Global Traveller Style

When you’ve got one bag of clothing to take you across the planet, you want stuff that’ll look great from seafront to city and everywhere in between. Here are our most versatile style picks….

12th December 2022 | Words by Joly Braime @ WildBounds HQ

Perhaps it’s no bad thing that globetrotter style has moved on just a little since The Beach.

Back then, a generation of Di Caprio wannabes adopted the unofficial 'beach bum' uniform, mostly picked up from markets in Phuket or Bangkok. Hands up if you’ve ever rocked any of the following:

  • A Cusqueña beer T-shirt
  • Jungle beads
  • Wrap-around Thai fisherman’s pants
  • A market-bought bootleg fleece with ‘CK Calvin’ or ‘Louise Vuitton’ branding across the front
  • Sandals made from car tyres
  • A hand-poked tattoo that is now just a bluish smudge.

Yep, us too. And though it was good while it lasted, times have thankfully changed. These days it’s all about fun, multi-functional apparel in easy-care fabrics. When you’ve got one bag of clothing to take you across the planet, you want stuff that’ll look great from seafront to city and everywhere in between.

Here’s what you’d find in our suitcase if we had a round-the-world ticket and a few months to play with…

The go-anywhere shell

The keystone of any globe-trotter’s wardrobe, your travel jacket has to tick a lot of boxes. It’s got to be lightweight and weatherproof – and of course you want it to look good too.

It needs to be the kind of thing you can wear on a cool evening bar-hopping in Buenos Aires, a day-hike up to Arthur’s Seat, or the deck of a night ferry out of Piraeus.

What to pack…

We’ve got heaps of great jackets for men and women, but for our money there are two brands jostling for the travel shell top spot.

The first is Cotopaxi, with their signature block-colour style that conjures up the best bits of the 80s and 90s. Their lightweight Teca windbreakers and insulated Teca Calido hooded jackets are both serious contenders for our favourite travel shell, but we’re also pretty keen on the waterproof Cielo smocks and jackets.

Picture Organic Clothing Surface shell jacket, WildBounds UK

And then there’s one of our office favourites, Picture Organic. While many of their jackets are aimed at the winter sports crowd, they also do some more versatile travel pieces. For women, the Delva looks great and boasts incredible performance for the weight, while men could check out the Surface jacket or the handsome Wailer smock.

The low-maintenance bottoms

They say Kerouac sold a million pairs of Levis, but the truth is that jeans aren’t the best adventure-wear – however rugged they look. They don’t have the flexibility for active pursuits, and they chaff something terrible when they get wet. Or at least, that’s what we thought…

What to pack…

We’ve come across the absolute revelation that is DUER performance denim. These strides have five times the stretch of regular jeans, plus triple-stitched seams, anti-odour treatments and gussets for extra mobility. Some versions even have a water-resistant coating that means they’ll hold up decently in the rain.

DUER No Sweat Trousers, WildBounds UK

DUER also makes a range of fantastic 'No Sweat' pants in plant-based Tencel-blend fibre. These look dressy, but feel like pyjamas – with a soft-touch, stretchy texture that makes them perfect for long-haul travel. Added points for being moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial.

Depending on where you’re going, something a bit looser may be in order. If you prefer a more casual look, check out the Gramicci G-Pants or the KAVU Chilliwacks.

The beat-‘em-up shorts

You can go one of two ways with travel shorts. Either you opt for the relaxed-fit, easy-care type that’s two-thirds of the way to being a pair of swim shorts, or you pick a hard-wearing hiker style and you properly wear them in.

What to pack…

If you’re in the first camp, relaxed travel shorts don’t come much better than the iconic G-Short from Gramicci. Durable and airy, they’re cut roomy for maximum movement. If you want to go even more lightweight, there are some great options from Seattle-based KAVU, while tentree does some lovely quick-drying shorts in natural performance fabrics like Tencel and hemp.

Amundsen Sports Field Shorts, WildBounds UK

As for the second option, here at WildBounds we’re a little bit obsessed with the range of shorts from Amundsen Sports. Made from rough ‘n’ tough materials like waxed cotton and stretch cordura, these are designed to wear in like an old Barbour jacket, soaking up the dirt and scuffs as you go. One member of our team spent pretty much the entire summer of 2022 in a pair of their field shorts without washing them once, and we can confirm that the dirtier and more beat-up they get, the better they look.

The all-day-on-your-feet socks

Whether you’re hiking up to a viewpoint, drifting through art galleries or traipsing round ancient ruins, travel is hard on your feet – especially if you’ve got second-rate socks on. That thin pair of holey supermarket specials with the seams that rub your toes all day long? Leave them back home in the drawer where they belong.

Darn Tough socks, WildBounds UK

What to pack…

Instead, allow us to introduce you to Vermont’s finest, Darn Tough. From hiking boot socks to everyday models, these super-comfy socks with true seamless construction are so long-lasting that they come with a no-quibble lifetime guarantee. They’re made in quick-drying, odour-resistant fabrics that are easy to rinse out in hotel sinks, and good luck trying to wear them through.

The statement sweater

‘Will I really need that chunky mid-layer?’ you ask yourself as you’re making the tough packing decisions.

