OUTDOORS

Best Tactical Pants: Have Every Tool and Gadget within Arm’s Reach

Best Tactical Pants
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Are you tired of buying new pants after every outdoor venture you take? Do your jeans have an insufficient number of pockets for your EDC stuff? You will agree with us that durable and functional pair of pants is a must in every survival situation. If you want to have the right number of pockets and straps along with dependability, then you need to get the best tactical pants.

It is important to possess such pants if you spend time in the forest or work in the law-enforcement field because with them you will literally have everything you need within arm’s reach. Furthermore, your reliable tactical pants will never tear on you and will even repel water while still giving you exceptional freedom for rapid movements.

Tactical Pants

In order to aid you in your search for the perfect pair, we have created this guide. We hope that our reviews will be helpful and detailed enough in order to point you in the right direction. Don’t forget to also see the section with the most important characteristics before you start browsing for the best tactical pants.

Our Top Picks

ProductBest useWeight% CottonPrice
5.11 Tactical Stryke Pant Outdoor projects1.1 pounds35%Check price on Amazon
CQR Men's Tactical PantsCamping0.4 pounds35%Check price on Amazon
Propper Men's Lightweight Tactical PantSelf-defense0.7 pounds35%Check price on Amazon
FREE SOLDIER Men's Tactical PantsSurvival, Combat1 pound50%Check price on Amazon
5.11 Men's Tactical 74273 TacLite Pro PantBushcraft0.4 pounds35%Check price on Amazon
TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Tactical PantBackyard projects1.3 pounds35%Check price on Amazon
Vertx Men's Original Tactical PantsStealth1.1 pounds98%Check price on Amazon
BLACKHAWK! Men's Lightweight Tactical PantsConcealment, survival0.4 pounds35%Check price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Tactical pants are definitely giving you more in terms of durability and accessibility in comparison to regular jeans. While they do share most characteristics with simple pants, it is imperative to know what sets them apart. Check out the write-ups we have put together on the most common features a tactical pair of pants should have.

Purpose

First things first: The fact that we call them all “tactical pants” definitely does not suggest that they are all absolutely the same. In fact, some brands specialize in a certain niche when it comes to such clothing. Some tactical pants are meant to serve you as you do some physical work. They will be fine when you want to tuck away tools and carry them around.

Person with Tactical Pants

Other pairs of pants are fine if you are looking to go camping or do some bushcraft. Survival in the woods requires specific features and you should look for them when selecting pants for such activities. They might have enhanced belt loops or waterproofing to help you in a messy, windy and dirty environment.

There are also those tactical pants that are meant to be utilized in an urban environment. Their target group consists of law-enforcement personnel, security guards or simply people looking to up their self-defense game. Such pants will give you more comfort at the expense of durability. Pockets and loops are designed in such a way so that it would be easier for you to access concealed objects.

Materials

The materials of which your tactical pants are made, typically respond to the purpose of the pair. Most of them come with a 65% polyester and 35% cotton fabric and this means that they might be somewhat warmer. While such a characteristic is beneficial in an unfriendly forest situation, it is definitely not wanted if you are a security guard.

People Wearing Tactical Pants

Image credit: lapolicegear.com

This is why you might notice that the stealth tactical pants are typically more convenient to wear. They have almost no polyester in them but more cotton instead. Spandex is a nice material to have initially but it tends to stretch too much and become loose in time thus altering the shape of your pair of pants.

Rip-stop is the feature to look for in terms of technology if you are to work a lot outside. Damage is always likely and if it occurs, you want it to be minimal and without any consequences. It is pointless to mention that tactical pants need to be dependable and sturdier in comparison to your regular jeans.

Durability and Enhancements

To piggyback the previous sentence above, durability is an essential trait of any pair of tactical pants. We won’t spend a lot of time talking about it an instead, we will focus on the enhancements part. Since you are unlikely to just sit around in your tactical pants but will rather do a lot of rapid movement, there is typically some cushioning installed in the trousers.

Person Sitting

Most of them will have the seat enhanced with some extra padding but the same can be expected to be seen in the knee area as well. Some pants also have a string at the end of the legs so that the opening can be cinched. However, many times this is annoying as your pants will ride up on you when you do rapid movements. Having loose and open legs is actually more convenient when we talk about tactical pants.

