When you’re traversing rough terrain, working outdoors, or handling dangerous equipment, you need high-performance clothing — including your pants. However, it can be uncomfortable to wear some tactical pants during the warmer months of the year. As a result, it’s often necessary to select a pair of pants optimized for use in hot weather.
What Are the Best Tactical Pants for Hot Weather?
There are four major apparel brands that manufacture the best tactical pants on the market for use in hot weather: 5.11 Tactical, Propper, ReFire, and Tru-Spec. Take a look at their products and find the best pair for your individual needs.
Tactical Pants — How to Choose?
Favored by first responders, military personnel, hunters, hikers, and competitive target shooters, tactical pants offer increased strength and durability compared with standard civilian clothing because of the materials and stitching methods used. Whatever pair of pants you choose, it must fulfill certain requirements to be acceptable. These include:
The first purpose of tactical pants is to be durable in a way that civilian clothes are not, allowing military personnel, first responders, and outdoorsmen to perform work- and recreation-related tasks under adverse conditions. But durability isn’t limited to environmental protection — as you move, your clothing needs to stay together. You should be able to comfortably run, kneel, and crouch without causing excessive wear.
In hot weather, the pants that you choose should be breathable to promote air circulation and allow sweat to evaporate into the atmosphere, but this requires balance. Cotton is more breathable than polyester, for example, but less durable. Nylon, in contrast, isn’t usually as breathable as polyester but is both stronger and provides more elasticity. Most clothes comprise a blend of materials, allowing you to choose exactly what properties you need without compromising your requirements.
Tactical pants, regardless of climate, need to provide enough pockets of the right kind for your daily or tactical equipment and accessories. This is especially important for those of you who live in warm regions, regardless of the time of year, and need to carry supplies with everywhere. Under circumstances where you can’t or, don’t want to, carry a backpack, a good pair of tactical pants is your next best choice.
Generally, tactical pants have more packets than typical civilian alternatives. Front, back, and side pockets are common, but you can also find examples that provide hidden or accessory pockets for specific items. Hook and loop closures are a reliable and common way of sealing pockets to protect their contents.
Before comparing a few products on the market to see which part of tactical pants is the best option, it’s worth discussing some terminology.
Bartacking is a stitching method used to reinforce parts of an article that are susceptible to increased stress or wear. This method uses a tight zigzag pattern. You may already be familiar with it if you ever examined your pair of jeans — the stitch reinforces buttonholes, the openings of pockets, ends of zipper areas, and belt loops.
A gusset is a triangular or diamond-shaped patch of fabric that the manufacturer sews into the crotch of a pair of pants to increase the structural durability of the article. Instead of four seams joining at the crotch, the gusset distributes the stress more uniformly.
It may be tempting to buy black tactical pants because black absorbs all wavelengths of light, reducing visibility in the dark. In absorbing light, however, black-colored clothing converts it into heat, thereby raising its temperature. In colder climates, this can be an advantage. But in warmer climates, or during the summer, black pants in direct sunlight can hamper your comfort.
For this reason, it’s advisable to stick to brighter colors, such as white, beige, tan, or khaki, to keep yourself cool. As these colors are more reflective, you’ll need to consider the effect your clothing has on the ability of either potential threats or game animals to detect you.
1. 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Ripstop Pant
5.11 Tactical is usually one of the first brands that spring to mind when someone discusses tactical apparel, and it’s not hard to understand why. The company has a reputation for delivering high-quality, rugged clothing, having been in business for almost 30 years. That brings us to the Taclite Pro Ripstop Pant — the company’s answer to summer apparel.
Materials and Construction
The Taclite Pro is made from a 65% polyester, 35% cotton, 6.2-ounce ripstop material, combining durability and breathability for a lightweight and comfortable wearer experience. The Teflon finish increases the Taclite Pro’s resistance to water, gun and motor oil, solvents, and other contaminants.
The knees and seat are double reinforced and feature triple stitching. In addition, 5.11 applies bartacking to all major seams. The industry standard, 5.11 uses YKK zippers and Prym snaps to securely fasten the Taclite Pro front.
Every pair of tactical pants should provide sufficient pocket space for all of your EDC (everyday-carry) gear, such as pocket knives, flashlights, electronics, wallet, car keys, and cellphone. The Taclite Pro Pant offers a total of eight pockets, including strap-and-slash pockets on the seat, and deep pockets for use with tactical equipment. The straps allow you to attach MOLLE-compatible gear and carabiners.
