of turbulence. No matter what’s waiting at your destination, whether it’s a meeting, a honeymoon, or just home, it was always worth taking two minutes postbaggage-check and pre-Uber to commandeer an airport bathroom stall and, dopp kit in hand, change into something more presentable, than to sacrifice comfort for a formal aesthetic.
What Is a Travel Pant?
There’s no need to change these days. A cohort of young, plucky labels and heritage brands alike have taken it upon themselves to create a new breed of pants in recent years that match (or even trump) the comfort of a pajama pant or sweatpant, in colors and cuts that look appropriate in a variety of situations, whether with sneakers or chukka boots.
These new digs are ultra-technical, often sporting weather (or more likely, spill) resistant materials and sweat-wicking tech for the most comfortable possible ride. Interal drawstrings or self-belting e-waists are industry standard, as are a cabal of pockets for everything from your passport to your Nintendo Switch. They’re a fortunate offshoot of the clothing revolution pioneered by activewear, and perfectly applicable to a day spent at the airport and in the sky.
Below, we’ve rounded up 11 superior examples from brands in the menswear space. These pants often have stretch capabilities (with cotton-synthetic blends), come packed with zippered pockets, and will not require you to take off a belt in the security line. They’re all comfy as hell, too, and easy to fall asleep in when it matters most. From Mack Weldon to lululemon, here are the best travel pants in 2023.
The Best Men’s Travel Pants in 2023:
Some of the best tech pants you’re going to find here, and a long-time favorite of InsideHook editors. True to form for Lulu, this is an article of clothing that far outperforms its price tag. These four-way stretch pants are comprised of a polyester-nylon blend and feature two deep hand pockets, so you don’t lose your passport back at baggage check. One of our editors once said he wants to be buried in them, so if that’s not enough to pick up a couple of pairs we don’t know what is.
Chicago-based Public Rec was a Kickstarter darling back in 2015 when they sold 2,000 pairs of sweatpants. They’ve since branched out to all manner of versatile activewear, but the original All Day Every Pant is still their crown jewel, and now available in nine different colors. What makes it so special? Four zippered pockets, tapered legs, elastic waistband, and creatively — a faux front fly, so you’ll look reasonably formal. Joke’s on them.
Much like their other wares — Mack’s Silver Trunk took top prize in our best underwear round-up earlier this year — Mack Weldon’s in-house comfiness gold standard applies to its pants, too, which are made from a technical, weather-resistant blend. Prepping for a big meeting mere hours after you land? Probably not a bad idea for any flight out of your time zone to just wear Mack Weldon briefs and a pair of the office-appropriate Radius Flex Joggers. That combo could even make the middle seat bearable.
They may be priced at a premium, but you know what you’re getting with Rhone. They’ve doubled down on their “transit” offerings in recent years, often with surprisingly formal-seeming looks. For those extremely busy, completely-unwilling-to-get-changed folks, you can reasonably wear these to a meeting for dinner. They’re made from a Japanese stretch fabric that’s got a bit of polyester, so they’ll come in handy, too, if you’ve gotta make a run for the gate. Choose from a ton of colors, and pick your exact size.
We wear these pants to the gym over a pair of shorts, usually with keys and assorted cards tucked into the zippered back pocket. They are unconscionably soft and made by Vuori, a San Diego County-based activewear brand that’s been around since 2013. This is a great option for people who don’t vibe with the tailored look of a jogger or ribbed sweatpants; it’s a straight travel pant, and loose in all the right regions.
Matching perfectly with one of our favorite travel blazers, the Buck Mason Carry-On Pant’s lightweight 5.5 oz twill blend gives it just enough shape and weight to stay relatively unhampered and fundamentally comfortable, even considering it’s dressed-up vibe. Ditch the massive garment bag and avoid cramming your wedding get-up into the weekender — just were these bad boys on the plane, instead.
More Travel Pants We Love:
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