Anyone who’s been out into the wilderness in a pair of jeans will know that they are in no way suitable for the outdoors. They are heavy, absorb loads of water, and wearing them is generally an extremely unpleasant experience. The solution? Tactical Pants!
In this article, we’ll run through the best tactical pants on the market that you can pick up today. Any of these options are bound to take your outdoors and survival abilities to the next level.
The best tactical pants are specifically designed for the outdoors, are lightweight, and are guaranteed to become your favourite bit of gear in your kit bag. Tactical pants were originally designed for police officers and the military, and are still an ideal choice if you are in one of those professions.
Tactical khakis are built to deal with anything that mother nature decides to throw at you. They have tons of cargo pockets to store your gear in for easy access, and have features like reinforced knees for durability and extra protection against the elements. Once you’ve had a great pair of tactical pants, you’ll never go back!
Best Tactical Pants
1. CQR EDC Tactical Pants
Package Dimensions: 10.79 x 7.32 x 3.31 inches
These tactical khakis are based on classic law enforcement and military personnel uniforms. This means they are built with practicality and performance as the main concerns. They have loads of storage space for your tools and equipment, with different sized pockets and slots. When you combine these pants with a good tactical belt, you have a range of options for gear storage.
As well as a good distribution of pockets, these cargo pants are water repellent, thanks to the Duratex Fabric coating on the material. The zippers and fastening are well designed and constructed, and will undoubtably be extremely reliable in the outdoors.
The poly cotton construction keeps the pants lightweight whilst being strong and durable. These pants won’t be fazed by rocks and sharp edges – you can be sure these pants won’t rip and tear. The rip stop material is also shrink, wrinkle and fade resistant, which keeps the pants comfortable and smart for the duration of their life.
The pants’ ergonomic design ensures that the user has maximum freedom of movement when wearing. This range of motion is ideal for police officers and military, but also for outdoor adventurers who need the freedom to navigate a variety of rocks and crevices.
2. 5.11 Tactical Stryke Uniform Pants
Material: 65 % Polyester, 35 % Cotton | Pockets: 12
These tactical pants from 5.11 are another military influenced pair of tactical pants that feature a lot of features that are designed with field operations in mind. For example, the pants have a teflon coated layer so that they can easily repel water. This coating keeps the wearer dry in heavy rain, and when walking through long, wet grass.
Despite the great waterproofing that the 5.11 tactical pant offers, the material is still very breathable. This is super important, and having a combination of waterproofing and breathability is essential. These pants don’t get too warm and stuffy, and keep good ventilation to the legs.
As far as storage space goes, you won’t have any complaints with these tactical pants. In fact, the 5.11s boast an incredible 12 pockets, just remember which one you put your keys in! The strong belt loops provide a place for a tactical belt, so you can increase your gear capacity even further.
Reinforced knees and a gusseted crotch ensure that this tactical pant is reinforced in all the areas that would usually see wear. Not only does this means that they will hold upwell in the field, but also last much longer than other pants.
3. LA Police Gear Tactical Cargo Pants
Material: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton Rip-Stop Stretch Fabric | Item Dimensions: 15.5 x 11.5 x 1.25 inches
Our next offering is these tactical police pants. This pair of pants is constructed out of a 65% polyester and 35% rip stop blend, which results in pants that are extremely strong and durable, but also lightweight and practical. This is of course ideal for someone working outdoors or on a tactical patrol, who needs the strength but also doesn’t want to weighed down by their clothing.
The pants have strong YKK zippers and metal buttons, which again are built to last. Everything about these pants screams reliability and functionality. The pants have a variety of pockets of different sizes and shapes. This is perfect for someone who is carrying lots of gear, and likes to keep it neat and well sorted. For example, the front slip pocket is the ideal shape for a cell phone or battery pack, whilst the deep cargo pockets on the side are better suited for larger equipment.
These tactical khakis also have an elasticated waistband, which makes them very comfortable and versatile. There are also belt loops if the user wants the pants to fit even better, or requires additional places to store gear.
4. Tru-Spec 24-7 Ascent Pants
Item Dimensions: 14.1 x 5.5 x 2.9 inches
Tru-Spec make some great outdoor and tactical gear, and these 24-7 Ascent Pants are absolutely not an exception. The brand is known for constructing high quality clothing that is designed to be used daily, but also to last for a very long time. Evidence of this can be seen in the Ascent Pants, which are made of a poly cotton ripstop fabric, for maximum longevity and durability.