Size

It is clear that every piece of clothing is better off if it fits you right. This is even more important when you are looking to buy a good pair of tactical pants. You want to have maximum freedom so that you can squat and duck easily.

You know your pants fit you if they do not ride up as you do such movements. You want freedom around your tights as well. The goal is to have the trousers loose enough so that you can fill the pockets with useful things but also have them tight enough so that they can serve their purpose.

Tactical Pants

Image credit: solidrop.net

Some models feature an elastic waistband. Even though they have certain sizes, such a band will help you customize the width of the waist area. This shouldn’t be overlooked as, without it, your pair of tactical pants might become unusable.

Pockets

This is perhaps the most important feature of each pair of tactical pants. It directly impacts the functionality of your trousers and if you are not happy with the configuration of the pockets, then you need to buy a different model right away.

Depending on your activity, certain pockets are more valuable to have than others. For concealment, you should look for zipper pockets on the back or the side. You will be amazed how sharp some designers are as they have added virtually invisible secret pockets around the regular ones.

Tactical Pants Pockets

Image credit: solidrop.net

Cargo pockets typically reside around your knees. They can be accessed from every angle and some tactical pants have cargo pockets with compartments or even with some smaller pockets inside. Angled back and side pockets are easy to reach into even if you are squatting.

Velcro can be a great addition and a curse at the same time. While some pockets are better off closed, others need to be accessed quickly and silently. Stealth tactical pants feature virtually no Velcro because the sound that it makes when you undo it is definitely going to destroy your cover.

No Velcro Pocket

The number of pockets is essential and you should look for more. However, you don’t want them to be very deep or you can have stuff swimming around without being able to locate it. Furthermore, some pockets are just too visible and make your pants look baggy and inconvenient. It all comes down to preference and requirements.

Accessories

Accessories include all sorts of straps, strings, D-rings, belt loops etc. All of these are very valuable as they will allow you to store your flashlight, multi-tool or knife. Some pants come with special magazine holders.

The belt loops might be thicker on some tactical pants so that they can hold a heavier belt. Many loops are spaced in such a way so that you can access your holster without any impairments. D-rings are great if you are looking to clip a carabiner onto them.

Tactical Pants

Image credit: meanandgreen.com

In short, straps will allow you to always know what stays where. You do not want to have stuff flooding your pockets when you want to reach for it in a critical situation. Keep everything arranged and go about your business without any pressure.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Our team has selected some of the finest brands and their respective tactical pants on the market and have put together a review section especially for you. Get to know the individual properties of the following items and see which ones seem to answer your survival and outdoor needs.

A quick tip from us is to not focus on the characteristics which they all share but pay attention to the unique ones that each pair of tactical pants has. Approximate prices are also there to assist in your quest for locating the best tactical pants.

5.11 Tactical Stryke Pant

Price: $33 – $1255.11 Tactical Stryke Pant

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Size: From 28W to 40W

Specific features: Rip-stop material, Flex-tac fabric, fade resistant, angled pockets, Velcro back pockets, kneepads

Best use: Survival, outdoor projects

Cutting edge design doesn’t necessarily take a back seat to performance and this is exactly the case with the 5.11 Tactical Stryke Pant. The Flex-Tac fabric is a top class material which guarantees excellent durability and versatility.

There is no doubt you are looking for functionality when seeking to buy tactical pants and this is exactly what you get with the 5.11 Tactical Stryke. The Rip-stop Flex-tac Poly cotton is the main material of the pair. It sounds kind of fancy but it truly lives up to its name. Don’t expect your outdoor pants to get damaged easily.

Their sturdiness is aided the double knee reinforcements. They are discrete and are barely visible. However, this accessory will provide you with additional protection against wear. In short, you get a high stain and fade resistance if you opt for the 5.11 Tactical Stryke pants. Kneepads are also present.

Comfort is also essential and because of that, the pants also have a very decent stretch characteristics. The best part is that this technology is not spandex based meaning that it will always return to its initial shape. Spandex tends to become loose with time and that will lead to your pants not fitting you anymore.

