I have a confession to make. Targeted advertising works. There I was, planning out a long trip to India, thinking, I need some new pants. I get progressively wider with each passing year, and I was not looking forward to flying for 36 hours in a pair of 32-inch pants on a 34-inch waist. And then, like a primal scream from the ether, on the sidebar of The Thoughtful Animal, was an ad for Scott E Vest travel clothes. And, in my shame, I clicked it.
I bought two pairs of travel pants from ScottEVest, the light weight travel pants and the FLEX cargo pants. I liked the idea of extra pockets to hold my stuff, the fact that some of them were difficult to get into to deter pickpockets, and the seemingly ruggedness of them. The price was high, but not exorbitant for a decent pair of pants. For long distance travel, or pounding the dirt interviewing stakeholders, being able to travel light, carry the essentials, and be unencumbered by packs or extra bags makes your job easier. Deterring pickpockets is also key, since a pilfered voice recorder or notebook can cost you that key interview.
First off, the pockets, because that is ScottEVest’s major selling point. There are plenty of them. So many in fact that I sometimes have trouble finding the right one. The extra back pockets seem unnecessary, although I could comfortably fit a full sized copy of Moby Dick in the big back pocket. The front pockets are the real killer feature. On top of a regular pants pocket, you get an extra deep pocket on either side with a magnetic closure. These pockets are well designed, so that even a fair sized camera doesn’t make a visible bulge. They are a little hard to access, but that’s kind of the point.
The quality is much lower than expected. While the FLEX cargo pants are made of nice stretchy cotton and feel great, the light travel pants are made of very lightweight nylon and have a tendency to chafe. The material is also very thin and started to wear through quickly. On both pants the stitching was shoddy and the seems began to come out after a couple weeks of hard use. If you’re going to be putting in long hours walking through the developing world conducting interviews, you should consider laying down some extra threads before heading out.
Overall, there are much better products out there. Unless you really need a huge number of pockets, I can’t see any reason why you would want to buy either of these pants. ScottEVest needs to invest in some high quality stitching before I’d consider buying another pair of pants from them. Next time I think I’ll just suck in my gut and tough it out.
Utility – 2/5 (A definite luxury, but you could easily fit two days worth of clothes and equipment in them and leave your backpack at home)
Durability – 2/5 (The stitching is sub-par and the material for the travel pant is flimsy)
Comfort – 3/5 (The cargo pant is super comfy, but the travel pant could be a lot less abrasive)
Price – $$
Statement of use: I took these two pairs of pants with me as my only pants for 3 weeks trekking through India, including 2 40+ hour days of flying. They got beat up pretty good during that time and saw daily use (especially the light weight pants as it was often too hot for the cargo pants).