Bluffworks Chinos are even better than the original

So a while back, I made a pretty bold statement when I said Bluffworks were the best travel pants out there. The mix of technical fabric, casual styling, and hidden security pockets were as good a combination as you were going to get, and despite the millions of options available, this is still true.

But in the review, I mentioned one potential problem. The fabric wasn’t stretchy, so it can feel a little restrictive when sitting down on a plane for 14 hours, or high-stepping your way up a Mayan pyramid or something. And although they’ve updated the fit since I first got them (plus added a relaxed-fit version), they were also working on a stretchy new fabric that would offer a lot more flexibility, which they called the Chino.

For the last few years, I’ve been waiting for this new version to show up, often avoiding other pant purchases in the meantime, because I expected these would just end up replacing them anyway. And when they recently sent me a pair to try out, that’s exactly what happened.

These are great. Really, really great.

I’ve tried a million different options over the years, and I’m pretty confident when I say: I don’t think you’re going to find a better pair of travel pants out there. The travel-friendly security features are as good as it gets, and they still look exactly like a regular pair of pants. And with the addition of the stretchy new fabric, they’ve removed the only potential problem they ever had. They look great, feel great, and keep important items safely hidden away. This is exactly what travel pants should do, and amazingly few of them do it.

Here’s what they look like:

Bluffworks Chino Front

Notice first of all how you do not see a billion zippers and fluorescent racing stripes and billboard logos everywhere, which everyone else always seems to have for some reason.

Ahem, moving on.


These have a grand total of 7 pockets, 3 of which are zippered. This is amazingly useful if you’re heading somewhere with annoying pickpockets, or you just like keeping stuff someplace where it can’t fall out. Money belts are fine, but I just prefer these features built-in.

Both front pockets have a hidden, zippered pocket on the inside:

Bluffworks Chino Front Left Pocket

On the right side, there’s also a little hang loop, for attaching keys on a carabiner, or maybe a small camera, which can hang from its wrist strap.

Bluffworks Chino Front Right Pocket
Zippy again.

There’s also a small, drop-in coin pocket in there, but it’s down deep and it’s hard to get a photo of it.

I’d actually like to see “invisible” zippers used here, which are so stealthy that you can’t even see them, as they hide the zipper completely on the opposite side of the fabric. I floated this as a suggestion, so maybe it’ll make an appearance at some point, but in the meantime, the zippers are completely hidden when standing, and only show up when sitting down:

Bluffworks Chino Visible Zipper
It kinda depends on what kind of chair you’re in.

Even then, it’s only from certain angles, but it would still be neat if those zippers were the on-seam kind that remain completely invisible. Plus your hands wouldn’t feel the teeth when you reach into the regular pocket, which would be nice.

Moving on to the back:

Bluffworks Chino Back
Also normal!

Notice the extra back pocket on the right side, up by the waistband, which is designed for a phone. It holds it up high, so if you like to carry your phone in your back pocket, you won’t sit on your phone when you sit down. It even comes with an easily-removable line of stitching to shorten the space, so it can accommodate small phones, or you can remove the stitching, to fit large phones.

Bluffworks Chino Phone Pocket
Remove that extra stitch line if you have a big phone.

(I’m just pointing this out because of someone who didn’t understand the point of the stitch line, and thought his big phone just wouldn’t fit.)

Personally, I always carry my phone in a front pocket, but I like how there’s this extra bonus pocket in back. It’s a good place for keeping a wallet or spare cash, because no one will try to pickpocket something if they don’t know it’s there.

The back left pocket is also zippered:

Bluffworks Chino Back Left Pocket
This zipper is very hard to see when it’s zipped shut, just as it should be.

The right side pockets are just drop-in, I assume because they didn’t want a zipper going right over a phone, since the teeth might press against it and feel weird.

A few more pics for fun:

Bluffworks Chino Right

And the other side:

Bluffworks Chino Left

Like I said, I don’t think you’re going to find a pair of pants with as many built-in security features, and certainly not one that looks completely indistinguishable from a normal pair of pants. If you’re going somewhere with a reputation for pickpockets and you don’t want to look like a dork, this is the only way it should be. I even use these features at home, so coins and keys don’t fall out, which is always nice.


