Best Tactical Pants Reviewed and Tested
There are a few essentials that should be in every man’s closet: a pair of denim jeans, a dark suit for office and formal events, an aviator, a beautiful timepiece, comfortable sneakers, and a pair of tactical pants for the great outdoors. Whether you’re a law enforcement personnel, a firefighter or any other sports professional, you know you need special clothing to get the best performance on your job. From moving through the outdoors to working on a job, a pair of tactical pants is a must. Flexible, durable and boasting a surplus of storage, you’ll never regret getting a pair.
Tactical pants are equivalent to your average cargo pants but with some technical modifications that make them suitable for the rugged outdoors. They have hidden pockets for added gear and clandestine blades and your tactical essentials. The tactical pants were originally designed as mountain-climbing apparel by the Royal Robbins clothing company which was established by a team of an enthusiastic pair. These pants have a history of both military service and acting as hiking pants when circumstances require.
Today’s marketplace of tactical pants has evolved into something more tactical. The world of tactical pants today is replete with the use of the protective coating that helps repel absorption of stains and liquids that can reduce their operational use. Over the years the tactical pants have evolved to offer many new features. Today, a host of brands offer countless flavors of tactical pants in different styles, colors, and fabrics. The market of tactical apparel has been fused with a multitude of options that make any design which provides utmost customer satisfaction, the best fit.
Our Top 3 Picks
Why You Need Them
Believe it or not, the clothing you choose for your trip outdoors can have a substantial impact on your chances of survival. The right clothing not only improves your performance, especially in harsh conditions but also provides an advantage that can greatly improve your odds of survival. Trekking through the dangerous wilderness or navigating the unchartered territories or hunting your next big-game would be next to impossible without the right tactical gear to protect you from the elements.
When it comes to tactical pants, the point has to be made that having one that suits your circumstances can make the difference between life and death. Tactical pants offer any advantages over jeans or typical cargo pants including a better fit and easier movement. Well-made tactical pants will have plenty of easily-accessible storage areas, be made of high-quality fabric, and have reinforced seams. Additionally, tactical pants offer pockets for inserting knee pads as well as ankle drawstrings to keep out dust, water, and insects.
Factors to Consider
The storage area in tactical pants is a definitive advantage and depending on the sophistication of operations you are involved in, more storage could be imminent for your choice of design. Knowing that your survival depends on the space for life-saving supplies, you need to pay attention to the following:
Durability – There are a variety of options to choose from when selecting the most durable material for your tactical pants, including cotton, canvas, and synthetic fabrics. Durability and comfort are top points when picking cotton as it retains moisture and is generally heavier than other options. There are cotton blends available that offer wicking and thus decrease weight. Silicone treatment is a weatherproofing option that cotton easily supports relative to other materials of 100% synthetic blend.
Ease of Movement – To allow for better mobility, look for more flexible fabric with some stretch to it as well as features such as pleats and gussets in the knees. Flexible fabrics make it easier to move around, stretch and squat in extreme scenarios. The aforementioned pattern is imperative for anyone who might have to slide through culverts and crevices in the line of duty.
Weather Resistance and Protection – For many outdoor enthusiasts, especially hunters, protection from water or storms is the utmost priority when choosing tactical pants. How your pants will perform in wet conditions is highly dependent on the type of fabric it’s made of, how that fabric is treated, and how the seams come together. While some perform poorly in soggy and wet layouts, there are many that are better suited for water-retention avoidance. The key to protection against harsh conditions is to recognize the circumstance you are likely to come across. Teflon is a common treatment to keep water out.
Strategic Storage and Accessibility – Zipper closure, Velcro ends and deep cargo pockets will make it easy for you to store life-saving tools and tactical essentials and guarantee easy and quick access when needed. Whether it’s extra mags, tactical knife, flashlight or other outdoor tools, having them in place can be pivotal to staying alive. Additionally, self-defense weapons are easy to store with multiple pockets of the required size. Squared off pockets function well for clipping a knife, flashlight or pen; elastic webbing is great for holding your gear in place; and sectioned off pockets will keep them nicely organized.
Color – Generally, your choice comes down to regular-colored clothing and camo when looking for tactical pants. Each has its fair share of pros and cons depending on the locale and situation in which they will be used. If your survival plan required navigating a dense forest, digital camo is not the most ideal option; camouflaging increased your chance of survival instead. A wilderness survival situation would benefit from camouflage patterns or subtle earth tones as you would be able to blend in just perfectly.
