For travel, comfort and appearance come first. When stuck in an uncomfortable coach seat on a long flight, we want to be comfortable but still look presentable, whether for a business meeting or a weekend getaway. Packability and ability to be worn multiple times are key attributes. Ease of sink washing is also a plus.
We are fans of one bagging (traveling with just a backpack) as traveling with a roller bag is a pain. Even better, if you size your backpack right, it will fit under the seat if needed so you will never again have to gate check. Traveling with clothes that work with you and perform better will help reduce how much you need to pack.
Merino wool is excellent for travel as it packs well (wrinkle resistant) and can be worn multiple times without washing. We also like synthetic fabrics (polyester, nylon, etc.) with stretch. Look for pieces that are wrinkle resistant and quick drying (makes it easier to wash in the sink and dry overnight as synthetic tends to be less odor resistant).
We find packing cubes to be indispensable while traveling. They keep your clothes organized and folded, and if you have to undergo a TSA inspection, keeps your clothes clean and makes it easier to repack. Wearing your bulky items if possible also helps.
Refillable travel bottles/travel size toiletries are also key. Without a checked bag, all your liquids need to be 3.4 oz (100 mL) or smaller.
Don’t pack shoes, the key to packing light and traveling happy is one pair of shoes. If that’s your baseline, then you’ll better question yourself before you add that extra pair of shoes.
Steve’s Top Picks
Steve’s Top Picks
Nothing I’ve found can beat the Wool & Prince Button-Downs. They resist wrinkles, help regulate temperature, and can be worn multiple times; all while looking great.
Darn Tough merino blend socks will keep your feet comfortable and dry all day. They will also give multiple wears.
The Merrell Trail Glove 3 are my go-to packable shoe (they fold down pretty much to the sole). When traveling I usually wear my dress shoes or boots and pack these so I can go to the gym.
Ben’s Top Picks
Ben’s Top Picks
I’ll echo Steve with the Wool & Prince shirts and Darn Tough socks. They are both downright amazing and have really changed the way I travel.
Nothing is better on a flight for me than pants that move and Outlier takes top billing there. The Futureworks for work, and Slim Dungarees for leisure. They are both very comfortable all flight and are usually the only pants I bring.
Another game changer for the way I pack are the ExOfficio Boxers, they seem too good to be true, but they are not only all I pack when I travel but all I wear at home too. Theoretically, you could travel indefinitely with two pairs washing one every night (they usually are dry the next morning, but not always). I’ll typically never travel with more than three pairs. Not only do they wash up well, but they handle sweat and water far better than any others. Superb.
I’m a huge fan of GORUCK bags and the GR1 is my go to, in both 21L and 26L depending on the trip. You can’t get a better bag and they will last a lifetime. I can’t imagine using something else.
I’ve also found that my Clark’s Desert Boots are very versatile. They can fit in with business casual, in nights out, or for a short hike. After these were broken in, I can spend all day in these.
7/2018 – car camping in the rain
6/2018 – 3 day, 2 night trip for a wedding, which required extra shoes and a suit
5/2018 – 3 day, 2 night trip, business
4/2018 – quick weekend with the family on the Washington coast
2/2018 – 2 day, 1 night trip, business
2/2018 – 3 day, 2 night trip by air, business
6/2018 – 4 day, 3 night trip by air and car, business
4/2018 – 8 night trip by air, 3 nights business, 2 camping, and 3 city/outdoors non-camping vacation
3/2018 – 6 night international business trip by air, business
2/2018 – Overnight trip by car, business