The environments faced by law enforcement officers, military personnel, firefighters, outdoorsman, and avid hunters are often too much of a challenge for your everyday pair of jeans. That’s where investing in some top tier rough and tough tactical pants completely changes the game.
Unfortunately, the need for tactical pants is often overlooked but in my experience, once people try on a pair of tactical pants and compare the comfort, range of motion, and construction ingenuity to that of a pair of work jeans, the tactical pants will leave anything else to gather dust in their closets.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about tactical pants including the different benefits offered by different types of tactical pants, styles, cuts, material, and construction of the different tactical types of pants on the market today.
We know your time is better spent wearing the pants instead of shopping for pants so we’ll do the leg work for you and hunt down the best deals on the best tactical pants good old capitalism has to offer.
- Here Are Best Tactical Pants in 2020
- 1. Stryke Operator Pants by 5.11 Tactical
- 2. Taclite 1St Responder by 5.11 Tactical
- 3. Ridgeline Covert Pants by 5.11 Tactical
- 4. TDU Work Pants by 5.11 Tactical
- 5. Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition Pants
- 6. LA Police Gear Urban Ops Cargo Pants
- 7. LA Police Gear Core Cargo Work Pants
- 8. Propper Kinetic Pants
- 9. Propper Revtac Tactical Pants
- 10. Propper Lightweight Tactical
- 11. Helikon-Tex Urban Line UTP Urban Tactical
- 12. M-Tac Aggressor Flex
- 13. Vomint Men Pants Elastic Foot Tactical Military Cargo Pants
- 14. Carhartt Force Tappen
- 15. Carwornic Gear Men’s Assault Pants
- 16. Ochenta Men’s Cotton Military Cargo Pants
- 17. Red Kap Men’s Industrial Cargo
This section is for those of you who want to learn more about tactical pants before reading reviews. We’ll cover the factors to consider when choosing a pair, the different materials, and more! If you already know all about tactical pants, feel free to use the quick navigation menu above to jump straight to the reviews, or simply keep scrolling.
Who Needs Tactical Pants?
It is very important to remember that tactical pants cover a wide array of specialty-built purposes, and for this reason, they have become reliable staple gear for military, law enforcement, and other first responder professions, as well as those who work and play in extreme environments.
By providing purpose-built access to vital items that you must have instant access to should the need arise, a good pair of tactical pants can be your lifesaving piece of gear in a perilous situation. Some tactical pants also make exercising your 2A rights much easier as they tend to play nicer with your EDC loadouts.
On the other hand, tactical pants can be just as useful generally speaking as they can be in specific situations.
Many guys I know wear tactical pants when working on their car, working on their lawn, and when working on home-improvement projects. If you are going to use tactical pants for home tasks, I would suggest a pair that has the features of a pair of carpenter pants, which in themselves could be considered tactical, due to their ability to help you carry large tools with easy access to what you need the most.
So, the answer to the question, “Who needs tactical pants?” actually applies to a large part of society. Many different labor-intensive professionals would benefit greatly from a pair of tactical pants with carabiner belt hooks, tool loops, and extra cargo space to carry supplies.
Many tactical pants are just flat out stronger and tougher than regular pants which ensures you don’t end up with anything hanging out in the breeze that you didn’t intend on when setting out! Think of high-quality tactical pants as additional insurance against public embarrassment and harsh element exposure!
This is why we found it necessary to review so many different styles of tactical pants. Many people have the misconception that only police, military, and extreme sports professionals have a use for tactical pants and we wanted to make it well known that many styles of these incredibly versatile pants can be used in all different walks of life while actually increasing your productivity, utility, and comfort on the job.
Factors of Consideration When Choosing the Right Tactical Pants
Due to the very terms “tactical pants” being obscure and open to interpretation, the classification of “tactical pants” can include rugged, BDU-style pants, police uniform pants, and even first responder scrub bottoms; it is important to understand what to look for when you decide to buy a pair.
Crack open a cold one and think long and hard about what challenges your legs need to be protected from and what gear you’ll be lugging around with you. Choosing the right pants starts with understanding their use-case and having a bit of tactical brainstorming before pulling the trigger.
The primary gripes I’ve heard regarding tactical pants are almost all remedied by simply planning ahead and choosing the pants that are fit for not only your legs but for the job your legs carry you through.
Let’s consider the reason you are searching around for tactical pants in the first place. Are you going climbing or camping and need to move around in strange positions while having your tools at hand? Are you a law enforcement professional or a first responder? Are you a construction/trade worker that needs a pair of tough, durable pants to get the job done? Will you be dragging yourself through the sticks and mud or will you be covering long distances in the desert sun? All of these questions are important to answer before grabbing a new pair of tactical pants because the attributes you need will differ greatly.