Yes. Yes you will. In fact, you’ll probably wear it more than anything else in your backpack. You’ll snuggle down into it on overnight bus rides or sling it on over your beachwear as you watch the sun drop into the sea, cold beer in hand.

And we’d argue that – where function is key with some of your other travel garms – you can afford to have a bit more fun with your ‘statement sweater’ and wear your globe-trotter credentials quite literally on your sleeve.

Sherpa Adventure Gear Dumji Crew Sweater, WildBounds UK

What to pack…

Our top pick for travel sweaters is Sherpa Adventure Gear. The company’s entirely owned by Nepalese sherpas, and those guys know a thing or two about keeping toasty. Most of the collection is manufactured in Nepal, and features beautiful traditional designs in soft merino wool or cosy recycled polyester fleece.

Speaking of fleeces, we’ve also got great funky designs from Cotopaxi and KAVU – plus some decadently fluffy hoodies from tentree.

The easy-care tee

We’ve all been there, shortlisting our T-shirts for a big trip. Do you pick the funny one? The faded old favourite? The edgy band merch? The practical one in tech fabric? It’s tempting just to chuck in the dependable base layers you use for outdoor activities, but no-one really wants to be the sore thumb who turns up to a club night wearing hiking gear.

Mons Royale performance t-shirts, WildBounds UK

What to pack…

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have the performance of a technical merino base layer without the skin-tight superhero fit. Oh, wait, you can. Kiwi down-hillers, Mons Royale, basically do exactly that. Their base layers are warm, wicking and breathable for high-energy activities, but they look and feel like your favourite travel tee. The merino-blend fabrics are also quick-drying and odour-resistant – which means less of your valuable adventure time spent doing laundry.

High-end fabrics aside, any traveller worth their salt has a quirky logo tee or two in the bag, and Picture Organic Clothing is your one-stop shop for fun designs in soft organic cotton.

Caps and sunnies

It’s the accessories that’ll really elevate your travel style. While shark tooth pendants and dream-catcher earrings obviously have their place, what we’re really talking about is hats and sunnies.

Sunski eco-friendly sunglasses, WildBounds UK

What to pack…

We’re huge fans of the range of sunglasses from San Francisco-based Sunski. They're comfortable, top-quality shades at seriously attractive prices, and the brand is so confident in their own high standards that each pair comes with a lifetime warranty. Even better, the polycarbonate resin frames use recycled plastic from landfill, and the company is completely carbon neutral.

As for the all-important travel hat, you can’t go wrong with a classic ball cap. We’ve got a soft spot for the unusual cork-bill ones from Picture Organic Clothing, but there are loads of others too, including winter models for colder weather.

And if you want to buck the trend with a boonie or a beanie, the massive range of lids from BARTS is bound to have something that suits your style.

The lightweight daypack

Pockets are never quite enough, are they? Sunnies, sun-cream, phone, wallet, Kindle, extra layer, chargers, rain poncho, water bottle, the works. What you need is a good lightweight backpack that’ll do just as well for a day hike as for a morning mooching round museums.

What to pack…

The big question is whether you need a daypack at all, or whether it’s time to go over to the dark side. Yes, friends, we are talking about the waist pack – AKA the bum-bag.

Forget that thing you had in the 90s with a peeling Power Rangers transfer on it. These days, bum-bags are comfortable, multi-functional packs with plenty of compartments to keep your stuff organised. You can wear them front, back, or go for the Gen-Z cross-body look. For outdoor adventure, Sierra Designs and Topo Designs do some seriously versatile hiking versions, while for a more low-profile model, you could try a Mystery Ranch Hip Monkey.

KAVU Rope Sling Bag, WildBounds UK

If you’re not sold on bum-bags just yet, you might want to consider one of the super-light packable day-packs from Matador, or a stylish sling bag from KAVU.

The hold bag

Global travel presents an interesting luggage dilemma. Rucksacks are more comfortable for ponying your belongings between hostels, but the regular shape and streamlined design of a suitcase makes it more practical for flying – plus it’s quicker to open up when airport security staff feel the urge to rummage through your underwear.

Some globetrotters opt for a hybrid bag that gives them the best of both worlds, while others keep it simple with a trusty duffel.

Eagle Creek gear hauler, WildBounds UK

What to pack…

The kings of adventure travel luggage are Eagle Creek. Their hybrid bags marry up the convenience of a suitcase with the comfort of a backpack, plus they do a range of packing cubes to keep your stuff organised. Osprey and Cotopaxi also produce versatile travel packs, and some of them are dinky enough for carry-on. For serious photographers, it’s probably going to be about Lowepro’s specialist camera bags.

If an old-school duffel is more your style, then you’ll want to check out the pared-back weekender holdalls from Bellroy or the deliciously heavy-duty ‘rack packs’ from Ortlieb.

The rest of it…

There’s a well-worn piece of thru-hiking wisdom that says you shouldn’t have anything in your pack that doesn’t do more than one thing. It’s nonsense when you think about it (what about your toothbrush? Or your pants?) but that multi-functional mindset is still a good one for any traveller to get into.

Here at WildBounds we’ve got a massive range of travel essentials, from multi-tools and power banks to notebooks and water bottles. So wherever your ticket takes you, we can kit you out with the gear to get you there and back in style.