Whether you squeeze in a morning jog around a new city or dedicate a day to hiking, working out on vacation will improve your mood, help your jet lag, and let you see parts of your destination that you might not otherwise. Here’s everything you need to help you get active on your next getaway.
Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt and Strider Shorts
Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt (available for men and women) is what you want to wear when it’s so hot out you don’t want to wear anything. Made from Patagonia’s lightest-weight performance knit, this shirt feels like air and wicks moisture to keep you cool. It’s also quick-drying in case you find a lake to cool off in, and it prevents odors so you can wear it multiple times on one trip.
Pair the shirt with the light and short Patagonia Strider Shorts (available in a men’s and women’s design) for the ultimate hot day performance outfit. These shorts dry incredibly quickly and have a unique split leg opening to help prevent chafing and increase airflow. Best of all, these shorts have four stretchy envelope-style pockets, plus one secure zipper pocket.
Toad&Co Liv Short and Swiftly Breathe Tee
It’s a rare pair of shorts that works for both hiking and city travel, but Toad&Co’s Liv Short manages to pull fashion double duty. These shorts have a slim, stylish design, but are made from a performance blend, ultra-stretch fabric that dries fast and lets you move without hindrance. UPF 50 protection is useful no matter where you go, as is the hidden elastic waistband.
Top off the shorts with Toad&Co’s Swiftly Breathe Tee, which comes in fun stripes or classic solids, for an outfit you can wear around town or in the mountains. This shirt looks like a regular T-shirt but is UPF protective, lightweight, moisture-wicking, and comfortable.
Backcountry Olympus Lightweight Shorts
These lightweight shorts pack down small, dry quickly, and allow for a full range of mobility. Available for men and women, the Olympus shorts have zippered pockets big enough to hold your keys and phone, so you can head out for your run without a bag.
Ministry of Supply Skinny Kinetic Pants
Ministry of Supply makes clothing that’s business meeting appropriate, yet comfortable enough to work out in. (In fact, the company’s CEO even ran a half marathon in one of its suits.) The Skinny Kinetic Pants can take you from the plane to work to yoga, thanks to the stretchy Japanese warp-knit Kinetic fabric that moves with you and always bounces back (so no sagging on your second day of wear).
Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere
Headed somewhere hot? Pack the Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Tank, which uses a trademarked cooling merino wool/TENCEL/nylon fabric blend to wick away sweat and keep you cool. A drop-tail design gives you extra coverage in the back, so you can bend over without worrying about being overexposed.
Orvis Quarter Zip Sweatshirt
Layers are a must when packing for a workout in an unpredictable climate, and Orvis’ Quarter Zip Sweatshirt is the perfect weight—not too heavy and not too light. It also makes for a great plane sweater, and is stylish enough that you can pair it with your day-to-day outfits as well.
Body Glove Gale Classic Boat-Neck T-Shirt and Drift Performance Fit Capri
Body Glove’s Drift Performance Fit Capris are made from a special Nylolite fabric that’s so soft and light you’ll need to feel it to believe it. These capris have side pockets to hold your phone, as well as a hidden back pocket big enough for keys or an emergency cash stash. Pair them with the Gale Classic Boat-Neck T-Shirt for a workout outfit that’s cute enough to wear to brunch after.
Basin and Range Slub Muscle Tank and Everyday Knit Short
For a casual and comfortable workout outfit that’s easy to pack, you can’t go wrong with the Basin and Range Slub Muscle Tank and Everyday Knit Short. Made from lightweight cotton, these essentials are easy to wear and won’t take up much space in your suitcase.
Free Country Microtech Chill Tank
It’s never too hot to work out if you have gear in Free Country’s Microtech Chill fabric, which keeps you cool no matter how much you sweat. Check out the technology in the tank top for women or in a men’s T-shirt.
Eddie Bauer Hiking Leggings
Prefer leggings over pants, even on the trails? Eddie Bauer has you covered with its leggings designed for hiking. I like these over standard hiking pants because you can more easily wear them in non-mountain environments (like on the plane) without standing out, plus I find them more comfortable than most pants. Eddie Bauer’s Trail Tight Leggings are different than regular leggings because they have odor-control technology, UPF 50+ sun protection, zippered pockets that are designed to be anti-chafing, and fabric that stretches without being see-through.
