Packing the right clothes can help make your trip easier, more comfortable and stylish. A few aspects put shirts into the Best category—cool-looking clothes that travel well, wear nicely, and are easy care. We want to focus on the adventure, not spending a lot of time taking care of our clothes. And the absolute best travel shirts, also, fit into one’s normal business or school wardrobe. Here are our favorite shirts.Criteria
1. Looks good when pulled out of the suitcase or backpack; not creased and wrinkled.
2. Feels soft when worn and won’t chafe under a backpack; and no tags inside the shirt to scratch your neck
3. Is stylish enough wear at a restaurant, theater, business meeting, or classroom.
4. Is durable enough for hiking or backpacking in the wilderness.
5. Can be worn for multiple days between washings without getting stinky.
6. Is easily washed and quickly dried. No ironing.
IceBreaker® and SmartWool® tee shirts are my favorite shirts for almost all travel destinations. I use these summer and winter and consider them travel necessities. They are made of high-quality merino wool, which is soft, durable, resist odors, wick moisture away from the skin and can dry with your own body heat while you are wearing them, an absolute must when traveling to destinations with ice and snow. The fabric is not specially treated. These are the natural properties of really high-quality merino wool.These shirts come in sleeveless, short or long sleeves and in a variety of weights. I have both short and long sleeved tees, and wear them when I am involved in outdoor active sports. The black, long-sleeved vee-neck tee (see above) is my base layer for winter sports. For touring museums, eating at restaurants or participating in business meetings, I pair it with a necklace or scarf, jacket and skirt. Although I love these shirts, they are not appropriate for tropical destinations.
Ex Officio® tee shirts can give a dressier look, so they can pair with skirts, as well as jeans and shorts. Look for shirts with DriRelease® fabric, which is soft, wicks moisture and dries quickly. It also has an antimicrobial property so it stays fresh smelling longer. We like the ones with a scoop neck, soft without being too revealing. Makes it appropriate for travel to more cultures. Perfect, right?
REI® Northway Shirt and REI Sahara Shirt. When it is hot and humid, I want a loose shirt that goes with shorts, jeans, slacks or skirts. These two are examples of super travel pieces because of their comfort and casual style. They are made of a blend of nylon and spandex that wicks moisture and dries fast. They are stretchy and protect skin from UV rays. I love the hidden zipper pocket in the front that can hold a credit card, cash, a key or passport. These are cute. They are great for hiking, but can be dressed up with a necklace and skirt. These are great travel pieces!
Arc’teryx®Tops. One of my favorite brands is Arc’teryx. Their tops are strong enough for mountaineering and trekking, but can be stylish enough for city wear. I love their A2B Top because it is made of a combination of polyester and merino wool, so it doesn’t wrinkle, is easy care and minimizes odor. The stylish neck and drape make it perfect for city travel.
If you are heading into the wilderness, though, we prefer the sportier Ensa SS. This is a mid weight shirt that will provide you a bit of warmth, no chaffing and little reflective strips for visibility. It is made of 100% polyester.
Easy Care– All these shirts are easy care. To wash, turn them inside out (protects the color); wash in cold water with your usual detergent in a washing machine and spin dry. If washing them by hand, wash the clothes as you usually do, squeeze them to remove as much water as possible and then lay them on a towel and roll them up together to remove excess water. Hang up the clothing or lay them on a screen to finish drying. When I washed my shirts in equatorial Africa, I washed them by hand using camping liquid soap, rinsed them and rolled them in a little microfiber towel to remove much of the water. In emergency situations, you can expedite the process. For example, I put on one of the wet shirts and let it dry on me. It took less than an hour. For a backcountry shortcut, you can squirt the liquid detergent on any stains and under the arms. Then rinse, wring and dry.