These are 100% polyester, with 2-way mechanical stretch. They feel great, and they’re super soft. While the original fabric felt like canvas (think carpentry pants), these feel pretty much just like a pair of nice cotton khakis. And the stretch, despite only going in 2 directions (left and right, but no up and down), really makes a huge difference, especially with the modern, trim fit. There’s even an inseam gusset that helps too. They’re really comfortable, and I wear them all the time. I much prefer them over the original version, because of the stretch.

These were also designed with a non-grainy appearance, for a more casual look. The originals look like wool, while these look like cotton:

Bluffworks Chino vs Original Fabric
Grainy, wool-like original fabric (left) vs smooth, cotton-like chino (right).

They also dry ridiculously fast. Putting them in the dryer is almost pointless. You can take them right out of the washing machine and wear them, and they’ll be dry in minutes. They’re also great at resisting wrinkles and stains, and they’ll probably last forever, as they’re made of 100% polyester.

Speaking of polyester, when it comes to travel, certain people prefer natural fabrics, or blends, especially in tropical climates; there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve generally run into more trouble with slow-drying natural fabrics than non-breathable synthetics, which is why I usually go for the technical fabrics. If they’re light enough, they’ll work well enough in hot weather, and if it’s really hot, you’re probably going to wear shorts anyway. That’s just how I look at it, which is why I prefer things like these.

The only high-tech fabric alternative worth looking at would be soft shell pants, which provide crazy yoga-pant levels of flexibility, due to the 4-way stretch, so you can go rock climbing, or something like that. Soft shells also seem to hold up to rain a little better, though I think that’s because of the pre-applied rain-resistant spray-on finish rather than the fabric itself. The downsides are that soft shells are usually twice as expensive, and threads get snagged more easily. So I’d like to see 4-way stretch in something like this, but I wouldn’t get too worried about it. The only time I could really feel the difference was on really cold days, when I was wearing leggings underneath. Because of the extra friction, the pants couldn’t move anywhere, so I could feel the resistance when kneeling down to tie a pair of shoes, for example. So if you need crazy stretch, get a soft shell. If not, you’ll be fine with these.


As you can tell, I’m overjoyed with these. The travel-friendly safety features are unmatched by anything else I’m aware of, and the development of the softer, stretchy fabric has solved the one and only problem with the original version. These also dry faster and resist wrinkles better than the originals, making them even lower-maintenance than they were before. I wear these all the time now, and it’s hard to imagine traveling with anything else. When Bluffworks says these pants will replace three in your drawer, I think they’re right.

A few things worth mentioning: I’d like to see 4-way stretch someday (as long as it could avoid the thread-snag problem of soft shells), along with invisible zippers in the front hand pockets. I’ve also heard these don’t breath quite as well as the originals, so you might still want shorts in oppressive heat. Also, I don’t think these come pre-finished with a spray-on rain-resistant treatment, so it’s not a bad idea to spray this on if you’re going to be out the rain constantly. Lastly, the softer fabric picks up cat hair a little more easily than others, which is worth knowing if you live with pets.

But that’s it, and none of those issues are particularly significant. If you’ve been on the lookout for something like this, I don’t think you’re going to find anything better. They’re light, soft, strong, stretchy, stylish, and secure. You can probably just get two of these and not shop for travel pants again for another 20 years. Like I said, they’re really great.

Check them out here.

(Two more colors are on the way soon; light gray, and dark gray.)

About SnarkyNomad

Eytan is a pretentious English major whose rant-laden sarcastic tirades occasionally include budget travel tips and other international nonsense. You can follow his every narcissistic word on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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86 Comments on “Bluffworks Chinos are even better than the original”

    1. It’ll show up soon. They did a poll during the Kickstarter for which colors they should do next, and people chose light gray and dark gray. They planned to do a poll ahead of time, since they discovered their most popular color for the original fabric (charcoal) from people just telling them they’d love one in that color. That way they wouldn’t have to guess every color ahead of time. I think they went with the warmer, flashier colors to differentiate it from the original fabric, which mostly has dressy colors, but I’m looking forward to the grays too.

  1. Are the leg openings that much narrower than the regular khaki ones? And how would you compare the fit to the regular (or relaxed if you have them) khakis?

