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When you only own ten items of clothing, you are very selective about what makes it into your backpack. As full-time travellers with just carry-on luggage, we ask the near impossible from our clothes.
They must be lightweight but durable, functional yet stylish, wrinkle-resistant, breathable, and quick-drying, can be worn for hikes and nights out, and go with all our other clothes.
It’s a tall order, and in reality, most of our clothes don’t meet all these criteria. Finding the best travel pants is particularly tough—most are ugly, while normal pairs are too heavy.
In the past, Simon wore technical travel pants from companies like The North Face and REI that were functional but not exactly attractive.
Then he discovered Bluffworks. Bluffworks was founded by Stefan Loble who ran a Kickstarter campaign to create his dream pants—smart enough for the office but practical enough for hiking, no ironing required, and can be worn multiple days without washing.
They sounded perfect for travel, combining the performance of technical travel clothing with a smart look. Amazingly, they seemed to meet all of our criteria.
Simon has been travelling with Bluffwork Originals for six years now, and he soon got rid of his REI travel trousers—the Bluffs have most of their benefits but look better.
They are lightweight, comfortable, highly wrinkle-free, and have hidden zippered pockets to keep his phone or wallet secure.
He has worn them on long bus journeys, horse riding, hiking, biking, city sightseeing, to fancy restaurants, and even to a wedding. They’ve worked well for every occasion and still look as good as new.
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated regularly since then as Simon continues to wear his Bluffworks pants around the world (and add new Bluffworks clothing to his backpack!).
- Bluffworks Pants Features
- Bluffworks Pants Downsides
- Bluffs Around the World
- Bluffworks Original Vs Chino Pants
- Bluffworks Departure Jeans
- Bluffworks Gramercy Pants and Blazer
- Bluffworks Travel Shirt
- Bluffworks Pants for Women
- Do We Recommend Bluffworks Pants?
Bluffworks Pants Features
This Bluffworks pants review will focus on the Bluffworks Originals that Simon owns (one of only two pairs of trousers in his backpack, the other being jeans, which as of 2019 are the Bluffworks Departure jeans).
Most of these features apply to all of Bluffworks’ clothing, though, and I’ll explain the differences between Bluffworks Original vs Chino pants below.
- Lightweight – Simon’s Bluffworks Original pants weigh 380g (13.4oz), so they don’t add much weight to his backpack, although he usually wears them on travel days anyway.
- Comfortable – Even on 12-hour flights, bus journeys, and long hikes.
- Quick-drying – Bluffs are made from polyester and dry really quickly.
- Wrinkle-resistant – Simon never irons these wrinkle free pants, but they still look good, even straight out of his backpack.
- Security pockets – This is essential. Bluffworks pants have hidden zippered pockets inside both front pockets where you can keep your wallet and phone. They prevented Simon from losing his phone when he was pickpocketed in Costa Rica. On the back of the trousers, there’s a regular pocket, a zippered pocket, and a phone pocket just below the waistband.
- Versatile – The technical fabric means they are perfect for hiking and adventure, but the smart look works for fancy restaurants too. Simon even wore them to a wedding paired with a blazer.
- Durable – Although the fabric is thin, it is very durable. After two years his first pair did develop a hole along the seam, but this would have been easy to repair, and it probably happened because they had become too tight. He went up a size for his second pair and has had no problems with these for years. They really look as good as new.
- Stain-resistant – They can be worn for a week or so and still look good. Simon wore them every day on a six-day, 80-mile hike along the Dales Way and somehow any mud that appeared magically disappeared!
- Easy to wash – They are machine-washable and can be tumble-dried. They have survived dozens of washing machines and laundry services around the world with no shrinkage or damage.
- Range of colours available – Choose from black, navy, charcoal, classic gray, khaki, and velvet brown (Simon’s favourite). Chinos have a few brighter colours too.
