The correct pants can be a critical part of your survival gear. If you’re thinking about investing in a pair, the 5.11 Taclite Pro Pant may be worth considering.
by Leon Pantenburg
Your clothes are your first line of defense against hypothermia, heat stroke and sunburn. The fabrics they are made of will determine how effective they will be. This isn’t a discussion of fabrics (This is!)
Whatever pants I wear must have well-designed pockets. That’s why I like some brands of tactical pants. These are the multi-pocket pants you frequently see first responders, police and Search and Rescue personnel wearing.
I work in two worlds: the outdoors and at the local community college. At school, tacticals are more versatile and look better than jeans. Since I frequently don a dress shirt and tie, the right tacticals can appear dressy. Unlike jeans, the tacticals tend to stay unwrinkled and look more professional.
Outdoors, the design, multiple pockets and sturdy fabric are very useful.
- The correct material: Don’t let a cool-looking design persuade you to buy some pants of the wrong fabric. Rip-stop cotton is not a good choice for cold, wet weather, no matter how good they look. On the other hand, in hot, dry desert climates, cotton may be the best choice.
- Sturdy belt loops: If you carry a lot of stuff in your pockets, like I do, then you need a belt to hold your pants up. The belt loops should be strategically located to provide support, not just attach the pants to your belt. A 1-1/2 inch stiff belt is a good choice if you will be carrying a lot of gear.
- Pockets: With the right pocket design, you can carry a variety of gear comfortably. And if your gear is easy to carry, you will.
- Protection: Decide if you need double knees so you can insert knee pads, and how important a reinforced knife clip area is. You’ll pay extra for those features. But if you’re a first responder, these might be the most important things to look for.
- 6.14 oz. Taclite poly/cotton ripstop fabric
- 48 individual bartacks in high stress areas
- Double thick seat and knees (kneepad ready)
- Triple-stitch reinforcement
- YKK® zippers
- Prym® snaps
In addition, there are seven pockets, and the fabric is treated with Teflon for stain, soil and spill resistance. The pants have an elastic action waistband, a full gusseted crotch and a hip mounted D-ring to hold keys or an ID.
Several features leaped out immediately.
Here’s what I like:
- Good design: I’m five-foot, ten-inches tall and weight 185 pounds, and the 32×32 pants fit me very well. It appears the measurements are right on, and the pants are well-proportioned for grown men with athletic builds. There is plenty of room in the seat and thighs so the legs don’t bind during vigorous activities. But there isn’t excess material in the legs.
- Sturdy belt loops: I can carry my Leatherman Wave, keyring survival kit and cell phone on my regular belt very comfortably. When my pockets are weighed down with a wallet, map and compass, handkerchief, lighter, pocket knife and other stuff, there is no danger of my pants sagging. (Obviously, these pants are not designed for gang bangers or Hip-Hop types!)
All but invincible, the Taclite Pro Pant provides outstanding comfort and performance i… [More]
- Strategically located pockets: I carry my map and compass in my right thigh pocket, and my THE WALLET JR in the left. My handkerchief goes in the left rear pocket, and the right is generally free to stick miscellaneous things in. A secured rectangular pocket works well to carry my dumb phone. The cargo pockets are sewn-down so they still look good after they’ve been washed a couple of times.
Not so crazy about:
- Material: The pants are a 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton ripstop blend. The material is rugged, and ripping or wearing the pants out under normal conditions shouldn’t be a problem. But the presence of cotton, IMO, rules out using these pants in cold conditions where they might get wet. I’d like to see these pants in an all-synthetic fabric.
- Made in Vietnam: I have nothing against any foreign country. But I would really like these pants to be made in the United States. Put an American to work.
For everyday wear, the 5.11 Tactical Pro Pant works well for me. The 5.11s retail for about $50, which is in the same price range as some designer bleach-spattered, deliberately-aged and beat-up designer jeans.
The tacticals allow me to carry my survival gear comfortably, and that insures I’ll have it when it’s needed.
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