The 5.11 Tactical Pants – Cargo Pants Extraordinaire

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5.11 Tactical is a US-based company with a very good reputation within the tactical community – mainly the armed forces and law enforcement.

But as I never get tired of pointing out, products made by companies like 5.11 are actually useful for many others looking for high-quality practical gear. Sure, some products such as body armor and tactical holsters are hard (but not impossible!) to find civilian applications for, but the bulk of their product lines can and should be of interest to the wider community.

One of my personal favorites from 5.11 Tactical is their ‘Tactical Pant’, a piece of tactical clothing that is fast becoming a classic. It’s easy to argue that, in fact, it isn’t a tactical product at all. It is simply a very good cargo pant. Made from 100% cotton canvas, it is extremely tough and the double and triple stitching (further reinforced in high stress locations), make them ideal work pants (although perhaps not if you work in an office, but you get the idea). They have two cargo pockets, large front and back pockets, and a smaller thigh pocket that will hold a cell phone or maybe a multi-tool. The tactical pants come with a number of other, almost hidden, features that make them stand out from the crowd. One feature that I’ve found very useful if you do a lot of DIY, for example, is that the knees aren’t just reinforced, they have a sort of pocket on the inside where you can insert knee-pads. Or simply pieces of neoprene that you cut out.

The only real drawback I’ve been able to find is that the material – 100% cotton canvas – doesn’t breathe very well and can be uncomfortable in hot weather. If you’re going hiking in the summer you may want to opt for something a bit more lightweight. Also, the colors tend to fade, but that is true for any cotton pant in my experience. And doesn’t really matter that much, I feel, since we’re talking about work pants here. The 5.11 Tactical Pant come in 9 different colors (11 according to the manufacturer, but I’ve only seen 9), most of which are subdued, earthy tones such as olive drab, khaki, etc. And they tend to look better with a bit of wear and fade. The only color where fading is really a problem is black.

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