Good Gear: Travel Clothing

Saving weight, says Robin Barton, needn't mean shedding style

The golden rule of packing for a summer trip is to discard half the stuff you want to pack. So it's important to make a few clever choices from the racks of all-singing, all-dancing travel clothing that face you. It needs to be something low-maintenance, that copes with hot climates and has a few tricks up its sleeve. And we added an important extra rule: no beige.

The golden rule of packing for a summer trip is to discard half the stuff you want to pack. So it's important to make a few clever choices from the racks of all-singing, all-dancing travel clothing that face you. It needs to be something low-maintenance, that copes with hot climates and has a few tricks up its sleeve. And we added an important extra rule: no beige.

There is more awareness than ever of the risk posed by skin damage from the sun, and lots of travelwear now boasts a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating. For women, the Lowe Alpine Seamless Connection Tee has an UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and the Ronhill Elite T-shirt has a SPF of 50. It sounds obvious, but remember, they will only protect the skin they cover.

For men, the North Face's Hamilton shirt, from their new range of loose-fitting plaid short-sleeve shirts, has zipped chest pockets, a mesh lining across the shoulders for those toting a rucksack, SPF rating, and best of all, doesn't look like travel clothing. The fabric resemblescotton, but is instead a wicking, man-made mix, so it won't get damp and shapeless like cotton can.

If the Hamilton shirt repre-sents traditional, masculine travel tailoring, the Arc'Teryx Ether T-shirt is its hi-tech, metrosexual sibling. So named because it is the lightest, most diaphanous item of clothing short of underwear, it folds up to the size of a packet of cigar-ettes. Flatlocked seams and no labels add comfort and reduce bulk, and the result is marvel-lously comfortable. Pull it on and everything appears decent, but it's not the sort of T-shirt you would wear into a pub in a strange town.

Arc'Teryx travel clothes are the best-made in store, and their Palisade trousers are no exception. With a typically technical appearance, they have two zipped hip and two zipped thigh pockets. They are very light, very breathable and have a tailored fit, and are available in short, regular or long leg-lengths.

Women have smarter options too: Sprayway's Essential Check shirt is a versatile piece of clothing, as appropriate in a restaurant as on the beach. It's got a fitted shape, is crease-resistant and has an SPF of 30.

On the lower half, Sprayway's Women's Canyon Pants are loose-fitting, airy trousers for hot climates, with an SPF of 40. Made from cotton-like TecWeave, they have an elasticated waist and drawstring. Yes, the pale stone colour is close to beige, but advice on avoiding mosquito bites recommends covering up with light-coloured clothing.

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