Our editors carefully select every product we recommend. We may earn a commission from these links. Learn more

Why Chinos Are The Perfect Pants For Travel

Photos: Dockers Smart 360 Tech® Ace Tech Pant

Presented by

Travel in the modern day, even for short periods and especially if flying is involved, comes with a lot of built-in stress. Not only do you have to make sure you’ve got all the gear your bringing with you organized and packed, but you also have to ensure you’ve got your travel documents (ID, passport, tickets, etc.) all squared away, your bank notified, and you even have to keep close watch of your schedule — both to make sure you’re not late and to find out if there are any delays in your plans.

While there are some extenuating circumstances that are impossible to keep in check, there are a few things that you absolutely can control that will make your life much easier. One of the big ones is in your travel apparel — both what you bring with you and what you wear during the actual act of traveling. And whether you’re a jet-setting businessman, a stylish adventurer headed for a relaxing getaway, or some combination of the two, you should probably pack and/or wear a pair of chinos. In fact, we’ve gone ahead and outlined below the numerous reasons that chinos are the perfect pants for travel.


All-Day Comfort

Whether by plane, train, automobile, or otherwise, being comfortable in the clothing you’re wearing is of the utmost importance. After all, you’ll be wearing them, sometimes in public, potentially for hours and hours. For most of us, that means stiff formal wear — like a blazer, slacks, and a tie — is ruled out immediately. And while it’s pretty simple to toss on a comfortable t-shirt or button-up and put on a jacket as an extra layer of warmth if necessary, your bottoms should probably be a bit more carefully considered.

Denim jeans are always an easy go-to — in fact, it’s estimated that 50% of the population of the world is wearing jeans at any given point. However, they come with some significant downsides. The fabric is heavy, can be harsh on your skin (especially with extended exposure), and doesn’t exactly allow a ton of freedom of movement. If you have no other options, they’re alright, but they’re certainly not ideal.

Shorts of any kind offer more freedom of movement, breathability, and general comfort but they also expose you to surfaces you might not otherwise want your skin touching — like airplane, train, or taxi seats. And while that drawback is definitely severe, the other big one comes when the mercury drops. You see, shorts are absolutely inadvisable for anything other than warm weather. Once a chill kicks in, shorts offer no respite.

Chinos, however, offer up all of the best parts of denim jeans — timeless style, full leg coverage, etc. — but they’re much closer to shorts on the comfort side of the spectrum. They’re lightweight, breathable, offer a better range of motion than heavy denim, and they’re comfortable enough that you could wear them all day long, even when it gets a little warm.


Space-Saving Style

Even if you’re checking a bag, packing a suitcase is like a high-stakes game of Tetris. You want to make sure you’re bringing along everything you’ll need for a trip, including a few pieces of contingency gear, but you also don’t want to weigh things down too much — both for fear of increased fees at the gate and also because hauling around a heavy bag can make travel an even bigger chore than it already is.

This is another way in which chino pants shine. Unlike denim jeans, chinos are lightweight and take up a fairly minimal amount of space. But, because they’re a bit on the more casual side than, say, wool slacks, it’s an easy prospect to get the wrinkles out, so folding them up and packing them with the rest of your clothing is hardly an issue. Even if they do get wrinkled, a quick pass-over with an iron or even a quick steam will get them looking fresh and ready to wear, whether you’re headed to the office or out for a night on the town. Plus, their versatility lets them function as both a formal and casual piece, meaning you don’t have to pack as much as you otherwise might.


From Formal To Casual

As mentioned above, the versatility of chinos is one of their greatest strengths and is a determining factor across the board for what makes them such ideal travel pants. Travel is all about versatility, in that it’s important to try and make the most of what little you are able to pack by bringing along apparel and accessories that can do double and sometimes triple duty. For instance, it’s always a good idea to bring along a button-up that looks good under a blazer, but with the sleeves rolled up and the collar unbuttoned it can be a more casual night-out shirt.

Chinos may actually be the single most versatile classic style staple in this regard, which has a lot to do with their appearance and construction. Because of their clean lines and iconic silhouette, they can be matched with a blazer for an office-friendly look that’s just as smart-looking as slacks, but with a good deal more built-in comfort. Similarly, you can ditch the blazer and button-up and pair your chinos with a t-shirt and you’ve got a much more casual dressed-down look that works just as well.

This versatility goes into the realm of seasonal attire as well. As chinos are comparably lightweight and breathable — as opposed to, say, denim — they’re great for warm-weather wear when shorts might not be appropriate. That’s furthered by how good they can look with a pair of boat shoes or stylish slip-ons (sans socks, of course). But, when the mercury takes a dip, you can swap the boat shoes for a pair of thick socks and perhaps a pair of chukka boots and you’ll be just as comfortable.


A Quick Wash

One of the biggest plus sides of chino pants is the fact that most of them do not require dry cleaning. That can save you money, time, and make packing for travel all the simpler — especially if your hotel and/or Airbnb has on-site laundry machines. Rather than worrying about finding a dry cleaner that does same-day service and transportation there and back, you can just wash and dry them yourself and be ready for another day or two of wear. Furthermore, because of the nature of chino pants, spot cleaning is a simple prospect, as the fabrics are a bit more rugged than, say, wool or silk and won’t necessarily be ruined by a minor spill. Especially when you’re on the road, that can make all the difference.

Dockers® Ace Tech Pant With Smart 360 Tech™

With the Dockers® Ace Tech Pant with Smart 360 Tech™, Dockers® has taken the classic style staple that is the chino and upgraded it with ultra-modern tech — making for stylish bottoms that are as handsome looking as they are comfy and versatile. They’re crafted from a SupremeFlex fabric — a proprietary blend of polyester, viscose, and elastane — that makes them durable, incredibly flexible, and comfortable enough for all-day wear. They’re also moisture-wicking and breathable, wrinkle-free, slim fit, and even have a hidden cell phone pocket. For just $72 each, we think Dockers® may have actually perfected the chino.

Purchase: $72