Best Tactical Pants Reviewed and Rated for Quality

Tactical pants are handy to have in a wardrobe that needs tough pants with a lot of space. They are more durable than a regular pair of pants, and as a bonus, they usually have a built-in resistance to stains. Despite their ruggedness, they are usually comfortable, and in some cases even more comfortable than khakis. When they were first introduced to the market, color and size variations were limited. In the modern market that is no longer true, and now they have much better fitting guidelines. With the current styles ranging from casual to outdoors, there has never been a better time to purchase tactical pants.

Last Updated:
By Taylor Belmer:

The tactical market is constantly evolving and growing with the changes and advancements in clothing technology. In this, we performed a recent update on this buying guide to reflect these changes and usher in new insight for our readers. Included in this update is more information regarding our comprehensive evaluation process and criteria utilized to measure each pair of pants, alongside answers to the most commonly asked questions. In this update you can learn more about what to look for when purchasing tactical pants.

Featured Recommendations

BLACKHAWK! Men's Lightweight
  • BLACKHAWK! Men's Lightweight
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great Material
  • Price: See Here
Propper Lightweight Tactical
  • Propper Lightweight Tactical
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • No Stains
  • Price: See Here
5.11 Men's Stryke Pant
  • 5.11 Men's Stryke Pant
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here

There are a lot of notable brands to choose from like 5.11 and Tru-Spec. All of the brands focus on space and durability first, so the traditional traits of tactical pants are kept in check. Bigger brands that are known for their other types of clothes have made some good impressions on the market, but it isn’t always a hit. Rather than shopping by brand it is a better idea to look at how well the company fares when it comes to their fitting policies. Getting a brand that gets sizes right on the consistent basis is much more important than their appeal as a company.

An important lesson to be learned with any clothing is how vital the care instructions are. Every pair of tactical pants on the list will have their own set of care instructions, so throwing them in the washer and picking a cycle is asking for trouble. Even drying could pose a challenge if you don’t adhere to the instructions provided. Usually, nothing too exotic needs to be done concerning the care and maintenance of tactical pants. And even if the material gets a little banged up over the years, a steady hand can sew them back into fighting shape.

 

10 Best Tactical Pants

 

1. BLACKHAWK!

1. BLACKHAWK!
With traditional values as the driving force for their take on tactical pants, Blackhawk! landed firmly high on the list. The price may run a little high for some users but it is well worth the investment.
Expand to see more
Great Mixture Of Materials

A mixture of polyester and cotton ripstop fabric makes up the bulk of their product. It’s strong, lightweight and feels good against the skin.

Features and Specifications

Gusseted crotch
Large cargo pockets

Cost and Value

This ranks as one of the expensive tactical pants on the list, for all sizes. The value is still great if you look at the top materials they used to create the product.
Pros

Resists stains

Double layered knee and seat areas

This pair of tactical pants is lightweight. 

Consumers will find it easy to store their personal items in these large, spacious pockets.

Cons

Price

2. Propper

2. Propper
Here is another pair of lightweight tactical pants, this time from Propper. There are enough extras here to keep even the pickiest customer happy, with a proven product based on the customer satisfaction scores.
Expand to see more
Strong Against Stains

The DuPoint Teflon fabric protector keeps both stains and liquids off of the pants. So no matter where you wear them they’ll stay in great shape.

Features and Specifications

Resistant to fading, shrinking and wrinkles
Matching belt included

Cost and Value

You can purchase these at the average price based on size, with all versions included the belt and D-ring. Buyers should be aware this is one of the better values on the list even without the extras.
Pros

D-ring comes with pants

Tough against wear and tear

Designed to handle any stains that might happen. 

Comes with a matching belt.

Cons

Only available in Dark Gray

3. 5.11

3. 5.11
In #3 place, we have the 5.11 Men’s Stryke Pant, which has appeared multiple times within the top ten. For tactical pants, the Stryke has a lot more pros than cons to look at.
Expand to see more
Patented Material

Made from their own in-house blend of polyester and ripstop cotton fabric, this is the best combination of materials on the list. It will last for years even when used in tough environments.

