Written by Christopher Scotti
Bluff Works claims you could work all day in their pants, bike home from work, take a moonlit hike that evening, and look sharp while doing it all. While I have never tried to cram work, a bike commute and a hike all in one day, I imagine these pants could handle it all if I did.
These American-made pants were dreamed up by Stefan Loble, a New York resident, who, after having children, decided he was spending way too much time maintaining his clothes. He set out to design pants he could do anything in, from playing in the dirt with the kids the next morning to a dressy date in the evening. He worked around the clock designing the right pant cut, choosing a material that would do what he wanted and producing the final product in four colors: charcoal, classic grey, velvet brown, and light khaki.
I purchased a pair of the light khaki pants in hopes that they would stack up to my lifestyle and I have since put them through the wringer. Full work week without washing or ironing? Check. Hiking through the San Bernardino National Forest? Check. Rough housing with my dog, Ginger? Check. The pants held up wonderfully. They have been resistant to stains and tearing and according to honest friends, family and co-workers, they didn’t take on the shabby appearance of normal pants that have been worn several days in a row.
Of course, working on a travel magazine, I bought these for a specific reason: travel. So, how did they really stack up? First, I crammed them in my camera bag with some shirts and headed to the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis to find out. (For those who don’t know/remember I am the Director of Marketing for a fire equipment dealership – by day.) They proved to be the perfect pair of pants for the trip. FDIC is a massive trade show, which for me meant walking around… a lot. I never had to worry about my pants getting hung up on sharp metal corners because of the tight cut and if they did get snagged, they never tore. I could see this trait being equally useful hiking on backcountry trails or rock climbing.
The pants look similar in appearance to dress pants and have a subtle print on them that gives them a professional look. I fit in easily at business lunches and dinners with clients.
Overall, Bluff Works are very versatile. I would guess that a pair of the charcoal and a pair of the light khaki could get you through an entire trip. They also wash and dry easy. If you line dry them, most of the wrinkles will stretch out and the heat of your body will be enough to relax the rest of the wrinkles.
These pants are made in New York and the owner, Stefan, claims he is dedicated to using only environmentally conscious materials and methods in production. There aren’t any details on the website and Stefan has not responded to requests for information.
Bluff Works are exceptional, particularly compared to travel pants, a category plagued by obnoxious amounts of pockets and loose, frumpy fitting. Bluff Works pants are both stylish and tough, but not perfect. The tight cut and special material don’t allow for the breathability of true adventuring pants, nor space in the leg cuffs for boots. The material tends to pool around the top of the boot. Also, at this point in time, there aren’t any women’s sizes or cuts, but the company is still very young. Despite some very minor complaints, these pants still out-perform and look much better than the majority of “travel” pants out there. I am looking forward to seeing more styles in the future and adding to my collection of Bluff Works plants.