- Regular or relaxed fit – The regular fit is slimmer and works well for Simon. If you prefer a looser style, go for the relaxed fit.
- Designed and manufactured in New York City – On the same street where founder Stefan’s grandfather worked as a garment cutter almost 90 years ago.
- Free US shipping and returns
Bluffworks Pants Downsides
- The Originals have a slightly rough fabric, although they do soften up with time. The Chinos are much softer and the Departure jeans are even more comfortable.
- Although they work well in hot weather, when it’s really humid and the temperature soars over 30ºC/86ºF, they feel too hot. Simon usually wears shorts then anyway.
- They are not cheap at $98 a pair, but they could be the only pair of trousers you need (Simon once travelled for six months with just his Bluffs).
Simon’s Bluffworks Originals are his go-to trousers for travel days, hikes (except when very hot), fancy restaurants, and sightseeing when he wants the security pockets (like in cities renowned for pickpockets like Barcelona). They are also comfortable enough to wear lounging around the house.
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 Bluffworks Original Pants on the Bluffworks website.
Bluffs Around the World
Simon has worn his Bluffworks travel pants in over 20 countries in Asia, North and Central America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
In Disneyland Paris, hiking to Positano in Italy, Eghuisheim France, Colmar France, Lucerne Switzerland, and Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy:
Bluffworks Original Vs Chino Pants
Bluffworks pants come in five styles—Original, Chino (Classic and Ascender), Gramercy dress pants, and Departure jeans. See the whole Bluffworks pants collection here.
Simon has the Originals Regular Fit which have a slim fit and contemporary look. If you prefer your trousers looser, you can choose the Originals Relaxed Fit.
The Bluffworks Chinos have many of the same features as the Originals with the following differences:
- The fabric is softer and stretchier
- They are a little thicker (better for multi-climate travel, not so great for the tropics)
- They are even more wrinkle-free
- They have a modern slim fit
- The style is more casual and looks like cotton
- They are more expensive at $125
- As well as traditional colours (grey, navy, charcoal, and khaki), they come in a bright mustard yellow called “harvest gold” which I love.
- The new Ascender chinos have 10 pockets including 3 secret pockets and a travel money pouch (which fits a passport).
Simon did try the Chinos but decided to stick with the Originals as they have a thinner fabric that’s more breathable in hot weather where we spend most of our time.
Many travellers love the Chinos, though, so it’s worth trying both to see what’s best for you. You have 30 days to get a refund and 90 days for exchanges.
Check out the Bluffworks Chinos here.
Bluffworks Departure Jeans
The Bluffworks Departure Jeans were released in early 2019 and Simon has barely taken them off since!
They look like classic jeans but have the usual Bluffworks travel-friendly features. Simon has been travelling with them for over a year and they’ve kept him warm in the snow in Japan and cool in Singapore’s heat.
They are soft, ultra-comfortable, have just enough stretch, and feature very hidden pockets in the back.
They are lighter than regular jeans, but heavier than the Bluffworks Originals. Simon now travels with both and they make the perfect combo for multiple climate travel.
Read our Bluffworks Departure Jeans review for all the details.
Bluffworks Gramercy Pants and Blazer
In 2018 Simon began travelling with the Bluffworks Gramercy blazer, which is perfect for visiting more stylish destinations (like Paris or Italy) or for business travel. It really is incredible—it looks like wool and feels super soft, but it’s made from 100% polyester.
The blazer is totally wrinkle-free, so you can stuff it in a bag and it’s ready to wear straight away. It’s machine washable, quick-drying, and has 10 pockets, some of them so hidden it took us weeks to find them.
This is a fantastic jacket on travel days because there’s enough space in the many pockets to securely hold your passport, boarding pass, cash/cards, phone, and even a Kindle.
Read our Bluffworks blazer review for more details.
