One of the most exciting evolutions in everyday menswear in the past decade is the introduction of high-tech fabrics that are lightweight, breathable and durable.
Gone are the days of cheap polyester that doesn’t breathe or stretch. Even cotton is getting tossed to the wayside in favor of new nylon blends, stretch fabrics, and polyester that actually breathes.
In the days of old, so-called “tech pants” consisted of huge cargo pockets, zip-off legs, hammer loops (who really needs a hammer loop?), and a half-dozen other add-ons that made tech-pants virtually unwearable anywhere but on a safari vacation.
But in the past few years, tech pants have evolved into high-function and high-fashion.
Many modern tech pants look good and can be worn biking to work, in the office, on the plane, at a wedding and everywhere in between.
The introduction of high-quality tech pants has created a lot of competition in the marketplace, which is great for consumers. But it can also be a little confusing. To help you wade through the plethora of options, we picked the 14 best men’s tech pants for travel and everyday wear.
What Makes A Good Tech Pant?
Water-resistant fabric is non-negotiable. Anything less, and we’re talking about a basic pant. We’re out here in the elements, people, and we need to be prepared for anything!
Zip pockets are a must. If you’re on-the-go, be it traveling, hiking, working or going out with friends, you want reassurance that your essentials are close and secure. How many times has your phone slipped out of your pocket in an Uber? Never again.
Stretch is paramount. When you’re moving around or trying to get comfortable on an airplane, stretch fabric is key. Most of the pants featured on this list have a little bit of elastane for added stretch and comfort.
Quick-drying materials are a lifesaver. There is nothing worse than a wet pair of jeans. That’s why the best tech pants are made of quick-drying material, so even if you’re caught in a downpour, you won’t be soaking wet the rest of the day. This is also great if you are staying at a hostel somewhere in Europe and need to wash your pants in the sink.
Durability is essential. Let’s be honest, a lot of tech pants are pretty expensive. Most of the industry leaders are between $100 and $200, which is no small price to pay for a pair of pants. That is why a good pair of tech pants need to be built to last.
Versatility is the number one priority. When you’re traveling the world and living out of a single suitcase or backpack, it’s important to pack light. The easier way to pack light is to pack fewer things. And the easiest way to pack fewer things is to bring one or two pairs of pants that you can take everywhere.
We’ll be upfront about it: we love absolutely everything from Outlier. They are the frontrunners when it comes to advanced fabrics and experimentation.
If you could only own one pair of pants, they should be Outlier Futureworks.
Perfect for any weather, Futureworks are incredibly versatile, allowing breathability in hotter temps, but will still keep you warm year-round. They come in 8 different colors; the same standard men’s pants color, but with darker and lighter versions.
Not to mention they are cut with a very simplistic look which would be easy to wear just about every day. These look and feel like a classic dress pant, but the 97% Nylon & 3% Elastane blend means they’re durable enough for rugged adventures.
We’re not joking when we say that you could wear these to a wedding and no one would bat an eye.
They’re also quick drying and pack down small, making them the ultimate travel companion.
Mission Workshop is known for its high-end bags and clothing designed for all-weather commuting. The Mission Jean is the perfect pair of tech pants for those looking for a classic jean styling (but with all of the benefits of a modern tech pant).
Unlike a traditional jean, the Mission Jean features an extreme 4-way stretch and water-repellent finish made up of a unique blend of 55% Cotton, 35% Polyamide and 10% Elastane that wicks moisture and promises not to bag out.
And the best part? They’re made right here in the U.S.A. in Los Angeles.
Much like Outlier, Western Rise features a variety of technically advanced fabrics throughout its collection. And the recently released Diversion Pant might be their best offering yet. According to Western Rise, the “Diversion Pant is designed to be tougher than workwear, more comfortable than sweatpants, and more stylish than jeans.”
The Diversion Pant doesn’t look as dressy as some of the pants on this list, but they also aren’t the most casual. If you can get away with jeans in the workplace, no one will bat an eye at the Diversion Pant.
What makes these “tech pants?” To start, the 4-way stretch fabric is bound to be more comfortable than 100% denim jeans. They also feature a modern phone pocket, a hidden zippered pocket, and water-repellent fabric treatment.
I haven’t personally tried them out yet, but these will probably be my next purchase.
I’ll be completely honest, I picked up a pair of 686 Everywhere Pants after seeing ads for them on my Instagram timeline for months. Plus, I like to support snowboard brands and the price was right, so why not give them a try?!
My first impressions were great. They are very slim fitting (which I liked) and the fabric is extremely stretchy. You could wear these to a yoga class with no worries.
They also have a “hidden” pocket on the side, but it actually sticks out a little more than I would like. I also question their durability, as I’ve noticed some pilling after only a few washes.
But if you’re looking for something with a slim fit and a lot of stretch, you could do a lot worse than the 686 Everywhere Pant.
Bonobos makes some of the best pants out there, and their Tech Chinos are no exception. These pants wick sweat, repel liquids and have a good amount of stretch for added comfort on long plane rides.