The Trail Mix Hybrid Leggings have all of the same features, plus a water-repellent fabric, so I pack these for when rain is in the forecast.
Shoes for Working Out on Vacation
HOKA One Hupana Flow
If you have a variety of workouts planned but only want to pack one pair of shoes, make it the HOKA One Hupana Flow. Available for women and men, these sneakers work for strength training sessions, road running, or walking—and they’re pretty stylish in case you want to wear them for sightseeing as well.
Merrell Phaserbound 2 Tall Waterproof Hiking Boots
Merrell’s Phaserbound 2 Tall Waterproof Hiking Boots (available for men and women) are sturdy enough for long backpacking trips with a heavy pack, but also nimble enough for fast day hikes. These tough boots are fully waterproofed but don’t trap sweat, have antimicrobial properties to reduce odor, and feature an air cushion in the heel to absorb shock.
Camelbak Octane and Lobo Hydration Packs
Hydration is key when working out while traveling—you don’t want to add to the dehydration that usually comes with flying. Pack a Camelbak to easily carry enough water with you and sip without needing to stop. The Camelbak Octane is perfect for when you don’t want to be weighed down on trail runs or hikes (it weighs just 350 grams). This pack has a waist belt to keep the pressure off your back and shoulders, plus plenty of built-in storage for the rest of your gear.
For bikers, the Lobo Hydration Pack is a great choice, as it holds three liters of liquid and has an external fill that makes it easy to top off the reservoir if you come to a clean water source.
Both packs have a new system that delivers 20 percent more water per sip, so you can drink quickly.
Buff CoolNet UV Headband
The Buff CoolNet UV Headband weighs just over half an ounce, so there’s no reason not to pack it. It can be worn nine different ways (as a head covering, neck gaiter, etc.) and has built-in UV protection, cooling technology, and odor control. Plus, it’s made from 95 percent recycled materials.
Brazyn Life Morph Collapsible Foam Roller
If you’re headed on a multi-day active trip, this collapsible foam roller is a muscle saver. The foam roller goes from completely flat to round with the simple pull of a string, so you can loosen up anywhere. It even comes with a carrying case and book of workouts to help you get the most out of your foam roller.
Kooshoo Plastic-Free Hair Ties
Hair ties are a must-have for working out with long hair, but they’re not great for the environment. Swap yours out for the Kooshoo Plastic-Free Hair Ties, which are made from organic cotton and not plastic, so they’re biodegradable and easier on the environment. They come in blonde, brown, and black colors to match different hair shades.
Camelbak Peak Fitness Chill Essentials Pocket Water Bottle
Camelbak’s Peak Fitness Chill has everything you could possibly want in a water bottle: a double-walled construction to keep your drink cold, a pocket that can hold your valuables, and a cap that can be opened and closed with one hand.
Tech to Help You Work Out on Vacation
JBL Endurance Peak True Wireless Headphones
Take your tunes, podcasts, and audiobooks with you anywhere with the JBL Endurance Peak True Wireless Headphones. These water- and sweat-proof headphones are completely wireless and guaranteed to stay in your ears thanks to a trademarked TwistLock design. The Endurance Peaks can last for up to 28 hours without needing to be charged (the charging case adds an extra 24 hours of power).
I struggle to think of good workouts to do in a tiny hotel gym, but the Peloton Digital app has been a game-changer. This app lets you stream strength workouts, stretching classes, outdoor running workouts, treadmill classes, and more wherever you are. There are equipment-free workouts you can do in your hotel room, as well as ones that can be streamed with audio only (outdoor running). Classes range from five minutes to over an hour, so you can find something that will fit in your schedule. All of the workouts can be preloaded when you have Wi-Fi, so you can download ahead of time if you won’t have cell service where you’re going.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 11 Performance-Wear Outfits You’ll Actually Want to Wear While Traveling
- 10 Best Workout Clothes and Tools for Travel
- 10 Walking Shoes You Won’t Be Ashamed to Wear in Public
Caroline Morse Teel tries to commit to working out on vacation. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for fitness and travel photos from around the world.
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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