The pants have a number of hidden and visible pockets, which makes them ideal for policing use, as well as for the everyday outdoorsman or adventurer. The tactical cargo pockets are all of a great size, particularly the front pockets, which you can load up with anything that you’ll need quick access to.
These tactical pants feature DWR water repelling technology, which ensures that water droplets run straight off the pant material, and are not absorbed towards the legs. This technology works extremely well, and still manages to provide excellent breathability, whilst stopping any moisture seeping through.
Finally, the pants have a fitted waistband, that is elasticated for extra comfort. There are also two inch belt loops, which are ideal for housing a tactical belt and equipment.
5. 5.11 Fast-Tac Urban Pants
Material: 100% Polyester | Package Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 1 inches
Here we have another pair of tactical khakis from 5.11. These pants are made for everyday life, whilst still possessing the functionality and features necessary for outdoor pursuits. For example, the pants have a sleek and slim fit design, but still have a number of cargo pockets for gear storage.
These tactical pants are extremely lightweight, coming in at only 4.7 oz. This makes the pants ideal for all situations, even when it’s super warm outside. Don’t be fooled by the weight though, the pants still have an effective water resistant layer that prevents any moisture making it through the material.
There are 5 reinforced pockets for storing tactical gear and valuables, which further shows that these pants are made to be practical, and not just for their attractive looks. These are maybe the best pair of pants on the market for an enforcement officer who is in and out of the office all day, or for someone who is looking for stylish clothing that is still highly functional.
6. 5.11 Fast-Tac Lightweight Cargo Pants
Material: 100% Polyester | Number of Pockets: 5
The best tactical pants will be lightweight, whilst still offering a lot of functionality. These 5.11 tactical pants satisfy this requirement exactly, which makes them a great choice when buying a new pair of cargo pants.
These pants have very similar features to the 5.11 Urban Pants that we just reviewed above, so have a nice sleek design, are lightweight, and have lots of options for equipment storage. These pants in particular have a great zipper and well built buttons that are reliable and solid.
The waistband is nice and stretchy, but also secure enough to be comfortable.
7. Under Armour Flex Tactical Pants
Package Dimensions: 11.5 x 8 x 3.7 inches | Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
Under Armour are one of the most respected brands in the outdoor clothing market, and are experts in sports and lifestyle clothing. These Flex tactical pants are up to Under Armour’s usual standard, with a modern and stylish fit that doesn’t sacrifice on functionality or effectiveness.
Under Armour use their own Storm technology on these tactical pants, which repels water and moisture away from the surface of the pant material. They have also used an innovative, ‘4-way’ construction, which allows the pants to be flexible in all directions. They can twist, stretch and move in any way that you need them to, which makes them absolutely ideal for outdoor pursuits.
The Flex pants prioritise flexibility over storage space, which means that they are better suited for climbing and hiking, rather than for enforcement officers. Having said that, the pants still have solid belt loops, which can be used for a belt to store any tactical gear. These pants are pretty versatile for most situations.
8. Dickies LP-702 Tactical Pants
Item Dimensions: 17.2 x 13.8 x 1 inches | Material: Cotton
Our next recommendation are the Dickies LP-702 Tactical Pants. These particular pants are made of 100% cotton, which makes them some of the most durable and reliable tactical pants on this list. They also have a Teflon layer, which helps water run off the surfaces of the pants, and also prevents stains from developing.
The Dickies LP-702 are excellent cargo pants, and feature a number of large and deep cargo pockets for storage of gear. These pants also have a built in magazine pouch, which makes them ideal for police and military personnel. This magazine pocket can of course be used for a penknife or as a smartphone pocket, if you won’t be carrying a weapon around.
The reinforced knees of the tactical khakis are well placed to prevent wear and tear, and mean you can kneel down as much as you want without risking damage to the pants. This fact makes them pretty good for carpenters and labourers, who need protective clothing, that is still lightweight and practical.
9. Propper Tactical Pant
Item Dimensions: 13.3 x 11.2 x 3.5 inches | Material: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton
These tactical pants from Propper are specifically designed to be as lightweight as possible. To that end, they are constructed out of a cotton and polyester blend, which cuts back on a lot of weight. Having said that, this drop in weight doesn’t mean that that the tactical pants are less durable. The Teflon fabric protecting layer makes sure that this is not the case. This layer also helps water run off the pants easily.