When it’s hot and humid, comfort is paramount to any pair of pants, tactical or otherwise. In addition to the relaxed fit and breathable fabric, the Taclite Pro Pant features an elasticized action waistband and gusseted crotch, ensuring a full range of motion.
The Taclite Pro Pant is available in 10 different colors — black, charcoal, stone, storm, battle brown, coyote, TDU khaki, TDU green, tundra, and dark navy — providing a range of options for color coordination. In the summer, you should probably err on the side of caution and avoid the darker colors, unless you expect to be working at night most of the time.
5.11 tactical clothing is the standard for law-enforcement and training applications. If you need a pair of pants that can hold up to the rigors of duty, recreational or competitive shooting, or outdoor use, the Taclite Pro Pant is a superb, affordably priced option. The 65% polyester/35% cotton fabric is breathable and comfortable — ensuring that you remain cool in the summer.
- Durable and breathable 65% polyester/35% cotton construction
- 8 pockets
- Action waistband
- Gusseted crotch
- Available in 10 colors
- No inseam lengths shorter than 30 inches
2. Propper Men’s Summerweight Tactical Pant
The Propper Men’s Summerweight Tactical Pant is a lightweight, comparably priced alternative to the 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro. Propper has been manufacturing tactical apparel for law-enforcement, military personnel, and private citizens since 1967, and the quality of workmanship definitely shows.
Materials and Construction
Made from lightweight 4.2-ounce 94% nylon and 6% spandex ripstop, the Summerweight Tactical Pant is both relatively breathable and moisture wicking. The gusseted crotch increases the durability of the pants and ensures that you’re able to move freely without risking ripping the fabric.
Propper’s Tactical Pant offers a total of 10 pockets for your EDC and tactical needs, including front mesh pockets with reinforcement for knives, a side zippered pocket, zippered back pockets, and a covert back pocket, which you can use for hiding your ID or the key to a pair of handcuffs.
There’s also a side zippered pocket with a front patch pocket that closes with a flap. The dual-compartment side cargo pockets are useful for storing a variety of items, from flashlights to firearm magazines.
The Summerweight Tactical Pant is available in five colors: alloy, black, khaki, LAPD navy, and olive. While the Summerweight Tactical Pant doesn’t offer the same range of options as the Tru-Spec Men’s Original Tactical Pants, it does offer some of the most common colors employed in tactical, law-enforcement, and competitive shooting environments.
Featuring an athletic fit, the Summerweight Tactical Pant has a rigid waistband that sits below your waist. The fit is straight through your hip, thigh, and lower leg.
The Propper’s Tactical Pant is a well-made, spacious, and versatile pair of tactical pants that provides the strength and elasticity of nylon and spandex for a durable and comfortable fit. However, as nylon is not as breathable as either polyester or cotton, this can be a warmer choice when the temperatures peak.
- Lightweight nylon/spandex construction is durable, moisture wicking, and elastic
- 10 pockets, including several zippered pockets and a covert back pocket
- Gusseted crotch for additional strength and range of motion
- Limited range of color options
3. ReFire Men’s Assault Outdoor Tactical Cargo Pants
The ReFire Men’s Assault Outdoor Tactical Cargo Pants provide a lightweight, tactical option suitable for both indoor and outdoor wear. Providing a variety of differently sized pockets, this pair of pants allows you to carry all your EDC equipment and more.
Materials and Construction
Made from 95% nylon and 5% spandex, making them thin enough to be worn either during summer months or otherwise warm climates, but sacrificing neither durability nor style. The addition of spandex and the accompanying elastic waistband both allow for a perfect fit.
The crotch area is strengthened with double and triple stitching, giving you a wider range of movement. Despite that, the pants are inconspicuous enough where they could easily be worn in casual environments and no one would bat an eye. But, if you do decide to take them to work, you will be pleased to know that the material breathes well and dries quickly.
The ReFire Men’s Assault Outdoor Tactical Cargo Pants have nine pockets in a wide range of sizes and for different purposes. In particular, the manufacturer placed special emphasis on allowing you to comfortably carry both a flashlight and a walkie-talkie — the two deep front pockets have side gussets and are designed specifically for that purpose.
In addition, you also have two spacious back pockets, one with a small internal pocket, two expandable cargo pockets, and two internal zippered pockets. Surprisingly, even when carrying enough supplies to fill them, the pants don’t appear bulky, providing as much comfort as they do space.
