The following is an Outlier Pants Review based on 6 months of travel around Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia with Outlier Slim Dungarees, New Way Shorts, Futureworks pants and the Outlier Strong Dungarees to test some of the best men’s travel pants and travel shorts.
During this trip I brought a single bag, a 45L carryon sized backpack, to last travels of over a year. I aimed to use these as my only pants and shorts for a year (with the addition of the Columbia Titanium Silver Ridge Hiking Shorts). The review that follows is based on using these Outlier Clothing products for a “one-bag travel” lifestyle.
6 MONTHS OF TRAVEL TESTING THE BEST OF OUTLIER CLOTHING
As a long term traveler carrying a single bag and opting for as many adventures as possible, I am always looking for clothing that looks good, is
Outlier Clothing, a New York clothing startup that aims to create great-looking technical clothing for daily and hard use, seemed to be the answer to my ever continuing quest for the perfect travel pants. The problem of shirts while traveling is easy: just wear wool, or opt for any of the great travel shirts I’ve tested over the years. On the other hand, finding great pants and shorts is a different story.
I decided to purchase Outlier Clothing’s most popular and appealing options to review on my trip through Europe, Asia, and the Middle East: the Outlier Slim Dungarees, the Outlier New Way Shorts, the Outlier Futureworks pants, and the Outlier Tough Dungarees. So what are these garments and what makes them so great?
THE OUTLIER CLOTHING LINEUP
The Outlier Slim Dungarees – A slim fit jean designed of technical, hiking pant fabrics. An amazing amount of stretch, a soft inner side, and high breathability make these a comfortable, all-purpose pair of travel pants. Recommended.
New Way Shorts – A chino style short made of technical fabrics and designed to swim in, that still looks amazing, stretches slightly, and could be worn for weeks without issue. Highly recommended
Futureworks Pants – A chino style pant made of technical fabrics to stay dry and resist stains. Lightweight and breathable, with a little tailoring, these make great officewear, or could be perfect for travel and adventure. Highly recommended
Strong Dungarees – A jean style pant made of extremely durable fabric, aiming to be the toughest stylish jean ever. Recommended if they fit your butt
The bottom line up front: the Outlier gear is impressive for travel. Here’s why:
5 REASONS OUTLIER PANTS ARE PERFECT FOR TRAVEL
1. Outlier’s pants resist dirt and odor well, even after a week of wear
Just as I tested wearing a wool shirt for an entire week straight, I wore the Slim Dungarees, the Futureworks pants, and the New Way shorts for more than a week. In the end the had no odor, they just didn’t smell fresh. Also, thanks to light water resistance, they shed potential coffee stains very well. All of this is very convenient for travelers and road warriors without access to a large wardrobe or a washer
2. The New Way shorts are the closest thing to perfect travel clothing available for hiking, swimming, and looking good
The New Way shorts look like a dressy chino short, but still stretch slightly and are great for swimming, thanks to their quick dry nature. They also resist stains and odor which allowed me to go straight from wearing these for a quick workout to heading out for cocktails without anyone realizing
3. All of the Outlier pants dress up better than they travel, keeping you looking good in all circumstances
Just like the New Way Shorts, the Futureworks pants and the Slim Dungarees are stretchy and comfortable enough to wear hiking or on long trips but are still classy enough to wear with a sportscoat
When washed, all of the garments have a snug fit, but within 10 minutes of wear, they always loosen in the right places while staying snug in others. This means that you’ll always have a tailored fit without a tailor being necessary (though I still recommend one for adjusting the hems)
4. Each pair of pants is quick-drying, making for easy washing on the road
When I did finish my week long plus experiment of wearing the pants until grimy (which I never actually achieved) I could easily wash the pants in a dry bag, squeeze out the water, and expect them to be dry within a few hours
5. Though durability is the single weakness of the Slim Dungarees, they’re still very durable
I complain in the review below that the Slim Dungarees tend to snag very easily. Though this is annoying for a pair of pants with a price tag this high, this is only an aesthetic inconvenience. The pant continue to feel great and perform well without a single popped stitch or hole. Just beware that the pants won’t stay pretty forever…but they will still wear awesomely.
