Gadling Gear Review: Eddie Bauer Expedition Flannel Shirt

In the world of outdoor and travel apparel there are few names as recognizable as Eddie Bauer. For more than 90 years the company has specialized in making clothing that is designed for travel and adventure, outfitting some famous explorers and mountaineers along the way. The iconic brand has earned itself a reputation for making clothing that is tough, comfortable and dependable, while still managing to perform well in some of the harshest environments on the planet. Whether you’re hanging out on your front porch or traveling to the far corners of the globe, chances are Eddie Bauer makes something you’ll want to take with you. After all, if they can equip teams for the summit of Everest, they can probably keep you happy on your next adventure too.

One of the more classic items in the Eddie Bauer catalog is their Expedition Flannel shirt. This is one of those pieces of gear that easily passes my criteria for the kind of item that I want in my bag when I set out on trip. Since I tend to travel light, everything that goes into my pack needs to be something that is going to be comfortable when I put it on, useful in a variety of situations and will still look as good at the end of the trip as it does at the beginning. The Expedition Flannel does all of that and then some.Built from extremely soft polyester fabrics, this shirt has a trim cut that is designed to fit closely to the body, allowing the wearer to move without restriction while on the go. Any active traveler will appreciate this approach, as there are few things worse than wearing a piece of clothing that feels too confining. The fabrics also resemble traditional flannel in most respects but they perform on a different level than the flannel that we’ve all come to know and love. For instance, the fabrics that Eddie Bauer uses are designed to wick moisture away from the body, helping you to stay dry when you start to work up a sweat. This comes in surprisingly handy in both warm and cool conditions.

In terms of versatility, the Expedition Flannel is a winner as well. It has rustic good looks that make it equally good for strolling the streets of Paris or trekking in the Himalaya. Its classic design doesn’t wader far from the traditional but its use of modern color combinations is both refreshing and bold. It doesn’t hurt that is also packs extremely well, going in and out of your bag without collecting too many wrinkles – something I think we can all appreciate.

Since this is a piece of clothing created by Eddie Bauer, you know it has the durability to hold up to the rigors of the road. The Expedition Flannel was built to accompany you on your travels, whether that is down the block or around the world, and still come back looking as good as new. The level of quality in this shirt allows it to stand up to whatever abuse you give it and come away with barely a scuff on it. I’ve worn mine numerous times, for numerous activities, and it always comes out of the washer looking brand new. Whether you use this shirt for work, play or something in between, it is likely to be in your closet for many years to come.

This kind of quality doesn’t come cheap and Eddie Bauer is without a doubt a premium brand. The Expedition Flannel retails for $80, which puts it on par with similar shirts from competitors, although few of them have the EB pedigree. We all know that good travel gear is worth the price, however, and I think that is most certainly true here. If you buy one of these shirts chances are you’ll be remind yourself about your good taste and wise decisions for a very long time to come.

Sun Protection Wear from Patagonia

On our first sunny day in Seattle in far too long, I got sunburned. I know better. I fell asleep in the hammock and woke up baked to an itchy pink. I do this once a year, and then I come to my senses and dress appropriately.

I have a few very light weight long sleeved shirts that I picked up at the market in Siem Reap, Cambodia; all my shirts were too heavy for the oppressive humidity. I wanted to dress respectfully without wilting in the heat. Those market shirts are fine if you don’t mind looking like a hippie (which, really, I don’t.) But a little more style is nice.

Patagonia makes a line of don’t-get-sunburned clothing, it’s cute, light, and has 40 UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) sun protection built in to the fabric. I test drove their Sun Shelter Long Sleeved Shirt.

I put any new gear to the laundry test right away — since I can’t control what happens to my washing while I travel, I toss everything new into a standard wash and dry cycle. The shirt held its shape and size. I also check to see how long things take to dry, just in case I’m doing my washing in the hotel sink. This dries out overnight, as advertised. Laundry test? Passed.

I have the shirt in white; it also comes in a Cascade Stripe (blue gray) and Amaranth (pale pink). While I like the cut, the scoop neck collar, the big slash pockets on the side, the empire waist gathering in front, I look a little puritanical in it, I’m not built for this style. That’s too bad, because I also like the weight of the fabric; it’s really light and soft and yes, you can wear it over your existing sunburn without your skin getting more irritated.

Patagonia makes a Sun Shelter Dress that’s a similar shape to the shirt; the dress would make great beachwear over your swimsuit, or a casual dress to wear around the resort or pool. They’ve got a full line of sun protection clothing — if I’d had the good sense to put some on before I headed outside into the sunshine, I’d not be so pink today.

The shirt is $69, the dress is $79, directly from Patagonia.

Use a t-shirt as a pillow case – Hotel tip

You’ve already gotten the benefit of wearing your t-shirt. Now, make that shirt work just a little harder.

If you’re concerned about the cleanliness of your pillow, the inside of your shirt is probably cleaner (or at least more acceptable) to lie on than a suspect pillowcase. Simply turn the shirt inside-out, slide it over your pillow, and you’re good to go… to sleep.

[Photo: Flickr | bandita]

Ricky Martin t-shirt on all seven continents – Souvenir tip

So, uh, let’s say I have this friend. We’ll say her name is Emily. Everywhere she travels she pulls out the same tacky Ricky Martin T-shirt, puts it on, and has someone snap her photo. Ricky in front of the Hollywood sign… Ricky at Machu Picchu… Ricky at the Vatican… you get the idea.

You don’t have to use a Ricky Martin Tee, though. On your future travels, pack along a unique shirt — or better yet, buy one on a trip — and snap a photo wearing the shirt at all your favorite spots.

Turn travel t-shirts into a quilt – Souvenir tip

If you’re like me, you have to have a t-shirt commemorating every place you’ve visited. However, often times you end up with a drawer full of shirts you use when it’s time to paint the house or mow the lawn. Those “souvenirs” often become less appealing once you’re home.

Don’t despair: turn those shirts into something you can truly treasure by cutting out the front portion of each one, sewing them together, and making a travel quilt. This one-of-a-kind souvenir will bring back wonderful memories every time you snuggle up with it.