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Simon has been travelling with Bluffworks Original pants for seven years, so he was excited when Bluffworks released a pair of travel-friendly jeans.
The Bluffworks Departure jeans look like classic denim but are softer, stretchier, and lighter than regular jeans. They are super comfortable and Simon barely took them off during our two months travelling around Japan. As always with Bluffworks pants, they even have hidden pockets for extra security on the road.
In this Bluffworks jeans review, we share our thoughts on the pros and cons of the jeans and compare them to the Bluffworks pants. Updated in 2020 for the new Departure Jeans 2.0.
Disclosure: Bluffworks provided us with these jeans for review, but we only give our honest opinions, and if Simon didn’t love them, he wouldn’t still be travelling with them.
- Bluffworks Departure Jeans 2.0 Details
- Bluffworks Jeans Features
- Bluffworks Jeans vs Original Pants
- Other Bluffworks Travel Clothes
- Do We Recommend Bluffworks Travel Jeans?
Bluffworks Departure Jeans 2.0 Details
Fabric: 68% Cotton, 22% COOLMAX Polyester, 9% Rayon, and 1% Spandex
Pockets: Five classic jean pockets plus five extra pockets including a hidden zipper pocket inside the front pocket, a phone pocket in the back, and a hidden zipper pocket with passport pouch under the back waistband.
Sizes: Waist from 28 to 40 inches and length from 28 to 36 inches
Fit: Slim or regular
Colour: Medium Wash Blue Denim or Black Dark Wash
Cost: $98 (free US shipping and exchanges)
Buy from: Bluffworks website
Bluffworks Jeans Features
Style and Fit
After ten years on the road, we don’t want to look like travellers—we want to be able to wear regular-looking clothes that perform well on the road. This is something that Bluffworks does really well (and why a large portion of Simon’s travel wardrobe is made up of their clothes!).
Unlike many travel pants, Bluffworks jeans don’t look like technical pants. They look like normal jeans in an indigo blue with all the traditional denim details like five pockets, brass rivets, and dual stitching in contrasting yellow and orange thread.
Simon has the medium wash blue jeans, but the Departure Jeans 2.0 are also available in black.
We love the classic styling without any unnecessary details or branding (just a simple Bluffworks patch on the back).
Jeans are the most common garment you’ll find anywhere in the world, and with the Departure jeans, you’ll definitely fit in.
Simon has the Slim Fit jeans which work well for him. They don’t cling to the leg like skinny jeans, so they are more breathable but still have a modern look.
They also come in Regular Fit, which might be better if you have larger thighs or prefer a looser fit.
The biggest change in the Departure Jeans 2.0 is the fit. The original jeans had quite a bit of stretch and it was best to size down. The new 2.0 jeans have a slimmer fit and don’t stretch as much over time. I recommend ordering your usual size.
If you are unsure about the best fit, you can take advantage of the free exchanges.
The Bluffworks jeans have the classic five pockets—two front pockets, one coin pocket on the front, and two back pockets.
In addition, Bluffworks has added five extra pockets including two hidden zipped pockets.
Hidden pockets are one of our favourite features with Bluffworks clothing because they are so useful for travel. It was a hidden pocket that prevented Simon from losing his phone when pickpocketed (they got his wallet which was in a regular pocket). Jeans with hidden pockets are unusual so we were pleased to see this feature.
The hidden pocket on the back of the Departure jeans is so discrete that it took me a while to find it. It’s accessed from below the waistband (above the regular left back pocket) where a hidden flap is camouflaged in the seam. It’s practically invisible and only when you lift the flap do you see the zip. This is so unusual that no one will know it’s there.
This pocket is quite deep and contains an extra pouch for a passport. It works best for slimmer items like cash, cards, and passports.
It isn’t ideal for bulkier phones and large wallets. Although, even if someone could see their shape, they’d have a tough time figuring out how to access it!
While you can easily fit a passport in the back pocket, you can feel it if you sit down—it’s not ideal for long bus trips but walking around a crowded market would be fine.
New in the Departure Jeans 2.0, there’s now also a small hidden zipped pocket inside the front left pocket. This isn’t big enough for a phone or large wallet, sadly, but it works well for a few credit cards and some cash.
There’s also a new phone pocket above the right back pocket. Simon doesn’t use this as he prefers to carry his phone in his front pocket, but it seems big enough to fit even large phones.
Finally, there’s also a narrow multi-tool utility pocket inside the front right pocket.
The comfort factor is where the Departure jeans really stand out and why Simon wore them almost every day for two months.
They are ultra soft and have just enough stretch that they are much more comfortable than stiff classic denim.
Whether you are wearing them on a plane or sightseeing all day, these jeans feel great. Simon has worn them on two-hour hikes, bike rides, axe-throwing, temple-hopping, and for 12-hour days at Universal Studios and Tokyo Disney theme parks.