Features and Specifications

Fully gusseted crotch
12 pockets

Cost and Value

Even at a high price point, you can’t beat the overall value of the best tactical pants on the list. They are made for punishment yet remain the most comfortable pants on the list.
Pros

Lightweight and durable

Self-adjusting tunnel waistband

Comes built with over 12 different spacious pockets. 

Made from one of the most well-known producers in the world.

Cons

Runs small in some sizes

4. TRU-SPEC

4. TRU-SPEC
Having a lot of sizes available helps with the buying decision, but it also needs to fit as expected. This is one of the strengths of all True-Spec pants, and the biggest reason they are #4 on the list.
Expand to see more
Good Size Choices

The vast amount of size choices also includes unhemmed options, so all flavors are included. You won’t have any trouble finding the perfect fit if you use their compatible sizing chart.

Features and Specifications

Teflon coated polyester
Wind resistant

Cost and Value

The price starts at the midrange price point and then goes up based on size. With everything that’s included, these tactical pants pay for themselves within the first year.
Pros

Quick drying

Expandable back pockets

This brand offers consumers numerous size choices

This product is coated with a Teflon, which is considered a higher quality coating for tactical pants

Cons

Some colors fit different even though they’re the same size

5. 5.11 Apex

5. 5.11 Apex
5.11 rounds out one of the three companies providing the remaining pairs of tactical pants on the list. Some cool features separate these from the rest on the list, with a premium price tag being the only downside.
Expand to see more
Reinforced Knife Clip Area

The inclusion of this feature isn’t rare but is hard to find in a lot of the mainstream tactical pants in the industry. This feature is especially handy for the hunter that need quick access to their knife. It’s available on all seven of the style choices that 5.11 offers with this model.

Features and Specifications

Bartacked stress locations
Twin back yoke pockets

Cost and Value

Ranking as a high priced model, the available colors and sizes make it worth the extra cost. Buyers will probably be interested in all of the extras space, pockets and low weight.
Pros

Only weighs 7.2 ounces

Strong against stains

This product was designed with two back yoke pockets. 

The pants were made with a reinforced knife clip, which is quite rare when it comes to tactical pants.

Cons

Price

6. Helikon-Tex

6. Helikon-Tex
This is a true standout on the list from Helikon-Tex that takes advantage of alternate materials. The company concentrated on getting the best materials available and succeeded in making one of the best tactical pants on the list.
Expand to see more
Comfortable Materials

Made of 93% Nylon and 7% spandex, this is an ideal build for buyers that want pants made for comfort. It fits the body just right and feels good against the skin when the right size is chosen.

Features and Specifications

DuPont Teflon Coating
4-way elastic fabric

Cost and Value

These are one of the higher priced pants on the list, so may turn away customers that just want the bare essentials. With the nylon material and various colors, it holds good value when you want a top range pair of pants.
Pros

Lightweight and comfortable

Low profile design

Made with DuPont Teflon Coating. 

Consumers will have the opportunity to pick from a wide variety of colors.

Cons

Gets hot during the summertime

7. Woolrich Elite

7. Woolrich Elite
Woolrich is one of the more noticeable names on the list and should be familiar if you’ve purchased tactical pants in the past. This isn’t much different from the rest of their line and continues to show off their quality touch.
Expand to see more
Lightweight

Tactical pants shouldn’t feel like a pair of jeans when you put them on, even with all the extra pockets. The Elite keeps the weight low without making durability a concern for the product.

Features and Specifications

100% cotton
Weighs 7 ounces

Cost and Value

These pants can be purchased around the mid-price range and are well worth the value even with the low amount of pockets. There are other pants on the list with a low amount of pockets, so this Woolrich product isn’t alone.
Pros

2 front pockets and 2 utility pockets

Elastic side panels

This pair of tactical pants is made from 100% cotton. 

This product is one of the most affordable tactical pants.

Cons

Less pockets than other pants

8. Condor 608

8. Condor 608
The Condor 608 Sentinel’s blend in with all types of pants, looking more like everyday wear than tactical. Rather than conform to current industry standards for tactical pants, Condor focused on other areas with their product.
Expand to see more
Color Choices

Having color choices is one of the main things that attracts consumers to buying clothes. Condor doesn’t disappoint and provides seven total for their tactical pants.

