After years of fine-tuning, I may have just mastered the art of dressing for airport security.
It wasn’t easy, mind you. For many years, my travel uniform consisted of jeans, a belt, a white T-shirt and sneakers. But my belt would always set off the alarm, my sneakers were cumbersome to slip off and my jeans made it difficult to get comfortable once I was onboard. Not to mention the stains that would build up on my crisp white tee after 36 hours of international travel.
Then there was the jeggings-and-boots phase. But try getting in and out of knee-high motorcycle boots while juggling a laptop and boarding pass. Not fun.
Now, my go-to travel outfit is comfortable, stylish and allows me to zip through airport security in the time it previously took to zip up those godforsaken boots. Here’s what it consists of.
Note: This post is geared toward women, but men may be able to glean some tips from it too.T-shirt dress
A long-sleeved t-shirt dress can keep you warm on cold flights, but adapts well to warm climates – perfect for that mid-winter getaway to the Bahamas. I wear the Holstee Dress in black, which is made from a comfortable blend of hemp and organic cotton and contains a handy pocket for my passport and boarding pass. Plus, the dress folds into its own pocket for easy packing later in the trip.
A great pair of black leggings is a travel essential. What other item of clothing transitions seamlessly from the airplane to the opera to a yoga class to bed? The Ibex Energy Tight is a splurge, but its blend of Merino wool, nylon and lycra is made for warmth and movement. Plus, it’s odor-resistant.
Forget pesky laces and zippers. A great pair of slip-on shoes isn’t just comfortable, it also makes the security screening process much easier. TOMS are a great bet, and some of their new winter versions even contain a soft fleece lining for chilly flights.
When loading your belongings at the TSA checkpoint, place your shoes/belts/jewelry into the first bin, your laptop/toiletries in the second bin and your bags last. That way, you can redress while the rest of your items are still being screened.
Saying that Scottevest is a company that makes jackets is akin to saying Apple is a company that makes cellphones. Both statements are technically correct, but both also fail to tell the whole story. Scottevest puts the emphasis not only on comfort and good looks but also function. Popular amongst travelers and gadget lovers alike, their jackets incorporate numerous internal pockets that keep all of our gear organized and close at hand, whether we’re going around the block or around the world.
Today Scottevest unveils their latest creation: the Fleece 7.0. The jacket maintains the company’s legacy quite nicely while incorporating some new design choices that make it easier and more logical to use. On top of that, this might be the best looking and most comfortable Scottevest ever created. Its stylish exterior does nothing to reveal all of the technology and other important items that are well hidden underneath.
If you’re already familiar with the products from Scottevest you are probably aware of the numerous pockets that line the interior of their jackets. With the Fleece 7.0 the layout of each of those pockets has been re-examined with the expressed intention of making each of them better. For instance, previous Scottevest offerings have included a pocket specifically designed to carry an iPad, and this new jacket is no different. This time out though, that pocket has been redesigned to make it easier to gain access to the device, whether you’re wearing the jacket or not. That same iPad pocket is also now lined with soft fabrics designed to clean fingerprints from the screen as it is taken in and out.
Perhaps the biggest change to the jacket is the placement of a pocket designed specifically for smartphones. That pocket incorporates Clear Touch fabrics that allow users to interact with their phone’s touch screen without having to remove it from the jacket itself. This isn’t exactly new, as Scottevest has built similar pockets into their products for some time, but they’ve now moved that pocket from the chest down to the lower left side of the Fleece 7.0. On the surface this might not seem like much of an innovation, but the new placement does indeed make it much easier to interact with your phone. In its new location, the smartphone pocket isn’t nearly as awkward to access when making or receiving calls, or launching your favorite apps. The new Clear Touch fabrics are more responsive and natural feeling as well, which helps to improve the overall experience too.In addition to the smartphone and tablet pockets, Scottevest has woven a host of other pockets into the design of the Fleece 7.0. In fact, you’ll be amazed at just how many pockets this jacket has and how utilitarian they can be. For instance, there is one designed specifically for carrying a small point-and-shoot camera that includes a separate slot just for memory cards. There is also a useful eyeglasses pocket, complete with a built-in soft cloth lens cleaner, which I found to be fantastic for safely carrying sunglasses. Perhaps my favorite storage options, however, was the large hidden pocket that is perfect for keeping your passport, boarding pass and other important documents close at hand.
The jacket also includes what Scottevest calls the Personal Area Network, which conveniently incorporates a set of headphones directly into the garment. The PAN keeps cables hidden and out of the way and even features earbud storage integrated directly into the collar. Considering that many sets of earbuds now include built-in microphones, this means you can easily listen to music, interact with Siri and talk on the phone without ever taking the jacket off or pulling your smartphone out of its secure pocket.