The pants have a very solid and reliable zipping system, that has a heavy duty feel. This is matched by the metal buttons, and the overall build quality in general. To have this kind of strength in a very lightweight pair of pants is actually quite impressive. These are some of the best tactical pants if you’re looking for lightweight reliability.
The D ring belt loops offer a great tactical belt option, if you need more storage space. However, the Propper pants have large cargo pockets that will probably more than adequate for most of your gear and equipment.
10. Heliken-Tex Urban Tactical Pants
Package Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 1.25 inches | Number of Pockets: 12
Heliken-Tex take tactical khakis right back to their military roots with this pair. The rugged and uncompromising design might make these pants the most reliable and durable on our list. They have reinforced knees and a gusseted crotch to make them even more qualified to stand up to wear and tear.
As well as being extremely strong, Heliken-Tex haven’t forgotten about movability with their urban tactical pants. The pants are made quite flexible by a unique material blend, made up of polyester cotton and spandex, with enhanced stitching to keep it all together.
The pants have a self adjusting elasticated waist for the ultimate levels of comfort. There are also belt hooks around the waist for the addition of a tactical belt. There are also internal, hidden pockets for valuables or tools that need to be kept discrete. This makes the pants an excellent choice for policing and operations out in the field.
In addition to all of the above, these tactical pants have great weather resistance. Whether you need to stay dry in heavy rain, or need to be kept cool in the sunshine, the Heliken-Tex will have you covered.
11. Tru-Spec Tactical Pants
Package Dimensions: 14.7 x 7.8 x 2.1 inches | Material: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton
Our next option is another pair of tactical pants made by Tru-Spec. These cargo pants have loads of pockets for storing gear and personal valuables, with pockets of varying sizes. This makes it easy for an operator to sort their gear and keep all their belongings in order.
These pants are suitable for off-duty and on-duty officers, thanks to their lightweight and stylish design, that still offers great functionality for the working day. They are also great for climbers and hikers, who are always looking for great features, but with a lightweight construction. The low weight is achieved thanks to the cotton and polyester blend used in the construction of the pants.
The Tru-Spec Tactical Pants are also impressively water resistant – moisture runs straight off the ripstop fabric. You can also insert your own knee pads into the knee pad pockets on the sides of the pants. This is quite a unique feature, and definitely a selling point for these tactical khakis.
12. Propper Tactical Khakis
Item Dimensions: 13.3 x 11.2 x 3.5 inches
Here we have another pair of Propper pants, this time their Tactical Khaki cargo pants . Like the pair we reviewed earlier, these pants prioritise being lightweight and breathable. This is achieved via Propper’s unique material blend, that has a Teflon layer for excellent water resistance and protection.
The pants have extra reinforcement in the seat and knees, to make sure they are protected in the places that usually develop wear and tear. They also have a good level of storage options, with front pockets that are more than large enough for a smartphone or battery pack.
Propper make some of the best tactical pants on the market, and you can feel the quality when wearing these cargo pants. The D ring belt hooks mean that you can attach a tactical belt to the pants as well, if you find that you don’t have sufficient space to store your stuff.
13. Vertx Phantom LT Tactical Pants
Package Dimensions: 12.7 x 12.5 x 1.8 inches | Material: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton
Our final recommendation in our list of the best tactical cargo pants on the market today are the Phantom LTs by Vertx. These pants are very practical, and built specifically with the outdoors in mind. However, they do look smart enough to be worn when not in the field, so are good for officers and workers who dip in and out of the office during the day.
The Phantoms have reinforced knees and a gusseted crotch, to ensure that the pants have good durability and life span. The knee pads in particular are great for labourers and workers who often have to kneel down whilst working.
Overall the Phantom LTs are a solid choice and some of the best tactical pants that money can buy. You won’t be disappointed if you pick up a pair.
Considerations when choosing the best tactical pants
Durability is one of the most important considerations when you are deciding which pair of tactical pants is right for you. A durable pair of pants will last a long time, and also be able to stand up to a battering in the outdoors. You really don’t want your tactical pants to tear as soon as you put them through their paces.