Now, on to the individual reviews
These are the original Outlier pants, meant to be an
eA stylish cut, a stretchiness that gives freedom movement and a tailored fit, water/stain resistance, and odor resistance make these natural travel pants that could be your only pair for months – pair with a pair of shorts.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE OUTLIER SLIM DUNGAREES
PROS OF THE OUTLIER SLIM DUNGAREES
- Great fit and design
- Four-way stretch makes these pants amazingly easy to wear during any activity – everything from cycling, to exercising, to a night out
- Innovative fabric stays remarkably cool in the heat, resists water and stains well, and dries quickly
- Very light and thin when packed, making them great for one bag travel
CONS OF THE OUTLIER SLIM DUNGAREES
- Fabric snags much too often during daily activities, ruining the look of the pant. I have about 5 very visible snags after ~6 months of wear- these would be the perfect pant for travel and hiking if the fabric was more durable.
- Rivets on pocket broke off twice (once repaired by outlier, once during my travels and I re-stitched it to save the pants)
- I love these pants for their function and wear them nearly all of the time. However, because the look will degrade (due to snagging) and the pants seem prone to falling apart (such as rivets popping), the price of these pants is difficult to justify.
I do hope Outlier keeps evolving these pants into something just as functional (comfortable, four way stretch, quick drying, etc.) but with more durability.
Quick Verdict on the Slim Dungarees: Recommended (but I hope Outlier keeps evolving). The Slim Dungarees’ are an impressive idea and the best delivery I’ve seen so far in such a pant. Though I’ve worn these nearly every day on my trip that I’m not wearing shorts, I carefully recommend the Outlier Slim Dungarees due to durability in construction and material (snagging fabric and rivets popping off) – which should not be an issue at this price. I was hoping to use these as my go-to hiking pants (which I still will), but I understand the rigors of trekking will ruin the fabric. I hope Outlier keeps working on the project because the perfect travel pant is buried somewhere in this pair of pant’s DNA. I’ll consider the price paid an investment in their R&D team.
Update: As of October 2019, a year and a half of wear, I do recommend the Slim Dungarees for travel. Though the pants did snag initially, a pair of nail clippers on each loose thread eliminated the issue. With continued wear, fewer snags popped up and no trace remained of the past snags. Other than this, there were no more issues with fabric, rivets, or even stitching with daily wear. Even in the summer heat of Bali, these dungarees stayed as comfortable as pants can. If you’re traveling to a warm or humid area, consider the slim dungarees understanding that they won’t always look perfect, but they’ll still perform amazingly. Read more in this Slim Dungarees Outlier Pants review here.
A mid-thigh chino short, that is great for as many occasions as a short can be appropriate for, but made of a lightly 2 way stretch, moisture-wicking, stain-resistant and quick-drying material.
A tough drawstring and mesh flow through pockets aim to make this short just as suited to a beach, as for a hike or rooftop cocktails. I’d argue there has never been a short suited to travel while staying stylish. Outlier Clothing has created a new perfect product – the New Way Shorts.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE OUTLIER NEW WAY SHORTS
My time traveling has been split between the Slim Dungarees and Futureworks slacks when it’s a bit cool, and the Outlier New Way Shorts and the Columbia Titanium Silver Ridge shorts when things get a little warm. At first, when I was in a more active situation getting dirty, like hiking or working out, I would opt for the Silver Ridge shorts.
I didn’t want to damage the New Way Shorts because they looked so good and I had bad luck with the durability of the Slim Dungarees…but then I said screw and started wearing the New Way Shorts for everything. I went to the beach and swam in the shorts, went out at night, traveled, hiked, and worked…all in New Way shorts. The same activities that caused snags in the fabric and pocket rivets to pop on the Slim Dungarees were taken in stride with the New Way Shorts.
Plus, I can’t reiterate how good these shorts look. I received complements on them quite often with the “you can swim in those too?” comment.
