All Purpose Jacket and Pants for Backpacking Around the World

3:23 a.m. on August 17, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

Hi, my wife and I are planning a year round Around the World (ATW) trip, and were wondering if anyone that has already gone on a ATW, or a similar long trip, and has suggestions for a light all purpose jacket and pants. We have been asking around at retail stores and have gotten several different suggestions, so we thought we would ask people on here with experience what they packed and if it was a good choice or not. We just found a good deal for Columbia Rapidfire light windshells so ended up buying them, but need something a bit more substantial. We do not see ourselves being in areas below 30 degrees farenheit, and need the jackets to be on the light side for packing. We are planning on layering so any suggestions for fleece jackets/ shirts would also be great. What would be a great layering combo? Also, for pants, any suggestions for the convertable pants/ shorts, that look somewhat fashionable , and not like you're belong on a fishing boat? I'm planning on packing only one pair of long pants, so they have to be rugged and versitle. Thanks so much in advance guys, and you guys have a REALLY informative forum going...

3:56 a.m. on August 17, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

Also my wife chatted with some of the sales people at Campmor yesterday, and they rave about jackets with primaloft. They said they don't have their winter stock in yet, but to look for them in a couple of weeks. Any thoughts/ experiences with primaloft jackets? If we are packing just one shell/ jacket, with layering in mind, should we be looking more for waterproof rain shell materials over primaloft for warmth? Thanks again...

9:32 a.m. on August 17, 2009 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,248 forum posts

Golite makes some excellent lightweight, rain and sun pants/jackets. I have not been around the world, but have been traveling around the USA for 30+ years and have found thier lightweight gear to my liking.

See their stuff at [url=]

2:15 a.m. on August 23, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

Thanks for the Golite suggestion Gary. I might end up getting some shorts from that site:)

I ended up buying the NF Denali hoodie today, mainly because my cousin hooked me up with a huge discount. I've read some good things about the Denali on here also, but just found out that it does not offer much wind protection. However I guess I can layer the Rapidfire over the Denali if it gets too rainy or windy, and hope for the best. I'm amazed at the size difference between my Denali (medium) and Rapidfire (XL), but luckily they layer just fine!

Now all I need are a pair of good traveling pants. Any suggestions for some tough casual looking pants, that would handle wind/ moisture/ cold well, and packs down nicely?

1:05 p.m. on August 23, 2009 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts

ThantcyN -

It might help if you could give some specifics on what activities you are going to be doing during your circumnavigation. Are you going to do something like the trip I saw in National Geographic's "Travel" catalog (mostly flying place to place and taking bus tours)? - you need your tux and evening gown for this (and mucho bucks!). Are you camping and backpacking (lots of trekking)? How much of the trip is staying in hotels, or hostels, or camping?

If you are hiking, you might need hiking boots. But for a lot of trail walking and around town walking, trail running shoes would work just fine. And you might need dressy shoes if you include fancy restaurants (Barb and I often just wear the trail runners in moderately fancy restaurants, since we don't patronize the 3, 4, 5 star restaurants - we prefer to travel cheap and rub elbows with the locals).

Several outdoor oriented companies make clothes that are fairly "woodsy" and work well for the hiking, but look ok for in-town wear. These are washable, so you don't have to carry too many changes. I have pants from Columbia, Prana, North Face, and Patagonia that are sufficiently dressy, yet pretty durable (I can hear the screams from other Trailspace members - "Sell-out! You actually wear Patagucci Yuppie fashions???"). Yeah, folks, some of those big name yuppie fashion shops do make clothes that work pretty well for climbing. I also have some shirts from some of those same companies. The materials for the ones that work best for what you may have in mind are supplex and various microfibers, plus merino wool. For the hot climates, you will want cotton, although it is harder to wash in the hotel bathroom and have it dry overnight - plus when it gets wet in the rain you encounter in the tropical parts of your trip, it just plain won't dry out.

Anyway, an around the world trip will take, what, 80 Days? Oh, that's with elephants, camels, and balloons. Let us know how much time on the trip will be in cities, backpacking, fancy hotels and restaurants, hostels, tent camping, etc. When my in-laws did their 50th anniversary trip around the world, they stayed in what I would consider fancy places, and so generally stayed with suits and "casual city" clothes, despite their many years of backpacking. Oh, that reminds me - the one place they got sick was in a very fancy 5-star hotel in India (I think), where the hotel, finding out it was their 50th anniversary trip, sent up a bottle of 20-year aged single malt. It wasn't the whiskey or the bottled seltzer that got them. It was the ice cubes, which apparently were made with tap water - AVOID THE ICE CUBES IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES!

1:43 a.m. on August 24, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts


We are taking a year off for our trip, and planning on staying mostly in hostels, couchsurfing, and camping when possible. We will be living mostly out of our backpacks, hanging out with the locals, and hopefully having them cook for us:) We budgetted $18,000 for the trip, after the plane tickets, so we will have to do the trip fairly cheap. I've never paid over a $80/ night for a hotel room, and I'm hoping $80 will carry us for a week in most of the countries we are hitting.

