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Finding the right travel garments can be a challenge. While I certainly haven’t tried all brands, Craghoppers is the best I’ve found so far.
I received my first pair of trousers from Craghoppers as a birthday gift from my best friend nearly five years ago. Sasha had no idea I would be traveling the world with them, and neither did I for that matter. I’m forever grateful to him for that present, as it was one small impetus which started me on my endless journey around the world.
The pants were the classic light gray Kiwi trousers, and I still wear them to this day. They’ve gone through an incredible amount of wear-and-tear and received a little patching, but they’ve remained indispensable as my number-one pair of pants.
The shirts are just as good. Sasha later gave me a Nosilife shirt, which is the insect repellent line that Craghoppers offers.
So what makes them so good?
For starters, they’re incredibly durable. Not only have my trousers lasted for five years, they’ve never torn. Um, except for that one seam, but only once there. I’ve had to replace a couple buttons, but the clothes are always sent with spares.
I was once riding down the freeway on my motorcycle in Oregon when the side mirror of the truck in front of me mysteriously shattered. One of the glass shards hit my thigh…and bounced off. While I later had a thin bruise on my leg, the pants were undamaged. More importantly, my skin was intact.
One of my first trips with my Kiwi pants was down to Mexico City in May, where I went to an outdoor activity center which included horseback riding and go-carts. Despite the temperature rising to over 45°C, the pants kept me cool. Conversely, while hiking through the forests of Finland in October when the temperature was below freezing, the pants kept me comfortably warm.
The shirt is even more versatile. A large ventilation flap stretches across the back to keep you cool and dry. The sleeves also roll up and button by the biceps to make it short-sleeved.
Most of the clothing from Craghoppers is solar-drying. This means that just a few minutes out in the sun will have your clothes dry and ready to wear. There have been many times when I’ve been out in the rain, and within ten minutes of being indoors, had my clothing dry. Whenever I do my laundry, my Craghoppers clothing is always the first to dry.
Bacteria, Insect and Dirt Repellent
Craghoppers manufacture their clothes with anti-bacterial technology and a non-toxic, permanent insect repellent. The material is of exceptional quality and even manages to resist dirt and stains.
When flying from Helsinki to Bangkok, I was clumsy enough to spill my coffee on my pants. I used a napkin to clean it up as best I could. When I got off the flight, my pants were dry, and there was no stain.
While in London, I happened to attend a seminar on mosquitos by a leading research team. After the seminar, I talked to the head of the team, specifically asking him about Craghoppers clothing. He said he was familiar with the products, and considered them an excellent alternative to toxic products containing DEET. As a note, “toxic” is my opinion of DEET; he considered DEET non-toxic. The insect repellent has been a true blessing traveling through mosquito-infested SE Asia, and has even helped to combat the massive swarms of midges in Scotland and on the Isle of Skye.
Possibly the best part of Craghoppers clothing when it comes to international travel is the security. On the pants, five of the nine pockets have zippers, keeping your valuables out of the hands of thieves. One of the pockets, the one which ironically is specifically designed for your passport, is so cunningly hidden that I didn’t find it myself for several years!
The shirts are similarly secure, with pockets on the chest and sleeves, and a big one over the left breast which is big enough for valuable documents.
One thing I really like about the trousers is the high-density plastic belt they are sent with. This allows you to pass through metal detectors without having to take your belt off. Just another little feature which makes these clothes superior.
After Sasha gave me my first pair of pants and shirt, I purchased a pair of shorts and a base-layer t-shirt which have been invaluable in my travels, and most recently I received two new pairs of the classic Kiwi trousers and two Nosilife shirts.
Craghoppers have clothing for men and women, as well as travel accessories like hats, packs and socks. Their color selection is not huge. Rather, they have “natural” colors, which are perfect for hiking and travel (in my opinion).
While their clothing is a little bit more expensive than your average pair of pants or shirt, it’s well worth the investment. I’ve learned the hard way that spending a little more on something that will last several times as long is the way to go! Try them out for yourself and see.
Classic Kiwi Trousers Specifications*
- Nosi Defence
- Wash & Wear
- 9 pockets
- 65% polyester, 35% cotton
- 50 UPF
Nosilife T-Shirt Specifications*
- Moisture control
- Wash & Wear
- 5 pockets
- Main: 100% polyamide / Trim: 100% polyester
- 50 UPF
*All specifications are taken from the Craghoppers website.