Around the world, values and norms change with every country.
Yet the requirement of clothing remains steady no matter where one might go, and there is no better travel pants option on the market than the EcoTreks.
In this article, we will explore the pant's features and materials as they relate to common traveler needs.
My name is Brian O'Dea, the resident editor and primary writer of the wonderful blog you are currently reading. For the past few months, I've been out and about in the world field-testing LIVSN products across all kinds of climates and terrain.
I'm a carry-on-only type of traveler, and within my 55-liter pack, there's only room for one pair of travel pants. On this trip, I stayed in tropical environments (Guatemala/Mexico) as well as both wet and dry mountains (Bulgaria/Turkey respectively) which provided a fun challenge in terms of how and what to pack.
After many sleepless nights with such a heavy decision weighing on my mind, I decided to go with the EcoTrek Trail Pants, and haven't looked back since.
My state-of-the-art remote office in Sofia, Bulgaria
Some General Thoughts on Travel Clothing
When traveling with a minimalist mindset, the name of the game with clothing is versatility and durability.
You need all your main players to be able to play multiple roles well. Without access to your full wardrobe, it's best to pack clothing that can function well in both urban and natural environments, be cleaned quickly, and layered with other pieces easily.
I went with the charcoal color of the EcoTreks, as they match with virtually anything and hide stains more naturally than the caramel/olive options. On the trail, they thrive as hiking pants, and once I shake the dirt off them and find a mostly clean shirt, I've been allowed into most restaurants and such without much issue.
The aesthetics are one benefit but far from the main selling point of the EcoTreks as travel pants. What truly sets them apart from the pack are the design features and materials that match what travelers need most while on the road.
Travel Tip - When packing, consider air pockets in your backpack your enemy, and use packing cubes and compression straps to snuff them out. I've found clothing eats up valuable interior space and is commonly overpacked. Use the right tools, and you'll end up better organized and with more space for anything you pick up along the way.
From mountain towns to waterfall hikes, the EcoTreks held up like true travel pants champions.
Ideal Travel Pants Features
When you are on the move, some major factors to consider when evaluating travel pants are their accessibility, security, and comfort level.
You will need easy access to normal mainstays like a wallet and phone, but also important documents like passports, visa, and tickets many aren't used to keeping track of. When you only have one pair of pants, you naturally want them to be comfortable as well, but we will get more into this in the material section down the line.
Times of transit are by far the most vulnerable time in terms of theft or simply forgetting an item. Having an internal organization system in everything from your pants to your pack itself not only helps mitigate these risks, but gives a traveler invaluable peace of mind.
Travel Pants Pockets
Here's a painfully detailed breakdown on how I use each of the EcoTreks' pockets for travel. It's a system that has worked flawlessly for me so far, and I encourage all travelers to come up with one that works for their own needs.
Left Thigh Zipper Pocket
- Originally designed for phones, I've found this is the ideal home for your passport on border crossing days.
- It's not a top target for pickpockets as they hold no intrinsic value like a wallet. However, every time you access something, there is a slight potential risk of it becoming lost. The zipper pocket reduces that risk drastically. With a quick pat you can confirm it's still there and rest easy.
Left Hip Standard Pocket
- The hidden zipper pocket here is an ideal home for a wallet. While pickpockets around the world are crafty and quick, they have yet to develop the ability to apparate a hand through a sealed pocket.
- Travel Tip - Resist the urge to remove your wallet while on the move unless you need to use it. Every time you do so, you are effectively letting all those around you know where it is kept.
Right Thigh Pocket
- While this pocket was originally designed for a knife or flashlight, I typically put a mask in here. Many countries still have some COVID restrictions, especially in airports, public transits, and to enter some buildings. Have one handy to avoid any issues.
- On transit days, I also stuff a sleeping mask in there as well. Nothing says, "Do Not Disturb" like an individual wearing headphones, a sleeping mask, and beanie.