My wife, Courtney and I are teachers, and we backpacked western europe on the cheap last summer. That was our first major backpacking trip, and aside from overpacking a little, we did pretty well. I do want to share one thing about the backpacks we carried. Courtney started out with the Ospray Kesterel 48, and I with a NF Primero 60. We chose those backpacks thinking that they were small enough for carry-ons...and they were! Even Easyjet which was very strict about carry-on weight and size gave us no problems! I chose the Primero 60 because it was featured on Outside magazine (didn't know anything about backpacks at the time, and still don't know much more :) and Courtney actually tried the Kesterel on with weight at Whole Earth Provisions, after it being recommanded to her by a woman staff member that backpacked around europe as well. She wore it around the store with about 25 lbs in it for a couple of hours while shopping there. The surprising thing is... I had no problems with my NF, in fact I loved it, carried about 35 lbs. in it fine, while Courtney REALLY felt the 25 lbs on her smaller Ospray. It got so bad that I ended up with her backpack, and she with mine, the second half of the trip. She loved the NF so much that the first thing we did when we got back is list the Ospray on craigslist, and order another Primero 60 :) She said the NF rubber backing pad and x-frame actually massaged her back as she wore it, and she ended up carrying the larger load for half of the trip. Just felt that I had to share that story.

2:14 a.m. on August 24, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

^^That being said, we are planning on carrying the same type of load for our around the world trip, as we felt we overpacked for western Europe. I'm leaving behind my comfy pair of jeans, because of weight and drying time. I am having a hard time finding a shorts/ pants combo that feels 'right' on me. I tend to sweat ALOT, and the rain resistant Columbias I packed for Europe, felt all nasty and clammy the ONE time I wore them. Luckily I did not have to rely on them past that one time.

Thanks so much again for all your inputs, as we are super-newbies at all of this. Also my wife and I are somewhat 'displaced' at the moment. After we left our jobs to go ATW, we found out that my aunt in New Jersey (we live in Houston) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so we are here in Jersey at the moment helping her through her first round of chemo now, before leaving. We had to push our starting date back a couple of months, and had to cut our budget, and now are scrambling to finish planning to leave mid october. It was really cool to find this forum as I really couldn't get out to outdoor store here often, so thanks again...

8:14 a.m. on August 24, 2009 (EDT)
130 reviewer rep
130 forum posts

Try railriders clothing. Hard to destroy and very comfortable.

12:28 p.m. on August 24, 2009 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
135 forum posts

Rail Riders does have some very nice clothing, that also dries very quickly

9:36 p.m. on August 25, 2009 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts


One thing to think about - you probably want to blend in as much as possible with the locals rather than standing out as a tourist ("American tourist", especially "American ecotourist" means "rich and unfamiliar with the local currency, so boost the prices" among a certain group in all countries). So consider your attire from that standpoint. The thing that triggered this comment was your statement:

I am having a hard time finding a shorts/ pants combo that feels 'right' on me.

That often means that someone is looking at the zipoff pant/shorts, which will brand you instantly as a US or European tourist. You said you hope to get invited into homes of locals. Making an effort to learn at least some of the local language helps a lot there, especially if you don't look like a tourist wanting to collect photos of the "local color" variety. Of course, when you are not of the same ethnic group as the locals (which will be the situation during probably 3/4 of your trip, no matter what your ethnic background is), you will stand out from the locals because of some combination of height (North Americans, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders tend to be taller than most Africans, Middle Easterners, and Asians except Japanese and most Africans), skin/hair/eye color, and your clothes. Used to be your shoes were a dead giveaway, though shoe styles are more universal than they used to be. Casual clothes in the city are more nearly universal these days, with the huge majority of clothes being manufactured in SE Asia by major corporations from all over the world contracting Asian sweatshops. The zipoffs and such tend to brand you, especially in the cities, though trekkers and others in the "ecotourist" areas do tend to wear them.

For the two posters above, Rail Riders clothing really does not work for the type of travel and blending with the locals that the OP is seeking.

To give some idea of what I mean, consider Barb's and my Tanzanian trip a couple years ago - as white Americans, we were taller than virtually all the locals (even though Barb is only 5 ft tall). Since we were there primarily to spend time on safari and hiking up Kili, we had mostly hiking clothes. Our Ex Officio BuzzOff shirts and Tilley hats were instant magnets while in town for the local merchants of "special safari, just for you", Maasai spears, and "Maasai paintings" (mostly painted on felt - gee, didn't know that was a native fabric). But on safari and on the mountain, knowing a little Swahili and asking the guides and porters to help to learn more built friendships that have lasted beyond the trip there.

June 19, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: hammock vs. tent Newer: Gossamar Gear Mariposa Plus vs. Six Moon Design Starlite
All forums: Older: Where to get replacement internal backpack poles Newer: Trip to Hawaii including kauai, oahu, and possibly maui.