Other nice touches include integrated penholders, a key clasp and an elastic water bottle loop hidden away in one of the cavernous hand pockets. These small, but thoughtful, details help to separate Scottevest jackets from the competition and have made them a popular choice for travelers who like to stay organized and travel light. In fact, as the company continues to refine its product line, you’d almost swear that they have declared war on carry-on luggage. It is quite conceivable that owners of the Fleece 7.0 could go on a trip without the need for any kind of carry-on at all, which says a lot about just how well this jacket performs.
All of these well thought out pockets and other features are the hallmark of a Scottevest product of course, but they aren’t the only reason to be impressed by the new Fleece 7.0. The jacket is made from soft, warm and durable fabrics, which puts it on par with similar offerings from such well-known companies as Columbia or North Face. I found the jacket to be incredibly comfortable to wear both casually around town and on more active excursions and while I haven’t tested it as part of a dedicated layering system yet, I get the sense that it will perform well in that capacity too.
Like most of the other Scottevest jackets, the Fleece 7.0 converts to a vest, adding yet another level of versatility to the garment. This is a great option for those days that start out cool but warm up as the hours pass, allowing the wearer to stay comfortable as conditions evolve. But unlike the Transformer Jacket that we reviewed a few months back, the Fleece 7.0 uses traditional zippers to add or remove the sleeves. The Transformer cleverly replaces those zippers with strong magnets instead, which makes the process easier and quicker. On more than one occasion while wearing this new jacket, I wished that Scottevest had elected to incorporate the magnets as well, as they just simplify the process nicely.
If you’re in the market for a new jacket, either for travel or for the changing weather conditions that fall is sure to bring, then it is easy for me to recommend the Scottevest Fleece 7.0. Even if you’re not a gadget nut, you’ll still love the numerous pockets and organizational options, but most importantly you’ll love how comfortable it is to wear. In true Scottevest fashion, this jacket offers unprecedented access to your smartphone and other tech toys too, making it a fantastic option for trips around the block or to the far side of the globe. The Fleece 7.0 is available today for $160.
Safely and securely carrying all of our gadgets while traveling can be a real chore. Many of us now hit the road with a smartphone, digital camera, tablet, headphones and more. While each of those tech toys has made travel more enjoyable, it isn’t always easy to keep them well-organized and easy to access. Scottevest is a company that has built an extensive catalog of travel apparel designed to do just that. Their line of clothing is specifically built to keep all of our favorite gadgets close at hand while minimizing bulk. The new SeV Transformer Jacket delivers all of that plus a few unexpected surprises.
To the casual observer the Transformer appears to be just like any other jacket you’d find someone wearing on the street. It features a classic design and cut that is equally at home hiking a trail as strolling the halls of a museum. Its easy-to-clean, wind-resistant fabrics make it a perfect option for staying warm and dry while on the go.
But underneath that unassuming exterior lurks an organizational system that will make even the most anal retentive traveler happy. Scottevest has managed to incorporate an astonishing 20 pockets into this jacket, many of which are designed for a specific purpose. For instance, there are two pockets built just for touchscreen smartphones, one on the left side of the jacket and one on the right. Those pockets feature a clear plastic cover that allows the wearer to not only view the screen but to also interact with its capacitive touch interface. Those same pockets provide cord management options that allow headphones to be run through a series of hidden conduits on the interior of the jacket. This keeps headphone wires secure and out of the way, while still allowing them to be easily used by the wearer. The company calls this its Personal Area Network (PAN) and each of their garments incorporates this option to some degree.The smartphone pockets are just the beginning, however, as there are others designed for carrying pens, USB thumb drives, passports, small digital cameras and more. Each of them has unique qualities, which makes them perfect for the task. For example, the pocket built for carrying sunglasses has a soft chamois cleaning cloth on an elastic cord and the camera pocket includes a separate area for memory cards. There is even a “PadPocket” that is large enough to carry an iPad, Kindle or other tablet device.
If you’re already familiar with the products that Scottevest offers then much of this probably isn’t new. But what separates the Transformer from the rest of their clothing line, and gives the jacket its name, is the unique ability to turn into a vest. That in and of itself isn’t all that revolutionary, as convertible vest/jackets have been around for years. But what sets the Transformer apart from similar offerings is its clever use of magnets embedded under the fabric. These small and lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful, magnets make adding or removing the sleeves a snap – quite literally. In a matter of seconds the Transformer not only adapts for warmer weather but significantly changes its look as well.
For those that like to travel light, the Transformer Jacket is a great addition to the travel closet. Depending on what you carry with you when on the road, it is possible that it could replace a daypack or other small bag. Scottevest seems to have thought of everything when designing this piece of clothing, keeping all of our important items very close at hand. That said, loading up the pockets with all your gadgets would obviously add weight to the garment, particularly if you’re carrying an iPad. The jacket is designed to distribute weight evenly, but wearing a fully loaded Transformer still took a little getting use to. I tested the jacket with an iPhone 4S, iPad 3, headphones, a digital camera, and other various times, and while it wasn’t at all uncomfortable, there was a short adjustment period.