The fabric is breathable and versatile. They kept Simon warm in the Japanese winter (where it snowed at one point) but cool enough when he wore them in Singapore’s steamy climate. While shorts are more practical in the tropics, it’s good to have a pair of jeans that don’t make you overheat if you do want to wear them.
At 11 oz fabric weight per yard versus the standard 14 oz denim, Bluffworks jeans are lighter than regular jeans. They are not ultra light and will still take up a decent amount of space in your luggage, but for those of us who don’t want to travel without jeans, they are a good compromise.
Plus they are comfortable enough to wear on the plane, so you don’t even need to pack them.
If weight is a priority, it’s best to leave the jeans behind and travel with the Bluffworks Originals instead (see the comparison below).
We haven’t been able to weigh the Departure jeans yet, but Bluffworks says a pair with a 33″ waist weighs 23 oz (650g). Simon’s Original pants in a 29″ waist weigh 13.4 oz (380g).
The jeans are machine washable and can be line or tumble dried. They do recommend washing them alone for the first wash as the indigo dye can transfer—we just washed them first with a few black items and have had no issues since including them in our regular wash.
They aren’t as quick drying as other Bluffworks pants, but we’ve found they air dry reasonably quickly (within a day in Japan and a half day in Thailand). They don’t wrinkle after washing.
After a year of wear, the original Departure jeans are still looking good, although the colour has faded slightly, as with most jeans. They did stretch out considerably, but this issue has been solved in the 2.0 jeans which have a slimmer fit and so far haven’t stretched.
After years of wearing Bluffworks products, we can vouch for the quality of their clothes and expect the 2.0 jeans to be just as durable. We’ll report back as time goes on.
Where to Buy
The Bluffworks Departure Jeans are only sold on the Bluffworks website and cost $98 with free shipping and exchanges within the US. They also ship internationally for a fee.
Bluffworks is a small American company and their customer service is excellent. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have any questions or need to find your perfect fit—they’ll exchange unworn pairs for free within 90 days.
We have arranged a 10% discount on Bluffworks products for our readers. Just click the link below and use the promo code NEVENDVOY at checkout.
Bluffworks Jeans vs Original Pants
The Bluffworks Original pants have been an essential part of Simon’s travel wardrobe for years. They are one of only two pairs of pants he owns (and now the Departure jeans are the second!).
How do the Bluffworks jeans compare to the Original pants?
The Bluffworks Departure jeans are:
- Styled like classic jeans
- Less quick-drying
- Warmer in cold climates
- Available in two colours
- Have a hidden back pocket and a hidden front pocket
The Bluffworks Original pants are:
- Dressier on more formal occasions
- Smaller to pack
- Cooler in warm climates
- Better for hiking
- Available in six colours
- Have two hidden front pockets
The Bluffworks Original pants are the best all-round travel pants as they are lighter, dry more quickly, and are more versatile (wear them on a six-day hike or to a wedding—Simon has done both). If you are travelling with just one pair of pants, you can’t go wrong with these.
But nothing beats the comfort and ability to blend in that a good pair of jeans provides. And the Departure jeans are a great pair of travel jeans.
If you are travelling to both hot and cold climates, the combination of a pair of Bluffworks jeans and the Originals is ideal.
Read our Bluffworks pants review for more details about the Original pants.
Other Bluffworks Travel Clothes
It has been a pleasure to watch Bluffworks grow in recent years from their first pair of pants launched on Kickstarter to a wide range of travel-friendly clothing.
Simon also travels with these Bluffworks items:
- Gramercy Blazer – Only Bluffworks could convince Simon to travel with a blazer! This travel blazer is wrinkle-free, machine-washable, and perfect for business travel or if you need more formal attire (it was useful in Paris and Italy). The gazillion pockets are brilliant when flying as he can easily stash his passport, boarding pass, Kindle, and other valuables securely. See our Bluffworks blazer review for details.
- Meridian Shirt – A super soft, breathable dress shirt that doesn’t wrinkle and looks great. Dress it up with the blazer or down with jeans.
- Threshold Performance T-shirt – Could this be the perfect travel t-shirt? It’s soft and comfy but is odour-resistant, moisture-wicking, and doesn’t look like a technical tee.
Bluffworks also makes chinos, dress pants, polo shirts, caps, and quilted vests. Browse the Bluffworks store here.
Do We Recommend Bluffworks Travel Jeans?
We highly recommend the Bluffworks Departure 2.0 jeans. They are ultra comfortable and soft with just the right amount of stretch for any activity from long walks to sitting on a plane. They look like regular jeans, so you’ll blend in on your travels, but the hidden pockets will keep your valuables secure. They are Simon’s new go-to pants.
That said, if you are travelling to hot climates, packing ultralight, or need pants for hiking or formal occasions, the Bluffworks Original pants are still our pick for the best travel pants.
Check out the Bluffworks Departure jeans here. Don’t forget to use the discount code NEVENDVOY for a 10% discount.