10 Best Tactical Pants
1. 5.11 Tactical TacLite Pro
Cotton-Polyester blend rip-stop fabric
Ease of movement
Double-reinforced seat and knees
Slash strap seat pockets
- Nice blend of cotton-polyester rip-stop fabric for maximum durability
- Teflon coating protects from stains
- Great for outdoor adventures and recreational use
- Ease of movement with fully gusseted crotch
- Reinforced stitching for maximum durability
- Convenient carry belt loop for tactical gear and essentials
- Hip-mounted D-ring to hold keys or ID
- Great pants but for the heat
- Seems just a little short for length
- They are slightly swishy
- Not great for casual wear
2. Propper Lightweight
Lightweight rip-stop fabric
Wrinkle resistant and shrink proof
Low-profile styling for both outdoor and recreational use
D-ring for keys and additional tools
Cargo pockets for extra storage
Dedicated cell phone pocket
- Stain repellent Teflon fabric
- Stretched waistband for utilitarian purpose
- Extra-wide belt loops for tactical gear
- Cargo pockets easily hold daily essentials and tactical gear including extra mags
- Dedicated phone pocket with hook & loop closure
- Pocket in a pocket design for wallets
- Front pockets with reinforced opening for survival gear like knife
- Internal openings for knee pads
- Fabric is extremely stiff
- Problem with sizing
- Doesn’t offer hemming
- Pants are little tighter
3. 5.11 Tactical Ridgeline
Teflon finish for stain resistance
Bartracking at key stress locations
Extra pockets for additional storage
Gusseted crotch for mobility
- Utilitarian tactical pant for both casual and outdoor use
- Reinforced stitching at seams for tough use and maximum durability
- No-burn, no-melt, and no-crack melamine buttons
- Combines style and functionality
- Covert tactical gear for operational use
- Superior performance and utmost comfort
- Teflon coating for stain and moisture resistance
- Specialized concealed carry pockets
- Not ideal for athletic builds
- Bad pocket placement
- Discolor quickly
- No room in the crotch area
- Waist too low
4. Propper BDU
Designed to military specification
Felled seams at key stress points
Fully adjustable waist tabs for stability
Reinforced seat and knees for added comfort
Cargo pockets for extra storage
Durable drawstring leg closures
- Sewn to military specification for operational use
- Durable Battle Rip fabric for tough outdoor use
- Wrinkle resistant and no-stain fabric
- Felled seams at major stress points for superior strength
- Adjustable waist tabs for an optimal fit
- Six-pocket design for utilitarian purpose
- Pockets with fused for a classic professional look
- Sturdy drawstring leg closures
- No way to know what fabric you’ll actually receive
- Tapered toward the ankle for a tighter look
- Tighter in the seat and crotch area
5. TRU-SPEC 24/7
Polyester-cotton rip-stop fabric
Lightweight and durable
Ideal for on and off-duty wear
Deep cargo pockets for extra storage
Hook and loop closure cargo pockets
Dedicated magazine slots
Cell Phone pocket
- Ideal for both on-duty and off-duty wear
- Combines low-profile styling with multipurpose functionality
- Extra wide belt loops for tactical gear and essentials
- Comfort fit slider waistband
- Inside-the-pants holster for concealed carry
- Deep front pockets easily accommodate your daily and tactical essentials
- Dedicated pockets for weapon mags
- Reinforced knee with inside opening for knee pads
- Pants are comfortable but somewhat baggy
- Ripstop makes swishing noise
- Small side pockets barely hold anything mag-sized
- It’s quite expensive
6. Under Armour Men’s Storm Covert
Durable Ripstop fabric for durability
Wicks moisture away to keep warm
Reinforced crotch for mobility
Freedom of movement
Concealed zippered pocket on thigh area
- Revolutionary UA Storm technology repels water
- Ripstop fabric for maximum durability
- Anti-odor technology
- Elastic waistband for ease of movement
- Extra wide belt loops for concealed carry
- Low-profile offset left-hand cargo pocket
- Superior performance and maximum comfort
- All-season wear without compromising stability
- Sturdy design to withstand daily wear and tear
- Not so good on the sizing
- Too big for comfort with an IWB holster
- Color seems a little different
7. Mens Casual Outdoor Army
100% cotton fabric
Reinforced and felled seams
Ideal for all-season wear
Great fit for both casual and outdoor wear
Fit for jogging, camping, hunting, outdoors, and more
- Terribly well-balanced and sort-out design
- High-quality fabric for increased durability
- Ample storage space thanks to cargo pockets
- Dedicated inner pocket for weapon mags
- Ideal for tactical use as well as casual wear and recreational purpose
- Reinforced seams for ease of movement
- Quality stitching for mobility
- The fabric is very thin and a fairly loose weave
- Does not come with the belt
- Too soft, does not seem durable
- Little short for long legs
8. OutdoorMaster Camo
OutdoorMaster believes that everyone should be able to enjoy the outdoors. They aim to make the most functional and high-quality outdoor clothing and gear at the best prices possible so that everyone will be able to keep warm, dry, cool and protected.
