Duer Performance Denim Review - The Daily Grog

Summary

The comfortable pair I’ve worn, Duer jeans will definitely find themselves in my ultralight packing list for casual trips.

Jeans are a tricky thing for minimalist travelers. On the one hand, they are pretty durable and versatile enough to handle most situations. On the other hand, they are bulky and often not comfortable for long transit periods. They don’t always handle technical wear (hiking or any outdoor activities) exceptionally well.

This is mainly a dilemma for the ultralight, one-bag traveler. I like jeans, I really do – they just look good. But they just take up too much space in my travel backpack. And I know I could wear them on the plane, but who wants to wear jeans on a 12-hour plane ride?

On the surface, Duer looks aptly poised to tackle that challenge:

DUER grew from a gap that athleisure couldn’t fill; clothing for anything you want to do in a day – hiking, the office, or out to dinner. With fewer, more versatile items in your closet, you can get dressed, out the door, and on with the essential things.

shopduer.com

In theory, this sounds ideal for travel, but how do they hold up in practice? Since we’ve all worn jeans, I’ll judge the Duer pants by fit, comfort, and packability.

Fit

Nowadays, travel/athleisure pants will just give you Small, Medium, or Large sizes, which is pretty annoying. Thankfully Duer lets you take your standard waist and length sizes,

My usual size is 32×32, and these fit like I’d expect.

Comfort

I think it’s safe to say these are the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn. There’s a significant stretch due to the 28% polyester and 2% spandex. Usually, when jeans say “stretch” in their title or description, we’re talking ~2-5% polyester or spandex. So the Duer jeans come in markedly higher in that category. No surprise, they’re comfortable as hell.

The main worry when you get to denim with a significant amount of polyester is that you tend to stop looking like jeans and start looking like leggings. Fortunately, the Duer Denim somehow manages to avoid that issue.

The other major comfort factor for the Duer denim is its gusseted crotch. I look for a gusseted crotch on almost all my pants now, especially when I take them traveling and plan to put them through some shit.

If you’re not familiar with the gusseted crotch, it’s a way of stitching and building pants that allow for significantly more range of motion and prevent wear and tear issues like crotch blowouts.

I haven’t worn these things on a plane ride quite yet, but I have worn them for a 12-hour car ride, and I didn’t notice any discomfort. So I would actually consider wearing them on the plane.

Packability

Finally, packability. Do these things pack down and fit in a one-bag travel backpack?

This is a tall order for a pair of denim, but I think the Duer jeans do a pretty good job. They aren’t the lightest or smallest, but they hold up pretty well compared to other popular travel pants, like the Outlier Slim Dungarees or the Foehn Brise.

(From left to right) Foehn Brise, Duer jeans, Proof Rover, Outlier Slim Dungarees

While not the most compact pair of pants, Duer jeans won’t make or break your one-bag packing system.

Conclusion

When comparing them to jeans from Flint and Tinder or Everlane, I prefer Duer jeans. Admittedly it’s a little odd to describe jeans as having “features.” Still, some, such as the gusseted crotch and water-repelling, set these apart from other brands. They do come at a cost, though; the Duer jeans are a touch more expensive than others – but not by much.

They’re also the most comfortable jeans I’ve worn and could even find themselves in my ultralight packing list for some trips. If you’re on the lookout for new denim, take a look at the Duer jeans.

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