Tactical Pants Need Tactical Materials
Next, you need to consider the type of fabric being used to construct the pants.
Of course, most pants consist of cotton, nylon, polyester, or a blend of two or even all three of the aforementioned materials and in the world of tactical pants, these are usually used in a special manufacturing technique called RipStop.
Cotton: Cotton is primarily used in pants for comfort and although it is the most comfortable material you can use to make pants, it’s certainly not the most durable. Cotton can also be very low in weight, however, it seems to hold a lot of water and thus making it heavier in some instances where the pants get wet. Using cotton in the RipStop weaving method ensures the pants are affordable, comfortable, lightweight, and extremely durable while also letting the pants breath a bit.
Nylon and Cotton Blended: Nylon is a synthetic material that is significantly more rigid and durable than cotton but unfortunately isn’t very soft or comfortable. Seeing as cotton is incredibly soft and comfortable naturally, but lacks durability, it’s only fitting that we blend the two together to achieve the best of both worlds. Usually, tactical pants constructed out of a cotton and nylon blend will be a bit on the expensive side compared to pants constructed of just cotton alone, however, many believe the price is worth it due to the insane comfort and also the high levels of durability that cotton and nylon blends offer.
Polyester and Cotton Blended: Polyester and cotton blends are quite common in tactical pants and host a lot of similar attributes that you’d expect to find in nylon and cotton blends with one major factor being different and that’s weight. While nylon and polyester are both not very comfortable on their own but very durable, polyester is the lighter material that can withstand similar abuse in thinner layers. Polyester blended with cotton allows for the pants to feel much more comfortable and breath significantly better than a full polyester build would on its own. These are usually among the most expensive pants but are well worth the comfort and durability.
RipStop: RipStop is a technique in how certain materials are blended and woven together to increase durability and not exactly a material on its own. RipStop can consist of cotton, nylon, polyester and a few other materials but those three are the most important for tactical pants.
This is the most common type of fabric weaving technique that you will encounter when buying a pair of tactical pants as it provides for the strongest and most durable base without adding significant weight to the pants as a whole.
Ripstop is a specialty fabric that is woven in a unique pattern that stops rips from spreading in the case that you get a hole in your favorite pair. The unique stitch pattern will arrest new tears and stop them from spreading to the point where you can take out your survival patch kit and use the needle and threat to quickly repair small tears.
The ripstop material used in hot air balloons and parachutes is usually made with polymer fibers like nylon or polyester, but in tactical pants, you will most likely encounter a cotton/polyester blend ripstop pattern.
If you’ve ever worn a pair of BDUs or have had parachute action, you are already familiar with the ripstop weave, and that is exactly what you will see on most tactical pants.
Some higher-end specialty tactical pants may be made of completely artificial fibers that boast ultra-high performance and tensile strength, however, the most common fabric you will find in a pair of tactical pants is going to be polyester ripstop or cotton/polyester blended ripstop, both of which perform well beyond the limits of any pair of jeans.
When shopping around you may come across Teflon-coated and/or Teflon-treated fabrics. Teflon is a coating applied to thick and tightly woven materials like nylon and cotton that basically acts as a slipper filler, sitting in between the small holes between the threads that make up your pants. This helps to keep in heat so the pants are more effective for cold weather outing and in many cases, like when used on nylon, helps to shed and repel water.
You may also find other waterproofing sprays, coating, and treatments that come in abbreviated forms like PU, water-guard, etc. Most of these do essentially the same job and that is to fill up the holes between threads and repel water. Most tactical pants actually do well to repel water with sprays like the Scotchgard Water Shield found here. Pants that come with a repellant spray will likely need to have those coatings reapplied after a few months of wear and tear. Furthermore, putting tactical pants through the washing machine and dryer will significantly lower and degrade the water-resistant coatings they have, if they had any at all, so you’ll need to reapply coatings from time to time if water resistance is important to you.
Here Are Best Tactical Pants in 2020
1. Stryke Operator Pants by 5.11 Tactical
Estimated Price: $50 to $100
My Review: 5.11 is one of the most well-known and respected brands in many tactical categories such as plate carriers, backpacks, and of course, pants! Here at Marine Approved, we love 5.11 and everything their company stands for but that’s not the only reason they have several options on our list. We’ve chosen to list almost all of the 5.11 pants due to there commitment to outstanding customer relationships, extremely high quality materials, competitive pricing, and the fact that they have asked real tactical operators to comment and aid in the development process of there tactical gear.
The Styke Operator uniform pants are some of the most stylish and “under the radar” tactical pants you can get your legs into. At first glance, they appear to be rather conservative in their tactical appearances and to the untrained eye, probably just look a lot like regular pants.
