BPL and Business Trip?

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  • #1325814
    6th 0


    Hello Everybody,

    Last week was the first time I really decided to lighten up on a business trip for a trade show in Vegas. I was able to get 4 days of clothes, CPAP machine, laptop, several boxes of business cards, two boxes of Thin Mints for a local relative, business shoes (wore my Merrels on the plane), and toiletries in a single 38L REI Vagabond pack.

    Sadly, I didn't have time to actually do any hiking (but plenty of walking between the Luxor and Mandalay Bay!)

    Very cool, but I know I can do better because I was still stuffed to the brim.

    It did get me thinking (especially with two pairs of shoes…) and I wanted to see what this group thought:

    1) Is there a decent looking business chukka boot to do some light hiking but still be cleaned up enough for business casual? I'm not thinking multiple day camping but a half day on the trail.

    2) What is a good looking ultralight business suit? Linen perhaps? Does paracord make a good half windsor ;)

    3) Any other tips for mixing business with backpacking when you are expected to be ready for the boardroom? What kind of multiple use gear works well?

    I almost think that the best that can be done is some serious trade-offs: Business casual and backpacking/urban can co-exist, but being suited up and backpacking is probably difficult to single bag.



    Rolex .


    I'm a traveler.
    This year I picked up the Deuter Traveler 70+10 and it has worked out well for day hike and overnights. Comes with a small daypack I stuff laptop in for carryon the plane and then use it for day hiking around town, beach, etc. The backpack straps have a built in cover to avoid baggage line snags.

    I have around 80 trail miles on my back with it and I think around 7-8 overnights.
    I usually do "up and backs" on a weekend wherever I happen to be.

    My bag, pad, tent, cookset(sans fuel), and boots fit in the sleeping bag compartment in the bottom and the work and personal stuff fits in the top compartment.

    On the shoes, I bought a pair of brown leather lace up shoes also made by Merrell that work for business use but survive the ordinary walk around town and trail use just fine and comfortable.

    I also own the ACT lite 65+10 made by Deuter but it's more "backpacky" than the traveler for business use. The ACT lite is great for train rides and bus stuff as it's narrow and will fit through doorways better inside places though.

    BPL Member


    As a dude you are super lucky, there are a bunch of "techwear" companies that fit the bill for dress pants, even jackets etc. Check out companies like Outlier, Wool and Prince, Outerboro, Proof NY etc. You can look on ebay or grailed to see if you can get a discount. You may be able to work some stuff from the merino wool companies too.

    Look around, you never know what you might find. I found a company via searching for "merino" on ebay that sells normal women's clothes…that happens to use a lot of fabrics like 100% merino, linen, silk, etc. And these are not just sweaters or whatnot.

    Us girls don't have as many options. Still irks me, why does "travel/backpacking" clothing have to look so different from "normal" clothing? I am working on it.

    Mitchell Ebbott


    Locale: SoCal

    I'd avoid linen suits for business. They're very casual (as casual as a suit can get), and they tend to wrinkle very quickly. Great for a summer wedding, but not so much for a business conference. If I need a suit for a trip and I'm packing light, I often wear the suit on the plane. They're just such a pain to pack properly. Some companies do make "traveler" suits with anti-wrinkle fabrics (I know J.Crew, at least, has this option in their excellent Ludlow line).

    I doubt that there's going to be much cross-over with shoes either. What you might try instead is finding some packable hiking shoes—for example, my Patagonia Rovers fold flat in the heel, saving significant space. Or for shorter hikes you might be just fine with Chaco or Teva sandals.

    Socks can be multipurpose, so long as you're able to do laundry. Wool or synthetic dress socks would work just fine for hiking.

    Dawn's suggestion is an excellent one. Outlier is expensive but come very highly recommended, and other techwear companies could work well here too. Wool & Prince is a company worth looking at for multipurpose dress/hiking shirts.

    Anthony Meaney
    BPL Member


    Locale: Canada
    6th 0


    I was lucky this time since it was a trade show, so standard business casual slacks and polo. Most of my travel for business this year, however, will require suit.

    I've never liked linen for suits so I'm somewhat relieved to hear that linen is also a bit too casual. Wool/silk blends causes a shine so I'll stay away from that–I'll just have to look for an uncanvassed or unlined summer suit instead. That would lose some shape and construction, though, without at least a floating canvas for proper drape. Time to suck in the paunch ;)

    I may just have to wear the suit on the plane, keeping the rest of the casual gear in the backpack, but maybe take some lightweight low drop, flat packing trail runners.

    The Icebreaker Tech T's I wore were great for the plane and as an undershirt for the polo with the company logo I wore off and on for 4 days. I wore North Face convertibles on the plane thinking that if I had some trail time I could get some shorts out of the deal, wearing cotton khakis during the show. Next time I would have gotten rid of the heavy cotton and go with some of Dawn's suggestions, reducing the amount of pants to one and foregoing shorts.

    Somehow I was ushered into the TSA PRE line on the way back. On the way out I had to unpack for inspection even though I had to pull out the laptop and CPAP (although I have to say the TSA were very friendly). On the way back through PRE I didn't have to take a single thing out of pack, kept my shoes on, etc. I think I'll pay the $80 and have the interview to be cleared just to avoid having to repack.


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