A couple of years ago, I bought a pair of the Bluffworks Chino, and spent 6+ months wearing the crap out of them. Since then I’ve bought a second pair of the Chinos, tried out the Gramercy pants, and now have had the opportunity to try out their brand new Departure Travel Jeans! At this stage, I’ve had them for about a week, so thought I’d jot down some initial impressions.
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I’ve done a much more in depth look at the Bluffworks Chino, so if you’d like to get a bit of a feel for my history with Bluffworks’ products, and how much I love them, be sure to check that out as well!
When I’m reading gear reviews, I much prefer to read the reviews from people who have really used the item being reviewed. It’s hard to get a real impression of a product in a short amount of time, and overtime your opinion can change based on how the item wears. With that in mind, I’m approaching this as a “first impression” post. Come back in 6 months time, and I might have a more comprehensive review to give!
Bluffworks Departure Travel Jeans
First things first. The Bluffworks Departure Travel Jeans look like jeans. They’re not a flimsy imitation of a pair of jeans, over engineered to the point of no longer fitting the description of a good pair of denim. They’re a classic indigo blue, slightly faded, with classic orange/yellow thread.
You want a leather patch on the back? You got a leather patch on the back. Rivets? They’ve got rivets. If you’re looking for a classic dark blue jean, these will definitely fit the bill.
The Departure Travel Jeans come in a classic and slim fit. As I mentioned in my review of the Bluffworks Chino, I tend towards wearing skinny jeans, so I definitely opted for a slim fit.
Sizing wise, they were true to size. I ordered the same size I normally would for a pair of jeans, and was not disappointed. As someone with larger thighs (I prefer the term, “powerful”), I appreciated there being that little bit of extra room around the thigh, compared to other skinny/slim jeans I’ve tried.
That said, if you’re like me and prefer skinny fit jeans, you’ll definitely notice they’re much looser in the calf and ankle than you may be used to.
From a first impression, it’s hard to call if this is a negative point or not. On one hand, it contributes to a different feel when wearing them, which can be a little jarring, but on the other hand, the extra room will mean they keep you a little cooler in hotter climates than a true skinny jean would. The extra room could also be an added benefit in allowing you to layer a pair of leggings underneath in colder climates.
(If anyone else has some comments or thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them!)
The Bluffworks Departure Travel Jeans are very soft to the touch. Natalie has a description for measuring the softness of denim, and her term “buttery soft” absolutely applies here.
A lot of modern jeans with stretch will have 2% elastane. The Departure Travel Jeans only have 1%. It doesn’t seem like much on the surface level, but you’ll likely notice the difference, especially in the waist band. I’ve not had the opportunity to give these jeans a thorough workout, but I did give them a bit of a movement trial by lunging, squatting, and high-knee-lifting myself around our apartment and I still found them incredibly comfortable, and non-restricting.
On top of this, I wore them while going snow tubing for a day. Even as a single layer, they were plenty warm enough for me, and despite a bit of a self-induced wipe out, they did a good job of keeping me protected from the snow.
I’ve touched on this in earlier sections, but if you’re a skinny jeans fan, the Departure Travel Jeans will take a little getting used to. Style-wise, they look great, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.
For me, the slim fit cut of these jeans look like a pair of absolute classic American jeans. If that’s your style, you’ll love them!
These are designed as travel jeans, so it stands to reason that they’re pretty travel friendly. Machine washable, you can either hang or tumble dry. On top of this, Bluffworks boasts that they’re quick-drying and wrinkle-free. Disclaimer: I’ve not yet washed my pair, so I can’t speak to their quick-drying. When I do, I intend to skip the tumble dry in order to see exactly how quickly they dry hanging over the back of a chair (as you would while traveling)!
Compared to the Bluffworks Chino, the Departure Travel Jeans are definitely bulkier and heavier.
Where it becomes less certain is the comparison to a regular pair of jeans. Bluffworks claims that their Departure Travel Jeans weigh 11 oz. per yard fabric, compared to an average of 14 oz. per yard for a regular pair of jeans. I don’t have the tools myself to measure the weight difference between the two, but by just doing a “feel” comparison, I’d say that the Bluffworks jeans edge the regular pair by feeling slightly lighter.
Doing the roll test for space-saving packing, there’s not a lot of difference between the Bluffworks jeans and a regular pair, but again, I’d have to say that Bluffworks edges it.
The part that is always my favourite thing about Bluffworks pants: Pockets!
The Departure Travel Jeans mixes up the usual Bluffworks pocket configuration, in order to keep in style with a classic jeans feel. You’ve got your 5 classic jeans pockets (2 back, 2 front/side, with the mini-pocket in the right front/side), but in addition to these you’ve also got the Bluffworks special: hidden pockets.
Hidden in the bottom of the waistband seam, just above the two back pockets, are two hidden zippers. These lead to roomy nylon pockets which sit inside the jeans (unlike the usual back pockets which sit outside the pants), keeping the contents as disguised as possible! When you have an item in the hidden pocket (a wallet for example), it will sit around the same point as it would were it in the regular outer pocket. This means that it’ll still be obvious that something is there, but not as easily accessible to any wrongdoers.
As a fan of the classic Bluffworks smartphone pocket, which is usually positioned on the waistband of their other pants, I was a little disappointed that the Departure Travel Jeans don’t share this feature. Given the attention of detail that has been paid to make these travel jeans look like a regular pair of jeans, I can understand why it was omitted, but it was definitely one of my favourite features of their other pants.
If you like to wear jeans, and are looking for a pair that are more suitable for travel than a regular pair, you’ll be happy with the Bluffworks Departure Travel Jeans. The real question mark is going to be around the fit and style you prefer. If you just can’t get past the fact that there is no skinny fit option, then they won’t be for you. If you prefer a more classic or roomier fit, then you’ll be absolutely happy with these, even if you don’t intend to use them primarily for travel!
For me, I’m going to withhold my personal opinion for a while longer. I want to try these jeans out in a range of climates and situations to really assess how they hold up. One problem I often have with my jeans is that the crotch wears very thin, and then finally rips right open. With my Bluffworks Chinos there has been no sign of this, so I’m interested in seeing if the same can be said about the Departure Travel Jeans…. Watch this space!
To get more information, or to sign up for an email notification when the jeans become available, check out the product page over at Bluffworks.