Your clothing is your first line of defense against hypothermia, scratches, bug bites etc. But what will you wear that is both durable and well-designed?
by Leon Pantenburg
I was not paid to do this review, and bought Wrangler Riggs because I needed pants with pockets that could hold stuff while I was traveling. Wrangler sent me a pair made of the new Cordura material to evaluate.
My new wardrobe for my first job after college graduation was basic blue collar: hardhat, steel-toed boots, protective goggles and hearing protection. I had a Journalism degree and no job experience in my intended field, and ended up digging ditches and pouring concrete foundations.
My career path was not working out as planned. “Dirty Jobs” had nothing on me.
I had to buy most of the clothing, tools and gear, but relied on standard Levi jeans I already had. I soon learned that the rebar, wire for tieing steel, wet concrete, steel concrete pans, dirt and rocks were really hard on my pants. Not to mention that moving bags of cement, and working in ditches can wear out clothing. I soon had to upgrade to a quality pair of work pants.
In the world of sturdy work clothing, standard denim is not the best choice. Fashion jeans are impractical, expensive, too thin and wear out rapidly. Most are too tight to work in, and they will be really cold in the winter. (If you’re looking for winter pants, get wool.)
For pants that last, go with sturdier, heavy canvas. And to find pants that will work for traveling, consider rugged work wear, with lots of pockets.
If you can get all this, without looking like you’re wearing combat BDUs, that’s even better.
Here are the Wrangler Riggs specs:
- 10 oz. 100% cotton ripstop fabric.
- Roomy side cargo pockets with flaps and concealed snaps
- Reinforced knees with bottom vent
- Right side hammer loop
- 1000 Denier Cordura® lined back pockets
The Wrangler® RIGGS WORKWEAR® Ripstop Ranger Pant 13-inch deep front pockets, and is constructed from 10 oz. 100% cotton ripstop fabric with the company’s room2move™ fit: which adds an improved fit in seat, thigh, knee and bottom opening.
The good stuff:
Shrinkage: My original Riggs have been worn, used and abused and they still clean up nicely and don’t shrink.
Pockets: Get used to thigh pockets and you won’t want pants without them. The pockets in the Riggs are roomy and well-designed so they don’t sag. You can carry a lot of stuff in them without weight becoming a problem. In the wilderness, I carry my compass and map in my right pocket, a bandanna and other odds and ends in my left, and divvy up miscellaneous odds and ends as the activity dictates.
In the urban wilderness of airports, the thigh pockets are handy places to carry tickets, water bottles, snacks and everything else needed to get by. The front pockets are 13-inches deep.
The rear pockets are reinforced with 1000 Denier Cordura. While I haven’t personally needed this feature, the extra-strong pockets would be invaluable for a driver who needed to carry a heavy leather trucker wallet.
Hammer loop: A poorly-designed hammer loop is an abomination – it means that every step you take will result in the end of the hammer banging you in the knee. The Riggs hammer loop tilts the end of the handle behind your knee so it doesn’t cause any trouble. This becomes a big deal when you’re working all day with tools.
Tape measure reinforcement: The right front pocket has a patented leather tab. Craftsmen who use a tape measure regularly will appreciate this. I generally stick a folding knife clip in that pocket.
Fit: The waist and inseam sizes are accurate. Riggs have the “room2move™ fit”, which means they have more room in the seat, thigh, knee and bottom opening. Hype aside, the pants fit me well and I can work and do outdoor stuff in them.
I typically wear a 32-inch waist size. If I anticipate wearing a base layer under the pants, I’d go one or two inches larger on waist measurement.
Also, if you routinely tuck your pants into your boot tops, I’d suggest an inch shorter on the inseam for more comfort.
Color: The pants come in several color variations. I tend to like khaki, since it is a nondescript color that blends in with other travelers.
In the desert areas I frequently hunt, or in a harvested wheat field, khaki is perfect cammo.
In urban settings, khaki, charcoal or olive color are good choices. While woodland or some other brushy cammo screams out that you’re a prepper/survivalist and may have gear a robber would want, khaki will help you blend in.
Belt loops fit a 1-1/2 inch belt. You’ll need a hefty belt if you load up your pockets with tools and gear.
Not so hot on:
Cotton: I never wear cotton when its going to be wet and cold. The material wicks heat away from your body and holds moisture. That means if your pants get wet, they’ll suck the heat out of you and stay cold.
On the other hand, cotton may be a good choice in desert environments. The cloth may keep you cool, while holding in moisture and shading and protecting from hot sun.
Do you need a pair of Riggs?
Well, they work well for me for most day-to-day wear. They wouldn’t be my first choice for cold weather, and they wouldn’t be the best for a damp, humid climate. But for a good, sturdy pair of pants that can take a lot of abuse on a daily basis, these Wranglers are great.
Wrangler Riggs workwear retail for about $45, and come with several color choices.