Back pockets are secured with Velcro so that you can store some important EDC items there safely. All the pockets are low-profile ones and are also angled for quick access. Your outdoor activities will definitely be easier with this pair of pants.

PROS:

  • Comfortable
  • Added kneepads
  • Durable
  • Many sizes available
 CONS:

  • Mainly dark colors available
  • Front pockets are too small

Related: 5.11 is a brand devoted to bringing you excellent survival gear and you will surely benefit from also owning a 5.11 TDU 1.5-Inch Belt. This tactical belt has a heavy-duty nylon webbing making it very strong and durable. It will do just fine with your 5.11 tactical pants and will give you extra mobility with its lightweight and plastic buckle. Comes in 3 colors.

Check the price on Amazon

CQR Men’s Tactical Pants

Price: $30 – $37CQR Men's Tactical Pants

Weight: 0.4 pounds

Size: From 28W to 44W

Specific features: 65% polyester, 35% cotton, Rip-stop fabric, reinforced side pockets, velcro covers on pockets, d-rings, lightweight.

Best use: Camping, working outside

The CQR Men’s Tactical Pants are hailed as a budget alternative to the 5.11 pants that we already reviewed. These also feature Rip-stop fabric. They are made out of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. That’s typical for a pair of tactical pants of this price class. They will, however, successfully repel water, dirt, and grease.

Keep in mind that the CQR Tactical Pants are somewhat baggier than expected. The legs are very wide but this is because they are meant to give you as much flexibility as possible. One must be able to freely kneel and squat as these movements are often critical to most outdoor activities.

If you are fashion-conscious then you are not likely to wear them to the supermarket if you are just looking to put on any pants. Additionally, they are surprisingly long but this can be attributed to the fact that most people wear them with boots.

Let’s move on to the pockets now. You have 8 of them if you decide to go with the CQR Tactical Pants. The side pockets have the bottom sections reinforced because it is assumed that you will carry pocket knives. Each pocket has Velcro over it so that you can further secure some items. The D-rings on the belt buckles is a nice touch in case you want to latch something onto your pants.

In general with the CQR pants, you get function over form and the price shows it. There’s nothing wrong with that as you can rest assured that a pair of these won’t fall apart on you. They are also lightweight which is a bonus.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Cheap
  • Dependable
  • Reinforced pockets
 CONS:

  • Do not fit well (baggy)
  • Too long
  • Pretty simple model

Related: Don’t protect only your legs when you are outdoors, make sure your hands are also taken care of. Pair your CQR tactical pants with the CQR TZG01 Tactical Gloves. They come from the same brand and quality is guaranteed. They are made of microfiber and spandex for maximum comfort but also provide full fingered coverage. There are breathable vent holes to keep you fresh.

Check the price on Amazon

Propper Men’s Lightweight Tactical Pant

Price: $18 – $60Propper Men's Lightweight Tactical Pant

Weight: 0.7 pounds

Size: From 28W to 44W

Specific features: 9-pocket design, Rip-stop fabric, thick belt loops, extra deep back pockets, velcro pockets, elastic band, lightweight

Best use: Law-enforcement, EDC

We move on to a pair of tactical pants which is mainly marketed toward law-enforcement personnel. The Propper Men’s Lightweight Tactical Pant is a very professional looking model and it not only will get the job done, but stays fit and looks good.

As you might expect for this price range, you get a pair of tactical pants made out of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. This can somewhat also be a disadvantage as the pants tend to be warmer than usual. The material is again Rip-stop fabric meaning that it is tough to damage the item by just moving rapidly and suddenly.

The 9-pocket design of the Propper Tactical Pant will allow you to put away and tuck all sorts of EDC things. The pair is also convenient if you are looking to have some self-defense items with you as well. There are actual pockets inside of pockets. You get standard pockets with Velcro, a cell phone pouch, typical left and right pockets and huge back pockets.

The side pockets have an extra lip so you won’t tear the material. The little “coin” pockets here are actually useful for a spare key or a very small flashlight. The belt loops on the Propper Tactical Pant are 1 inch thick making them some of the widest ones you will encounter. They are great for a tactical belt. They are also located in such a way that won’t hinder your holster.