Features and Specifications

Polyester/Cotton mix
Zipper fly with button

Cost and Value

Price is based on size and is average across the board. Buyers that need a lot of choices in how their pants are customized will get a lot of value out of these.
Pros

Lots of sizes

Ripstop finish

Consumers can pick from numerous colors.

Cons

Most sizes run large

9. Tru-Spec

9. Tru-Spec
Entering into the top five is Tru-Spec with their Tactical Response pants. This is a great looking pair of pants that come in a variety of options beyond the default colors.
Expand to see more
Better Sizing

There is nothing more pleasing that picking out your size and getting it right the first time. The sizing chart for True-Spec is accurate, and more times than not you will get exactly what you need when picking.

Features and Specifications

Polyester/Cotton blend
Slanted cargo pockets

Cost and Value

All sizes are sold at the mid-price point, so nothing too outrageous for the normal shopper. These pants will hold their value due to high durability.
Pros

Lots of pockets

Rip-stop material

Consumers will find assurance in numerous sizes and true-to-fit sizing chart

 

Cons

Khaki and Multicam colors look plain

10. Atlanco 1299044

10. Atlanco 1299044
Atlanco won’t be familiar to customers by name only but is a brand that is worth trusting. Their take on tactical pants is great and puts them among some of the best in the world.
Expand to see more
Style

The multi-cam look is perfect for everyday use and especially useful for outdoor camouflage. There are other pants on the list with similar tactical styles, yet they don’t pull it off so cleanly.

Features and Specifications

Polyester/Cotton mix
10 pocket design

Cost and Value

The price isn’t high and is more in line with the medium-high price range. When you want a lot of pockets, this turns into a good value.
Pros

5x5 hidden pocket

Tough drawstring with cord lock

These tactical pants are designed with a mixture of polyester and cotton, making these comfortable.

The pure design of these pants is visually appealing.

Cons

Slightly higher than other pants on the list

Criteria Used to Evaluate Tactical Pants

The abundance of information collected from tactical pants around the industry helped to fully shape the list. Price, comfort, style and many other things were used as criteria for evaluation. Since there were so many choices to begin with, we had to narrow it down by using as many variables as possible.

Price

Price was the first thing we looked at with all of the tactical pants we reviewed. The prices were usually midrange or high, as we found the bulk of the low priced pants to lack essential features. There were a few that stood out and made a mark, but the majority of the list is made from upper tier products that meet industry standards. Things that hindered lower priced tactical pants were the comfort, size options and of course style choices. With a limited amount of customization throughout, the low priced choices were hard to include the rest. The style was the next thing we looked at, which had to do with the color options available for each product. This one was a little tricky since we had to factor in the availability of colors for each size. So even when tactical pants would feature seven available colors for their product, it would be limited based on the sizes they had available. When customers decide they want a camo pair of tactical pants and go to choose it in their current size, it’s disappointing to find out it’s not available. And it is absolutely infuriating when that same color is available in every other size but the one you need. Durability was an important criterion for us, but for the most part, didn’t shape the list. Even the lower tier tactical pants had incredible durability, showing a resistance to stains, dirty and even tears. Longevity helped to get rid of a lot of the lower tier products which were prone to start falling apart within a year. So durability not only looked at short-term performance, it was an overall look at how the pants held up in multiple environments when they were used several times a week.

Durability

Doing a durability check, led us directly into how brands handled warranty claims. No company stood out and took charge in this area, and everything was pretty basic in its language. So customers that were hoping for a company to step up and deliver a lifetime warranty will be disappointed. But the good news is that the basic warranties provided for all tactical pants on the list are solid, and will cover the needs of most customers. Factory defects are covered by every company in the top ten, so there are no worries about getting a bad batch of pants.

