Travel is not on the agenda these days.
However, I’m eternally optimistic and, as a travel writer, I like to stay ahead of the curve. I figured it was in my enlightened self-interest to check out Aviator Jeans, which are made for travelers.
Do you really need special pants to get on an airplane or the Siberian Express?
The answer is yes. It’s a matter of having the right gear.
Travel, is the raison d’être of Aviator, a company that has built its entire business model on travel clothing, specifically travel jeans. They offer jeans of every description– classic faded, jet black, khaki, camo, steel grey, etc. I’m partial to their traditional jeans which are of course denim. The other styles of jeans they manufacture are made from different fabric but they are configured exactly the same.
Thus if you’re a guy (or a gal) that likes to board a plane or a train in something a bit more formal than denim, you have choices of color and fabric.
What makes this a travel product?
These jeans are designed to make you blend into the environment rather than standing out like a tourist. There’s nothing “bling-like” or ostentatious about them and that’s a good thing.
I mean who really wants to look like a tourist?
Aviator also has some nifty features that a traveler will appreciate.
There are three “secret” zipper pockets, hidden from view so that you can stash your passport, credit cards, cash, etc. Inside the right front pocket is a pouch and easily tuck in your “mobile”, as they say in Australia. Two of the hidden pockets are back pockets and third is in the left front.
The zippered pocket inside the back right pocket is much deeper, more of a pouch, than its counterpart on the left side which makes it ideal for documents.
Think of yourself as a sort of traveler/secret agent who has special clothing to carry items in a covert manner much like James Bond carried his Walther PPK. (Maybe not a PPK, but there’s also a “5th” pocket above the right front pocket that’s perfect for your cell phone).
So let’s get down to the basics of the product.
The Aviator is a quintessential five pocket and five belt loop classic jean design. You could easily mistake it for a classic Levi or Wrangler.
The main difference is that it uses a proprietary stretch denim material that is comfortable and reportedly, wears well. (I’ll let you know in a couple of years!)
Everything is double stitched and reinforced where it counts.
It’s hard to believe that you can get so much function within a pair of five pocket jeans. A big part of this equation is the stretch denim, which as a purist, I was never a big fan of.
However, I am now a convert. The stretch component means improved range of motion in several ways. First off you could probably do yoga asanas in these jeans. Now way could you do that in old fashioned denim. The stretch also affords greater accessibility to the hidden pockets. No brainer there.
What’s really cool is that it’s possible to open and close the hidden zippered pocket in stealth mode.
And speaking of thought…a lot of engineering has gone into the fabric which is composed of:
- 73% cotton
- 14% rayon
- 11% polyester
- 2% spandex
Not only does this formula equal stretch, it’s also softer and more pliant than what you’d ever expect from run of the mill denim. One reviewer said that it’s closer to wearing sweatpants than jeans. Pretty close to the truth.
With 73% cotton, the Aviator Jean approximates the density of regular denim. Thus they would work probably better in cooler weather rather than in the tropics. If you were travelling to a place that was on the warm side during the day and quite a bit cooler in the evenings you’d want to bring these jeans along.
The Aviators come in slim and straight fits. I chose the slim version because, well, I’m slim and prefer a sleeker look. If you’re not of the sleek lineage, the regular fit will be just fine but if you have an athletic frame, the slims will be more flattering.
If you’ve got a little more bulk around the waist, the jeans are forgiving. The waistband will accommodate you. It stretches.
Note that the jean will shrink about an inch prior to washing and drying it, so add that to the equation before you get it hemmed.
Travel Polo and T-Shirts
Aviator also makes some pretty nifty Polo and T-Shirts designed for travelers. Made with 100% Merino Wool from New Zealand, you can wear them for weeks before needing to wash it. Aviator lists these qualities:
Just remember to wash with cold water and hang them out to dry. No dryer please!
The jeans are comfortable as hell. They are much softer than classic denim. The hidden pockets can handle your passport and other family jewels. The zipper pull tabs are flexible and are easy to manipulate if you’re stashing things.
The jeans are not the quick dry type of fabric so don’t expect that but there’s no free lunch. On the other hand, they are ideal for an airplane ride (where you might need warmer pants when the cabin temp is cranked down) or a trip on the Eurail.
What the heck, you can even wear them on a trip to Costco or walking the dog.
Robert F. Kay is a columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a health nut, the author of two Lonely Planet guidebooks and Fijiguide.com. He likes a good pair of pants.