Author Topic: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?  (Read 1374 times)

Daley

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So, I think I need to bite the bullet and just buy some pants new and full price. I've done the Goodwill and thrift store thing for years, and it's getting harder and harder to find anything that will stand up, let alone fit me anymore. A capsule wardrobe is also starting to appeal to me more and more, but I need some... environment and application flexibility. Unfortunately, the more I research, the more my eyes feel like they want to bleed, and honestly? The type of pants that seem most suited to what I'm after are from a culture that drives me mad. Of all the pants I've owned over the years and bought used, I've only come across one brand (thus far) that have really stood up. Those pants? 5.11 Tactical. I've had used 5+ year old 5.11s bought as grubby work pants that I've worn through everything from tornado cleanup to trench digging outlive pants bought new.

So, just by some new 5.11s, dummy... right? Wrong. I went down to their brick and mortar earlier to reconnoiter, and they had nothing that really fit what I was actually after. They were either painfully obviously cargo pants or too flimsy for my needs. Since, I've fallen down a tactical pants hole, and the culture of most of the people these pants are sold to is making me... itchy. I'm not some weekend warrior, CCW, jingoistic, hunter, wanna-be paramilitary, prepper-hoarder thug. I just want durable, comfortable, practical pants for a capsule wardrobe that I can use to work and live in.

Here's a list of features I really need/want if they're really going to last:

-French fly/waist stay
-Gusseted crotch
-Double reinforced knees (w/kneepad pockets optional, but preferred)
-Comfort waist
-Ripstop fabric
-Stain resistant
-Fade resistant
-Stealth-y cargo pockets(?)
-Double or triple reinforced stitching in key stress points
-Lifetime warranty
-Reasonably classic, timeless design
-A style/cut that's likely to still be in production in a few years
-Spring-Summer-Fall weight (Winter can always be augmented with a good pair of thermals)

I basically kind of want/need pants that have the capability of tactical cargos without blatantly and obviously looking like sloppy tactical cargos. Something durable enough to do hard work in, but with clean enough lines to pass as business casual or wear to a church or synagogue without looking like some immature punk who walked in wearing cargo pants. Not costing nearly $100 a pair would be a bonus, as I'm not made of money.

What I've found so far:

The 5.11 Kodiaks currently on clearance caught my attention, but they don't have any left in my size inseam (though certainly can be overcome), and I'd ideally prefer something a bit more stain, rip and wrinkle resistant (stain resistance can be fixed, the other two not so much). Unfortunately, the modifications needed would more than kill any savings over other options, void the warranty, and still come up short... never mind the fact that if I ever wanted more, they're, well... discontinued.

The 5.11 Stonecutters also caught my attention, but the knees look way too flimsy, and the odd color mismatch between the fabric in the tops and bottoms is throwing me. Also, $80 a pair, man. Ouch.

The Tru-Spec Ascent might work, but I know nothing about them other than their warranty is only for two years, and they heavily pimp NRA memberships all over their website - which is frankly turning me off, as I'm not sure I want to do business with a company like that... though I know that's unfortunately the culture I'm apparently "buying into" desiring durable pants with lots of pockets. (Not to get too political, and no offense intended to the very people here who might be able to give me the best advice.)

I also looked over what Dickies had, but the only gusseted pants they sell are obvious cargos and I've never found their traditional cuts to fit me comfortably, anyway - even if I loved their durability.

I'm immensely practical, and certainly won't let perfection get in the way of good enough... but if I'm dropping real money, I'd like to actually find something I'll be happy with, and do business with a company that won't completely make me crawl out of my skin morally and ethically as a Yeshua seeking, peace loving, tree hugging kind of crunchy granola and Hawaiian shirt wearing guy.

Anyone have any suggestions or know of something that might work?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 10:22:53 PM by Daley »

Lkxe

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 10:23:35 PM »
Maybe Duluth Trading?


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sol

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 10:31:33 PM »
Have you tried soft shell climbing pants?  Companies like Mountain Hardwear usually make a "guide" version that is extra reinforced in the wear areas, and they always have cargo pockets.  They're my favorite pants, mostly for the freedom of movement they allow.

The possible down side, depending on where you live, is that they tend to look a little too "sporty" for conservative east coast types, especially in some colors..  They fit right in where I live, where everyone is wearing fleece jackets and boots in the winter anyway.