The first thing to look out for in regards to durability is the material that the pants are made of. Poly cotton ripstop fabric is one of the most popular materials that manufacturers use when constructing their pants, since it is extremely strong and very unlikely to tear – even when pressed up against sharp rocks and stones. Tactical pants are usually constructed with a cotton blend, where the poly cotton ripstop fabric is combined with polyester to reduce weight.
It’s also worth considering tactical pants that have added features to increase durability. These are things like a gusseted crotch and articulated knees. The gusseted crotch will ensure that the pants won’t be ripping as you put strain on the material, and the reinforced knees mean that you kneel and scrape against rocks without worry.
If you’re heading out on a hike or camping trip, or are just spending long days working outdoors, then having tactical pants that are waterproof is an absolute essential. Not only will they keep you dry, but they’ll also keep you warm too – there’s nothing worse than having freezing cold wet legs when you are out in the wilderness.
As with durability, the materials that have been used to construct the tactical pants are very important. Water resistant pants usually have a teflon coating to repel water and let it run straight off the material of the pants. Teflon fabric is very effective, and is also lightweight, which is always the best combination.
Not all tactical pants are made to be waterproof, so definitely consider what kind of conditions you will be working in. If you spend your days roaming in the desert, then obviously you won’t need much waterproofing – breathability should be your top concern.
For an active lifestyle, breathability of your clothing should be a big consideration when you are deciding what to buy. Tactical pants with good breathability will always keep your body at the perfect temperature. Outdoor technology has come a long way in recent times. In the past, waterproof trousers were basically like rubber tubes, and anyone who was unfortunate to have a pair will know just how hot and stuffy they can get.
Hot and stuffy is a big no when hiking and operating in the outdoors. Look out for features such as Gortex, which ensure breathability, whilst still offering excellent waterproofing. If you don’t need waterproofing however, then you can choose from a wider range of excellent tactical pants, all of which will be lightweight and breathable.
Remember that breathability isn’t just for hot weather. You’ll still be working up a sweat even on cooler days, so always look out for a pair of tactical pants that are breathable.
Range of motion
Another thing to consider when purchasing some tactical pants is the range of motion that they offer to the user. Range of motion describes how freely someone can move whilst wearing the pants. Having your movement restricted by clothing is not a good idea, and can actually get you into some sticky situations if you’re not careful. For example, imagine climbing halfway up a rock face, but not being able to lift your leg high enough to the next foot hole.
Tactical gear that has a good range of motion will give you the freedom of movement that is necessary when operating in the outdoors. This isn’t just needed for climbers either. Law enforcement officers who have to respond and move quickly cannot be restricted by their clothing.
Maybe the most important thing that needs to be satisfied by your tactical pants is comfort. Comfort is absolutely essential for outdoor pursuits – you want your mind completely on the task in hand, not worrying about uncomfortable clothing.
Comfortable tactical pants will be lightweight, have great breathability and impressive range of motion. These are all things that we’ve discussed in this section, and choosing a pair of tactical pants that combines all these features will ensure you have a fantastic level of comfort.
The final consideration to make is with regards to the storage space that the tactical khakis offer. Cargo pockets are always a bonus when choosing tactical pants, and always come in handy whatever you are doing in the outdoors. Good tactical pants will also have a solid belt system, to which you can attach a tactical belt. Having good belt loops is pretty essential, since often you need to have tools that are ready to be used at a moments notice. ]
Some tactical pants will have larger pockets, designed for weapon concealment for law enforcement and military personnel. Obviously most users won’t be needing a pocket for weapon concealment, but if you do, then it’s worth looking out for pants with this feature. These larger pockets are also useful for storing other tools and supplies as well.
Tactical Pants FAQs
What are the best tactical pants?
There are loads of great tactical pants on the market, all of which will probably serve you well. However, if you are looking for the absolute best options, then we’d recommend one of the options we reviewed above. We can guarantee you’ll love any of our recommendations.
What are tactical pants used for?
Tactical pants were originally designed for military use, so are perfect for police officers and associated roles. Having said that, they are also great for anyone who spends time in the outdoors, and needs clothing that is functional, whilst being lightweight and breathable.
Are tactical pants waterproof?
Most tactical pants are waterproof, usually thanks to Teflon layer that repels water. However, there are some that are more specifically designed for hot weather, and will be even more lightweight and breathable than usual. There’s no point picking up waterproofs for the desert!