The back side of the pants is not elastic, it is just a standard cuff. The two sides, however, feature an elastic band which can be both useful and annoying. It will aid you if you want to do a concealed carry but will perhaps get too loose with time. The back pockets are extra deep and you get reinforced knees and seat.

PROS:

  • Popular among law-enforcement personnel
  • Thick belt loops
  • 9-pocket design
  • Good for both open and concealed carry
  • Many color options
 CONS:

  • Polyester makes them too warm
  • Elastic band can be in the way

Related: Staying on the tactical clothing topic, we also recommend looking into the Propper Lightweight Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt. It will go perfectly well with your Propper tactical pants to give you a complete survival clothing set. Can be worn on and off duty. It is also made of Rip-stop fabric and also has pocket flaps and an internal collar. You can get it with a badge tab.

Check the price on Amazon

FREE SOLDIER Men’s Tactical Pants

Price: Approx. $50FREE SOLDIER Men's Tactical Pants

Weight: 1 pound

Size: From S to XXL

Specific features: 12 pockets, Rip-stop material, Teflon coating, nylon belt loops, molle webbing straps, Velcro pockets, adjustable waist

Best use: Combat, survival

There is no doubt that the FREE SOLDIER Men’s Tactical Pants are one of the most hardcore looking pants you will encounter on our list of reviews today. Apparently, the goal of Free Soldier as they designed these pants was to give you all sorts of possibilities during a survival or a combat situation.

Of course, you get a pair made out of Rip-stop material meaning that if you puncture a hole in them, it won’t spread. The material is 50% cotton and 50% nylon. They have Teflon coating which should repel water but does not make the pair waterproof.

You might find the sizing options a little bit confusing as they do not come with measurements but letters such as S, M, etc. instead. This isn’t the end of the world as the pants come with Velcro straps on the waist making it possible for you to adjust and tighten them.

You also can’t wear them with sneakers or tennis shoes as they are simply too long. Put some boots on. The 12 pockets which you get are drastically oversized but that doesn’t mean you can’t carry small EDC things. There are pen holders, flashlight holsters and even molle webbing straps on the side especially designed for little things to be tucked away.

The nylon belt loops aren’t very stiff meaning their longevity is questionable. Until you wear the pants for some time, though, you can’t really be sure whether you will have problems with your tactical belt. The price isn’t outrageous and you get plenty of functionality.

PROS:

  • Functional
  • Oversized pockets and small loops
  • Water resistant
  • Adjustable waistband
 CONS:

  • Most pockets can be slow to access because of Velcro
  • Belt loops aren’t firm
  • Sizing options aren’t clear

Related: Enhance your outdoor set’s water resistance by also getting the FREE SOLDIER Outdoor Men’s Waterproof Jacket. The fleece fabric on the outside will repel water and dirt while the cotton + nylon inside lining will give you some comfort. The jacket has a waterproof zipper and a Duraflex buckle. Weights only about 1 lb.

Check the price on Amazon

5.11 Men’s Tactical 74273 TacLite Pro Pant

Price: $30 – $905.11 Men's Tactical 74273 TacLite Pro Pant

Weight: 0.4 pounds

Size: From 28W to 44W

Specific features: Elastic bands, Rip-stop material, reinforced pockets, reinforced knees and seat, gusseted crotch, slash pocket design, triple stitched, open style legs (no tie downs), 65% polyester and 35% cotton

Best use: Outdoor projects, bushcraft

Typical for 5.11, the price is on the higher end when we talk about the 5.11 Men’s Tactical TacLite Pro Pant. The pants might just be worth it, though, as it is obvious that the craftsmanship is superior to others. These tactical pants will surely hold their ground in a tough situation with all the reinforcements that they have.

The usual stuff is present here: 65% polyester, 35% cotton, and a Rip-stop material. You barely see any cargo pants nowadays with different characteristics. But here’s where 5.11 really excel – they want you to feel comfortable and never worry that your pants will let you down ina critical outdoor situation.

This is why you get double reinforced seat and knees. All the pockets have an extra lip so that your knife won’t damage the fabric. The back pockets are not as deep so that nothing weighs you down and dangles in case you need to run. The pants are also triple stitched making them extremely sturdy.