    I really like the fabric, but I tend to like a fit between regular and relaxed (leaning toward regular usually). Not a skinny guy here, heh. Just happened to notice the sale and finally contemplating my first pair… choice paralysis.

    1. So I have a size 32, and the leg openings are exactly 15″ (in circumference) whereas the regular fit version of the original fabric lists them as 15.75″ (there are a bunch of super-specific measurements on the page for the original fabric version, so you can compare them to a pair of pants you already own by looking at those). I think the stretch version has a slimmer thigh as well, although the waist band seems pretty much the same. So the stretchy fabric is actually slimmer than the regular fit originals, but I think the stretch makes up for it. I actually don’t have an exact-match comparison for the original fabric, since the pair of originals I have got a fit update, but mine were made before that. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to try them both, and see which one you like best. Sitting down in them with full pockets for a while is probably the best way to see if they’re going to be restrictive. Maybe climbing stairs, too.

    2. The legs of the chinos are definitely slimmer than the originals, I would guess maybe an inch which fits with Snarky’s measurements above.

      I was very happy with the original fit so this was fine with me and the stretch helps, but if the originals were restrictive for you, then I’d go a size up and deal with the slightly larger waistband.

    3. I have both the original (non-relaxed-fit) and new chinos, and would say if you prefer relaxed/regular, you may find the chinos too slender. For myself (6′, 195#, average’ish? build), the chinos are about at the limit for how skinny a pant I’m willing to wear. They look & feel awesome, though (I’ve received more compliments on all of my Bluff pants than any other pants I’ve owned, and more on the chinos in the couple weeks I’ve had them), and the stretch is very welcome. My personal ideal would be the original fit cut with the chino fabric, and with a salmon/brick color option.

  2. Would you say that the hidden pockets are the biggest selling feature about these? I have a bunch of “technical fabric” pants, and while all have great fabric, especially for bike-to-work type things, none of them have hidden pockets. The pants I have are the Mission Workshop Aviator chinos, which are *quite* slim fitting, and 4 way stretch, but ultra light weight. I also have Outlier’s 60/30 chinos, which are 4 way stretch, thicker than the aviators, *very* expensive, but an absolute dream to travel in. No problems even in across the world flights. I also have the Futureworks which are “summer weight” nylon pants, but I honestly don’t like them too much because they’re not that lightweight, and only have two way stretch,

    Neither of them, though, have hidden pockets, and the Outlier pants are especially guilty of letting stuff fall out too easily.

    1. I think you mean Ministry of Supply Aviator Chinos…Mission Workshop is different, though they use a lot of the same sorts of materials.

      I would definitely say the security pockets are a major selling point. Slash pockets drive me absolutely insane, because change falls out of them all the time. This is why pretty much everything in my closet has jean pockets, because that almost never happens with them. The only slash pocket pants I own right now are dressy suit pants, and Bluffworks, because Bluffworks solves the change-falling-out problem with those zippers, which are also helpful for traveling to countries with lots of pickpockets. I really wouldn’t travel anywhere with a slash-pocket pant, because if you lose something in another country, there’s really no convenient backup plan. Imagine if your passport falls out, for example. At home it’s fine, but in the middle of nowhere it’s crazily complicated to deal with. So I prefer jean pockets, or zippered pockets.

      It’s hard to give fabric comparisons, because everyone will feel a little different, but I also have the Futureworks, and I think that would be the closest comparison. They’re similarly light, and have 2-way stretch…the differences seem to be that the Bluffworks have a higher inseam (better movement, and the gusset is wider, so it doesn’t feel restrictive), a less visible gusset (dressier appearance), and the Bluffworks are a lot smoother (not quite as soft, but they move around more easily because of the lower friction). The Bluffworks also have a much finer weave, so they’re not going to get snagged. Hopefully that helps. There’s no “perfect” fabric, but this is a good one.

      1. In the pictures the fabric looks a lot like the fabric of Prana Brion pants, is that correct or how does it compare to those?

        1. I would say that’s a good comparison in terms of weight and thickness, but the Prana Brion pants are much stretchier (I actually find them just a bit too stretchy, and they don’t really feel substantial, the way “real” pants would). They stretch 50% greater than their original width, whereas the Bluffworks stretch about 20%. Also, the Prana Brion has thicker threads, which are more easily snagged by cat claws (though this usually makes them more breathable). I would say the Prana Brion has more a sporty, stretchy, almost-too-thin fabric, whereas the Bluffworks feel much more like normal pants.

