Choosing to use tactical pants in both military and civilian scenarios is a choice that should be accompanied with due diligence in terms of finding the best piece of clothing for the job.
When it comes to pants, it is important to purchase a set that is durable, comfortable, and a pair that utilizes the right materials therein. Stitching, zipper(s), and the material itself should all be factors when considering whether or not a given pair of pants will your own needs/scenario.
Cost can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer, although generally the old adage holds true in terms of getting what you pay for.
Considerations such as stain resistance, the application(s) of the pants you will be buying, the gear you will be carrying, and various other factors will all contribute to which pair of pants is right for you.
The growing demands of civilian workplaces has increased the demand for tactical style pants, and so there are more options now than ever.
There are some who wear tactical pants based on their appearance and storage capacity alone, and so emphasizing which qualities are most important prior to choosing a pair of tac pants will help to select the right product.
What are Tactical Pants Used For ?
Tactical pants are used for a wide variety of different applications, including the paramedic, manual labor, law enforcement, and military fields.
Their tendency to combine utility with comfort makes them among some of the best options in the clothing world for workers who do not have formal dress codes.
When working in environments such as warehouses, the use of tactical pants means less running back and forth, because everything you need is already stored on your person.
What Are Military Pants Called?
Tactical pants or cargo/combat trousers have evolved to meet the needs of military personnel in recent decades to accommodate the need to carry large amounts of gear on one’s person.
Storage capacity eventually evolved to also include ruggedness and resilience as the technology related to clothing changed, and this includes cloth treatments to discourage staining, tearing, and water-saturation.
Tactical pants with lots of pockets alone no longer amount to a pair of tactical pants being sufficient however, these days customers also tend to want to durability and water-resistance.
Are Military Pants And Tactical Pants The Same?
Mil-spec or military pants are not always the same as tactical pants, and in fact it is rarely the case depending on the branch of the military a given soldier is operating in.
It is important to realize that the military however emphasizes manufacturing standards that are geared towards exceedingly hostile environments rather than everyday use in the civilian world. Still, there are tactical pants that could (in theory) hold their own in combat theater.
Recent increases in the rate at which private military units or mercenaries operate has increased the likelihood that tactical pants such as the ones in this list are indeed making their way into actual combat.
Our Top Picks
#1 5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro Lightweight Performance Pants
When looking for a pair of 5.11 tactical pants that are versatile, these are a solid option for a variety of both civilian and service applications due to their lightweight qualities being mixed with rugged construction and top-notch materials.
The use of Taclite ripstop fabric helps to ensure that these pants will hold up in the field, and this is paired with a teflon protective coating that helps to prevent stains.
Storage applications with these pants is superior, thanks to some very deep pockets back pockets in addition to a large number of pockets overall.
These are not tactical pants with tapered leg though, and they are fitted much more for the sake of comfort, although the material is thin enough that you could certainly tuck the ankle cuff into a pair of boots.
This particular offering from 5.11 is not waterproof, however they do have other offerings which have protective coatings that help to repel water while wearing these pants.
5.11 has been in the business a long time though, and the overall quality of construction in their clothing is second to few. Local/State police often utilize these pants in order to ensure that their people are properly equipped.
- Lightweight construction makes these pants ideal for warmer environments
- 5.11 Tactical Company Warranty
- Sturdy materials means less worrying about tears
- A large number of pockets means more options for storing gear
- Superior comfort means that working long hours is not a problem
- Lightweight material not good for colder climates
- Pants may fit larger in some cases than people are used to
Dickies tactical pants offer a great mix of value and quality because quite often a pair of these particular pants can be had for less than 50% of the competition, but of course, there are caveats.
All of the usual fixtures of tactical pants are found here, with cargo pockets, rugged materials, and belt loops that accommodate a tactical belt and other accessories.
These are not tactical pants with lots of pockets, but the overall appearance and functionality of a pair of tactical pants is present here.
The extra set of bells and whistles with regard to stain protection, extra pockets, and more emphasis on comfort is not present here, unfortunately.
Dickies are an awesome, solid budget option for use at a warehouse or other civilian application where rigorous movement is somewhat limited.
In terms of police/military application(s) however, this is a pair of pants in which comfort should be more emphasized.
Despite a decrease in comfort though, the overall look and functionality of these pants is present, and so taking a bit of a hit in terms of quality is to be expected.
The stitching on these pants amounts to a long-term solution in terms of having a pair of pants to wear to work for years to come.