Gadget lovers will most certainly love the Transformer. It not only looks good but it features plenty of ways to safely carry a variety of gear. The integrated Personal Area Network is also useful for keeping chords organized and out of the way too. If you’re the type of person who travels with plenty of tech toys, then you’ll certainly see plenty of value in this jacket, which retails for $160. On the other hand if you tend to hit the road with little more than a cellphone, the Transformer is probably overkill for you and you’ll find there are plenty of other great travel jackets for less money.
Scottevest has made sure that gadget girls aren’t left out of the mix. A women’s version of the Transformer, dubbed the Kelly Jacket, is also available for the ladies who love their technology too.
Travelers who prefer to pack light are always on the lookout for ways that they can shed weight without sacrificing comfort or functionality. Occasionally that happens when they discover new gear that is lighter and more versatile than something that was previously available. Other times it is the result of simply finding something new that allows them to carry less in their bags. That happens to be the case with the new LS Tech T Lite from Icebreaker, a shirt that promises, “2 weeks, 1 shirt, no stink.”
Icebreaker is a company that offers a wide line of clothing for active travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. Their apparel is made from soft and lightweight merino wool, which has the unique ability to keep the wearer cool in warm environments and warm in cold ones. This versatility can come in handy on extended trips and means that one piece of clothing can be used for a variety of destinations.
The Tech T Lite certainly meets that description. Soft against the skin and incredibly light, the shirt works well on its own but makes a great base layer too. Not only does it breathe well in warm weather, it also serves as good insulation in the cold, which will no doubt make it a popular option for travelers of all types.Merino wool has another quality that makes it particularly well suited for travel apparel. Fabrics made from the wool also happen to be incredibly resistant to odors as well. That means you can carry one or two of these shirts on an extended trip and really not need to pack any others. That can save room and weight in your luggage or backpack and make packing a lot easier too, as you won’t need nearly as many shirts on longer trips.
After putting the Tech T Lite through its paces, in both warm and cool climes, I can honestly say that it more than lives up to its billing. Whether you’re wearing it while lounging around the lodge or out hiking a demanding trail, it remains remarkably comfortable to wear without inhibiting motion in any way. It also happens to be easy to keep clean, quick drying and more durable than it first appears. All of those qualities have already made it one of my favorite pieces of travel clothing and earned it a spot in my pack on just about any trip I take in the future.
The Tech T Lite LS is the long sleeve version of this shirt and carries a price tag of $80. Icebreaker also makes it with short sleeves, which runs just $65. No matter which version you select you’ll be getting a very high quality piece of gear that will prove to be a great travel companion for years to come.
Capri length cargo pants are a must pack for every trip I take in the shoulder seasons – spring and fall. I like lots of pockets. I like having something that’s lighter than a pair of jeans but is not a pair of shorts. I like being comfortable and casual without looking like I’m in my jammies. And I like the length, as my travel wardrobe leans towards the modest side for most destinations.
Aventura’s Arden Organic Cotton Capris almost fit the bill. I wanted those cargo pockets on the side – that’s where I like to put my phone. That’s the ONLY thing I want. Beyond the additional pockets, I really like these pants.
I won’t wear the zip off convertible trousers that some travelers favor. They’re just too dorky for me, and that’s saying something given my level of dorkiness. But I do like roll ups with tabs or ties to hold the cuffs in place. They’re great for beach combing or sunny days. Aventura’s capris have roll up cuffs and button-in-place tabs. The buttons are sewn on to ribbon detailing that runs down the leg. I like both the look and the fact that they’re reinforced.
The fit on these is just about perfect, and that’s a thrill for someone who’s short but hardly skinny. They’re low rise and there’s a wide flat waist that sits just right. The pants are a good cut – flat front, straight in the leg but not too narrow for a person who like cookies. There are button-flap pockets in back and flat pockets in front. On me, they’re a little long, but again, they roll up so they can be adjusted to the right length.
Fashion mavens are not going to make any bold trendsetting statements in these pants, but my travel wardrobe tends towards practical and comfortable. The pants come in six colors including white (is it after Labor Day yet?) and they feel soft and wearable right out of the box. They hold their size after washing, too.
I don’t know about you, ladies, but I have a terrible time finding pants that fit. Because the cut is so great, I’m tempted to throw a bunch of their other styles into my virtual shopping cart. Your mileage may vary, of course, as fit is purely subjective (plus, I tried on one of their dresses and oh, it did not work at all on me). That said, the Arden Capris totally fill my need for casual, lightweight, and versatile clothing for spring travel and I’ll likely be packing them well into fall. They’re $72 directly from Aventura.