Regular good ol’ pants they are not, though, as they are constructed from the same 65% Polyester/35% cotton ripstop fabric as almost all of 5.11’s tactical pants along with the 5.11 proprietary Flex-Tac fabric techniques. This fabric blend is well-tested and has a reputation of strength and quality in the field and aside from being insanely durable and incredibly comfortable, these are some of the toughest tactical pants you can buy that maintain a rather casual/professional appearance.
These pants are especially useful for undercover operators as they are subdued enough to be worn to work in a professional office environment, yet give you access to all of the essential gear that you may need at a moment’s notice during an operation. They are also great for federal agents that do not have a specific uniform to wear but need the utility and strength of tactical pants while in the field.
By making all of your gear easily accessible and on your waist or in your front slip pockets you can ensure that you get the upper hand on a would-be shooter looking to end your life. While they may be considered a bit on the high side at $74.99, they are worth every penny and if I were to join the ranks of law enforcement tomorrow, these are the tactical uniform pants that I would wear.
- These pants are made from 6.76-oz., “Flex-Tac” brand ripstop fabric, which provides, breathable, utilitarian, and lightweight pair of pants with optimal comfort.
- They come in 13 different colors so that you can find the exact matching color you need for your uniform, and these colors cover just about every law enforcement uniform color I’ve ever seen.
- These pants have an added Teflon finish so that they are resistant to dirt, stain, and soil and will last forever while looking good for the entire life of the pants.
- YKK zippers and Prym snaps, adding a high level of guaranteed reliability in the field or the office.
- Self-adjusting tunnel waistband with a fully gusseted crotch and articulated knees. This ensures that the pants fit securely while looking great, no matter what position you are in, allowing for the greatest level of mobility.
- Tailored with 12 pockets, including double-deep cargo pockets and front pockets specifically sized to fit your EDC gear and equipment, whether that be your cuffs, Taser, and sidearm, or your hunting, tactical, and small personal valuables ready and handy.
- As they are meant for law enforcement personnel, they are designed to meet most dress code and functionality requirements of police departments and sheriff’s offices across the USA.
- Fortified with bar-tacking at major seams and stress points, ensuring that you will not experience an embarrassing crotch rip while on-duty.
2. Taclite 1St Responder by 5.11 Tactical
Estimated Price: $65
My Review: Here is a bit of a unique pair of tactical pants from 5.11. They are unique because they are not just your average tactical pants, but they are built from the ground up with EMS personnel and first-responders in mind. In fact, 5.11 actually sought out real EMS professionals and used their input to refine their EMS tactical pants.
First and foremost, the construction of these pants is far superior to any other EMS focused pants on the market today and probably will remain at the top for a very long time. The 5.11 Taclite ripstop is an excellent choice for these pants as it is both extremely light and durable while also utilizing a Teflon coating to repel liquids and deter stains, you know, for when things get a bit messy.
Speaking of things getting messy, the last thing you’d want to worry about is scraping up your knees while attending to those in need. Never fear, though, as the knees are triple reinforced and are knee-pad compatible with a self-adjusting waste to ensure you’re protected and comfortable no matter what physical orientation your duties require.
Are your current EMS pants not doing well when you load up the belt loops with a heavy belt weighed down by all of your gear? That’s fine, 5.11’s EMS pants aren’t scared of your plethora of gear since they come equipped with double strapped “double-time” belt loops that help anchor and stabilize all of that additional weight on your hips.
- Pants are lightweight, breathable, and durable.
- Made from proprietary TACLITE ripstop fabric.
- Self-adjustable waistband.
- They feature a fully gusseted inseam, double- reinforced seat, and knees are ready for inserts for comfort, protection, and mobility.
- The upper cargo pockets have dividers for organization on the fly.
- They feature secondary cargo pockets at the calf to provide additional storage and keep hands free.
- Knee pad compatible.
3. Ridgeline Covert Pants by 5.11 Tactical
Estimated Price: $30 to $75
My Review: 5.11 Tactical understands the importance of appearing tactical at times but they also know some of us like to, or need to, fly under the radar and that’s where the Ridgeline Covert pants come into play. To the untrained eye, these are some pretty basic looking pants that could be worn by anyone doing anything and while this is true, these pants are usually hiding a covert tactical operator’s gear.
These 6.76oz Flex-Tac RipStop pants are strikingly clean and provide an incredible platform for your EDC gear with its purpose-built quick deploy knife pocket while maintaining a look that won’t garner any attention. The Ripstop fabric here is also coated with Teflon to ensure resistance to stains, water, soil, etc and the double stitching. bar-tacked stress points, and gusseted crotch, 5.11 has ensured impeccable performance and durability while keeping you comfortable! These are tank-like pants in a Cadillac-like fashion!
- Constructed of 6.76oz 5.11 proprietary Flex-Tac RipStop material.