Pockets are a criterion we looked at that covered amount and room offered. Having a lot of pockets didn’t necessarily offer a better score for a specific pair of tactical pants. We rewarded variety more than quantity, with more points given out if there were some deep pockets included. Looks played a minor role in our rating, and the pockets couldn’t droop past a certain point when holding a lot of weight. There are key differences in how a well-made pocket handles the weight, so any pants that had bad (low hanging) pockets were not included on the list. Accessories was a mixed bag for us as a criterion, with only one or two pants on the list delivering in this area. Propper and their lightweight tactical pants were one, and definitely the best in this regard. Including a belt and other accessories aren’t mandatory, so it would be unfair to the other pants on the list to hold them up to that standard. We rewarded brands like Proper for including accessories but didn’t subtract any points from the other pants on the list that sold their products as pants only.

Resistance

Resistance was a criterion that we separated from durability for an important reason – it fades over time for some brands. This isn’t a con and is more of just the natural resistance of any fabric. We had an easy time scoring the pants on the list based on a resistance tier. We didn’t look at their individual resistance to stains vs. tears, and instead bunched it all together into one criterion. If the product held a high resistance over a long period of time, then it automatically made the list. This is a hard stat for any type of clothing to keep up with, so the tactical pants that made the list were impressive. Comfort was our next stop, and it really came down to materials used.

The bulk of the materials used are a mixture of polyester and cotton, with a few different types thrown in based on the brands. Since most of the pants are lightweight, their comfort levels are almost the same across the board. Only a few pants that didn’t make the list would qualify as uncomfortable, but it was based on them being heavy rather than their actual material. For reference, nylon could be considered the most comfortable material if you’re on the fence about the winner in that area. It is the most elastic, with the only downside being the weaker pockets compared to the polyester/cotton mixes. The last thing we looked at was sizing, which was strictly based on how accurate a company’s sizing chart was along with the availability of sizes. More sizes meant a higher rating, which is great for customers that have a hard time finding the correct size for their body. Brands that didn’t have a lot of sizes or had a bad sizing chart percentage were left off of the list. They were considered an unnecessary liability even if the warranty covered returns.

Storage and accessibility

Another thing to consider with tactical pants is how much storage they offer you and how accessible that storage is. Specifically, this storage will be pockets or loops to hook tools onto. A well-prepared survivalist knows, though, that this is super important for having your must-have tools quickly accessible for any and all scenarios. In a life or death situation, you do not want to be fumbling for items or missing them on your person completely.

Tactical pants with zipper or hook and loop closures are your strongest options. Overall, pockets are great to have, but you want to have a reliable closure more often than you want inlaid side pockets.

Another important thing to look for is that these pockets are roomy and can actually fit your necessary items while keeping them neatly stored.

Longevity

Undoubtedly, if you are going to spend the money for tactical survival gear, you want it to last. Your tactical pants should see you through as many days and nights that they need to in order to keep you protected and alive. This topic goes pretty hand-in-hand with durability, because the fabric is important to their longevity, but overall, it is an important factor to consider. Longevity spans a bit further than fabric simply because there are other components to the pants, such as weatherproofing technologies, etc.

Portability

This is a less important thing to consider than durability or longevity, but it is still important. The portability has to do with both how easy they are to transport on your body and in your gear bag. Are the pants bulky? If so, they will wear heavy, ultimately slowing you down. They will also take up too much room in your pack, too. Finding tactical pants that are easy-to-wear, lightweight and easy to pack are undoubtedly the pair you want to go for.

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are 5.11’s The Best In The Industry?

A: No, but they are as close to a dominant brand as you’ll get for tactical pants. They are pretty much the Levi’s or Calvin Klein’s of tactical pants, with a strong eye for detail. They don’t make a lot of mistakes with their design or waste space with needless features. They are listed multiple times on the top ten, and it is a trend that will only get better as they refine their style. Support for the company has been strong, so buyers that need good customer support will be well taken care of. If you tend to be tough on a pair of pants, then this is the company that will set things right.

Q: Can Tactical Pants Be Effective For Professionals?

A: There is a range of professions that make use of tactical pants. From construction, security, military, and even some mechanics. Durable pants with a lot of space are not hard to come by when you’re looking in the tactical pants category. A lot of employers may have a list of favored providers that sell tactical pants. But if your employer allows you to pick your own pants, then it opens up a lot of choices. If a job doesn’t have a rule against wearing tactical pants, then they can also be useful in IT professions where you’re expected to carry a lot of tools. Take the time to see if tactical pants are useful for an intended profession, and you’ll be surprised at how effective they are.

