Best travel pajamas: How to choose comfortable sleepwear

by Feb 1, 2019Gear

Pajamas are the one item you will likely wear every single day for at least eight hours when you’re traveling. We’ll help ensure your sleep is great with our guide to the best travel pajamas, pjs or sleepwear.

Everybody talks about how to pick the best travel shoes or pants or jackets, but what about that one item you will likely wear every single day for at least eight hours? I’m talking about the best travel pajamas.

Pajamas are a pretty personal item, with some camps leaning toward short sleeves, long sleeves, leggings, tees or, of course, nothing at all. Take a look at some of these considerations, below, for choosing the best travel sleepwear, then consider your own personal tastes in sleepwear to make your decision. And, like planning for any trip, don’t wait until the last minute and then just grab something from the closet!

Attention buff (or nearly buff) sleepers: If you like to sleep au natural or in something super skimpy, remember that could cause an issue when traveling. Something both men and women want to consider is some coverage and modesty. Whether you need to amble down the hallway for water, ice or a bathroom in a hotel or hostel; are staying at a friend’s or relative’s with a shared bath; are couch-surfing or; for goodness sake, have to quickly exit your lodging in the night for a fire alarm (I have been there!), a little coverage can be key for comfort for all parties involved. (We have also heard stories about people getting locked out of their rooms in a tiny little piece of sleepwear, then having to hang out in the hall waiting for help AFTER waltzing to a front desk to find help.)

My personal list of features for the best travel pajamas

  • Shoulder coverage to cut out any possible drafts.
  • Light enough not to feel stifling in a potentially stuff room.
  • Non-silky, loose and breathable – if you are of an age where night flashes can happen.
  • Thin and light enough to dry quickly after a hand wash.
  • Non-see through. Nuff said.
  • Butt coverage, be that a pair of boy shorts with a tee or a long sleep shirt.
  • Something other than cotton, preferably a fine merino, see below.

My ultimate go-to these days for the utterly best travel pajamas? Fine merino wool! Yes, if merino is great for tops, sweaters and socks, then why not travel sleepwear? The same characteristics apply: You can wear it for a long time before a wash is needed. Few if any odors. Temperature regulating (no waking up feeling damp or clammy). Washes well and dries quickly. Plus, my brand of choice, Chill Angel, is not your mother’s wool undies but cute pieces for all tastes.

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I’ve heard some people say sleepwear should do double-duty — night wear and day wear. We always swear by double-dipping and layering for our clothes. But I say “no” to that for travel sleepwear. Who wants to wear a shirt all day then sleep in it? Unless you are camping or backpacking, of course. Same goes for leggings. I personally find leggings too confining or hot, plus you have that much more material to add weight and bulk when packing.

Speaking of extra weight: I have heard people note they pack a robe for covering up. Well, gosh darn, I don’t have a personal sherpa and a robe is one more thing to add a few ounces I don’t need. Just ensure your choice in best travel pajamas breathes, is lightweight and covers enough for modesty. Then dump the robe idea.


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Natural fibers can be your best choice, if you don’t cave in to a merino wool set for your best travel sleepwear. For example, bamboo or cotton.

Now, for men: Many men don’t like to wear anything to sleep. But, just like for women, being preparing for a trek down the hall or a midnight fire drill is key, so consider a pair of boxers to sleep in  — or at least have something beside the bed for a quick pull-on. Michael prefers to pack an extra pair of his go-to ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxers to wear to bed when he might need to traipse down the hall.

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1 Comment

  1. Taylor Anderson

    I like how you mentioned that one should choose travel pajamas that cover the shoulders, as it will help keep out drafts. I might be traveling soon, so these tips could really help me out. Thanks for the great tips for choosing travel pjs!

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