- Major durability attributes including gusseted crotch, double stitching, nylon-reinforced pockets, premium YKK zippers, Teflon coating, and bar tacking at all major seams and stress points.
- An obscure clean and rather regular appearance with additional tactical pockets for EDC gear.
4. TDU Work Pants by 5.11 Tactical
Estimated Price: $50
My Review: These pants are the brain child of a bunch of real life operators with more tactical experience than some entire small countries have. They are constructed to fit and feel like your BDUs, made with a strong cotton/poly blend that will stand up to the elements and other extreme working conditions. Furthermore, they are Teflon coated to ensure resistance to stains, water repelling attributes, and extremely easy cleaning.
This particular pair runs a bit on the baggy side, so remember that when you order, but otherwise, they are great for police, security, and military personnel and fit tight even when heavily loaded with gear since they come with a self-adjusting tunnel style waistband.
With 6 pockets, there are plenty of spots to keep your gear safe and conveniently within reach. The infamous 5.11 TacTec system brings to you integrated magazine compartments making these pants some of the best EDC and combat ready pants you can buy.
The adjustable waistband means that you can get more use out of your pants even if you fluctuate a few pounds either above or below where you were when you bought them, and it also means you can secure items around your waist.
A solid pair of BDU-style tactical pants with the industry-standard ripstop construction and plenty of places to put your gear. At around $50, this may seem like a good middle-of-the-pack pair of tactical pants.
- Constructed from a 7.5oz 65% polyester/35% cotton ripstop fabric for durability.
- Featuring the TacTec system and six pockets to keep your gear handy and magazines at the ready.
- Adjustable tunnel style waistband so you can carry a holstered weapon inside of your waistband and after deploying or leaving your firearm in the truck, the waistband automatically tightens up, keeping your pants secure.
- Fashioned with a BDU-inspired look and feel, so ex-military members will feel right at home in a pair of these.
- Bartacked seams and stress points to further reinforce durability and stability.
- Knee pad compatible.
- Patented Prym Snaps hardware
- Blousing straps
- Double-reinforced seat with secure seat pockets
5. Tru-Spec 24-7 Xpedition Pants
Estimated Price: $50 to $100
My Review: I think the use-case here is quite obvious, these are not pants you’d wear to work or pants you’d expect the officer pulling you over to be wearing but more so pants that are going to save your butt when you decide it was a good idea to face extremely harsh conditions for some dope selfie pictures. The 24-7 Xpedition pants are by far some of the best hiking and adventure tactical pants on the market.
To tackle some of the world’s harshest terrains and climates you’ll be protecting your legs with a 6.5 oz polyester/cotton blend ripstop material, meaning that they are not only extremely light but are built to withstand some of the most extreme conditions imaginable.
These pants are filled with all sorts of special features, such as dual mesh cooling vents so you can lower your operating temperature a few degrees when conditions permit or require.
At around $85.00, they are a bit of an investment but the features on these tactical pants are nothing to sneeze at. So long as you like the very obvious “tactical-style” of the pants (versus some other pairs on our list with a more subdued look), you will fall in love with these and all of the features that they have to offer.
- These pants feature integrated soft 4-way stretch flex panels on the hip yoke, back of the knees, and front cargo pockets for ease of movement.
- Equipped with comfort fit slider waistband & French fly inside zipper for added security.
- The deep front slash pockets are designed to hold most folding knives, while the front-facing stretch cargo pockets with hidden snap closure and internal D-rings guarantees maximum equipment space.
- Left cargo pocket has zipper closure under flap for secure storage as well as an easy-access DropN pocket behind the right cargo pocket.
- Equipped with dual-mesh zippered cooling vents on each leg at the thigh and calf area for increased airflow and temperature regulation.
- They are gusseted for ease of movement and increased durability.
- Oversized front belt loops for carabiner or key chain loops.
- Articulated knees and double zipper leg opening with expandable mesh lining and venting options ensure that the knees will not become easily worn during times of heavy use.
- Internal French Fly system.
6. LA Police Gear Urban Ops Cargo Pants
Estimated Price: $40
My Review: These pants are currently the number 1 best seller on Amazon in the category of “Men’s Military Pants” and for good reason as much of this has to do with the fact that they are filled with most of the same features as the top-tier expensive competitors but they come in at around $40, which is a super low price for a pair of tactical pants like these.
They are made from extremely thick 7.5oz 65% Polyester/35% cotton ripstop fabric and with that said, they certainly are not light or very breathable but they are insanely durable and will do well to protect you and your stuff when the situation gets sticky. Of course, if your area of operations is in a cold climate, these are a solid go-to!
Worried about confronting your suspect only to find them mocking your open fly? Never fear, these pants come equipped with one of the best fly locking systems utilizing a Brass Tac-Stud lock in tandem with a premium YKK zipper. No snags, no accidental openings, and no worries with these bad boys!