The more durable ones are heavier fabric and kind of warm for summer wear.  They're definitely no good for shorts weather, like in cases where you might get away with lightweight long pants designed for fishing.

driftwood

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2018, 07:54:09 AM »
So, just by some new 5.11s, dummy... right? Wrong. I went down to their brick and mortar earlier to reconnoiter, and they had nothing that really fit what I was actually after.

If you grow your beard out they will fit better.

G-dog

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 08:22:38 AM »
Have you looked at Carhartt? Target demographic is construction / farming / physical labor in tough conditions.  Getting a more business look may be difficult, but have a look.

Hubs has found pants at Menards (regional DIY big box) that have a rip stock fabric, but not too heavy. I can check the brand.

https://www.carhartt.com

Landís End or Costco or LL Bean?

GuitarStv

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2018, 08:45:33 AM »
You can get Kevlar pants and jeans made for motorcyclists (to withstand crashes).  I figure they would be pretty tough (at least as tough as rip-stop fabric).

Daley

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2018, 08:59:03 AM »
Maybe Duluth Trading?

Interesting, but the stuff I'm finding closer in line with what I'm after apparently has some durability issues. Thank you, though! I'll keep looking through their catalogue.

Have you tried soft shell climbing pants?  Companies like Mountain Hardwear usually make a "guide" version that is extra reinforced in the wear areas, and they always have cargo pockets.  They're my favorite pants, mostly for the freedom of movement they allow.

I had not even been aware, but I'll take a look. Appreciate the alternate category to look at, Sol!

You can get Kevlar pants and jeans made for motorcyclists (to withstand crashes).  I figure they would be pretty tough (at least as tough as rip-stop fabric).

Another category! Thanks Stv.



Have you looked at Carhartt? Target demographic is construction / farming / physical labor in tough conditions.  Getting a more business look may be difficult, but have a look.

Hubs has found pants at Menards (regional DIY big box) that have a rip stock fabric, but not too heavy. I can check the brand.

https://www.carhartt.com

Landís End or Costco or LL Bean?

Carhartt! I'm actually finding some promising stuff there. Thank you!

Unfortunately, we have no Menards or Costco in our region. I've not been too impressed with what little used Land's End I've found over the years... and I kind of forgot about LL Bean. Honestly, this kind of feels like new territory for me. Even with the "rough and tumble" of either retail warehouse or on-site tech support in the past, I've lived a pretty soft life up until the past year or so... so this is kind of new territory for me, especially since in the past I just bought what was used, cheap and fit, not giving much heed to brand preference. I also have no immediate peers to ask under the current circumstances.



So, just by some new 5.11s, dummy... right? Wrong. I went down to their brick and mortar earlier to reconnoiter, and they had nothing that really fit what I was actually after.

If you grow your beard out they will fit better.

I already oscillate between Norm Abrams and grizzled longshoreman as it is. I won't go full Dusty Hill just to get away with it.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 09:02:19 AM by Daley »

MicroRN

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2018, 10:11:34 AM »
What about pants geared towards EMT/ paramedic/ firefighters?  Those wear like iron.

Daley

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2018, 10:33:43 AM »
What about pants geared towards EMT/ paramedic/ firefighters?  Those wear like iron.

That's kind of partly where the tactical pants market overlaps, and why I'd been looking there in the first place. Apparently 5.11 is pretty big with the local LEO/EMT/FF community as well (three different cops and an EMT came into the local 5.11 shop for pants during the short window of time I was there looking over their current offerings). It's kind of why I went there first beyond just the fact that I have two pairs of their pants, with the ripstop pair not much more worn looking today than the day I bought it used. (Can't say the same for the canvas ones, as they're finally starting to wear out, stain, and be beyond mending, but it took a dog bite and 60 feet of trench digging in wet red clay for three days in a row to get it to that point.) I've been looking towards hard/dirty industry uniform clothes, but honestly am not that familiar with who and what is out there. They're not really occupations conducive to having "lightly used" clothes donated to the local thrift shops. How I even wound up finding two pair of 5.11s at a Goodwill is still kind of beyond me. Best I can figure, it was some rich weekend warrior who either got bored or who's waistline changed too much to keep.



