Bluffworks Departure Travel Jeans Review

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Simon has been travelling with Bluffworks Original pants for six 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.

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.

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Bluffworks Sale Update November 2019: If you are considering buying some Bluffworks clothing, now is the absolute best time to buy. There are discounts of up to 30% off all the fantastic items in their range including the jeans (reviewed below), pants, chinos, blazer, shirt, and t-shirts. Check out the Bluffworks men's sale here.

There’s also a sale on the new Bluffworks women’s line which I am excited to try soon. See the women's sale here.

Bluffworks Departure Jeans Details

Fabric: 68% Cotton, 22% COOLMAX Polyester, 9% Rayon, and 1% Spandex
Pockets: Five classic jean pockets plus two hidden, zippered pockets in 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
Cost: $125 (free US shipping and exchanges)
Buy from: Bluffworks website

Simon wearing Bluffworks jeans at a Japanese temple

Bluffworks Jeans Features

Style and Fit

After nine 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 a slightly faded indigo blue with all the traditional denim details like five pockets, brass rivets, and dual stitching in contrasting yellow and orange thread.

Bluffworks jeans pocket details

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.

Simon wearing Bluffworks Departure jeans by the River Kamo in Kyoto

Due to the stretch in the fabric, Bluffworks recommends ordering one size down from usual. Simon didn’t do this and wishes he had, as they did stretch out after a few wears and are a little too loose now (it’s also possible that he lost weight in Japan!).

We also found that the jeans are a tiny bit (less than half an inch) longer than the Original pants even though he got a 32” leg in both styles. I think Simon’s jeans look longer because they are looser at the waist. They gather a little at the ankle but this doesn’t bother him, and they also look good with the cuffs turned up.

If you are unsure about the best fit, you can take advantage of the free exchanges.

Simon wearing Bluffworks travel jeans at Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto

Pockets

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 two hidden pockets in the back. 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 pockets on the Departure jeans are so discrete that it took me a while to find them. They are accessed from below the waistband (above the regular 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.

Bluffworks travel jeans with hidden pockets

We’ve taken out the Bluffworks jeans hidden pocket here so you can see the lightweight design

These pockets sit inside the jeans and are quite deep and made from a thin, water-resistant, silky polyester. The fabric is so light that you don’t notice it when you are wearing the jeans.

The hidden pockets work best for slimmer items like cash, cards, and passports. They aren’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!

Passport in the hidden pocket of the Bluffworks Departure jeans

A passport fits inside the hidden pockets (there’s one on each side on the back)

Passport worn inside the hidden pocket of the Bluffworks jeans - you can barely see it

You can barely see the passport here or how to access it in the hidden pocket

Simon hasn’t needed to use these pockets so far. Partly because Japan is so safe (where he’s worn them most), and also because he prefers not to put things in his back pockets as it’s not comfortable to sit down on.

While you can easily fit a passport in the pockets, 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.

Our one complaint with the Bluffworks jeans is that they don’t have the hidden front pockets that the Chinos and Original pants have. We think these are more practical for storing a phone and wallet on a daily basis. I imagine this decision was because they worked hard to keep a classic jeans look.

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Comfort

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.

Hiking up 12,000 steps at Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto in the Bluffworks travel jeans

Hiking up 12,000 steps at Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto

Spending a long, cold day at Universal Japan

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.

Simon wearing Bluffworks jeans in hot, humid Singapore

Simon wearing the Bluffworks jeans in hot, humid Singapore (where he also wore them axe-throwing!)

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Weight

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).

Bluffworks Original pantComparing the Bluffworks jeans and Bluffworks Original Pants rolled up

Bluffworks Original pants on the left and Bluffworks jeans on the right

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Care

Simon wearing Departure travel jeans in a Kyoto temple

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 five months of wear, the jeans are holding up well and haven’t shrunk or lost colour (although they will fade over time like classic denim). After years of wearing Bluffworks products, we can vouch for the quality of their clothes and expect the jeans to be just as durable. We’ll report back as time goes on.

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Where to Buy

The Bluffworks Departure Jeans are only sold on the Bluffworks website and cost $125 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. 

Check out the Bluffworks Departure Jeans on the Bluffworks website.

Bluffworks Jeans vs Original Pants

Simon in Paris in the Bluffworks blazer, shirt and pants

Simon in Paris in the Bluffworks blazer, Meridian shirt and 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
  • Softer
  • Stretchier
  • Heavier
  • Bulkier
  • Less quick-drying
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Warmer in cold climates
  • $27 more expensive at $125
  • Available in one colour (medium wash denim)
  • Have two hidden back pockets

The Bluffworks Original pants are:

  • Dressier on more formal occasions
  • Lighter 
  • Smaller to pack
  • Quick-drying
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Stain-resistant
  • Cooler in warm climates
  • Better for hiking
  • $27 cheaper at $98
  • 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.

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Other Bluffworks Travel Clothes

Departure jeans worn with the Bluffworks Meridian dress shirt and Gramercy blazer on the streets of Gion, Kyoto

The Departure jeans pair well with the Bluffworks dress shirt and blazer

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? Simon hasn’t had his for long but so far, so good. 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.

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Do We Recommend Bluffworks Travel Jeans?

Simon in Bluffworks blazer and travel jeans in Gion, Kyoto

We highly recommend the Bluffworks Departure 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.

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3 Comments (3 pingbacks)

  1. $135 for a pair of jeans?!!!

    I bought a pair of stretch jeans from Gap last week for £30 & my local tailor can put in a hidden internal pocket for another £10…….same end product but $85 cheaper

    Reply

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