The LA Police Gear Urban Ops literally have a reputation of being packed full of tactical features.
Note: If you are planning to wear a concealed weapon inside your waistband (IWB), make sure you consider ordering this pair a size larger than normal.
- Constructed from 65% Polyester/35% Cotton ripstop fabric to arrest and rips and keep them from spreading.
- 1″ stretchable and elastic waistband for easy and restrictive-free movement as well as tightening upon drawing your firearm
- Single front slip pocket and double slip back pockets allow for ease of access no matter what position you are in.
- Standard front pockets purpose-built for EDC knives and EDC gear such as flashlights, pens, etc
- There are 6 Belt Loops that are 2 inches long so that almost every belt can be accommodated.
- There are also 22 individual bartacks and a gusseted crotch to increase strength.
- The legs feature both articulating knees as well as slanted cargo pocket flaps for seated access.
- One of the best closure systems- Brass Tac-Stud closure technology
7. LA Police Gear Core Cargo Work Pants
Estimated Price: $30
My Review: This offering from LA Police Gear is an excellent choice for those looking for a lightweight, durable pair of rugged tactical pants.
Obviously, they are great for law enforcement applications, but they can be used by anyone who will be meeting an extreme work or play environment.
What I found to be the biggest selling point with these pants was how easy they are to be nimble and agile with. Usually, pants like these feel like they are weighing you down and make your movements feel sloppy and slow but these pants fit tight in all the right places, allowing incredible flexibility and nimbleness. They fit a lot like athletic pants would but with tougher materials and a ton of storage!
LAPD has had similar pants to these for a very long time and a common complaint was that they were extremely heavy and hosted so many useless features that were just in the way. Taking the advice of tactical operators, they went on to slim things up, reducing features people didn’t often use and leaving only the most vital pieces such as the large hook and loop tactical pockets and angular facing front pockets. These are what I would consider “purist” tactical pants and are perfect for those of you wanting to leave the extra silly tactical features aside and opt for slim and sleek pants.
These are a great pair of simple and “get the job done” tactical pants, especially for law enforcement or security forces personnel that use a belt to carry most of their gear. While this is advertised more as a pair of work pants, you will find that they will meet your tactical needs as well, all for around $30.00.
- They are constructed of durable 55% cotton/45% polyester RipStop fabric, so tears will not spread and can be easily sewn.
- Articulated knees for functionality
- Extra-large capacity cargo pockets
- Elastically adjustable waistband for added comfort as well as for carrying a concealed weapon with ease.
- Steel YKK Zipper with reinforced stitching
- Front pocket strategically placed at an angle for EDC knives, pens, flashlights, etc
- They come in multiple color variations to allow compatibility with law enforcement dress codes.
8. Propper Kinetic Pants
Estimated Price: $20 to $80
My Review: These are some of the best tactical pants on the market, in my opinion.
These tactical pants are designed to stand up to anything while looking mainstream enough to wear in a business-casual work environment if the need were to arise. They’re extremely durable in part due to the 6.5oz polyester and cotton RipStop blend along with double stitching and gusseted crotch. It really feels like Propper has done a proper job of reinforcing their pants and ensuring they survive harsh abuse.
Planning to use these pants to carry EDC or your service pistol? Good, they’re ready for the company of a firearm as the waistband consists of NEXStretch fabric, meaning the waistband will automatically tighten up when you draw your firearm ensuring your pants are nice and tight when things get saucy. Furthermore, those cell pockets are ready to rock and roll as they are specifically designed for magazines.
They come in at around $50.00 which is more than a fair price as these will last you forever and can be worn in just about any setting, not just on the job or in the field.
- Constructed of 6.5oz 79% Polyester/21% Cotton coated with Teflon
- Cargo pockets with internal dividers to carry multiple items.
- Uses NEXStretch 2-way mechanical stretch ripstop fabric, which is a next-generation blend of cotton/polyester.
- Water repellent; dirt and moisture resistant.
- Sunglasses tab and plastic belt clips for added utility.
- Gusseted crotch and double stitching on stress points.
- Magazine compatible pockets on both sides.
- Reinforced knee area that is compatible with knee pads.
9. Propper Revtac Tactical Pants
Estimated Price: $15 to $60
My Review: This is another pair of awesome, kickass tactical pants from Propper. Coming in at around $45.00, they are a bit more expensive than some other offerings listed here, but they are worth every penny. These are kind of built to obscure the idea of being tactical while still offering many of our favorite tactical-like attributes.
They have a subdued style so that you can wear them in just about any scenario, even with a shirt and tie if need be. They come in a variety of colors common to tactical pants, including black, brown, sand/beige, charcoal, khaki, and olive. If you are looking for a pair of tactical pants that don’t look like tactical pants but will perform in extreme environments, the Propper Revtac style may be the one for you.