Right Standard Pocket
- While there's no zipper here, the right side pocket is where most of us keep our phone, and this won't likely change on the road.
- While standing or walking I sometimes switch it to a back pocket, but it's often called upon too often for directions, music, etc. to put behind a zipper.
Back Zipper Pockets
- Great for important paper documents like tickets, visas, etc.
- I don't put anything bulky in these as I don't like the unevenness when I sit but put this is obviously personal preference.
Roll-up Leg Cuff System
- The roll-up system for the leg cuffs is a seriously underrated feature for travel pants. It provides both visibility with the reflective strips and a little extra bit of ventilation, which widens the usage window substantially for both time of day and climate.
- "Roll-up" mode is ideal for hikes with small water crossings when paired with hiking sandals. Even if you get the pants wet, they dry within an hour typically.
- I didn't pack a true pair of shorts for this trip, so in warmer climates, the EcoTreks rolled up essentially functioned as my shorts. I can't think of another pair of travel pants that I could comfortably wear midday in Mexico.
- Unless you like them for fashion purposes, the drawstring closure effectively removes the need for a belt. This means one less thing to pack and keep track of for the minimalist-minded traveler.
Travel Tip - Any item without a designated place in your bag or on your person has a far greater chance of becoming lost or stolen. By giving everything a place, you dramatically increase the likelihood it comes back home with you.
For border crossing days especially, the EcoTreks pocket system helps keep everything together and safe.
Why Materials Matters So Much for Travel Pants
The above-mentioned features make these pants well-organized and adaptable. However, it's the material that gives them a ridiculous level of comfort and utility previously unheard of for travel pants.
Due to the stretchy material and mesh liner, these pants breathe and stretch on a level that's close to sweatpants. Going back to denim or a thicker material seems unthinkable now.
At face value, most enjoy the DWR finish simply to keep them from getting soaked when it rains, but what I appreciate most about it is how fast they dry as it relates to keeping them clean.
Often when traveling, you don't have easy access to laundry, and dryers in many countries simply don't exist. Having some that can be hung and dried quickly has been incredibly helpful. This aspect of material has kept me looking (and smelling) far more respectable than I have any right to be given they have been my sole pair of pants for over two months.
Travel Tip - Learn how to wash your clothes in a sink, pack a string or paracord to use as an improvised clothesline, and forever free yourself from the constraints of foreign laundromats.
Whether you are looking to go around the world or just across town, the EcoTrek Trail Pants combine comfort and features that make travel life a breeze.
I can personally attest that over the past few months they have successfully:
- Kept me warm (with thermals beneath them) on an overnight hike up a 13,000 ft. volcano
- Been washed and dried in under an hour after a tragic taco collapse during a time-sensitive travel day.
- Kept my belongings safe and secure on several overnight bus, train, and ferry transports.
- Have enough stretch to get through a low-to-medium intensity yoga class.
- Received several compliments from locals and fellow travelers I believe to be genuine.
The EcoTreks in action and on their way to summiting Vulcan Acatenango
Other Thoughts on Travel Clothing & Mindset
This article was geared more towards those looking for advice on international travel but the core principles apply to domestic or short-term trips just as well.
I believe that travel clothing should enable adventures and give maximum effect for minimal upkeep. Like a reliable bass player in a band, its pivotal to the overall effect but never quite center stage itself. For lesser clothing, this strategy would run them quickly into the proverbial dirt. However, after two months of borderline abusive usage, the EcoTreks thrived under each of the harsh conditions I threw at them.
My EcoTreks after nearly three months of everyday use. Arguably better than new once broken in and properly seasoned with trail spice
Having less gear to haul around means you have less literal and figurative weight to carry. It cuts through the decision-making process when you only have one option always up to the task, and you can then spend your time and energy elsewhere. After all, whatever you bring with you on the road always seems to end up seeming like small potatoes compared to what you find.
It's a big old beautiful world out there, and no matter what you choose to wear, I hope you find the time and space to explore it!