Q: How Well Do They Mix With Plain Clothing?

A: Not all tactical pants will have the same style. There are some that handle their looks in a much more discrete way than regular tactical pants, a look that is useful if you need it to go with a specific outfit. With varying degrees of success, you’ll be able to make a lot of great outfits that use tactical pants as the main part. But even with the number of colors and styles available, they are still limited if you compare them to regular pants and their choices. Some pants and shirt combos just won’t work even when the colors are matched up, and that has more to do with the design.

Q: Are Styles Worth Making A Fuss Over?

A: Yes, especially if you plan on using it in a casual or work setting. While some of the rules in the workplace are relaxed when they let you choose your own tactical pants, there still may be color or uniform guidelines to adhere to. Following those rules will be harder if you aren’t aware of all the styles available from multiple companies. And in casual settings, even when things are more transparent, you always want to look your best. With a little bit of knowledge about the tactical pants industry, you’ll know all of the styles that will work for you, whether casual or in a work setting.

Q: How Many Pockets Should Be The Minimum?

A: This can get confusing if you don’t factor in the quality of the pockets. Having several small pockets isn’t better than having a variety of big and small pockets. It even goes beyond that by offering pockets with extra features, special placements, and even the organizers. The number of pockets doesn’t matter much unless it is a lower than four. So if it isn’t that low, then variety becomes the important feature to look for with pockets. Buyers should pay attention to the type of materials used for the pants since they can indirectly affect how well the pockets perform when carrying extra weight.

Q: What’s So Important About Deep Pockets?

A: Objects that are shaped irregularly won’t fit in regular sized pockets. And if you try to force them into smaller pockets, you risk damaging the item or the pants. Deep pockets also have their downsides, and when done wrong can lead to the ‘baggy’ effect. Tactical pants build right will handle weight the same whether there is an item in it or not. When you get deep pockets that sag too much when something is in them, you’re also looking at a liability when you’re walking. If the idea is to conceal the item in the pocket, then having an entire side of your tactical pants sag down is a dead giveaway- even to people that aren’t observant.

Q:  Why The Weight Of The Pants Matters?

A: Brands mention their pants are lightweight to attract buyers that want a comfortable product. By default, the lighter the clothing, the more comfortable it is on your body. With pants, this makes a lot of sense, especially tactical pants that are expected to bear extra weight with whatever is in the pockets. Having heavy pants and then weighing them down with what’s in your pockets isn’t a pleasant experience. The materials in tactical pants are made to lightweight without a loss to their durability or carrying weight limit. Customers that plan on carrying heavy items with tactical pants will benefit the most from lightweight materials.

Q: Are Sizing Charts Correct?

A: No sizing chart is going to be 100% accurate, so it comes down to looking at the brand itself. The easiest way to find companies that have the best fit is to look for the ones offering the most sizes. Brands with limited sizing will cause the most problems when you need a good fit. This is also true since regular washing and care of tactical pants may have them shrink up to a full size after purchase. When the pair of tactical pants that you want the most only has limited sizing, then it comes down to the reputation of the company and their sizing charts. If they tend to run big/small in certain sizes, make a note of it and pay attention to their return policies.

Q: How Well Do Tactical Pants Work In Humid Places?

A: Hot and humid makes for a very uncomfortable experience when you’re in clothes with bad materials. Breathability is an important feature in clothes, just as much as it is in shoes. Tactical pants don’t need to be loose, but they should offer a lot of room for movement. Other than nylon and some of the higher tier polyester blends, tactical pants won’t have the same great cooling effect of sweats or sports based clothes. In humid places where you’re sweating like crazy, the material in tactical pants won’t work against you, but they also won’t help. What you pair with tactical pants will help the overall balance out, and possibly curb the effects of hot and humid places.

Q: Are Slimmer Profiles Better?