They are a bit lighter in material from the Kinetic pants coming in with 6.4oz polyester and cotton ripstop material. Okay, so it’s literally 0.1oz lighter, hardly a difference, but these pants do feel quite a bit lighter than the Kinetic’s and are honestly hard to choose between as both pants are excellent quality. I’d say the Kinetics are better if you’re carrying a firearm, though, as the Revtac’s are more based on obscurity and low profile operating and lack firearm features found on the Kinetic pants.
Even though they are a little thinner and not exactly made for such drastic encounters that the Kinetics are made for, these still come with a lot of hardened features such as a gusseted crotch, reinforced knee stitching, reinforced rear knife pocket, and reinforced side pockets.
Another fine pair of kickass tactical pants from Propper. They won’t let you down, whether you are wearing them to an office or to a crime scene.
- Constructed from 6.5 oz, 65%/35% cotton/polyester blend ripstop fabric that is Teflon coated.
- They have a zipper closure and can be washed in any standard or HE washing machine.
- These pants feature a silicone gripper waistband and ambidextrous pockets with internal dividers, as well as eyelet snap and a gusseted crotch.
- Features two knife pockets and slim profile welt pockets on the back.
10. Propper Lightweight Tactical
Estimated Price: $20 to $80
My Review: Another fine pair of laid-back, yet rugged-as-hell tactical pants from Propper. These are classic fit and look great with any style. The only obvious tell that these are tactical pants and not normal casual khakis is the metal belt loop ring, allowing you to carry more gear without using your hands.
They say these are lightweight and I do mean it, but they still are constructed from the same 6.4oz polyester and cotton ripstop material that makes tactical pants so strong and durable. These still encompass a lot of great tactical features, too, such as a flap enclosed magazine pocket, reinforced knee stitches with internal compatibility for knee pads, a reinforced seat pocket perfect for EDC knives, and an elastic waistband that tightens up after drawing your firearm.
At around $40, these are an attractive option for a pair of quality tactical pants from Propper. If you buy this pair, you will not regret it; as my first pair still in operation suggests.
They go with anything and are great for tactical law enforcement officers and even undercover operators. In the end, they are amazing tactical pants that will last for the majority of your career, literally.
- Constructed of a 65% Polyester/35% cotton blended ripstop material with added protection from the addition of Teflon coatings into the mix. This makes them wrinkle-resistant, water-resistant, and stain-repellent right out of the packaging.
- Extra-large belt loops designed for a nylon duty belt.
- Quality YKK zipper and Prym snap closure.
- Two hook and loop back pockets with a separated wallet “pocket-in-a-pocket”.
- Internal openings for knee pads for added protection in extreme environments.
- Two hidden coin pockets for discreet access.
- Top it all off with classic relaxed fit construction for a complete range of motion.
11. Helikon-Tex Urban Line UTP Urban Tactical
Price Range: $75 to $120
My Review: This badass pair of tactical pants from Helikon-Tex may be a bit expensive at around $80.00, but it stands out from the pack in many different ways, which you will notice the first time you put them on.
They have an incredible true-to-size fit with an elastic adjustable waist. They have tons of pockets for carrying all of your gear, and then internal pockets on top of those, so you can carry extra magazines, supplies, or any other tool you may need.
If you can afford the higher price, this pair from Helikon-Tex leads the pack in comfort, storage, and breathability.
These tactical pants are a bit on the expensive side – not as expensive as some of those on our list – but they are jam-packed with features. They will leave you wanting for nothing and satisfied in every way imaginable. If you have room in your budget to spend this amount on a pair of pants, then you will not be let down with these smooth operators from Helikon-Tex.
- Constructed from a proprietary PolyCotton Ripstop for solid colors, NylonCotton for MultiCam style, and Cotton/Polyester/Spandex weave for the Denim Stretch for Jeans. 22% Polyester 2% Spandex.
- Enhanced thermal stitching for outdoor resilience.
- Comfort-Fit waist for an adjustable fit while working in extreme environments in the field.
- The waist is absolutely perfect for quick response times, making these pants great for daily wear, whether at the office or in the field.
- Internal pockets for extra padding and knee pads.
- Climate Ready! Whether you are going hunting, hiking, trail riding, or participating in a full-on SWAT assault, these men pants can withstand a variety of climates.
- Keep your magazines, ammo, medical/first aid, or any other tactical equipment you may need accessible with 12 load-bearing pockets located across the front, rear and thighs of these marvelously designed tactical pants.
