Soft, cozy, and cute—The Clever Travel Companion makes some very nice underclothing. All pieces include pickpocket-proof pockets, but these are nice to wear even when you don’t need the secret pockets.
I tested a tank top with a roomy center pocket and some adorable mini boy-shorts. Bob wanted to try the men’s underwear, but the medium he ordered were too small for his skinny butt. Lucky me—they fit me perfectly and, with their two-button fly, are cute enough to run around in as outerwear.
In both the women’s and men’s shorts, the zippered pockets are totally secure. Without the zippers, there’d be a good chance that leg action would cause cash or credit cards to work their way up and fall out.
The pockets are roomy: about four inches wide and five inches deep, exactly passport size. But the zipper opening is tight and therefore limits what you can insert. I could just barely force in a passport, and then barely zip it in. On the other hand, the pocket positions do not make for comfortable passport-packing—as I bend my leg at the hip, the top and bottom of the passport cut into flesh. I prefer smaller items in the shorts pockets, like cash and credit cards.
I also tried a tank top with a very large front center pocket. I found the undershirt extremely soft and comfy, with a nice shape. Though I normally wear a small in most tops, a medium fit me perfectly. It’s very long. Tucked into jeans or a skirt and pulled over the zip pockets of The Clever Travel Companion’s shorts, I can’t even pick my own pockets. No problem putting a passport into the tank top pocket, and it feels fine there.
I’m curious about how these products perform in hot weather. They’re 95% cotton, 5% spandex—breathable, but clingy. I’m going to Mumbai next week and will test them on the hottest, most crowded trains in the world. I’ll post a performance report addendum afterwards.
So how useful are these undies, and how nice to use? Well, security is always a tradeoff with convenience. If you’re wearing tight jeans or a dress, neither the undershirt nor the shorts will be convenient for frequent extraction of cash or credit cards. But they’re a good way to carry a back-up credit card, or a passport in the few countries that require tourists to carry them. Or a hefty wad of cash if you’re looking to make undocumented purchases…
Wearing the boy-shorts (and the medium men’s shorts) under a skirt works well for me. I can reach the zip pockets from the waist, although the show I put on doing so could not be called discreet. Bob and I believe in doing most foreign purchases with credit cards, but sometimes, for a long day out, for a day spent at open markets or in remote locations where credit cards are not accepted, it makes sense to carry cash. With small money in a more convenient place, I can safely carry the rest of my cash, credit cards, and ID in hidden underwear pockets. No pickpocket can access the goodies in these safe stashes.
(Also consider Stashitware, underwear with one central hidden pocket.)
UPDATE May 2, 2012: I wore The Clever Travel Companion’s tank top on the world’s most crowded trains, trains so crowded you have to see them to believe it, and I loved it. The top looks nice enough to wear alone, which I did in the 90-degree heat, even though the zipper was thus exposed. So what: no one’s getting into that pocket. As to underpants, I preferred the single central pocket of Stashitware to Clever’s twin zip pockets, but Clever’s boyshorts are so cute I have to praise them, too. The tank top though: I love it.