I have a few errands to run today, but there's apparently a shop with some Carhartt Full Swing Cryder work pants in stock in an area I'm passing through. Seems to cover most of the list from the website description (excuse ripstop), so it might be worth the couple of minutes to look.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 10:41:08 AM by Daley »

Daley

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2018, 01:56:52 PM »
I have a few errands to run today, but there's apparently a shop with some Carhartt Full Swing Cryder work pants in stock in an area I'm passing through. Seems to cover most of the list from the website description (excuse ripstop), so it might be worth the couple of minutes to look.

Feh. Not there. The search continues.

Rubic

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2018, 02:29:23 PM »
I own five pair of the 5.11 pants in Covert Khaki, one for each workday.  They
were  purchased >5 years ago, still hold up great, and will probably last until
my (indeterminate) FIRE date.

In general I trust clothing which is targeted toward LEO folks, because
they're pretty demanding of the quality.  For example, I have an LEO
night vest for cycling (no police designation on the material) because
it's vastly superior to the civilian versions.

sol

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2018, 02:32:12 PM »
For example, I have an LEO night vest for cycling (no police designation on the material) because
it's vastly superior to the civilian versions.

linky?

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2018, 04:01:04 PM »
Have you researched the Propper brand. They hit a lot of your requirements, and are usually $50 to $70 for a new pair. I've seen the brand a lot with 'on the job' types, and hardly at all with crazy prepped types, so choosing Propper is more in line with your conscious.

I'll also buy you a pair of USCG ODU pants, if you give me a size and height. Them pants'll outlast you, the end of the world, and your ugly corpse. They're also legal for civillian use as long as the emblem is removed.

Daley

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2018, 05:07:51 PM »
I own five pair of the 5.11 pants in Covert Khaki, one for each workday.  They
were  purchased >5 years ago, still hold up great, and will probably last until
my (indeterminate) FIRE date.

Oh for a time machine and the ability to get the original Covert Khakis! From what I've read and understand, the new ones are nothing like the old ones. This is also one of the reasons why I feel like I keep going back to 5.11 and trying to go that route like a moth to a flame.

I'm already seriously starting to get to a point where I really want to just ignore others expectations, learn to embrace and love cargo pants under all conditions, and just wear fargin' 5.11 TDUs for any and all occasions that requires clothing for the rest of my life and just hope and pray gun nuts don't mistake me for one of their own.

My only remaining concern is a repeat of an accident last year with one of my 5.11s. When I had to bob and weave going through our kitchen one morning, the cargo pouch pleat on a leg firmly caught the handle on a cabinet door. The encounter broke a solid red oak panel. I've had multiple similar scares in our bathroom, but without the horizontal velocity to do any real damage. Yet another practical reason to have less obvious pockets.



Have you researched the Propper brand. They hit a lot of your requirements, and are usually $50 to $70 for a new pair. I've seen the brand a lot with 'on the job' types, and hardly at all with crazy prepped types, so choosing Propper is more in line with your conscious.

Hmmm, had not come across them yet. The STL III intrigues me. I might have to reach out to the one brick and mortar in the area who carries Propper to see if they have any I can lay my hands on. It'll have to wait until next Wednesday at the earliest, though.

I'll also buy you a pair of USCG ODU pants, if you give me a size and height. Them pants'll outlast you, the end of the world, and your ugly corpse. They're also legal for civillian use as long as the emblem is removed.


Rubic

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2018, 06:09:20 AM »
For example, I have an LEO night vest for cycling (no police designation on the material) because
it's vastly superior to the civilian versions.

linky?

Sol,

Sorry, it was about 15 years ago that I purchased this vest.  My cousin is in
law enforcement and I ordered a couple from one of his catalogs (one for
my brother as a gift).  They're very sturdy and visible, with velcro to adjust
if you need to wear over heavy winter clothing.  I've actually received some
complements from motorists on how visible I appear at night.



Rural

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2018, 09:47:56 AM »

I'm already seriously starting to get to a point where I really want to just ignore others expectations, learn to embrace and love cargo pants under all conditions, and just wear fargin' 5.11 TDUs for any and all occasions that requires clothing



I'll tell you I've done this for most (not quite all*) occasions requiring clothing, and surely if I can do it as a female "of a certain age," most people can. I generally wear screamingly obvious Wranglers.




*I've resorted to dress slacks when giving presentations at formal events or attending funerals/weddings.