The typical 5.11 slanted or slash pocket design is featured here and many people do not find it very convenient. They can be uncomfortable to access. The belt loops are beefy and will definitely be able to hold the weight of your tactical belt with all the EDC thigs on it. There are little elastic waistbands on the side for concealed carry.

The strap on one of the pockets on the side has no clear purpose, at least to us. The crotch is gusseted giving you further comfort and security. Besides the typical zipper fly and button on top, you also get one more inside button which will make sure that your pants stay on you regardless of the weight in the pockets.

PROS:

  • Comfortable and dependable
  • Belt loops are strong
  • Reinforced parts
  • Deep and shallow pockets
 CONS:

  • A little bit on the expensive side
  • Strap on side pocket with no obvious purpose
  • Slanted pockets
  • Material could be better for that price

Related: If pockets are never enough then look to also get the 5.11 Tactical TacLite Pro Vest. Comes with the same material as your 5.11 tactical pants. The vest is lightweight with its 0.4 lb. there are 17 pockets and the best part is that you can wear it over your shirt or under your jacket. The vest is cut long so that it can conceal sidearm.

Check the price on Amazon

TRU-SPEC Men’s 24-7 Tactical Pant

Price: $30 – $100TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Tactical Pant

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Size: From 28W to 44W

Specific features: Rip-stop material, 65:35 poly/cotton blend, expandable pockets, cargo pockets, accessory pockets, Teflon coating, stretch tab

Best use: Everyday activities, backyard projects, camping

If some of you are looking for a practical choice that is also a middle of the pack in terms of pricing then this next survival pair of pants might do the trick. Check out the TRU-SPEC Men’s 24-7 Tactical Pant and don’t expect any bad surprises from it. These pants are pretty standard but have a couple of nifty features worth mentioning.

The 65% polyester/35% cotton blend is also water resistant because it is coated with Teflon. While it will repel moisture, don’t expect it to be completely waterproof. As expected, the pants are also made out of Rip-stop fabric preventing any damage from spreading.

You get 5 thick belt loops (1.25 inches wide) which will be more than enough for a good size belt. In the front, you close the pants by on-snap buttons, a zipper fly but there’s also a secondary button inside. There’s also a stretch tab on the side instead of an elastic band. This way the cuff won’t create any ridges on your skin.

Let’s explore the pockets now. You get an accessory pocket on each side, perfect for a knife or multi-tool. As you go lower in the front you will see cargo pockets which are simply amazing. Both of them accommodate 4 more pockets in them. They are designed to hold a magazine, cell phone or other EDC stuff.

What is really cool about the TRU-SPEC 24-7 Tactical Pant is that all the main pockets can be expanded in capacity. A piece of Velcro cinches them on the side and as you undo it, the size of the pocket will double. This makes the pair excellent for carrying even larger than usual items.

While the pants are not really cheap, the value for money is definitely there. Hopefully, the fact that they are slightly heavier than expected won’t bother you at all.

PROS:

  • Accessory pockets
  • Secondary button
  • Thick belt loops
  • Pockets are expandable
 CONS:

  • Not lightweight
  • Few color options

Related: Make sure you never get flat-footed in the wilderness or in any survival situation by having something reliable on your feet. Get the Under Armour Valsetz RTS and rest assured that your boots will not let you down. They have a rubber sole, synthetic + textile upper body and also feature the ClutchFit technology. The mid-foot support is enhanced by the lightweight TPU shank.

Check the price on Amazon

Vertx Men’s Original Tactical Pants

Price: $35 – $105Vertx Men's Original Tactical Pants

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Size: From 28W to 52W

Specific features: 98% cotton, high rise, concealment pocket, jeans style patch pocket, recessed cargo pockets, double articulated knee, low profile

Best use: Security guards, law-enforcement, stealth

If your job is not wildlife oriented but still takes place outdoors then this next tactical pair of pants will definitely impress you. The Vertx Men’s Original Tactical Pants feature a very low-profile design and we know that this was achieved on purpose by the designers.

