Are you looking for a tough, durable, and functional pair of pants for tough activities? Do you need to keep important gear close at hand so you can access it quickly? If so, then a pair of tactical pants might be what you need.
These pants are designed to defend and protect the wearer in a variety of situations. They can have additional padding to protect from impact and dedicated pockets to safely carry knives or ammo. The right pair of tactical pants will aid you in your activities while also looking good.
Choosing the right pair of tactical pants can be difficult as there is a large range of pants available. In this article, we will recommend some of the best tactical pants available and also introduce to you the features and details you should look for before you make your purchase.
Tactical Pants Review
Vertx Men’s Recon Pants
These pants have a wide-variety of features to protect you and aid you in your missions. The pants have a large number of storage options with 13 pockets, including a concealed zipper right pocket, tool pockets on the hips, and back pockets with a Velcro closure.
There are also pockets on the thighs that are angled for easier access and there is a triple bellowed pocket with a Velcro closure, also. The interior of the cargo pockets have elastic bands to prevent the contents from moving around.
The pants are made from a mix of materials and are 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. The zippers are high-quality YKK zips and it has a relaxed waistband for extra comfort.
The pants are made to be tough as they have a fully gusseted crotch cut and double reinforced knees with a pouch for knee pads. They’re available in four colors and a large number of sizes.
- Thirteen pockets – these pants can carry all of your gear
- Velcro closure – many of the pockets have a Velcro closure
- Strong construction – the crotch is reinforced and there are pockets for knee pads
- Elastic bands – bands in side the pockets prevent things from moving around
- Sizes run small – you may need to size up to get a good fit
Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Series Original Tactical Pant
One of the main highlights of these tactical pants from Tru-Spec is how deep the cargo pockets are. If you’re looking to conceal carry a pistol, the pockets can easily accommodate this.
The pants also have two expandable back pockets with a hook and closure and several hidden pockets, two of which are ideal for a knife. The two cargo pockets have internal compartments for magazines.
The pants are available in two different materials. You can choose either a 100 percent cotton version that weighs 8.5 ounces or a 65 percent polyester, 35 percent rip-stop version that weighs 6.5 ounces.
Both options have a comfort fit slider waistband that can be used to accommodate holsters. The knees are double reinforced and have built-in pockets for knee pads or protectors. The pant legs hang pretty straight and they don’t have drawstrings in the bottom.
- Large pockets – can accommodate a conceal carry pistol
- Cargo pockets – internal compartments suitable for magazines
- Reinforced knees – the knees are not only reinforced but have pockets for pads
- Material and weight options – you can choose from two types of material and weights
- Stiff material – the 100 percent cotton version can feel too stiff
LA Police Gear Men’s Urban Ops Tactical Cargo Pants
As the brand name suggests, these tactical pants take their inspiration from those worn by law enforcement officers.
They’re available in 11 colors and a wide variety of waist sizes and leg lengths so there is bound to be an option for everyone. The waistband is elasticated to keep you comfortable throughout the day, regardless of your activities.
The pants are made from a combination of materials that is 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton rip-stop fabric to ensure it is breathable but comfortable.
They have a single slip pocket at the front and slip pockets at the back, as well as front pockets that are designed for a knife or flashlight clip. Of course, the pants also have large pockets on the sides for other equipment, too.
These pants are tough but flexible, thanks to the 22 individual bartacks and the articulated knees. There is also a gusset crotch to prevent the pants from wearing out regardless of how often you move or whatever you sit on.
- Wide range of colors – available in 11 different options
- Durable material – made with 35 percent rip-stop fabric
- Tough construction – articulated knees, 22 individual bartacks, and articulated knees
- Slip pockets – pants have pockets designed for knives and ammo
- Odd sizes – the sizing of the pants can be inconsistent
Under Armour Men’s Tactical Patrol Pants II
Under Armour are a well-known brand in a variety of outdoor and sport activities so it’s no surprise they also make tactical gear.
These pants are made from ripstop fabric and use UA Storm technology to make the material repel water. Despite its water-repellent properties, the material is also breathable and tough.
Both the knees and the crotch of these pants are reinforced to prevent wear and tear in these areas.
The waistband is stretch-engineered for comfort and to help the pants remain flexible throughout the day. The pants are available in seven colors and a number of waist sizes and leg lengths.
The pants are machine washable and have six pockets. Two of these are on the thighs, two are at the back, and the other two are front hip pockets.
The pockets are more shallow than some you will find on other tactical pants, however, so if carrying a lot of gear is important, these may not be the best option for you.
- Material – made from durable ripstop fabric
- UA Storm technology – makes the material water repellant and breathable
- Reinforced material – the crotch and knees are reinforced
- Stretchy waistband – allows you to move freely and feel comfortable
- Shallow pockets – the pockets aren’t as deep and large as on some other pants
5.11 Tactical Men’s Fast TAC Tactical TDU Pants
These pants are made by 5.11, a respected and well-known name in tactical gear. They’re available in five neutral colors and a wide variety of waist sizes and leg lengths. The straight legs on these pants make them compatible with a wide variety of footwear.
They won’t look out of place when paired with either tactical boots or more casual styles, making them very versatile. If you’re looking for a pair of pants you can wear both in the woods and in the office, these are a good choice.
Although they may be more versatile, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good tactical pants. They have five pockets, reinforced front utility pocket edges, and seven belt loops.
The pants are made from a pure polyester fast-tac fabric that has a water-resistant finish so you can wear them regardless of the weather. At only 4.7 ounces, they’re incredibly lightweight and they have a self-adjusting waistband to make them comfortable to wear.