12. M-Tac Aggressor Flex
Estimated Price: $80
My Review: These tactical pants from M-Tac come with no pretense; they are designed for hard-working operators with a need for tactical gear, such as law enforcement, SWAT, military, and EMS professionals. However, they are also designed to double as a pair of comfortable, all-around pair of pants that can be worn in just about any setting. At around $80.00, they are a bit on the expensive side, but you will get years and years of use out of these awesome tactical pants.
These tactical pants are useful for those in service duty positions, such as law enforcement/police officers, EMS, firefighters, military, security, private military contractors, but they are also well-built for work, training, hiking, hunting, mountaineering, and other outdoor activities. They are expensive but hey, you get what you pay for and these are some of the most durable pants you could ever buy!
- Constructed from a proprietary blend featuring 64% Cotton & 32% Polyester & 4% Spandex, all working together to create and maintain ultimate freedom of movements.
- EDC tactical pants with 7 pockets; 2 cargo with quick excess, 2 side jeans, 2 back pockets, and 1 phone pocket.
- Equipped with standard with reinforced knee and an additional knee compartment for wearing tactical pants with knee pads.
- The waistband on these pants is self-adjustable to add to the ultimate freedom of movement already provided by the unique thread construction or for extra space in the waist for IWB concealed carry weapons and holsters.
- The bottom of each pant-leg is regulated by hook and loop and hidden elastic cord for comfortable wearing with military high boots, work boots, police footwear, and more.
- They come in both slim and regular fit to give potential customers a range of choices.
13. Vomint Men Pants Elastic Foot Tactical Military Cargo Pants
Estimated Price: $30
My Review: Coming in at around $30.00, these tactical pants from Vomint are made for those who prefer the “skinny pants” style of leg width and construction.
These pants are great for outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, camping, and much more. They may or may not work for law enforcement uniform pants – you would have to check with your uniform dress code if you plan on using them for your uniform. So far, they only have one customer review on Amazon, but that review is a 5-star rating describing them as “excellent.” With them being “skinny” cut, you may look a bit off if you utilize all of the pocket space, as this would make them appear bulky and skinny simultaneously, so this is something to consider. They are exceptionally well-priced, and for that reason alone, if you don’t mind the skinny cut, they may just be the tactical pants for you.
Keep in mind that these are a slim and skinny fit and do not offer a whole lot of room to conceal carry or layer with other clothing. They do fit nicely and look great for that slim and sleek appearance but they aren’t going to be good for everyone. If this style of pants is right for you, then the sub-$30 price tag on these pants make them incredibly affordable.
The elastic around the cuffs of the pants makes sure that if you step in water, you will keep them dry. This is a plus for just about any pair of pants, and tac pants are no exception here. The bottom line is that these are a well-constructed pair of tactical pants with a very low price point.
- Constructed from polyester/cotton blend ripstop fabric.
- Designed to have a “skinny” cut for the leg width.
- A very narrow leg design that ends with an elastic opening at the bottom so that they can easily conform to your shoes or boots.
- They come standard with 2 upper cargo pockets as well as a front slip pocket for storing extra gear and essentials.
- They also have a zip fly with button closure.
14. Carhartt Force Tappen
Estimated Price: $50 to $120
My Review: Carhartt is a very reputable brand when it comes to durable and rugged gear and it’s no wonder why we chose the Force pants for outstanding tactical usage.
These are incredibly comfortable due to the complete 100% cotton RipsStop construction, the soft but durable articulated knee sections, wide open pant legs, comfort based crotch gusset and Carharrt’s “Force FastDry” technology that wicks away moisture and sweat more efficiently than most of the other pants on this list.
In terms of storage, we get two massive cargo pockets, a zipper pocket on the right leg and two flap pockets on the back.
- Constructed of 7 oz cotton RipStop with the Carhartt Force FastDry sweat wicking technology.
- Two large cargo pockets, 2 side pockets, right leg zipper pocket, and two rear pockets.
- Gusseted crotch, comfort fit seat, wide straight pant legs, and articulated knees allow these pants to perform excellent under a lot of movement and flexibility.
15. Carwornic Gear Men’s Assault Pants
Estimated Price: $40
My Review: Plain and simple, I was blown away by these pants. On our list, this is the only pair of tactical pants from Carwornic, and based on this pair, I’d like to see more of what this company has to offer. They have taken a step back from the traditional tactical pants with cargo pockets by making the pockets way more subdued and with different positioning, all coming together to complete a pair of tac pants that are perfect for all-season outdoor activities as well as casual wear.
These pants are particularly well-suited for hiking, hunting, mountaineering or rock climbing, cycling, airsoft/paintball, shooting, training, and many more high-impact activities.
These have quickly become one of my go-to pair of tactical pants, and I think that if you give them a try, you will also be of this opinion. At under $40.00, they will not break the bank, but their quality construction means that they will be there for you for years to come. Try this pair today if you are looking for a great all-around pair of tactical pants.