  3. As to the breathability, I read the same thing you did from their website, but my experience hasn’t supported it. Now I have only received them since the weather cooled off here in Miami, so this impression may change in the summer.

    What I did notice was that when I get things from the freezer section in the grocery store, my legs get freezing right away (which I never noticed with the originals), which might imply poor/less insulation but I don’t know (maybe some physics thing like heat capacity/conduction, etc, not really breathability). I have the blue version (not sure if the fabrics vary between colors).

    1. This has been my experience as well. They’re pretty thin, and they’re sensitive to cold temperatures, so leggings are a good idea if you’re traveling in the winter. I haven’t gotten a chance to test the breathability so far, but I think that because of the finer weave (you can barely see the threads), it just has smaller air gaps.

      I’m generally of the opinion that it’s the thickness that makes you overheat, more so than the breathability. If something is warm but breathable, you’re going to sweat. But if it’s cool and not-quite-as-breathable, you’ll just sweat less to begin with, so it’s less of an issue. I’ll come back in the summer with an update once I get a better idea of how it feels in the heat.

  4. SN, thanks for the thoughtful write up. I bought their originals and they are just way too formal for me while on the road traveling for holiday. Also, I work at a brewery, and my boss gave me a funny look when I wore them to work one day (“too corporate”). So sadly they are gathering dust in the back corner of my closet. Hopefully the chinos will work out better.

    1. That’s pretty funny. Only a brewery or something like that would tell you that you were dressed up too nicely. I think some of the lighter colors work, though. But yeah, this stretch version uses the non-grainy fabric, so it looks nice and casual.

  5. The originals were 25% off this week so I ordered two pair. I’m looking forward to getting them. I’m a big fan of navy pants; I wish the new chinos would be offered in navy. The khaki looks nice but the lighter blue and goldenrod don’t appeal to me.

  6. Do I understand it correctly that you think a soft shell like Outlier makes is a bit better than these, but not worth the extra money?

    1. It’s a pros and cons thing. Most soft shells are stretchier, but easier to snag. Aside from that, it’s just up to the specific soft shell fabric, which might have better or worse qualities depending on what the fabric is like.

  7. Does anyone have any experience with the pants from QOR, particularly the Gym Jean? Those look like they might be comfortable for travel…

  8. Thesee look really cool. I own the original ones and use them everyday to work (cool to hot climate in africa).
    was looking for these , fabric wise, but unfortunately they made them narrower and slimer. Even narrower at the leg bottom. I do not understand this tendency for cigarette type of cut… too slim, doesn t even look good as the shoes arz not slightly cover by the pants… too bad not for me this time it seems.

    1. Yeah, it’s just a style preference. More and more people nowadays wear slim-fitting pants, and they can only make so many options available. They do have regular and relaxed fits on the non-stretch fabric, but I didn’t think these were too skinny. I don’t like super-slim fits, and these look fine to me.

  9. I really like you reviews, I really do, but I am at loss to understand why you keep raving about these pants. They are not anything like a “khaki” pant. They are very light. Almost no weight. Might be good in the summer, but any temperature at all, you will feel the cold. The fabric has a funny synthetic feel to me. They are cut very slim. Since, they do not stretch very much, you have to be very thin to wear these. I know they are two way stretch. But, in my mind, they do not hold up to the four way Schoeller fabrics. I think the Proof or Outlier pants are a much better bet. More comfortable, easier to move in and can be worn on a much wider range of temperatures. I know you like the hidden pockets, but really, are you going to use them? Try them. The pants are slim to begin with. Put stuff in your pockets and you will wish you carried a bag or have cargo pants. On me, anyway, they look silly with things in the pocket.

    1. Well, I can’t say I’ve run in to any of those problems, and I use the zippered pockets all the time. If I’m traveling somewhere with pickpockets, I don’t feel good wearing a pair of pants without them. I love 4-way stretch fabrics too, but I haven’t felt restricted in these, unless I’m doing something athletic in them. They’re light, reasonably stretchy, have more security options than just about anything else, and they feel good to me. I’m quite happy with them. Maybe going a size up would help?

