Many of my clothes have been well-suited to various climates or basic practicality. My Columbia shirts, North Face hiking shoes, and Marmot rainshell have all been dependable. However, a few clothing articles I packed have been notably useful and durable.
1. Patagonia Tech Web Belt
I've owned this belt for maybe 7 years, and it's the most versatile belt I've ever had. The thick nylon webbing and aircraft aluminum buckle are super durable. I've worn it hiking, caving, and swimming, and it doesn't show any sign of wear or hold a single stain. It also is comfortable and sharp enough to wear with jeans or khaki pants. After looking at the website, it looks like they've made some bad design changes for 2016. People claim the belt is thinner, resulting in slippage, and the buckle is installed backwards (??). Too bad that the quality has dropped, but I imagine with that many bad reviews, Patagonia will make some changes soon. Stay tuned and buy the belt once it is improved.
2. Chaco Sandals
I originally received the regular Unaweep style sandals for Christmas before we left. At a hefty 2 lbs, they can weigh down your bag and Lindsay challenged me to ﬁnd lighter ones. The Updraft style have a thinner sole and nearly half the weight. The tread isn't as deep as the thicker soles, but it is just as durable. I wore these sandals nearly every day for 7 of the 10 months, and the Vibram sole barely shows signs of wear and zero separation from the upper sole. The are snug and supportive. Great for walking around a city, hiking, and water activities. I used to make fun of the river rats or hiking hippies for wearing odd-looking Chacos, but I am a convert now and can attest to how good these sandals are. The model I have are discontinued, but Chaco makes several models including a newer lightweight one.
I bought this watch after seeing it at my friend Andrew's store, Salt Pines. It looked like such a durable watch with classic military ﬁeld styling. I had looked at similar models in this price range from Seiko and Citizen, but decided to buy the Bertucci after reading customer reviews. This watch is the real deal for travelers and explorers. It is really lightweight from the solid titanium body, which barely shows a scuff after enduring countless intense activities. The thick nylon band has stood up well without fraying, but it has a slight odor after absorbing a ton of sweat in Southeast Asia. Luckily, the band slides out and can be easily and cheaply replaced through Bertucci. My only gripe is that the battery died in Thailand after only a year of ownership. Watch batteries should last longer, although I guess it depends on the manufacture date. I really like this watch and am glad I sprung to buy it. For the durability and style, this $100 watch is well worth the price.
These are some of the most comfortable khaki pants I've ever owned. They are perfect for travel because they have the durability and movement for hiking with the ﬁt and style for dressing up. The Broadway cut is slimmer than traditional hiking pants and simply looks better. I've worn them with Sperry boat shoes to the opera, fancy restaurants, etc. and ﬁt right in. Sadly, I ripped a hole in the butt-area while playing bocce ball at a New Zealand winery. After all the abuse I put them through, they ripped with only 4 weeks left in the trip... Not from hiking, but from bending over to pick up a bocce ball after several glasses of wine. (Maybe a sign to lose some weight!) For Christmas, I received TWO identical replacement pairs. These are my go-to work pants and will stay in my wardrobe for a long time.
5. Ex Officio Give n Go Boxers
I gotta point out that comfort begins and ends with a good pair of underwear. Ex Officio's dry ﬁt, anti-microbial boxers are a travel gear best seller, and for good reason. They are lightweight, quick drying, easy to wash, and really comfortable. I had two pairs at the beginning of the trip, and bought two more a few months later. I threw out my Under Armor boxer briefs because these are just so much better. It may be the only type of boxers I wear from now on.