The 9 Best Travel Pants to Buy in 2018

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It can sometimes feel like traveling requires a whole new wardrobe — and sometimes, that’s not too far off the mark. A pickpocket-deterring new bag, comfortable shoes for miles of walking on cobblestone beaches, the excuse to splurge on a new seasonal purchase, like a coat, ahead of time — and don’t forget the suitcase and carry-on to pack it all in! But none of these purchases are entirely frivolous: Having specifically-for-travel clothing and gear helps lower stress levels with the knowledge that you’ll be both safe and comfortable on the ground.

A lot of frequent travelers also take it one step further with the addition of travel shirts, dresses, and pants to their vacation wardrobe. The latter in particular have gotten fairly stylish in recent years, thanks in part to advances in fabric technology that built comfort right into the garment from the start. Read on for our favorite travel pants picks, from leggings to trousers with pockets for everything and anything that makes up your everyday carry in a new city.

01 of 09

Best Overall: Ably Apparel CRS Sweatpant

Ably Apparel CRS Sweatpant
Amazon

No, these don’t come cheap, but these innovative pants represent the future of high-tech-for-the-road fabrics—and it makes splurging on these worth it. Ably works with an eco-friendly technology called Filium, which can (seemingly magically) transform natural fabrics into stain-, water-, and odor-repellent material. So you get all the comfort, softness, and breathability of cotton with these trousers, plus the perks of what’s previously only belonged to the realm of nylon and other synthetic travel pants.

These sweats fit close to the body, with tapered ankles that aren’t quite joggers, which makes them a great casual choice for flying or hopping on a train. The company says you can wear them for days without throwing them in the wash, thanks to their aforementioned superpowers, which is a definite perk if you’re traveling over several days or happen to have a flight delay. Another perk? Pockets in the front and the back (the ones in the back zip for extra security, too). Find the women’s version here

02 of 09

Best for Women: prAna Briann Pant

These might just look like a woman’s most beloved pair of skinny jeans, and that’s exactly what these comfortable travel pants are meant to mimic. They’re made from a stretchy blend of fabric that won’t sag during the day, and the traditional five-pocket design, mid rise, and clean lines on these pants mean you can dress it up quickly with a blouse if you’re going from plane to drinks or a meeting. We love the built-in anti-spill protection (they’re made from a quick-dry water repellent finish), as well as the woven-in sun protection (the material is a UPF 50+++ swimwear fabric.) They also come in three different inseam lengths, so you can find the one that works perfectly for you. The pants also come in a popular relaxed-fit cut and a skinny cargo style — either one is an equally great choice, though the starting price points are a little more expensive. 

03 of 09

Best for Men: prAna Brion Pant

The men’s counterpart to the women’s Briann, above, the Brion pants by prAna keep the fashion-forward, sleek philosophy of the Briann and styles it for men. These straight-legged pants, made from nylon with a touch of spandex, also have the five-pocket look of traditional jeans, so you won’t scream “I’m wearing travel pants” at your destination (you don’t want to stick out as a tourist to pickpockets, after all).

We also love the color range of the men’s trousers, which mimics some of the more vibrant chinos out there. Like the Briann, these are made from stretch fabric with highly effective water-repelling technology — no stress if you spill your morning coffee on these on your rush out the door.

04 of 09

Best for Business Travelers: Unionbay Men’s Rainier Lightweight Comfort Travel Tech Chino Pants

If you’re taking a red-eye flight and then promptly heading straight into a meeting, you’re going to want a pair of pants that are comfortable enough to make getting up so early a little bit easier but that you don’t have to change out of once you’re on the ground. These chinos from Unionbay are stylish, well-cut, and beloved by wearers for their style and comfort — they don’t look like the clunky, baggy cargo pants one might normally picture with the phrase “travel pants”; they look like actual pants you’d wear. That’s precisely what they are, just with a few extras — and they come in quite a few colors for those who are always on the go.

The fabric is stretchy enough to allow for movement without being saggy, and it also has UPF 50 built into it for sun protection. We also like that it’s water-resistant for unexpected rain showers (or spills) and that the pockets in the back zip closed for extra protection.