  10. I just received my pair. I have to say I agree with you in most regards. The material is awesome and the features are great. Like you, I love the they look normal.

    Unfortunately, I can’t wear them as the legs literary have to stretch to fit around my calves. 5’9″ and less than 150 lbs, I have only a 30 inch waist and can normally wear trim fit pants. These, I would argue though are more “skinny” than “trim.”

    Getting ready for a year long trip backpacking in with my family, I have recently tried on a dozen or so pants trying to find the best to wear/pack. Were it not for near-skinny fit, these would easily be them. If you think you can be comfortable in the trimmer cut, I’d highly recommend them.

    1. Hmm…that is unfortunate. I think Rohan might be a good place to look. They have similar features, but without such a trim fit, at least from what I’ve seen. Try the Fusions or the Grand Tour Chinos. They both look quite nice. Bluffworks also makes the original fabric version in a relaxed fit, so that might work too (though it won’t have the stretch of these).

  11. SN,
    Great recommendations on travel clothes…! I thought I’d give my two cents on the fit of Bluffworks. The original “relaxed fit” Bluffworks fit me perfectly in size 34W, 30L. My only minor “nitpick” about them is that I wish they had more stretch. The formal cut doesn’t bother me so much… I like them so much that I have two pair in Navy and Charcoal.

    The Bluffworks Chinos meet the requirement of “less formal” and “more stretch/comfort”; however, my only nitpick in this case is (like others) that the cut is a little bit “too slender” for my tastes. I purchased the Chinos in 35W, 30L; however, the calves are a tiny bit snug. Don’t get me wrong… it is not unbearable, but more of a preference thing… Given time, I have a feeling that the Chinos will “break in” a little bit more around the legs. That being said, the fabric is nice, soft, stretchy and relatively wrinkle free. It would be perfect if they came out with a relaxed version!

    Finally, the Rohan Jeans Plus you recommended are surprisingly comfy with stretch. Fit wise, I had to go for 36W, 31L. The longer length is ok, because the leg opening is on the slender side. No cuff dragging on the ground…
    (Yup, based on the Rohan’s, much to my sadness… the reality is that I’m really more of a 36 waist, instead of 34 waist… Size inflation has struck again!) Hope this helps the other readers…!

    1. Yeah, I think that when Rohan says “true to size,” they’re correct, but when Americans say it, maybe they’re being a little generous.

  12. We just spent three weeks in Equador and this is the only pair of pants that my husband brought. He raved about them and they still look brand new. Love the newer style with the additional security pockets.

  13. I bought a pair of the original Bluffworks based on your review. I love them and wear them often. The only issue I have with them is that there is very little room in the crotch area and they tend to bunch up there. This is not a problem when walking around or doing anything, but sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day, the pants begin to be uncomfortable, as you alluded to (14 hr plane ride). Do these fit any differently at intersection of leg/toros, and does the stretch factor help that problem?


    1. Yeah, they’re definitely different. Firstly, the stretch fabric helps a lot, but these also have a gusseted inseam, which helps reduce the pressure. There’s one other issue as well, which is that the original Bluffworks had a fit update at some point, pretty early on, to listen things up. You can go on the site and look at the very specific measurements and compare the numbers to yours to see if you have the first or the second version (and by the way, this is in addition to the relaxed fit version; so there was original regular, updated regular, and relaxed). The fit updated added 1″ to the waistband, so that’s the easiest way to check which version you have. But either way, I still find the stretch version much more comfortable, even with identical sizing.

  14. I don’t know why they don’t come in more muted shades, at least a navy would be good. I (and a lot of other men) simply don’t want garishly coloured trousers and in the UK khakis in the office are a no-no.
    Plus these are $32 more than the originals at $125, and the originals were already very expensive for trousers and a lot of budget travellers can’t justify the cost. I’d love to see a company make affordable technical travel trousers now that still look normal!

    1. I would certainly agree–although if you take a look at the Kickstarter campaign, you’ll see the latest update has photos of the light grey and dark grey, and they look great.

