Most travel clothing is made from nylon or polyester. These materials are generally lighter than cotton and do a better job at moisture-wicking. They also dry very fast so you can wash them in a sink or shower and hang them to dry overnight. That means you can pack much less than you normally would.
Many are treated to be water resistant, block the sun’s evil SPF rays, and some repel insects as well. I’m clumsy, pale, and mosquitoes love to suckle my blood so I’ll take them all – thanks!
Most travel and adventure clothing are made to be more durable than your average article of clothing. Many of the brands that specialize in this type of gear even offer lifetime warranties.
The biggest negative to dedicated travel clothing is the price. There’s a premium placed on most travel clothing but be sure to check out when things go on sale for the best deals.
One way to offset the cost is to find things you can wear for other uses than just traveling. That being said, some much of the stuff you’ll find at your local outdoor retailer just looks silly.
You will wear each item of clothing much more often because you have less to choose from. Think about it, if you get 200 days of wear out of a t-shirt and you only wear it once per week it will last you 3.8 years. However, if it is part of a small wardrobe and you wear it three times per week it will only last you 1.2 years.
Also, wearing it more means that it will be washed more frequently. You also might do more walking and be more active than you would at home, wearing out the soles of your shoes and the inseams of your pants.
When selecting your clothing, weather – and particularly heat – will be the most influential criterion. But, in many places, modesty – yours and that of the local population – is crucial.
This is the case throughout the world, but particularly in Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia. For example, you won’t be able to visit some places, particularly religious sites, if you’re in shorts and this goes for men and women.
More importantly, on an extended trip, you will inevitably find yourself visiting some kind of official or government office, to pick up visas, get travel permits or even get an update from your own embassy.
I think it’s just respectful to look moderately smart, and anyway you’ll get better treatment! The same goes for other aspects of travel – entrance to an airport lounge, or a flight upgrade, are virtually dependent upon your appearance.