Bluffworks Pants Review: The Best Travel Trousers for Men

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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 right trousers for travel is particularly tough. Most travel trousers are ugly, while normal pairs can be too heavy. In the past, Simon wore technical travel trousers from companies like The North Face and REI that are functional but not exactly attractive.

Then he discovered Bluffs. Bluffworks was founded by Stefan Loble, who ran a Kickstarter campaign to create his dream trousers—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.

Bluffworks review - originals regular fit

Simon cycling in Berlin in his Bluffs Originals (velvet brown colour).

Simon has been travelling with Bluffs Originals for three 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.

Bluffworks review

With a borrowed jacket the Bluffs were smart enough to wear to a wedding.

Bluffs Features

This review will focus on the Bluffs Originals that Simon owns (one of only two pairs of trousers in his backpack, the other being jeans). Most of these features apply to all of Bluffworks’ clothing, though, and I’ll go into the differences between the Originals and Bluffs Chinos below. 

  • Lightweight – Simon’s Bluffs 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 or bus journeys.
  • Quick-drying – Bluffs are made from polyester and dry really quickly.
  • Wrinkle-resistant – Simon never irons his, but they still look good, even straight out of his backpack. The Chinos are even more wrinkle-free.
  • Security pockets – This is essential. Bluffs have a hidden zippered pocket inside the front pocket where you can keep your wallet or phone. When Simon was pickpocketed in Costa Rica, the thief stole his wallet from the main pocket but totally missed the much more valuable iPod Touch in his hidden pocket. The newer Bluffs have security pockets on both sides to keep both your wallet and phone safe. On the back of the trousers, there’s a regular pocket, a zippered pocket, and a phone pocket just below the waistband.
Bluffworks review - hidden pockets

The zippered pocket is hidden inside the front pocket for security

Bluffworks review - three pockets on the back

Three pockets on the back

  • Versatile – The technical fabric means they are perfect for hiking and adventure, but the smart look works for fancy restaurants too.
  • Durable – Although the fabric is thin it is very durable. I’ve never seen any stains on Simon’s Bluffs, and they can be worn for a week or so and still look good. 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. They really look as good as new.
  • Easy to wash – They are machine-washable and can be tumble-dried. Simon’s Bluffs 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. 

Bluffs Downsides

  • The Originals have a slightly rough fabric that’s not as soft and comfortable as Simon’s jeans. The Chinos are much softer.
  • 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.
  • Only available for men!

Simon’s Bluffs are his go-to trousers for travel days, hikes (except when very hot), nice restaurants, and sightseeing when he wants the security pockets (like in cities renowned for pickpockets like Barcelona). They feel more formal than his jeans, though, which he’s more likely to wear lounging around the house or on days when security isn’t a concern.

Bluffs Around the World

Simon has worn his Bluffs in nearly 20 countries in Asia, North and Central America, and Europe.

Bluffs At Angkor Wat in Cambodia

At Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Bluffs in In Kas, Turkey

In Kas, Turkey

Bluffs On a quick stop in Florence, Italy

On a quick stop in Florence, Italy

Italy to London by train: Paris

Arriving in Paris

Bluffs At Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

At Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

Bluffs Hiking in Andalucia, Spain

Hiking in Andalucia, Spain

Cycling on an old airport runway in Tempelhof, Berlin

Cycling on an old airport runway in Tempelhof, Berlin

At Disneyland Paris!

At Disneyland Paris!

In Colmar, France

In Colmar, France

In Eghuisheim, France after cycling from Colmar

In Eghuisheim, France after cycling from Colmar

Walking the city walls in Lucerne, Switzerland

Walking the city walls in Lucerne, Switzerland

Walking to Positano on the Italian Riviera

Walking to Positano on the Italian Riviera

In Santa Margerita Ligure, Italy

In Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy

Exploring the backstreets of Santa Margherita Ligure

Exploring the backstreets of Santa Margherita Ligure

Riding the trains in Italy

Riding the trains in Italy

Which Bluffs Are Right For You? Bluffs Originals Vs Chinos

Bluffs trousers come in three styles. 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 Chinos are Bluffworks’ newest style and have many of the same features, but the fabric is softer, stretchier, and a little thicker than the Originals. They are also wrinkle-free. They have a modern slim fit and come in brighter colours than the more traditional colours of the Originals including “harvest gold” a mustard yellow and the bright “steel blue”. They have a more casual style and look like cotton.

Simon trying out the Bluffworks Chinos

Simon trying out the Bluffworks Chinos (khaki colour). They are a size too big so look looser than they usually would.

Simon did try the Chinos but decided to stick with the Originals, mainly because the Chinos don’t come in his size (30-inch waist is the minimum). The Originals also 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.

See the Bluffworks Fit Guide to choose the right style and size for you. 

Other Bluffworks Clothing

Bluffworks also makes shorts and shirts, which have the same technical features, hidden pockets, and smart look as the trousers. Their newest product is the Blazer, which looks like wool but can be stuffed into a bag and come out wrinkle-free. It’s machine-washable and has 10 pockets including zippered security pockets and a hidden cash pocket. 

Bluffworks blazer

Bluffworks blazer

Bluffs Details

Bluffs are the most versatile travel trousers we’ve found for men. If you want to travel with just one pair of trousers or are looking for a smarter alternative to hiking trousers, Bluffs are ideal.

You can buy Bluffs at Originals are $98 and Chinos are $125. Shipping is free in the US.

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Bluffs are the best travel trousers for men. They combine the functionality of technical fabrics with a smart look. They are lightweight, comfortable, almost wrinkle-free, and have hidden zippered pockets to keep your phone or wallet secure.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.

Are you planning your travels for 2018? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip. 

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7 Comments (4 pingbacks)

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  3. The rental in Guatemala, San Marcos… I enjoyed reading your blog – but curious why the $750 per month rent? I find overly expensive, am I misinformed? Yes, it is a beautiful view – did you have other accommodations to select from – for less money?
    If so can you please give me a ball park price on the rentals or who to contact in San Marcos. I’ll be in Guatemala in June and would like to stay in San Marcos for a few months. I’m also renting in PV Mexico and it would be a hardship to pay for two rentals… The view of the volcanoes and lake is heavenly, thank you. I’d appreciate staying at the property or one like it – I just need something less expensive. I’m traveling solo, and well I don’t need much to make me smile… But, that view is now floating in my soul…

    Again, you have the travel gig down to a fine point of good to best of the best, it was exhilarating reading as a fellow travel geek… I’m letting peeps know to search you two out before traveling… Love the shampoo soap ideas, and men’s trousers – come on… and backpack data.

    Believe me I carry 30 pounds of camera laptop/tablet gear and it’s killed my back at 70 years young… I’m still having shoulder pains from a trip to Arizona six months ago. Now I’m shooting a lighter Canon SL1 but still have the weight of glass I’m caring.

    My shooting is more musician related and street peeps…

    Keep doing you’re thing…

    Thank you,


  4. 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.


  5. 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!


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