It is important to assess that this item might not be entirely useful to you in the forest or if you do projects related to carrying around a number of tools. No, they are for people working in an urban environment such as security guards, police officers, and agents. This explains the whole low-profile thing.

As far as the material goes, you get 98% cotton and 2% spandex. This goes to show you that the Vertx Tactical Pants are all about comfort. They also have a high rise to keep your shirt tucked nicely. On the right side, next to the regular pocket you also get a concealment one. It’s for your credentials, credit cards or anything valuable that you want to carry safely.

There’s a jeans style patch pocket on the pack further enhancing your low profile. The cargo pockets up front are not just bags stitched to the pant. This section has been removed and the pocket has been recessed into the fabric. The pocket will lay flat when not in use. It also has no Velcro patch meaning that you will have silent access to it. That’s great when you want to keep quiet during a stealth situation.

The Vertx Tactical Pants have a double articulated knee. This means that the pant won’t ride up on you as you squat, kneel or run. This, along with the gusseted crotch will give you the utmost free range of motion.

As seen above, the pants are not meant for your backyard projects. They are great for concealing items and self-defense.

PROS:

  • Low profile
  • Comfortable
  • Motion is easy
 CONS:

  • Too few pockets
  • Hardly helpful in the forest
  • Few color options

Related: The Condor Mesh Tactical Cap will be an excellent addition to your gear. Its presence shouldn’t be underestimated as it will help you in a number of outdoor situations regardless of weather. Can be used to block light and also provide protection against wind and rain. It is made of genuine A-TACS material and has a highly breathable mesh panel. The strap is adjustable.

Check the price on Amazon

BLACKHAWK! Men’s Lightweight Tactical Pants

Price: $56 – $83BLACKHAWK! Men's Lightweight Tactical Pants

Weight: 0.4 pounds

Size: From 28W to 54W

Specific features: DWR treatment, elastic expansion, concealment zipper pockets, angle-cut pockets, silicone strip, 65% polyester/35% cotton, lightweight

Best use: Concealment, practice field, self-defense, survival

The BLACKHAWK! Men’s Lightweight Tactical Pants pretty much have it all when it comes to survival or self-defense. With them, you get a relatively low-profile pair of pants, although they have a number of pockets, and at the same time, there’s plenty of functionality and freedom.

DWR (durable water resistant) treatment has been applied to the BLACKHAWK! Tactical Pants making them excellent in a damp or moist environment. The elastic expansion on the side of the cuff is not visible thus improving the looks of the pair.

The materials are of course Rip-stop and the pants are made out of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. You will find a silicone strip on the inside of the cuff which will make sure your shirt stays tucked regardless of your movements.

Concealment is probably their second name as you will be amazed by all the hidden pockets you get in that pair of tactical pants. The angle-cut pockets allow for knives and flashlights to be put away vertically without any worries.

In the back, you get a zipper wallet pocket for credentials. This way your valuables will stay around the waist area and won’t flood your pockets. One more zipper pocket is present on the right side of the regular pocket. Its purpose is pretty much the same – put away small valuables.

Let’s focus on the cargo pockets now. Not only that they are large but they also contain an elastic strap with three sections. This way you can intelligently store things such as an extra magazine, a knife, and a flashlight. Once you reach inside, you will know the position of each item.

There is a separate mesh pocket right on top of the cargo pockets. It is simply excellent to access from a horizontal position and you can store your phone there. Easy access is the name of the game if you ask the designers of the pants.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Silicone strip for your shirt
  • A number of secret pockets
  • Segmented cargo pockets
 CONS:

  • Only two color options
  • Price is above average

Related: Since you will have so many pockets in your tactical pants, why not go fully prepared and add the Adventure Medical Kits Professional Trauma Pak to your gear? Contains a QuikClot technology to stop bleeding. It will fit in your cargo pocket easily. The packaging is fully waterproof and the DryFlex technology allows it to be reusable.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you have already decided which tactical pair of pants fits your needs. Check out more of our wilderness and outdoor gear guides and as always – stay put!

In conclusion, we will urge you to always comment and share the guide. Tell us if anything was missing or let us know if you enjoyed reading our reviews. The main goal is to always be there for you and assist you in your outdoor ventures.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.