- Water-resistant finish – fabric is water-resistant so they can be worn in all weathers
- Lightweight – they weigh only 4.7 ounces
- Machine washable – easy to clean and care for
- Professional look – suitable for outdoors and the office
- Thin material – the material is too thin for colder climates or particularly tough environments
Before you buy any tactical pants, there are a few criteria that you should keep in mind. Here are some features and functions that you should consider when choosing the best tactical pants for you.
Materials And Construction
The materials used and how the pants are constructed are the most important factors in the durability and quality of a pair of tactical pants.
The material should be lightweight but flexible enough to move as you do and this is why materials such as ripstop and polycarbon blends are the most common. You will often find these materials coated with a durable water-repellant (DWR) to increase durability.
Construction is also essential because it doesn’t matter how good the material is if your pants are coming apart at the seams. Many pants manufacturers reinforce some areas of the pants with overlays, especially in the regions that suffer more wear and tear than others.
Some tactical pants have padding stitched into them to help protect the wearer. For example, extra padding on the knees to make kneeling and crawling more comfortable is a common form of padding.
Some other tactical pants may even have pads strategically placed to protect the wearer from impact.
Often, these pads can be removed so they can be upgraded or to make cleaning your pants easier. Some pants may not have their own padding but will have pockets or sleeves so you can add some later.
One major feature of tactical pants is the amount of equipment they can carry. Large cargo-style pockets on the legs are very common but the number and size can differ from pair to pair. There are also many regular-sized pockets to be found.
Tactical pants can also have more dedicated storage options for gear. For example, you can find dedicated knife pockets, storage for ammo magazines, and various clips and systems for sidearm holsters to be attached.
You should also check how the pockets can be closed. Tactical pants use a variety of different closures, including Velcro, buttons, and hook and eye closures.
In an emergency situation, Velcro is the quickest closure to open so if you might need immediate access to your pockets, look for Velcro fastenings. Button closures can take the longest to open, especially if the pants are new and the buttonholes still stiff.
It’s highly likely that at some point, you will find yourself outdoors in bad weather. Soaked through gear can make any mission or hike feel more daunting and tiring than it really is, so getting a pair of tactical pants that are resistant to bad weather is important.
Getting a pair of truly waterproof pants is near impossible, but many offer a good level of water resistance and are treated to keep you as dry as possible. A pair of pants with good water-resistance will also help keep the contents of your pockets dry.
You also want to look for pants that will be suitable for extreme temperatures. If you’re in a warmer climate, look for pants that are breathable and have quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial properties. These will prevent you from sweating as much.
In colder climates, you may want to choose thicker pants that have insulation layers to protect you from the cold. Water-resistant pants are also a benefit in cold climates.
Tactical pants generally come in either camouflage or more earthy colors as they are designed to help you blend in with your surroundings.
If you’re purchasing tactical pants for casual or recreational reasons and just want something tough and durable for a hike, then the color you choose is of little importance.
A pair of black tactical pants can also look smart enough for casual office wear. If you’re buying tactical pants for a specific purpose and being unnoticed is more essential, you will need to pick a color that best matches the environment you will find yourself in.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve looked at some of the best tactical pants available and considered what makes them worth purchasing. Now we will answer some of the most common questions about tactical pants.
What Are Tactical Pants Used For?
Tactical pants are commonly worn by law enforcers and military officers due to their toughness and practicality. However, they’re also commonly worn by hikers, hunters, and travelers for exactly the same reasons.
Their features and functions support the wearer and can also protect the wearer from whatever activity they’re doing. If you need something that will protect your legs and keep important equipment at hand, then tactical pants will fit the bill.
Are Cargo Pants The Same As Tactical Pants?
Tactical pants can be considered a type of cargo pants, but not all cargo pants can be considered tactical pants.
Cargo pants may have the same pockets on the sides that tactical pants do, but they don’t have the other features that make tactical pants suitable for protection and defense.
Cargo pants generally don’t have the additional protective padding or the reinforced seat and knees. Although cargo pants have pockets, they won’t have dedicated knife pockets or storage for ammo.
Are Tactical Pants Good For Hiking?
The various features and protective functions of tactical pants make them ideal for tough hikes.
They’re designed to withstand tough weather, to be comfortable, and breathable, and these are all good features for hiking.
Hikers often have to carry equipment also, so the storage options on tactical pants can come in useful. If your hike takes you off the well-worn path and into the wilds, having a safe pocket for a knife can also be an advantage.
What Is Ripstop Fabric?
You may have noticed that a lot of tactical pants use ripstop fabric in their construction. This material is made from a combination of fabrics, often nylon, that are weaved in a way that makes them more durable and resistant to tear and abrasions.
During the weaving process, the fabric is reinforced with other yarns at regular intervals to make a strong crosshatch pattern.
Ripstop is available in different weights and is often used for sails, parachutes, and sleeping bags. It’s also used in combination with other materials to add extra strength to those.
What Does 5.11 Refer To?
One of the most popular brands when it comes to tactical and tough outdoor gear is 5.11. You can also see gear made by other brands referred to as “5.11-style” so you may be wondering what those numbers mean.
The name originates from the Yosemite Decimal System, which is used to describe the difficulty of recreational climbs. There are five broad categories of difficulty and these are further broken down by the use of decimal points.
When the brand was first established in the 1930s, the toughest climbs were given a rating of 5.10. By calling the brand 5.11, it referred to something near-impossible and inferred that 5.11 pants could cope with anything.
Tactical pants can support you in a variety of ways. Look for pants that have a tough material and construction, with reinforced and padded areas to protect you further.
A good pair of tactical pants will have a wide variety of storage options for your gear, so make sure that any pair you buy will safely carry the gear you need.
We hope that the recommendations and tips in this article will help you pick the right pair of tactical pants for your needs.