- Effective camouflage pattern for seasoned hunters and campers
- Heavy-duty design and sturdy construction for rugged outdoors
- Perfect blend of low-profile styling and multipurpose functionality
- Side pockets for additional storage
- Adjustable cords in trousers cuffs for the convenience in sporting
- Color might fade
- Rear pockets are difficult to access quickly
- Minimal flexibility
- Too funky for a tactical pant
9. Sitka Timberline
Articulated pattern for casual wear
Heavy-duty fabric for durability
Precise sculpted fit for comfort
Removable knee pad
Nylon ripstop seat and knees
Cargo pockets for additional storage
- Four-way stretch fabric for freedom of movement
- Ergonomic design for a great fit
- Silent snap pockets with quiet zipper
- Cargo pockets provide quick access to your daily tactical essentials
- Removable knee pad for extra protection
- Reinforced seat and knees for mobility and stability
- OptiFade Camouflage system keeps you virtually undetectable from your target
- Bulky knee pads are pretty do not articulate as much as they should
- Feels a little uncomfortable while walking and sitting
- Belt is too small to hold a sidearm
10. BLACKHAWK! Men’s LT2
Cotton-polyester ripstop fabric
Deep cargo pockets for additional storage
Prym snaps and high-quality zippers
Intelligent storage solution
- Durable water repellent fabric
- Reinforced belt loops for tactical storage
- Sturdy construction for the rugged outdoors
- Hidden waistband is expandable for desired waist size
- Ease of movement for better mobility
- Pants feel more forgiving for a great fit
- Hidden zippered pockets for concealed storage options
- Dedicated pockets on each leg for weapon mags
- Hook and look closure thigh pockets
- Reinforced hems on hand pockets and leg cuffs
- Super baggy design
- Low-hanging crotch
- Back pockets are in a bad location
With so many tactical pants available in the market, selecting the one that is just right for you can be a difficult task. We started off with a number of good pants that we could have included in our list, that’s if we had all the space in the world. Now that we don’t, we had to reduce the number to just ten of the best. But how did we select them? You may want to know so that it’s clear to you that the list is not just something that comes from our imagination. We want to be as unbiased as we can possibly be. The following are the elements we looked at as we were evaluating each of the ten that made it to our best list.
The initial reason why tactical pants were invented in the first place was so that they can be used for work. As you would know already, work is something that goes on for a significant chunk of one’s life. This is the reason why these pants have to be practical.
But, what exactly do we mean when I use the term practical? This means that the pants have to allow for easier movement without being bulky. You do not want a pair that will get you entangled into the woods if you are using them during a hunting trip. However, we also made sure to select that the pants are not too tight that they end up restricting movement.
If a pair looks like it will allow the user to mix both tactical duty and casual wear, it goes up our list. As you will notice, the line between tactical pants and casual pants is becoming blared over time. For us, the pants have to be tough enough to be used for duty while also being casual enough to wear on a regular weekend.
Reviews from Other Users
Of course, there is no way we can be able to try all the tactical pants we see in the market. We would never get the time to write this article. We looked at reviews from trusted sites that verify that someone has made a purchase before they attempt to write a review about a product.
Even though we think that reviews are great, our opinion is that they should be approached with caution. We do not all like the same things. We look at the main reasons why a reviewer gives a certain rating to the product. If they just give a rating without indicating the reasons why they have done so, we do not take that review very seriously.
We think that tactical pants should provide the user with as much space to store different stuff as possible. Tactical pants are usually used in situations that can be potentially dangerous. For this reason, you want to access your stuff as quickly as you can in precarious situations.
