How to Choose Your Tactical Pants

Tactical pants used to be part of a hiker’s gear when heading into the backcountry. Some tactical pants were famous for their unique style and name, as the most popular ones (5.11 for instance) were named on the Yosemite Decimal System, more than 25 years ago.

From tactical pants for the outdoors to tactical pants on a military mission

Some FBI agents tried the tactical pants and this is how these pants “made it” into the FBI Academy and got the attention of law enforcement officers afterwards.

Well-known brands started to combine qualities of dress and battle-ready pants in order to manufacture a new kind of casual/duty wear.

Even though tactical pants are always changing in style, some features remain stable and it’s better to keep them in mind when picking the right pants for you.

What to look when you’re looking for tactical pants?

Tactical pants need to carry their weight and a tactical vest and/or a good tactical backpack (or a daypack) as well. Therefore, a rip stop fabric gives the pants a long life, no matter if you go hiking, hunting or you’re out on a military mission.

Most popular fabrics for tactical pants combine polyester and cotton or cotton canvas. A polyester-cotton blend is fit for year-round wear and gives you freedom on the move, in a cotton-like comfortable way. Cotton canvas takes up really well any daily work and gets more and more comfortable over time.

Traditional cargo pants are behind tactical pants when it comes to versatility and streamlined looks. Most tactical pants feature two bellowed cargo pockets, along with knife and magazine pockets. These pockets need to be reinforced so that they can store your heavy gear for a long time.

Check if your tactical pants are treated for stain and soil resistance. Most pants have a DuPont Teflon finish that creates a protective barrier against oil and water stains, along with dirt and dry oil.

Look also for knee pad pockets on your tactical pants. They give you comfort and transform your pants into pants ready to take in the sharpest rocks you meet on your trail.

It’s all in the details…

Keep in mind that a good pair of tactical pants is, at the same time, tough, comfortable, lightweight, fast drying and, why not, good looking. It gives you plenty of secure zippered pockets so that you can keep your gear safe and sound.

A zippered wallet pocket in the back not only keeps your wallet riding high, but it gives also comfort when sitting down.

Some good tactical pants also feature hidden zippered pockets on the sides and small zippered ones on top of the normal cargo pockets. The latter ones should fit any smartphone, but make sure to check their size well, since smartphones grow larger and larger.

The cargo pockets from your tactical pants might also have elastic band inside so that your small items don’t wonder around.

Tactical pants need to be waterproof and to work in any cold weather just as well.

Some pants use double layered fabric on the seat and knees, which means longer lifespan, more protection against the elements, but are also more difficult to dry.

Even though practical, an elastic waistband is not the prettiest in town, so look for the tactical pants that feature a hidden elastic waistband. You won’t regret it!

Good tactical pants also give you some extra-large pockets (typically on the back) to easily fit a map or a moleskin notebook.

A final detail? Have no mercy wearing them in the dirt for the true tactical look!