With this number of pockets, you would expect these pants to get heavy pretty fast, but that isn’t the case at all, thanks to the lightweight materials and construction. Instead, the ReFire pants are comfortable, elastic, and dry quickly, making them the perfect choice for fishermen, outdoorsmen, climbers, and campers.
However, their inconspicuous appearance makes them also a great choice for anyone who would simply want to have their gear ready at any time — and the company makes that even easier with a durable plastic triangle ring you can attach your EDC tools to. To complete the picture, the leg cuffs are slope type, sparing you the hassle of having to force and twist them into your high tactical boots.
Men’s Assault Outdoor Tactical Cargo Pants are available in five colors: black, khaki, army green, gray, and navy blue. Like the Propper Men’s Summerweight Tactical Pant, ReFire provides a limited range of colors to choose from, but they’re also among the most common.
The ReFire Men’s Assault Outdoor Tactical Cargo Pants are a great choice for anybody who wants to have all of their equipment handy at all times and is looking for a way of carrying it all during warmer months.
With the breathable fabric blend and the addition of spandex for increased elasticity, you are looking for a pair of pants that will provide you with a comfortable experience not only for when you’re out in the woods, but strolling down the street as well.
- Thin, lightweight fabric
- Breathes and dries quickly
- Nine pockets, all in different sizes and for different purposes
- Useful for both outdoor and casual wear
- Doesn’t run quite true to size
- Only five colors to choose from
4. Tru-Spec Men’s Original Tactical Pants
If you carry a concealed handgun during the summer, you know that what you wear can make a significant difference to your comfort. The Tru-Spec Men’s Original Tactical Pants, part of the company’s 24-7 Series, allows you to carry comfortably when it’s hot outside and the sun is shining.
Materials and Construction
The Original Tactical Pants are made from 6.5-ounce 65% polyester and 35% cotton ripstop — comparable to the Taclite Pro. To protect the pants against water, Tru-Spec treats the fabric with DWR (durable water repellent), which you typically see on raingear. The knees are double reinforced for use with knee pads. The front closes with a Prym snap and brass YKK zipper for extra durability.
The front slash pockets are extra deep for EDC or pocket carry, and the hook-and-loop side cargo pockets are highly spacious. On the outside of the main cargo pockets are two smaller smartphone or magazine pockets.
The back pockets close with a hook and loop and are expandable for additional storage. If you want to carry knives or flashlights, there are dedicated accessory pockets between the front and back compartments, ensuring that you’ll never run out of space on the range or in the field.
The slider waistband is designed to accommodate IWB carry, and the 2-inch belt loops are compatible with a variety of leather gun belts. This ensures a comfortable fit and feel when carrying concealed.
The Men’s Original Tactical Pants are available in 13 colors: LE green, black, brown, Earth, LAPD blue, spruce, khaki, navy, coyote, olive drab, charcoal grey, light grey, and MultiCam. As a result, this is one of the most versatile options available, exceeding the Taclite Pro’s range by three.
The Tru-Spec Men’s Original Tactical Pants are designed with the gun owner in mind. If you need durable pockets and space for carrying handguns, loose ammunition, magazines, and firearms accessories, this pair is the perfect fit.
- Breathable 65% polyester and 35% cotton blend
- Deep front slash pockets
- Comfortable slider waistband for use with IWB holsters
- 2-inch belt loops can fit a multitude of gun belts
- Hook-and-loop side cargo and back pockets
- Magazine/phone pockets
- 13 colors to choose from
- Accessory pockets are on the small side
- Slash pockets can be difficult to open when wearing gloves
When you’re searching for the best tactical pants for hot weather, you have a range of options to choose from. We’ve managed to narrow the list down to four that we think are a good fit.
The 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro is a good all-around option, providing durability, breathability, and versatility at a reasonable price point.
If you want more elasticity and strength, consider the Propper Men’s Summerweight Tactical Pant. For those who carry concealed handguns or need the pocket space for ammo, the Tru-Spec Men’s Original Tactical Pants are the perfect choice.
Finally, the ReFire Men’s Assault Outdoor Tactical Cargo Pants are affordably priced and designed for both indoor and outdoor use. In addition, these pants can accommodate a flashlight, and walkie-talkie or other portable radio, and feature a total of nine pockets for abundant storage.
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