      As for price, it’s certainly true that most people out there would have trouble paying $125 for a pair of pants, and it’s nice when companies offer more affordable alternatives. On the other hand, a lot of people in the United States get frustrated with jobs being shipped overseas, and quality going down when products are made in other countries (although I think that last part isn’t always true; iPhones are made in China, and they’re pretty great). So although expensive products are out of reach for a lot of people, that’s part of the cost of doing business in the United States, and certain people out there might be happy to support that, if they’re able to do so. Plus…if it lasts twice as long as something that costs half as much, it’s more of an investment than an expense.

  15. I have had awful experience with these pants. The crotch-movement is non-existent. For a company that advertises climbing and adventure with their pants, they have NO movement. I don’t know if they changed before/after you got a pair, but mine are awful. Seriously, do NOT buy, unless, perhaps, you have stick-figure legs or something.

    To be fair, they don’t wrinkle at all. But pants you can’t walk in are pants you don’t worry about wrinkling anyway.

    1. Hmm…I was happy with the fit and stretch, but if you need something stretchier, soft shell pants are where to look. Different fabrics will have different stretch capabilities, but some of them are as stretchy as sweat pants.

  16. I bought a pair of Bluffworks a couple of years ago and had to return them. They were the same as the ones currently called “original, regular fit” on their web site, except that the current pants have added another zippered pocket. I loved the fabric, but I had to return the pants for two reasons, and I’m wondering if I would like the chinos better.

    The reasons I returned the originals are:

    (1) The pockets didn’t work at all. I don’t carry a manpurse, so my wallet, keys, flashlight, cellphone et cetera go into my pockets. The pockets were so shallow that, every time I sat down, stuff dumped out of my pockets. They did have a zippered pocket up front (now they have two), but, most of the time, I don’t want to have my everyday stuff in zippered pockets.

    (2) The fit was truly bizarre. To put it mildly, I have a fat rear end; nevertheless, the pants were so large in the back that even my rear end completely disappeared in them. I do not like my pants to fight tight, but the pants were so large and baggy back there that they just looked silly. I would have needed a waist to hip ratio something like a centerfold model’s to make them work.

    Do you feel that the chinos would not have these issues?

    I’m also wondering about the fabric. I really liked their “original” fabric because it was very light and because it did NOT stretch. (In my experience, stretchy pants are a very bad thing.) How much heavier is the chino fabric? And how stretchy are they?


    1. So there was a time after the first year or so when the fit changed slightly; not the addition of the relaxed fit, but the regular fit was loosened up just a bit. So it’s possible that even without changing sizes, the new version of the regular fit might not be the one you originally got. But anyway, the pockets were also made a bit larger as well; the front hand pockets on mine are exactly 11″ from top to bottom, so maybe you can try comparing that to something at home. The fabric itself stretches 15% (so something 10″ wide stretches to 11.5″ wide), which I think is subtle, but helpful. It’s not like wearing a pair of sweatpants, which are “too” stretchy.

      With the hip sizing issue, I’m not sure I have an answer…their site does have a lot of exact measurements, so if you can find a pair of favorite pants you already own and see which size compares best to one of their sizes, it might work.

  17. Eytan,
    In another place on this website, you talked about doing your travel laundry in the shower. I’ve only washed underwear in the sink. Have you actually washed a pair of these in the shower, and had them come out looking decently? If so, I’m assuming you don’t wring them to get the water out. So what is the drying time?


    1. Shower washing definitely has some pros and cons compared to a sink; you can’t immerse them, so they don’t get clean as quickly, but you also don’t have them soaking in the same water where someone brushed his or her teeth last night. It also depends on the water pressure. So although I like the fact that I’m at least capable of washing them in the shower, but I’d still use a washing machine whenever one is available. Drying time can be something like 12 hours, depending on the environment.

    2. I just recently took them on a trip and washed them in the sink. There is no problem wringing them out, but I always use a microfiber travel towel for another level of drying (wrap them up in it and wring again), at that point, I could _almost_ wear them, if it was warm out probably. It was on the day of my return flight so I didn’t actually get a chance to let them dry for hours, so I can’t be sure how long it would take. I would say they were dryer after the towel than my original Bluffworks, but would probably take longer to dry the rest of the way? The originals just drip the water off pretty fast as they don’t absorb anything.