- Very Affordable
- Quality of materials is largely on par with other tactical pants options
- Cargo pockets and other staples of tactical pants are present here
- Great applications for civilian work environments
- The ruggedness of the stitching when compared to other tactical pants is not nearly as rugged.
- Lack of stain protection means that these will not be a good pair of pants for many applications
When looking for an option with as much carrying capacity as possible, the use of Blackhawk’s Men’s pursuit option may be right for your situation.
There is the presence of teflon protection to prevent staining while also allowing the material to remain breathable.
There are eight pockets here, with three AR-15 magazine compartments meaning that carrying ammo is not a problem with these pants.
The price is in the mid to high range for this list, and the quality of workmanship in this option reflects the cost and makes this an easy option for someone who wants to buy the best with confidence.
The black tactical pants offered by Blackhawk provide the wearer with a nice-looking set of pants while also preserving the utility that tactical pants need to provide in the military/police fields.
These are tactical pants with lots of pockets, allowing for the carrying of everything from extra magazines to handcuffs, and they still maintain an excellent sense of comfort.
At a distance these pants almost appear to be black jeans, lending them the added bonus of blending in with casual dress environments where someone might be working.
- Number of pockets makes carrying just about anything easy
- Construction quality of the materials is top notch
- Stain-resistant fabric and coating makes these pants an excellent option in situations where there will be a chance of staining
- Comfort means prolonged hours of activity will be easier to cope with
- The pockets of these tactical pants with mesh lined pockets are a nice touch
- Higher cost may be too much for some who are looking at Blackhawk tac pants
- Some production runs of these Blackhawk pants are tighter than earlier iterations of this product
- May not fit well for those who are taller
#4 CQR Men’s Tactical Pants Lightweight EDC Assault Cargo
The offering from CQR are among the best in the industry, offering extremely durable materials, an excellent warranty, and a unique, attractive design in addition to all of the aforementioned qualities.
Scollor makes it a point to demonstrate an extreme resistance to tearing, staining, and moisture, however it is important to bear in mind that no pair of pants are completely waterproof.
Protecting items inside of one’s pockets from rain and some direct contact with water is in full-effect per CQR’s own claims on their website.
Outside of military/police applications, CQR tactical pants can be converted to tactical pants with straps with the right accessories as well, making them exceedingly versatile and able to be suited for a wide variety of professional applications.
CQR makes it a point to emphasize comfort and dependability regarding their products, and these pants are no different.
Compared to a set of pants such as Scollor tactical pants, CQR will indeed fall short in multiple categories, but the benefit of having such a low price will be worth the trade off for many people.
These could be considered to be a great ‘workhorse’ set of pants for the cost, and in fact the added bonuses of modern technology and comfort help to make them a solid choice for most applications.
- Well-known brand that stands behind their products in terms of warranty and customer-service
- Exceedingly high quality manufacturing (heavy stitching)
- Quality materials
- Teflon coating to prevent stains and provide water-proofing
- Superior level of comfort in various applications
- Fashionable design makes them easier to wear in various settings
- Aesthetically unique design may not be for everyone
#5 ZAPT Tactical Pants With Knee Pads
When it comes to tactical pants with knee pads, ZAPT offers these for those who have exceedingly demanding work environments or are in the military.
Offered in multiple fatigue styles and flat colors, these pants feature sturdy stitching and a velcro waist adjustment system. These pants are exceptionally well-fitted for multiple body types, and offer an incredible amount of versatility thanks to a large number of pockets and materials designed for comfort.
These pants do come in at a high price when compared to other options, and there is a lack of water/stain proofing with this particular set of pants from ZAPT.
Despite a lack of weather-proofing, the durability of these tactical pants in combination with having knee pads makes them a great option for some. The elevated level of function in this particular pair of pants is likely to resonate with some who are in need of knee pads.
Those who tend to work on their knees such as dock workers, factory workers, warehouse workers, and others will all benefit from having knee pads attached to their pants.
The added benefit of wearing pants which are manufactured in a way that ensures they are durable helps to further make the case for the fact that these are pants which can stand the test of time.
For those who are serious about their work and avoiding unnecessary wear and tear on their body, this particular pair of pants is a great option. If you want it all, these pants will do just about everything they can to deliver in as many areas as possible.
- Attached knee-pads means one less thing to worry about
- Available in a wide range of different colors
- Comfort is superior
- Breathable fabric means that these pants can be used in a variety of climates
- Velcro waist-sizing can be very useful
- Generous number of pockets makes these pants a great choice for many different types of people
- Near the top of the cost-spectrum in this list
- Lack of water/stain proofing
- In terms of style, these pants are somewhat bland compared to other pairs