In terms of functionality, the New Way shorts repel stains and water well, keeping them looking good. I’ve spilled coffee on these (and freaked out slightly) only to see the coffee bead off the pants leaving no mark.
The quick drying nature is great and partly why you could do an entire trip with just these shorts…and maybe one spare pair. In Croatia, I spent a day on a boat in these, jumping into the Adriatic, then washed/rinsed the shorts during the shower, laid them out to dry for 30 minutes, and wore them to an upscale club that evening. On Bali, I surfed in these shorts and wore them to the bar after.
The comfort of these shorts is just as great as their function. The inner bits and pieces, like the nylon cloth and mesh flow through pockets, all feel smooth and comfortable against the skin and soften over time
As for durability, my Outlier New Way Shorts are at about 21 months of wear and still look great. The fabric has no holes or loose threads and looks great. I actually sat in tree sap a year ago in these shorts and the sap hardened over a week that I couldn’t wash them, but still washed out over a couple months of wash and wear. Today my New Way shorts still have no tears, no stains, and no issues. Durability = amazing.
Because of the simplicity, durability, stain/dirt/funk resistance, and the on-point style, these are a perfect pair of travel shorts and it’ll be hard to find better.
PROS OF THE OUTLIER NEW WAY SHORTS
- A nearly perfect product as these shorts look great, good enough to be worn stylishly anywhere shorts are allowed…and some places shorts aren’t…
- The function is amazing, whether walking around, hiking, working out, or swimming. The short takes it in stride and looks just as good after as before. I’ve literally swum, worked out, done yoga, and dug holes on a construction site, all in these shorts, and they stood up to it all.
- Equally good as activewear or “snappy casual” clothing
- As comfortable as any short I’ve worn
- Could easily be the single short you wear (but I recommend bringing true activewear short, like the Columbia Titanium Silver Ridge to abuse during hikes and adventures…to preserve the New Way Short)
CONS OF THE OUTLIER NEW WAY SHORTS
- I honestly can’t think of any. Maybe price, but you get well beyond what you pay for. These shorts are a great investment.
Quick Verdict on the New Way Shorts: Highly Recommended. The perfect travel short in design, style, performance, and all-around function. There is seriously no activity or occasion these shorts aren’t suited for. The 2-way stretch actually does form to your body and help them wear comfortably and look better. Stain resistance means you can wear the shorts for more days (or weeks) between washes without realizing it.
The shorts are amazing as a swim trunk because they look really good but feel great in the water and dry quickly, making them perfect for beach resorts. To boot, these pants are durably constructed with no issues thus far. Combine these with
The Outlier Futureworks slacks are essentially the full-length slacks/chinos version of the New Way Short. These pants have the same 2-way stretch fabric that wicks moisture, resists stains, and dries quickly. The pants are intended to be a little classier and upscale than the Slim Dungarees.
During my year and half abroad, if I was wearing pants and I wasn’t wearing the Outlier Slim Dungarees, I was wearing the Futureworks pants. The pants have a cut, design, and look that makes them an office ready chino pant – but – they served just as well for travel. The lightweight, breathable, and quick drying fabric doesn’t offer much stretch but has a look closer to cotton than nylon and keeps the pants looking low key. On hikes, sweat wicked through and dried too quickly to even be noticed on the pants and showed no durability issues. At night, the pants fit well into upscale bars without question.
Note that on arrival the cut of the pant is…interesting. The pant legs are naturally a little long and a litter wider than Outlier Clothing’s slimmer pants, but this is by design to accommodate a much more conservative cut for the “office look.” If you’re wearing these pants casually, just plan to have the pants shortened and adjust the hem to a more casual “jean hem” while having the legs tapered.
For my traveler crowd, not only do these pants wash easily and dry more quickly than cotton chinos, they roll up small taking up little room on that carry on packing list.
