The pants are made of a cotton material that is somewhere between denim and canvas in thickness and strength. It's very comfortable and breathes very well, but is stiffer than the material in jeans or khakis. It's also tough. I wore these mens cargo pants while doing yard work, running around in concrete and steel buildings, moving wood and running the chain saw, and while doing construction work around the house, and all they did was get dirty. In comparison, the name brand cargo pants I bought at Superdupermegamart at Christmas time have several holes ripped in them, and are very faded.
Speaking of getting dirty, I couldn't keep them dirty. I got these things filthy with motor oil, chain oil, dirt, fake blood (semi-intentionally), real blood (unintentionally), and just about every other funky thing I could find. The only thing that took more than one washing to come out was red clay soil, and that didn't stain permanently. The only thing I noticed after 20+ cycles through the wash was that the edges of seams started to fade a bit. The pants didn't wrinkle if folded or hung up promptly after being removed from the
|Some minor fading along edges|
The construction of the pants is designed for hard use. All places where seams come together are reinforced with extra stitching and material. The knees are doubled over, with an interior pocket for knee pads if those are necessary. The closure for the pants is a snap, which seems to be pretty rugged. I personally prefer the rivet type closure you find on jeans, but this snap does not seem to be as delicate and prone to breakage as you find with other snaps and sewn-on buttons.
|Snap Closure. |
I was evil to this thing, but it never popped open
unexpectedly or broke
|Left thigh cargo pockets|
The other pocket issue I found was the width of the opening for the front pockets. These are nice, deep pockets that beg to be used for pocket carry, but I found that the opening was very tight for my hands when retrieving keys or trying to practice a draw from a pocket holster. Now, keep in mind that I have very large hands (No commercial glove maker makes gloves big enough for me), so someone with smaller hands might find them more usable. One good part of these openings being so tight was that I never had a problem with the sundry small items I carried around in them falling out. Once it was in the pocket, it stayed in the pocket.
One nice fixture for me was the pocket that sits on the front of the left thigh. I found this very handy for carrying either the reloads for my carry gun or a pocket knife and flashlight. Two single-stack magazines had a lot of room left in the pocket with them. Two double stack magazines were held very snugly.
|Additional thigh pocket on left side of pants|
|Single stack magazines left a lot of room|
One other feature that I had to figure out was the strap of webbing across the right hip. I eventually had to ask 5.11 what it was for, and their answer made sense at once: it's for carabiners. These pants were originally designed for climbers, and this was a convenient place to put all of the carabiners and other things that clip on for that sport. Lo and behold, it was perfect for clipping on a knife or keys with a carabiner. It was loose enough that clipping things on was easy, but not so loose that things flopped around.
Overall, I'd rate these as a good value. The one thing that I see missing from them is the aforementioned pocket for a wallet, and they definitely can't have double use as something you could wear to the office and then wear on the weekends. They price out at $54.99, but I expect that they will last for years with proper care.
Disclaimer: 5.11 Tactical provided me with the materials for this review, but I received no other compensation for doing it. I offered to return the pants when I was done with the evaluation.