A: Depending on your body shape, tactical pants may come off as naturally baggy when wearing. There are average profiles and ‘slimmer’ profiles, with the latter reducing the baggy look. Tactical pants aren’t really meant to conform to your body like a pair of tight jeans, and will naturally have a baggy look regardless of the profile. And the more items you put in the pockets, the more noticeable it becomes. The slim profiles are more about putting pockets in places where the bulk isn’t as noticeable, and without sacrificing pocket space. It’s genius when done right and can help coordinate the pairing of other clothes in your closet.

Q: Do All Tactical Pants Have Built-In Organizers?

A: A cool feature of some tactical pants are organizers built inside some of the pockets. These small organizers extend the functionality of a larger pocket and break it down into sections. Customers that carry a lot of accessories will find this useful. Pockets with organizers will also reduce clutter for users that carry the same type of one accessory. The bad news is that this option isn’t available in all tactical pants, so choose wisely. If pocket organizers are something you can’t live without, be aware that it is a limited feature that not all brands provide, even in some of their top tier pants.

Q: How Much Can You Carry At A Time?

A: Tactical pants are heavily resilient and able to carry pounds of accessories at a time. The limit of their carrying potential is based on the materials used, brand and size. The best way to test the limit is by loading up the pockets with your most used items and walking around. You should have a full range of motion with the ability to walk, run, bend and sometimes even do a small hop. If any of these actions are limited then you may need to look at relocating an item from one pocket to another. Safety comes first, so don’t neglect the trial runs that are necessary to guarantee comfort.

Q: Is Cleaning Easy?

A: Cleaning is always easy, but only if you follow directions. Going away from what the tag says will result in very bad things happening to a pair of valuable pants. Tactical pants can withstand stains, rips, and tears, but will always be susceptible to human error with cleaning. Using harsh chemicals to spot clean is not recommended, and will do more harm than good. Part of the cleaning process is drying, so follow tag instructions for that. It’s highly unlikely that any of the top tactical pants will have trouble in the dryer, but it is always a good idea to check beforehand.

Q: Are These Pants Highly Resistant?

A: Select tactical pants are strong against spills, tears, rips and even dirty. A good pair of pants can handle a lot of outdoor work in areas where they are expected to get dirty. When a good year of ownership has passed, they are also expected to have good elasticity in areas that were used the most, like pockets. So there should be no worries about wearing down the pants in their most used areas, even when you place something with considerable weight in the pockets. The most important thing is still the rip and tear protection, a vital feature that prevents surprise drops of any valuable items.

Q: Are They Comfortable?

A: They are just as comfortable as any other type of pants on the market. Comfort level is going to be rated by the materials used, which is usually a blend of polyester and cotton. Brands will mix and match materials, and even go so far as to make their own blend. Some aim for comfort levels so that it is soft against the skin and lightweight. Other companies put a focus on toughness so that it lasts for years, even in tough environments. There are plenty of materials that are used for tactical pants, and from the lowest to the highest tier, they all remain comfortable.

How To Make The Best Decision

There are many reasons to choose tactical pants over regular pants, and the decision-making process will be complicated if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Prices go from low to high, with everything being offered on the lower end just like it is on the high end. The variety is endless and is one of the attractive points to buying tactical pants. So the first thing you want to look at is sizing, or rather how well a company’s reputation lines up with your current size. If a company is known for running big (or small) in your preferred size, then take note. It may be more beneficial to just go with another brand that gets their fittings right in your current size. Always prepare for tactical pants to shrink one size over the course of washing them a couple of times.

One other thing to consider is the quality of the pockets. Having more pockets doesn’t automatically mean the pants are a better buy. If you plan on concealing something in your pockets, a low-quality tactical pants model will show the outline of it. That completely defeats the purpose of concealment and would be a waste of money if that was the main selling point for a specific model. Look for deep pockets, good material and nice support for carrying a multitude of accessories. These are all great starting points for picking out a pair of tactical pants.

Sources

  1. Range Master Tactical Gear: The Advantages of Using Tactical Cargo Pants
  2. The Bug Out Bag Guide: How to Choose the Best Tactical Pants
  3. Service Wear Apparel: What’s the Difference Between Tactical and EMS Pants
  4. Gear Up: How to Choose the Best Tactical Pants
Rockay Calf Sleeves
Next Giveaway draw
Your email is safe with us. Pinky swear
Share:
Enter the giveaway