Tactical pants that have zipper closures are the best for us. If a pair has deep pockets that offer lots of space, it will move a few notches up our list of the best ten. It moves up even further on the list if it makes the stuff you place in the pockets accessible, quickly.
Withstanding the Elements
Tactical pants have to work under different weather conditions. When looking at how the pants will perform when subjected to different weather conditions, the most important thing we look at is the material from which they are made. The way the fabric is treated is also an important consideration while the technique used in making the seams is also a major factor that impacts on how the tactical pants stand up to certain conditions.
There are different types of material from which tactical pants are made. These include cotton canvas, poly-cotton ripstop, poly-cotton canvas, cotton/lycra Oxford canvas. While the material you should select depends on what you want to do with the pants, we think that poly-cotton canvas and cotton/lycra Oxford canvas have the most advantages.
When we decided on the pants to include in our list, we looked at how durable the material is, whether the material will fade quickly, shrink or easily wrinkle. But where do we get all this information? We do test some of the products we review but as we have indicated earlier, there is no way we can test all of them, so we depend on reviews and other people we know who have used them.
What are tactical pants designed for?
Even though tactical pants were initially made for woodcutters so that they could have both the practicality and safety they need when doing their work, very few people today associate then with this kind of work. Due to the toughness of these pants, the military and police adopted them and made the required modifications to suit the type of work they do. Other outdoors pursuits such as hunting and hiking also use the pants a lot.
What is the difference between tactical pants and standard clothing?
When tactical pants are designed, more emphasis is placed on flexibility with movement where regular pants may focus more on being fashionable. You will also notice that tactical pants are made from a different type of material when compared to regular pants. These materials include cotton synthetics, woven fabric, and canvas.
Tactical pants are also manufactured to withstand the weather elements better than your regular pants. For instance, you will find that some of these pants are treated with silicon so that they are waterproofed.
Why is color important in the selection of tactical pants?
The conditions under which tactical pants are mostly used require that the person wearing them should be able to blend with the environment in which they are. If you are involved in law enforcement, you want to be a step ahead of the suspect. Also, when hunting, you do not want the colors you are putting on to easily give away your position.
What is the best color?
There are a variety of colors for tactical pants currently in the market. The color you select will depend on what you plan to use them for. Before selecting the color of your tactical pants, you will need to consider the environment under which you are going to be operating.
If you are going to be doing most of your activities in the wilderness, then you may want to select a camo pair. When selecting the color, you should also ensure that you select a color that matches your uniform. If you are not sure of what will be permitted and what will not, then you may want to speak to your superiors to find out what is acceptable.
Why is it important to select the right material?
The main reason why you should consider the material from which your tactical pants are made is that the material defines what the pants are best for. For example, if you are expecting to use your pants on a regular basis, you will want them to be durable. For this reason, you could select a type of material like canvas. This is the type of material from which sails are manufactured. It is designed to withstand use for extended periods of time. However, the disadvantage of canvas is that it is heavier when compared to other materials.
If your duties require you to have lightweight clothing, then you may want to go with material such as spandex and Lycra. Owing to the fact that these materials are lightweight, do not expect a lot of protection from rough terrain. For them to do this better, they will need to be blended with other materials. Another advantage of this material is that it offers better protection from moisture.
If I live in an area that is very hot, what type should I buy?
The most important factor to consider when selecting tactical pants for hot weather is that there should be a way for air to circulate easily around. In other words, I mean that the pants should be able to breathe. Ensure that the pants are lightweight while still being durable.
It looks like all the models advertising tactical pants are male, are there any options for women?
Even though most brands seem to like to use male models for advertising tactical pants, there are plenty of tactical pants for women. You can get different types and colors for women.
Are they machine washable?
Yes, tactical pants can be washed using an automatic machine. You will need to remember to keep the loop and hook fasteners closed in order to stop any snagging. Most manufacturers will advise you never to use chlorine bleach. Also, allow the pants to dry completely without you having to twist or wring them. You can also dry the pants using a machine. If you drip dry using a hanger, ensure that it does not have rust.
The most important consideration when choosing the best tactical pants is how well the pants will function in relation to your survival condition. Don’t underestimate the various elements you will face and the protection your pants can provide. Always keep in mind how much they can withstand, how easy it is to maneuver in them, and how much easily-accessible tactical storage space they offer. Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to find the best tactical pants for your specific survival needs.