PROS OF THE OUTLIER FUTUREWORKS PANTS
- Comfortable, durable fabric and construction
- Resists water and stains well and dries quickly
- Lightweight and packs small making them great for travel, especially carryon only travel
CONS OF THE OUTLIER FUTUREWORKS PANTS
- Pants require tailoring to get the most out of them – adjusting length of pants, narrowing the hem, and tapering the lower leg will make these a nearly perfect travel pant
Quick Verdict on the Futureworks Slacks: Recommended. These slacks are great, but be warned they require a little tailoring to get the most out of them and make the fit worthy of the design. Specifically, adjusting the length, altering the hem to be a jean style hem or at least much more narrow so that the slacks will lay naturally, and narrowing the lower leg to your preferred length will make them perfect. Do that, and you will have the perfect travel pant…or at least a better one than you’ve ever had before. You could easily get away with only owning these, the New Way Short, and a comfortable hiking short (like the Columbia Silver Ridge). For travelers looking for a pair of pants, I recommend Outlier Futureworks…just plan to get them tailored before you go.
Designed to be the nearly bulletproof pant that Levi Strauss intended. Made of extremely tough Nylon fabric and designed to break in over a very long period. I love them. Definitely recommended.
A tough as hell and rugged pant, Outlier successfully followed up on Levi Strauss’ dream with a 21st century touch. An extremely strong nylon cloth dubbed “Strongtwill” makes these pants heavier than your Slim Dungarees and Futureworks pants, but insanely tough. These pants are set to wear in over time, becoming soft like a cotton jean but still maintaining their water resistance (thanks to a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating). pants will be replacing the Slim Dungarees in my suitcase during my next year abroad.
I honestly wish I had brought these on my trip around the world or had room to, but there are three caveats you should know about the Strong Dungarees and using them as travel pants.
First, these pants won’t work well as a hiking pant…at least not until after they’re broken in because the fabric is so stiff and strong you will chafe after miles of walking (I know from experience). After a couple months of wash and wear, the pants softened up enough for a good hike.
Second, the fabric is amazingly strong but ends up being heavier than the Slim Dungarees and Futureworks slacks, so they’re a little less than comfortable in the heat. Plan accordingly by also packing shorts (which you should do anyway) and consider packing a lighter pair of pants as well.
Third, the fit on these jeans is slim with little stretch or give in the fabric. The cut appears to be designed more for people shaped like broomsticks – so – if
With the warning that they might not fit everyone’s body shape, I really like the Outlier Strong Dungarees in idea and execution, and I highly recommend them. Don’t expect to hike in them at first or be comfortable in them in hot weather when brand new. If you’re looking for a tough pant that has a stylish cut and looks good, look no further.
PROS OF THE OUTLIER STRONG DUNGAREES
- These pants are as tough as their ad copy implies.
- Well built. Heavy fabric. Very Durable
- One of my favorite Outlier products (next to the New Way Shorts) in idea and execution
CONS OF THE OUTLIER STRONG DUNGAREES
- Fit is surprisingly slim in a way that isn’t conducive to how tough these are. I’ve tried a few sizes and no matter what, the seat fits my butt while the waist is too loose or the waist fits while the seat is way too tight.
- The fit is less refined and more rugged than the Slim Dungarees, so wearing them as a dressier jean is a little more difficult but doable
- Too heavy and stiff for hiking or active wear…at least before they’re broken in and softened up. Plan on a lot of wear and washing first.
Quick Verdict on the Outlier Strong Dungarees: Recommend for some – as long as they fit you. These pants are awesome and tough as hell. In the three months of wearing these pants before I left I still hadn’t broken them in. The fabric is noticeably durable and the stain and water resistance are pretty great.
THE VERDICT FOR TRAVELERS
The bottom line of this Outlier Pants Review: The Outlier pants collection is impressive, to say the least, but as is common with any amazing product, no single pair of Outlier’s pants will be perfect for everyone. Lucky for you, there are plenty of other amazing travel pants and brands on the market
OTHER GREAT TRAVEL CLOTHING CONTENT
- The 8 Best Travel Shoes for Men
- Lems Boulder Boot Review: A Stylish, Packable, Travel Boot
- 7 Reasons the Outlier Slim Dungarees are a Near Perfect Travel Pant
- The 5 Best Men’s Travel Shorts
- The 15 Best Men’s Travel Pants