Bonobos Tech Chinos are made with 59% Cotton, 36% Polyamide, and 5% Elastane, which results in breathable tech fabric that also features 3XDRY® technology to keep you cool and dry. The back right pocket has a zipper closure which, as we mentioned, is essential for travel.
Rhone is mostly known for their workout gear, but their foray into everyday staples like chinos looks promising. The Rhone Commuter Pant is designed for getting to and from work with ease.
What we like most about the Commuter Pant is that they are virtually indistinguishable from traditional dress pants (for years “tech” pants were always kind of shiny, but that is not the case with these pants).
For comparison, one reviewer says that these “look much nicer/dressier than Lulu ABC Pants.”
Prana is another yoga turned athleisure brand that is branching out into the “everyday wear” with offerings like their Zion pant. The Brion is a slimmer fitter alternative that makes a great travel pant.
We love that they are 97% Nylon (with 3% Spandex for a little bit of stretch), meaning that they are durable enough for everything from bike commuting to rock climbing.
One of the most commonly mentioned downsides is the fit. A lot of reviewers mention that they aren’t really that slim and could probably benefit from a slight taper. They also look like a technical fabric – which could mean you wouldn’t want to wear them in a more formal office setting.
Did we already mention that we love Outlier? If you’re looking for a pant that is slightly more durable and a little more casual, check out the Outlier Slim Dungarees. While the Outlier Futureworks are closer to a dress pant, Slim Dungarees are closing to 5-pocket jeans (but without all of the downsides of cotton).
I’ve personally owned a pair of SDs (as they’re called by Outlier fanboys) for almost two years, and they show no signs of slowing. I bike to work almost every day, and these pants have endured while others have fallen to the wayside.
If I’m going on a 3-5 day trip, I don’t even bother packing a second pair of pants because I know that the Slim Dungarees won’t let me down.
They’re not cheap ($200) and they sell out frequently, but they are well worth it.
The Mack Weldon Radius Pant features a number of unique attributes.
A half ankle cuff gives you the feel of a jogger with a more professional appearance, similar to the mullet mentality of “business upfront, party in the back.”
A constructed waist with belt loops will keep you in check for work.
Or, not feeling a belt today? No worries; elastic waist panels at each hip will hug you all day long. These pants come in 5 colors (Navy, Black, Asphalt, Walnut and Birch) so you might want to pick up a few colors while you’re at it.
If stretch is important to you (and it should be), the Lululemon Commission pants should be the first pair of pants you try out.
Although every pair of pants on this list are made from stretch material, be it spandex or elastane, the Lululemon Commission’s are the only ones that offer 4-way stretch!
Regardless of what size you wear, each pair of these pants is cut with a 32” length for a more classic look. They also come in 6 different standard men’s colored pants.
Built for work and beyond, you can even flip up the cuffs of these pants to reveal reflective detail! A perfect safety addition for your daily commute via bicycle, scoot, skate, or foot!
Bluffworks Chinos are wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying, making them perfect for travel or everyday wear. They look nice enough to wear in any office and could even be paired with a sports coat for a classy night on the town. They also come in a slim-fitting tailored fit or a more traditional regular fit, so you can customize the look.
Besides the odor-resistant fabric and work-appropriate cut, what makes these pants so great?
Well, I’m glad you asked. You would never know it just by looking at them, but the Bluffworks Chino comes with 10 pockets, including zipper pockets and internal pockets. With these bad boys, you never have to worry about dropping items or getting pick-pocketed in busy cities.
Olivers is probably most well-known for the (awesome) shorts, so it should be no surprise that their Passage Pant is one of the most popular tech pants out right now. Cordura threads and 4-way stretch? What more could you ask for?
Bear in mind, these are a 5-pocket pant, so they might not be appropriate for every office. But for more casual environments (basically anywhere but a stuffy law firm or financial office), the Passage Pant will become your new go-to.
The price is a little steep, but they come with a 365-day guarantee for some added peace of mind.
Coalatree Trailhead pants are definitely on the more casual side, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend these for a work environment. But if you’re looking for something that you can wear to the gym or all weekend long, you can’t go wrong with these pants.
They are water-resistant, antimicrobial, breathable and tear-resistant. They also feature 4-way stretch, which makes these great for hiking and camping. If you’re going on an adventure-focused vacation and can only bring one pair of pants, spring from the Trailhead pants.
Tech pants don’t need to boast huge pockets or elastic ankle cuffs to be useful. Take a look at Zanerobes Golfshot, these pants wrap-up tech style with a minimalistic approach perfect for any occasion.
Get the features you want without an over the top look.
- Water-resistant fabric: Check.
- Internal drawstrings: Check.
- Concealed zip pocket: Check.
These pants scream fashion and functionality, ready to be dressed up or down.
We’re all looking for pants that we feel comfortable in and make us look good.
Pants so comfortable that you stay in them even after you’ve walked in the door from your workday.
Consider this list when you’re shopping for your next pair of tech pants, and remember, there are pants out there that can do so much more for you than your current pair.