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05 of 09

Best Convertible Travel Pants: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

When it comes to a good, all-purpose pair of travel pants, the Silver Ridge has long been a customer favorite, thanks to its clean-lined styling that’s not too polished for the woods nor too rugged for the conference room — and a price point that’s excellent value for money. If you’re heading off the plane and into the woods, you’ll be protected with these: They come with Columbia’s Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection (Columbia is the first company to get a seal of recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation), and the fabric has exceptional wicking abilities, which keeps travelers dry on the trail as well as during warm journeys. And if it gets super-hot? Just unzip the pants leg to turn these trousers into shorts. Although they fit close to the body, they’re cut just big enough to be able to add a base layer underneath, making these great for layering if you’re traveling from one climate to a much colder or hotter one.

06 of 09

Best Leggings: 90 Degree by Reflex HIgh Waist Yoga Legging

We love leggings for what can feel like interminably long travel days: They’re beyond comfortable, can be layered under jeans easily if extra warmth is required, and can pass as a substitute for pajama bottoms should one find themselves spending the night unexpectedly in the airport. We love these Amazon customer favorites, with a second-skin feel that keeps travel as comfortable as possible, and the compression fit helps circulation during long-haul flights.

Users also love that the fabric is opaque — no underwear shows through these. There’s also moisture-wicking fabric for days when travel is a bit more frantic than usual, and they’re warm enough to keep wearers feeling comfy on planes, which, like movie theaters, are always cold.

One detail we really love is the hidden waistband pocket, where you can store materials like your ID, keys, and a bit of cash if you want to travel light — or go on a run when you get to your destination. These leggings run a bit longer if you’re on the short side, but they’re easy enough to tuck into boots or roll up a bit at the ankles.

07 of 09

Best for Pockets: Propper Men's Lightweight Tactical Pant

With a whopping nine pockets — including a wallet “pocket in a pocket,” these cargo-style travel pants from Propper can hold everything your everyday carry might require, and then some. We love the color range these come in, too — if you find that they work for you, you can practically order them in a color for every day of the week. We also like the two hidden coin pockets, which keep coins on hand when you need them but tucked away from pickpockets when you don’t.

And you don’t have to worry about rough handling: These trousers are built to resist fading, shrinking, and wrinkling, plus they have a Teflon finish (yes, the same coating that goes on your pans) that repels liquids and keeps potential stains from setting in. Those looking to use the trousers for more utilitarian purposes will appreciate the partial-elastic waist for extra movement, space to slide knee pads on, and bonus extra-large belt loops, which are made with nylon duty belts in mind. If these are too heavy, they also come in a lighter summerweight material.

08 of 09

Best for Hiking Vacations: Arc’teryx Lefroy Pant

Arc’teryx is a favorite among hikers and backpackers, thanks to the brand’s incredible construction, rugged durability, and high-quality fabric. The Lefroy delivers all this outdoors-focused goodness in a trouser that’s great for travel, too. The elastane-mesh-nylon blend is just stretchy enough without verging into sag territory, and the Aequora Air-Perm fabric blend is lightweight and incredibly breathable. Should you get caught in a rain shower between connections or out in the woods, the pants dry really quickly.

Back inside, the styling doesn’t look out of place for a round of drinks at a craft brewery — or at the airport bar. One devoted customer even reports doing their leg days at the gym in these, so rest assured that these are built for movement.

The only downside is that sometimes the internal belt can get twisted around in the wash, so it takes a moment to sort out before putting these on for the day. Our winter travel tip? Buy a size up if you want to layer leggings underneath for extra warmth. 

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09 of 09

Best for Kids: Columbia Sportswear Girl’s Silver Ridge III Convertible Pant

Columbia’s Silver Ridge line of travel and hiking pants makes one of our picks above, but the junior-sized version is also great for families who travel together. Like the adult-sized version, these feature convertible legs so they can zip off into shorts if you’re going from the cold Northeast to Disney World, and they also come with Columbia’s Omni-Shade UPF 30 sun protection built into them, so little legs are protected from the sun’s strong rays.

We also like the built-in moisture management that wicks away sweat, and the quick-dry fabric that helps sudden rain showers or spilled juice evaporate quickly. Customers report that the material is soft, durable (even with all the scrapes kids get into) and washes up really nicely, making traveling with these a breeze. The boy’s version of the pants are equally as well-loved — customers report that there’s not too much of a difference between the two. 

Our Process 

Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular travel pants on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 45 different pants overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.