      1. Brian and Eytan,

        Thanks for your replies. I’m just amazed that you can wring these out and not end up with a wrinkled mess when they dry. I don’t like wrinkled, rumpled clothing. I normally wash shirts and pants on the delicate cycle in order order to avoid the high spin speed of other cycles. But I’ll try washing these by hand at home and see how it works.


  18. The Chino material is really nice: it is more casual than the original fabric but still looks sharp.

    As a longtime Bluffworks wearer with multiple pairs of the Originals, I am not on board with the new “trim” cut of the Chino, though.

    To me, the Chino seems more skinny than trim. Although I am a pretty lean guy, I find the Chinos super-restrictive through the knees/calves/ankle — so much so that crossing legs while seated becomes problematic, and binding occurs trying to navigate stairs. They feel “painted on” and restrict my normal range of motion… a deal breaker for me.

    That said, I love the new branding, new pocket fabric, and the addition of the second zippered front pocket; the shipping box is also more appealing than the previous floppy mailer bag. Bluffs’ customer service remains fantastic.

    1. That’s too bad…they worked for me, but not everyone has the same body type. I actually found them more flexible than the original fabric of the same size, but that was just me. If you want something with a similarly slim fit, soft shells will offer more stretch.

    2. I have the opposite reaction from G7. I thought that the original Bluffworks were scratchy and I didn’t like the way they were cut through the crotch: there’s way too much fabric for my tastes.

      By contrast, the new Bluffworks are really soft and comfortable, and I like the trimmer cut. I don’t feel like I’m wearing a mizzenmast between my legs. I guess buyers need to consider the kind of slacks they normally buy. If you prefer the “relaxed” fit or the “classic fit,” get the the originals. But I think most people who prefer slim-cut pants will like the new ones.

      1. Agreed that the new Chinos are really soft and comfortable. The fabric is great. As is your advice about the cut: if you like slim-cut pants, you will like these.

        Bluffs’ Regular cut is as slim as I’d ever want to go, though. I find even the Regular cut to be a little restrictive around the knees and calves; the Chino’s more aggressive taper below the knees is just too far outside my comfort zone. (I had the same reaction to these as I did to Outlier Slim Dungarees: they felt like tourniquets around my calves.)

        Were the Bluffs Chino offered in a Regular or Relaxed version, I’d have several pairs hanging in my closet, for sure.

        Another Bluffs customer described his reaction to the new Tailored cut thusly in his review on their www site:

        “These things look like hammer pants on me, loose down to the knee and snug from the knee down. They are snug on my calves while standing, which makes them bunch up above the knee. I have muscular calves but not like Popeye. If you like the skinny look, and have skinny calves, these may be for you. If you like a more traditional fit you may want to pass.”

        That sums up my feelings about them pretty well.

        PS – Recently tried the Ministry of Supply Aviator 2 chino and found the fabric of the Bluffs Chino far more appealing: while less stretchy, it has none of the creepily-synthetic polyester feel of the MoS Aviator 2. Here’s hoping Bluffs expands its lineup to include other cuts using the Chino fabric.

        1. Good to know about the Aviator 2. I have the original, which I thought felt quite nice, but I haven’t tried the new one yet.

  19. I just received a pair of the Chinos – fit wasn’t bad, albeit almost too much taper on the leg.

    The biggest problem I had was how noisy they are! I briefly tried them on for fit, and walked around and the noise was nearly comical.

    Did anyone else experience this? If so, does it go away after the first washing?

    I don’t want to wash them if they won’t get quieter, as I’ll need to return them.

    Love the reviews, SnarkyNomad!

    1. Hmm…I actually haven’t found them to be noisy, and I’ve had much noisier pants that I got rid of. They seem pretty comparable to most other pants I’ve used, synthetic or natural.

      1. I’m curuios if you’ve noticed any change in the noise after wearing and washing a few times. I just got a pair and love everything else but the noise is particularly noticeable for me.

        1. I haven’t noticed a major change over time, but I’ve had quite a variety of pants over the years, and these don’t stand out to me as particularly noisy. I’ve heard worse. It could be better, but it’s still fine for me.

          1. New ones are way better. There’s still a bit of a zip-zop sound, but to me it’s negligible on the new ones.

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