JLee

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2018, 11:01:00 AM »
I bought some of these on their kickstarter/indiegogo/whatever it was and I quite like them, with a few minor complaints: https://offthegridsurplus.com/shop/trailblazer-offroad-overlanding-pants/

They're my favorite pants so far.

letired

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2018, 11:22:11 AM »
If you have the time/patience, I have had very good luck with Ebay saved searches, once you know what you're looking for. It can take a while for stuff to pop up though. Might be a good source for things you know are good but are hard to find/discontinued?

Daley

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2018, 10:18:26 AM »
I appreciate all the feedback thus far. However, I'm sticking a pin in it for now. Larger fish to fry.

Thank you all. Update when I might be able to get back to this, and hope the advice might help others in the meantime.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2018, 10:38:12 AM »
PTF.

For me it is more about the closet space than just not wanting to change clothes. I just want something practical, that can be worn everywhere.

JLee

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2018, 10:45:36 AM »
I bought some of these on their kickstarter/indiegogo/whatever it was and I quite like them, with a few minor complaints: https://offthegridsurplus.com/shop/trailblazer-offroad-overlanding-pants/

They're my favorite pants so far.

Update on these...I emailed the company with my complaints (side pocket is too small, zipper is low quality, and the reinforced knife clip area isn't quite wide enough).  Their v2 has already fixed the zipper and side pocket, and on their ~March version they will add a half inch of width to the reinforced patch.  I love small companies!

bognish

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2018, 11:30:28 AM »
I get Carharts from the local farm stores: Cal Ranch, IFA or local grocery store with a western wear department. Check Sierra Outlet too if you don't mind taking a chance on sizing ordering online. Reasonably priced and last forever. Their lined pants are so nice in the winter too.

Papa bear

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2018, 08:22:28 PM »





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kidmont

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2018, 11:04:19 PM »
I have BLACKHAWK tactical pant. It's quiet good.

ROF Expat

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2018, 01:32:32 AM »
Daley,

Check out the Orvis Ultimate Khakis. 

They're very heavily built.  The fabric is 9.5 oz, which is heavier than almost anything else I've found and doesn't require an extra knee layer.  They aren't gusseted, but the normal size is cut very full, so you may not miss it.  They are very heavily built and hold up extremely well.  No extra pockets, but the regular pockets are big and deep.  They hold up to hunting in briar but still look good with a blazer. 

Normal price is around $109, but there is often (and currently) a two for $168 deal.  Given how long they last, I feel they are good value.  I still wear two that I think I bought in 2008.  I bought two more earlier this year (because I lost weight, not because the first two aren't still in good shape). 

Orvis has a great return policy, so you can return them if you're not happy with them.  And they give 5% of pre-tax profits to he environment. 

I buy quite a bit of Orvis stuff (along with LLBean and Lands End).  I like that all three companies still build a lot of their products to last.  I have used their luggage and fishing gear for decades.  When they show wear or break after years of hard use, I send them back to Orvis for refurbishing and repair, which they do for a very reasonable cost, even if they no longer make the product.  How many companies still do that? 

JLee

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Re: Pants! Why must buying tactical pants feel like stepping around landmines?
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2018, 07:13:58 AM »
Daley,

Check out the Orvis Ultimate Khakis. 

They're very heavily built.  The fabric is 9.5 oz, which is heavier than almost anything else I've found and doesn't require an extra knee layer.  They aren't gusseted, but the normal size is cut very full, so you may not miss it.  They are very heavily built and hold up extremely well.  No extra pockets, but the regular pockets are big and deep.  They hold up to hunting in briar but still look good with a blazer. 

Normal price is around $109, but there is often (and currently) a two for $168 deal.  Given how long they last, I feel they are good value.  I still wear two that I think I bought in 2008.  I bought two more earlier this year (because I lost weight, not because the first two aren't still in good shape). 

Orvis has a great return policy, so you can return them if you're not happy with them.  And they give 5% of pre-tax profits to he environment. 

I buy quite a bit of Orvis stuff (along with LLBean and Lands End).  I like that all three companies still build a lot of their products to last.  I have used their luggage and fishing gear for decades.  When they show wear or break after years of hard use, I send them back to Orvis for refurbishing and repair, which they do for a very reasonable cost, even if they no longer make the product.  How many companies still do that?

From their site right now:

"His Favorite, Times Two! Buy 2 Ultimate Khakis, Save $50.
To take advantage of this offer, choose any two Classic or Trim Fit Ultimate Khakis (8K4Y, 8K57, 12PF) and add them to your basket. The price will be automatically reduced at checkout. Offer expires November 4, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET."