The Best Tactical Pants For Everyday Wear In 2022


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Lightweight, water-resistant, and easy to clean, tactical pants typically provide plenty of pockets for your must-have kit, tough belt loops that won’t break under the strain of your EDC or survival knife, and great mobility. They are available in many different styles and weights and at a variety of price points.

Do you need lightweight hikers for suburban trail outings? Or durable pants that can stand up to backcountry abrasion or international adventures? We cover it all, with our list of the best tactical pants.

The Best Tactical Pants

 

Most Versatile Tactical Pants: 5.11 Tactical Men’s Apex Cargo Tactical Pants

5.11 tactical men's apex cargo tactical pants

 

The 5.11 APEX Pant is a durable, feature-packed pant that looks casual enough for everyday wear. The brand considers it a cargo pant and it has 10 pockets, including twin back yoke magazine pockets, and a handcuff key pocket inside the rear waist. In testing, we loved the gusseted crotch (a must-have in our opinion) that allows great freedom of movement. The articulated knees and flexible polyester/cotton fabric with mechanical stretch enhance the mobility of these pants. Add in genuine YKK zippers and Teflon treatment to resist stains and water, and you’re looking at an incredibly nice pair of pants at a reasonable price. Oh, and our favorite feature? The pockets are cut wide at the bottom and reinforced so your knife clips perfectly in place and won’t damage the pocket corner. Genius!

  • 10 colors
  • 28 – 44 inch waist sizes
  • Polyester & cotton blend
  • Teflon-treated fabric repels stains
  • Flex-tac mechanical stretch
  • Fully gusseted crotch, comfort waistband
  • 10 total pockets

See the 5.11 Tactical Men’s Apex Cargo Tactical Pants on Amazon

See the 5.11 Tactical Men’s Apex Cargo Tactical Pants on Walmart

See the 5.11 Tactical Men’s Apex Cargo Tactical Pants on 5.11

 

Most Colorful Tactical Pants: CQR Men’s Tactical Pants

cqr men's tactical pantsCQR tactical pants have cargo pockets, rip-stop fabric that combines cotton and polyester, and 35 color choices. They also come in a huge size range: from 28″ to 46″.

You can fully disappear in woodland camo or stand out in a crowd in bright red. Hunting and digital camo designs are also available, as well as a broad palette of earth and dark tones. No matter what color tactical boots, tactical shirt, tactical watch, tactical jacket, tactical neck gaiter, tactical baseball cap, or tactical underwear you prefer, you should be able to match your ensemble with a pair of CQR tactical pants.

  • 35 colors
  • Large size variety
  • Military and Law Enforcement performance design
  • Duratex fabric
  • 8 multipurpose cargo pockets
  • Fade, shrink, and wrinkle-resistant
  • High-strength metal alloy button and zipper

Most Durable Tactical Pants: 5.11 Stryke Tactical Pants With Flex-Tac

5.11 stryke tactical pants with flex-tacThe Stryke pant features 12 pockets, including an extra-deep cargo pocket on each side, combined with reinforced knees, and a gusseted crotch for versatile function.

The 5.11 brand builds the tactical pants with its proprietary Flex-Tac fabric. It’s treated with Teflon to repel spills, stains, mud, and rain. The mechanical stretch allows the fabric to be flexible and stretchable without the inclusion of spandex. The polyester’s elasticity, combined with a criss-cross patterned processing technique, gives the fabric a stretchy feel without compromising durability. The elasticized waistband features extra-wide belt loops for more durability.

Bartacked seams and stress points help hold it all together. YKK zippers and Prym snaps finish out the pant as shipped. If you do your best work on your knees, you’re in luck: an interior pocket inside each reinforced knee accepts a knee pad.

  • 13 colors
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Flex-Tac mechanical stretch
  • Rip-stop fabric
  • Dirt, stain, and soil-resistant
  • Self-adjusting tunnel waistband
  • 12 tactical pockets

Best Police Tactical Pants: LA Police Gear Men’s Urban Ops Tactical Pants

la police gear mens urban ops tactical cargo pants

Anyone who wants to cosplay as a cop (for non-bedroom reasons) will love LA Police Gear men’s tactical pants. Much like the other options, the broad size range means there’s something for every police officer or cop aspirant, regardless of current profession or vocation. These sizes start at 28W x 30L and go all the way up to 50W unhemmed.

Narrow vertical pockets hold telescoping batons, pocket knives, or pens.

  • 9 colors
  • Broad size range
  • Front slip pocket for smartphone or magazine
  • Large cargo pockets
  • Articulated knees and a gusset crotch
  • Elastic waistband
  • Rip-stop fabric

Best Cotton Tactical Pants: TRU-SPEC 24-7 Tactical Pants

tru-spec 24-7 tactical pants

I once read a review of Tru-Spec 24-7 tactical pants that said “there’s nothing groundbreaking about the design of Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Tactical Pants and that’s just fine because Tru-Spec isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel; they’re trying to create walking pants that are comfortable and functional and will stand up to the rigors of your chosen profession or activity.”

Upon closer inspection, that appears to check out. Split 65/35 polyester/cotton, the typical cargo pockets/wide belt loop design, and an adjustable slider waistband that eliminates elastic crimped material pretty much round out the pants.

  • 11 colors
  • A broad range of sizes
  • Comfort fit slider waistband
  • 2 cargo pockets with hook and loop closure
  • Reinforced knee
  • Dual internal magazine compartments
  • Suitable for EMTs, police, firefighters, and military

5.11 tactical series men's fast-tac urban pantsWhat are the best tactical pants to wear with non-tactical shoes, like topsiders, square-toed dress shoes, or crocs? In our book, that would be the 5.11 men’s Fast TAC. Some of the only tactical pants out there that aren’t also tactical cargo pants, the straight legs should translate well when you’re pretending to be John Wick on an office day.

At just 4.7 ounces, the Fast TAC is one of the lightest tactical pants available and has a water-resistant finish.

Their slacks-like look helps them work as everyday casual wear. If you like to go to work wearing pants that could help you spring into action in an instant without making you look like a law enforcement officer, the 5.11 men’s Fast TAC may be for you.

  • 5 colors
  • 28 – 54 inch waist sizes
  • Lightweight
  • Water-resistant finish
  • Reinforced front utility pocket edges
  • 5 total pockets
  • Flexible self-adjusting waistband

Best Overall Tactical Pants: 5.11 TacLite Tactical Pants

5.11 taclite tactical pantsThe 5.11 Men’s TacLite Pro Pants are a flexible pair of tactical pants for any occasion. They come in black only. 5.11 set the bar with its Stryke tactical pants and they raise it just a bit further with these. They’re covered with generously sized pockets ready to accept whatever tactical gear you need to bring along (guns, magazines, ammunition, tactical knives, pepper spray, etc.).

They also feature a dedicated cell phone pocket, just above the main pocket on your left thigh. The fabric is ripstop poly-cotton for durability, and it’s treated with an HT Teflon finish to repel stains from any liquid.

  • 3 colors
  • 28 – 42 inch waist sizes
  • 65% polyester, 35% cotton
  • Teflon-treated fabric
  • Moisture- and stain-resistant
  • Fully gusseted construction
  • 8 total pockets

Best Outdoor Tactical Pants: Under Armour Storm Tactical Patrol Pants

under armour storm tactical patrol pantsUnder Armour leverages years of athletic wear construction to deliver a tactical pant. The Storm has ripstop fabric and a stretch-engineered waistband, plus pockets where you need them. Storm is Under Armour’s proprietary water-repellent technology, engineered to increase waterproof properties without sacrificing breathability or mobility. The brand uses an unspecified DWR coating to pull off the effect, but its reputation is that it works.

One-hundred-percent polyester construction rounds out the no-frills Under Armour Storm, which comes in seven muted colors. Durable and slightly stretchy, you really can’t go wrong with these pants.

  • 7 colors
  • 33 – 44 inches waist size
  • Durable ripstop fabric
  • Water-repellent tech
  • Adjustable stretchy waist
  • Reinforced knees & crotch
  • Cargo pockets

dickies canvas tactical pantsYou can’t choose a pair of pants that represents the concept of American work any more elementally than Dickies. Are you a train engineer? A coal miner? An assembly line worker at a factory that builds Abrams tanks? If you are, you’re might be wearing Dickies.

Dickies canvas tactical pants have arrived for all your hardcore canvas needs, with their characteristic double-thick knees and heavy construction. A double-reinforced seat helps see you through any lulls in the action. That’s pretty much it. The best tactical clothing? We’re not sure about that. But if you’re into traditional fabrics and brand legend, Dickies is for you.

  • 4 colors
  • 30 – 48 inches waist size
  • 100% cotton
  • Breathable and comfortable fabric
  • Reinforced knees
  • Teflon-treated, repels liquid
  • Belt closure and L-shaped front pocket

Best Value Tactical Pants: Propper Lightweight Tactical Pants

propper lightweight tactical pantsPropper tactical pants combine DWR ripstop construction, nine pockets, and a hip-mounted D ring for a middle-of-the-road entry. The Teflon fabric protector keeps them from getting dirty and staying that way, and plenty of sizes plus an elastic waistband helps them fit anybody.

Colors include “Ranger” and “Sherriff Brown” (which is a color, not a person). The rear pockets are extra large and the metal D ring helps secure your keys.

  • A wide variety of colors
  • 28 – 56 inches waist size
  • Stain-resistant fabric
  • Extra-large belt loops
  • Reinforced knees and seat
  • 10 total pockets
  • Comfortable elastic waistband

Tactical Pants With Best Pockets: Helikon-Tex Urban Tactical Pants

helikon-tex urban tactical pantsHelikon-Tex UTP tactical pants get the job done with a familiar polycotton ripstop blend and a suite of intentionally-placed pockets. As per usual, gun magazines and cell phones are the storage priorities.

Wide back pockets fit your everyday items like your wallet and field notebook, while smaller ones accommodate your folding knife, tactical pen, or mags. Inner, low-profile pockets fit mags or batons. Other internal pockets accept extra padding, including knee pads. And if you’re just not carrying enough loaded magazines as is, load up two front pockets with either your smartphone or magazines.

  • A wide variety of colors
  • 30 – 42 inches waist
  • Rugged ripstop blend
  • Stretchable waist
  • 12 low-profile pockets
  • Reinforced knee stitching

Best Tactical Pants Reinforced Knees: BLACKHAWK! Pursuit Tactical Pants

blackhawk! pursuit tactical pants

Blackhawk Men’s Pursuit tactical pants position themselves as some of the best tac pants for people who can’t get enough assault rifles, with three AR magazine compartments inside each cargo pocket.

Imagine how impressed your friends will be when they find out you’re packing 180 rounds in your pockets — without sagging! Not only that, but you can also carry your tactical pen, compass, pepper spray, police badge, smartphone, tactical flashlight, EDC knife and so much more. There’s a double front belt loop in case you need it, a fully gusseted crotch for maximum mobility, and an adjustable elasticized waistband.

  • 5 colors
  • 28 – 52 waist size
  • Teflon shield repels water
  • Gusseted crotch
  • 8 multi-purpose pockets
  • Reinforced knees with pockets
  • Elastic waistband

 

Tactical Pants Buying Guide

 

Who this is for

Manufacturers make tactical gear and tactical pants for everybody, across a wide variety of interests and applications. So that’s how we fashioned this guide. If you wear pants, you can find a pair of tactical pants to suit you. The best tactical pants can go from the backyard to the bush and everywhere in between. A lot of them are ripstop, Teflon-coated, and some of them even fit and hang like regular pants.

How we picked

Good-quality tactical pants all include certain similar features: usually a polycotton blend, some kind of DWR coating, and ripstop construction. We scoured trusted brands for their best designs and included a few less-known options to present the most tactical pants we could across a variety of price points, utilities, and size options.

How we tested

Our testers wear out pants as fast as our lifestyles will accommodate. When we’re not at the keyboard, we’re out hiking, climbing, paddling, camping, hunting, and exploring. Testing tactical pants are part of our day job; our testers wear them on the trail and in the office, in relatively equal parts.

resting on the ground

Features To Look For In Tactical Pants

Material

Ripstop, polycarbon blends with DWR coatings are the industry standard. You need a lightweight fabric that will move with you and keep the elements more or less at bay.

Size

Most tactical pants come in an encouragingly wide range of sizes. That’s because a buyer segment that ranges from law enforcement to hikers challenging for FKTs on the world’s longest trails is bound to display a range of body types. Most of the pants on our list come in anywhere from a 28″ waist to a 50″.

Waterproofness

No doubt, the best tac pants should keep water out. Waterproof performance exists along a spectrum and is rarely perfect, especially in garments that offer any degree of comfort. Most manufacturers decline to give their tactical pants a rating on the standard mm/24-hour scale, which involves submerging a fabric under a certain amount of water and measuring how long the water takes to permeate it. That being said, almost every tactical pant employs some form of waterproof coating.

Construction

Ripstop and bar-tacked seams and stress points make a lot of sense for quality tactical pants. You could also look for hidden pockets that accept, for instance, knee pads. Articulated knees can be another nice feature. Belt loops should be solid, especially if you’ve constantly got tools etc. hanging off your belt.

And let’s not forget the ever-critical gusseted crotch. Between that and a reinforced seat, you shouldn’t have any problem sitting on anything that’s not a chair or going full-send over myriad obstacles.

tactical pants

Tactical Pants FAQ

Q: What are tactical pants used for?

Anything and everything! Hiking, climbing, falling, downhill mountain biking, scrambling through the brush, obstacle courses, adventure running, the gun range, and anything else you can think of.

The possibilities are nearly endless! Any application that might get you dirty or wet for long periods where you may need to carry specific items in your pockets can demand the best tactical pants. Many are built to be extremely durable. And with a Teflon coating nearly standard across the industry.

Q: What is ripstop?

Rudimentarily: a weaving pattern that utilizes reinforced crosshatches to mitigate rips in the fabric. If you think about it, it’s pretty straightforward. The more heavy the reinforcement, the less it’s prone to rip. The idea is that rips will happen; the reinforced threads serve as boundaries, stopping the whole sheet from separating.

Q: Why do tactical pants have an adjustable waist?

Have you ever spent days or weeks in the backcountry? If you have, you know that outings like that can reshape your body, typically due to a change in your normal diet. Other factors that make adjustable waists useful for tactical pants include the multiple body positions and activities you’ll likely undertake while you’re wearing them. And if they get wet, cinching them will be helpful as they get heavier. Finally, they should last a long time! This means that they, and you, could likely shapeshift throughout their life cycle.

Q: Are tactical pants good for hiking?

Sure thing. Usually, they’re lightweight, durable, and to some extent waterproof. Maybe shy away from varieties with deep cargo pockets; you don’t want to jangle around too much in that area while you’re hiking. However, features like double stitching and articulated knees can help a lot. And everybody loves a gusseted crotch.

Sources:

  1. Tactical Pants – Wikipedia
Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson Sam Anderson has followed a passion for well-told stories and nature's beauty from university classrooms to mountain adventures. After earning a bachelor's degree in literature, he leaned into a life fueled by road tripping, rock climbing, coffee and beer, and renegade camping. He has worked as a chainsaw operator, house carpenter, and window cleaner, at one point running his own window cleaning business. He has finally settled with his girlfriend and small zoo in the western American desert, trading his tool belt for a keyboard.