Q:

What are the best travel pants?

I'll be traveling in Italy and Spain in the summer, and am looking for a pair of go-to pants for the trip. They need to be light enough to walk the Camino de Santiago in August, washable enough to clean in a hostel sink, and understated enough to wear to restaurants and museums. Gear Guy, tell me, is there such a pant?
Paolo
Santa Fe, NM

The Palisade Pants     Photo: courtesy, Arc'Teryx

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The Palisade Pants

The Palisade Pants

A:Yes and no. There are several decent pants out there that do a pretty good job of taking you from a pilgrimage to the café to the gallery. They also all sort of scream "I am a tourist!!!" That's because they're what tourists wear. Sort of like Americans and baseball caps.

A good example is the Arc'Teryx Palisade Pants ($129). Similar to Arc'Tery'x higher-end soft shell trekking/climbing pants, the Palisades have a nicely low-key look, coupled with a little bit of stretch in the fabric, and a gusseted crotch. They wear well, shed dirt, dry quickly.

Another good all-around travel pant is the Ex Officio Nomad ($65). Not quite as technical as the Arc'Teryx pants—they don't have the Palisade's flat-profile pocket zippers—but they have durable nylon fabric that can take quite a bit of abuse and still look decent. The two color choices (light khaki or cigar—sort of coffee) go well with nearly any shirt and sweater.

Or, take a look at the Kuhl Renegades ($75). They have a little bit of stretch, and are made from a durable nylon-blend fabric. Plus they have a bit more "urban" style and look, and that maybe appealing.

Myself, I'd probably take the Arc'Teryx pants and use them for most of my daytime adventures. After a shower in the hotel, and before dinner, I'm pretty sure I'd pack along a pair of light wool trousers, something a bit dressier for the night out.

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