The old adage says there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing. While this sentiment probably won’t help to brighten your day if you’re caught the midst of a monsoon, you will feel a lot happier if you’re dressed in clothing that’s managing to keep you dry.

With this in mind, in this set of gear reviews we take a look at a selection of clothing items well-suited to the demands of adventure travel, from a hat to keep the sun off to boots to keep your feet dry, via self-cooling T-shirts, high-tech jeans and sweat-proof socks.

Airflow hat from Tilley
If you want to get ahead, get a hat; the classic Airflow from Tilley © David Else / Lonely Planet

On your head: Tilley Airflow hat

When undertaking outdoor pursuits in warmer regions it’s essential to keep the sun off your head to minimise the risk of heatstroke and the dreaded sunburnt nose (never a good look). With its wide brim (providing sun protection for your neck and ears), strip of mesh ventilation and an unmistakable likeness to Indiana Jones’ iconic fedora, the Tilley Airflow is well-suited to intrepid travel. Two cords hold this hat firm in high winds, and it even floats should you find yourself enjoying an impromptu plunge. Well-made, stylish and durable; this could be a hat for life.

  • Plus points: moisture-wicking sweatband
  • Worth noting: secret inside pocket is a nice touch
  • Cost: US$90, £70
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
  • More info: tilley.com
Fjallraven Keb jacket
Tough on the trail; the Fjallraven Keb jacket © David Else / Lonely Planet

Outer shell: Fjallraven Keb jacket

If you get your travel kicks from tackling wind-whipped trails rather than lolling on golden beaches, then you’ll need an outer layer that can stand up to the elements. We tested the Fjallraven Keb on a tough multi-day trek through Sweden and found it ideal for this job. The jacket is durable and warm yet also breathable and versatile – meaning it’s suited to a stroll round town as much as a hike on tough trails. It’s worth noting, however, that the Keb is water resistant only; the waterproof equivalent is the Keb Eco Shell Jacket.

  • Plus points: no pockets on lower part of jacket to avoid obstructing rucksack waist belt
  • Worth noting: water resistance can be enhanced by adding Fjallraven’s own Greenland wax
  • Cost: US$300, £260, €299
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 9/10
  • More info: fjallraven.com
Chrome’s Merino Cobra Hoodie
Warm, light and stylish; Chrome’s Merino Cobra Hoodie © David Else / Lonely Planet

Inner layer: Chrome Merino Cobra Hoodie

Originally designed for San Francisco’s cycle messengers, the Cobra hoodie from Chrome is made from merino wool to give a great warmth-to-weight ratio, making it perfect for a mid-layer when hiking or to throw on for chillier evenings in the city. The fabric is soft and very comfortable, with handy features like thumb loops and a neat key pocket just above the wrist. However, it’s worth noting our tester (male slim build) found the hoodie’s ‘athletic silhouette’ meant the garment was tight around the hips yet loose around shoulders, cuffs and neck.

  • Plus points: two front pockets plus a cavernous rear cargo pocket
  • Worth noting: merino wool is durable, naturally moisture-wicking and odour-resistant
  • Cost: US$180
  • Rating: quality 8/10; practicality 7/10; value 8/10
  • More info: chromeindustries.com
the Core Silver and Fleet T-shirts from Rohan
High tech T-shirts; the Core Silver and Fleet from Rohan © David Else / Lonely Planet

Close to the chest: Rohan Core Silver T & Fleet T

For beach breaks or summertime city slicking a cotton T-shirt is a good fit, but for active journeys, it can be worth investing in something a little more robust. The Core Silver T from Rohan is stretchy, wicks away sweat, resists odour and even has a special treatment to help you stay cool in hot climates. It sounds like science fiction but in testing – which included several long runs and a camping trip – we found it really did work. The women’s equivalent is the Fleet T; it boasts the same stretch and wicking properties, though the fit was less snug and therefore felt less comfortable.

  • Plus points: both T-shirts are light, easy to wash and quick to dry, so ideal for travel
  • Worth noting: both options come in a choice of two different colours
  • Cost: US$53, £39
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 7/10
  • More info: rohandesigns.com
Boulder Denim jeans
On the crags or on the road, Boulder Denim jeans are fit for purpose © David Else / Lonely Planet

Below the belt: Boulder Denim 2.0 jeans

Everyone has a favourite pair of jeans, but they’re sometimes impractical for travel – chafing in hot climates, clinging after rain and restrictive when contorting your limbs to squeeze into the back seat of a crowded bus. The 2.0 jeans from Boulder Denim are a different story. They’re designed for rock climbing, meaning they’re stretchy, lightweight, rugged and comfortable – and, perhaps more importantly, still look good. Features include very deep pockets for keeping cash and tickets safe, an internal zipped security pocket (although in testing we found the zip a touch too high) and a broad waistband.

  • Plus points: vegan approved and ethical manufacturing process
  • Worth noting: available in slim/athletic cuts for men, straight/skinny for women
  • Cost: US$109
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 8/10
  • More info: boulderdenim.com
Mission Workshop Runbikehike socks
Keep feet sweet with Mission Workshop Runbikehike socks © David Else / Lonely Planet

Around the ankles: Mission Workshop Runbikehike socks

Whether it’s the result of light packing or a lack of laundry services, dirty socks are a bugbear for even the hardiest travellers (including intrepid adventure Bear Grylls, it would seem!). Hoping to put an end to traveller’s fear of whiffy feet is US-based gear manufacturer Mission Workshop. Their Runbikehike socks are specially designed for outdoor activities and all-day wear, with high-wicking fabric that makes them ideal for travel. In testing, we wore them non-stop for several days and stayed dry, comfortable and – crucially – odour free.

  • Plus points: as good for city strolls as hard-core hiking and biking
  • Worth noting: also available in blue and ankle length
  • Cost: US$20, £17, €19
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
  • More info: missionworkshop.com
The Rocker boots from Keen
These boots were made for walking; The Rocker from Keen © David Else / Lonely Planet

On your feet: Keen The Rocker Boots

Footwear brand Keen is well-known for its range of hiking shoes and rafting sandals, and The Rocker boots are another great addition to their range, thanks to their sturdy construction, emphasis on comfort and lightness, and waterproofed leather uppers. They’ll do the job for hikes in the wilderness, and – with a quick wipe down – won’t look out of place when heading for dinner in a swanky restaurant.

  • Plus points: chunky sole, toe protector, easy-undo top lace eyelet
  • Worth noting: available in black or brown
  • Cost: US$160, £129.99, €159.95
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
  • More info: keenfootwear.com

More travel gear reviews

How we review products

Our opinions are by definition subjective. Our testers (male, female, young, old) trial products in the real world, then give their honest opinion and scores for quality, practicality and value: 5/10 = mediocre; 6/10 = fair; 7/10 = good; 8/10 = very good; 9/10 = excellent; 10/10 = perfect. We don’t include anything that scores less than 5/10.

We aim for gender balance, and over a year cover an equal number of male- and female-specific items. We state where kit is available in male and female versions, or for everyone, unless it’s obvious.

Prices are quoted in at least one major currency. Where possible we include other currencies. We take prices from manufacturers’ websites; information was correct at the time of publication, but you may find different prices online or in specialist stores, particularly after a period of time when products are discounted.

Manufacturers supply Lonely Planet with test products for review. We do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

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