If you want to create the ideal travel suit, then pair the blazer with the matching Bluffworks Gramercy pants. These dress pants look professional but have the same travel-friendly features of all Bluffworks pants—they are comfortable, quick-drying, wrinkle-free, and have hidden security pockets.
Bluffworks Travel Shirt
Simon is also a big fan of the Bluffworks Meridian shirt, which is perfect for travel. Unlike the cotton shirt he was previously travelling with, this dress shirt is wrinkle-free and looks great straight out of your luggage.
It’s antimicrobial so Simon can wear it for multiple days without it smelling, and when he does wash it, it dries quickly. It’s also comfortable, breathable, and versatile enough to wear for a hike and out to dinner.
Check out the Bluffworks Meridian shirt here.
Bluffworks Pants for Women
I complained for years that Bluffworks pants were only available for men, so I was excited when the new Bluffworks women’s line was released in late 2019.
The Trevi pants for women have many of the same features as the men’s version. They are wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking, and anti-odour. There are an incredible eight pockets including three zipper pockets for security—this is unheard of in women’s pants!
The pants are very comfortable with just the right amount of stretch and a wide waistband. I could imagine wearing them on a plane with no issues.
Although I appreciated all these features, I won’t be travelling with the Trevi pants as the style is too formal for me. I also found them quite heavy (it must be all those pockets).
If you travel for work, or just want a comfy, high-performance work pant, I recommend checking out the Trevi pants on the Bluffworks website.
See my favourite travel pants for women for other options.
The Bluffworks women’s line also includes the Azores blouse (again too formal for me) and the Threshold t-shirt, which I absolutely love and has become my go-to t-shirt. It’s soft, comfy, quick-drying, odour-resistant, and looks great.
Do We Recommend Bluffworks Pants?
Yes, definitely! Bluffworks Original pants are the best travel pants for men that we’ve found. They are stylish, comfortable, wrinkle-free, quick drying, and have hidden pockets for security.
If you want to travel with just one pair of pants or are looking for a smarter alternative to hiking trousers, Bluffworks are ideal.
Bluffworks products are only available to buy from the Bluffworks website. Explore the Bluffworks pants collection here. Remember to use your promo code NEVENDVOY for 10% off.
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This post is sponsored by Bluffworks. We are very selective about the clothes we pack, and if Simon didn’t love them, he wouldn’t still be travelling with his Bluffs.
The review is fantastic, thanks for that.
I have an upcoming trip to Iceland and
I was wondering if y’all have had a chance to test them in a colder climate? And how good have y’all found them water/ wind resistance wise?
Simon wore them in Iceland at the end of September (when it was pretty chilly) and they were a little thin. But he wore lightweight waterproof trousers over them which kept the rain and strong winds out. The Bluffworks chinos would be warmer.
Here’s our Iceland packing list: https://www.neverendingvoyage.com/iceland-packing-list/
I have not had much luck with these. I wore them once and some oil from a crepe dripped on them and after 5 washings they still remain. So much for stain resistant. I am going back to Tilley pants. My last pair lasted 5 years rather than one wearing. Customer service did nothing. Give them a pass.
I’m sorry to hear they didn’t work out for you, Dale. Simon has been wearing his Bluffworks for years (sometimes as his only pair of pants) and has never had an issue with staining. I’ve never heard of this before.
I’m thinking the relaxed fit will be good for me. I haven’t worn anything but shorts for the last couple of years, and don’t currently own any long trousers. But our upcoming trip to Africa will mean I’ll need something for the bugs and the cooler evenings. Looser will be better I think.
Great article, very thorough. Thanks Erin.
That’s impressive that you’ve managed without trousers for so long! Yes, the originals relaxed fit would be a good option for Africa. We’re heading to South Africa in January and Simon will be wearing his a lot.
Thank you for your thorough review! I plan to buy a pair of the originals in classic gray for my husband for Christmas. Loved seeing all the photos of Simon wearing his Bluffs around the world!
Great idea – I’m sure he’ll love them!