- These are constructed from 97% cotton/3% spandex ripstop, so they are stretchable from the first wear.
- They are sewn using durable double and triple-needle stitching as well, so you can always feel confident that they will not easily tear or rip.
- Features two deep front pockets with strengthened side gussets for handing flashlight, phone, walkie talkies, and other equipment.
- Two huge back pockets with one small internal pocket.
- Two expandable cargo pockets that have a subdued, diagonal look, which will allow you to carry all your essential gear.
- Internal zipper closure pockets on both cargo pockets to keep your stuff secure.
- A heavy-duty high-quality metal zipper fly.
- An elasticized waistband with widened belt loops for carrying a sidearm comfortably in your waistband or for sustaining heavier equipment as well as a plastic triangle ring.
- A strengthened crotch to allow for impeccable range of motion without the worry of exposing your goodies to the world.
16. Ochenta Men’s Cotton Military Cargo Pants
Estimated Price: $25 to $40
My Review: These pants from Ochenta are another very good choice for tactical pants. Unlike some other pants on here that rely on their ability to blend in as casual-style pants that can even be worn in the office, these are purely tactical in function as well as style and appearance.
Being that they are around $40 they are a great value. One person the biggest difference between civilian and military style pants is the fit and number of pockets.
Most blue jeans lack durability, pockets, and freedom of movement. This is not the case with these pants.
These pants offer durability and ruggedness, and they hold their color well even after months of hard field use.
I think that anyone who gives these pants a try will be pleasantly surprised by their fit, feel, and utility level. They definitely look like what laypersons would think of when they hear “tactical pants,” but they can be utilized as appropriate work uniforms in a variety of careers, so you will not be disappointed. They may not be made to wear with a dress shirt and tie, but if you want to wear them on casual Friday, no one will complain.
- Different from most others, this pair of tactical pants is constructed from 100 percent cotton instead of the poly/cotton blend that you will find in just about any other pants on this list and beyond. This leads to sturdy and rugged construction while bring thick yet soft fabric, making them super comfortable and breathable as well as exceptionally easy to wear in the field.
- Left pocket under zipper is only there for decoration. It is not usable, which is the main drawback of these pants.
- These pants feature cargo pockets and sit slightly below the waist with a relaxed seat and thigh for easy range of movement.
- Comes standard with 8 pockets to help you to carry tools, tactical equipment, or just about any other personal item.
- The straight leg openings fit over boots and include a built-in drawstring to adjust the cuff.
- Accessories include a right-leg cargo pocket with cell phone storage as well as strong sewn-on-seam belt loops.
- Comes in camouflage, black, other colors suck as khaki, charcoal, and olive.
- These are great pants for lounging around or doing work around the house as well as functioning as men’s work pants, military-style pants for just about any outdoor activity, such as climbing, hiking, fishing, hunting, traveling, backpacking, camping, running, jogging, walking, cycling, and just plain old everyday wear.
17. Red Kap Men’s Industrial Cargo
Estimated Price: $25 to $60
My Review: While this pair of pants seems at first to be simple work pants, they serve a much more rugged purpose, and because they are such a great pair of pants for people in extreme work or operating environments; these pants from Red Kap are some of the most rugged and useful “dress” style pants on the market.
For a little bit more than a pair of Dickie’s, you can get a pair of pants that are built to stand up to some of the toughest conditions out there, and for that reason, I thought they deserve a spot on the list of top tactical pants for when you really need to keep the appearance of the average Joe.
Red Kap compares the quality of these pants as meeting or surpassing brands such as Carhartt, Cintas, and Duluth. In my opinion, they surpass these competitors in every way when it comes to tough dress pants.
These are my pick for affordable pants with industrial-strength construction and ruggedness that rivals any pair of purely tactical pants on the market right now. At $24.99, you can buy a couple of pairs in different colors to be prepared for whatever your path throws at you.
- Constructed of a 65% Polyester/35% cotton blend
- These pants feature snap-closure pockets and are constructed with Touchtex technology to allow for moisture-wicking and ventilation while in action.
What Are Tactical Pants, Exactly?
Tactical pants, in the most basic of descriptions, refer to a pair of pants that are specially designed to perform a task (or an array of different tasks), as opposed to a regular pair of pants that are made simply to wear, not to function. Based on this description, there are many different styles of pants that could be considered tactical pants, such as medical scrubs, that we are not mentioning in this article.
At Marine Approved, we are more concerned with giving you practical buying information and reviews on tactical pants that are built to withstand extreme environments, be it law enforcement on rough city streets or a private military contractor working on an op in the middle of the jungle. As such, the pants that we review here are tactical pants that are designed to operate just like military BDUs.
Do I Really Need Tactical Pants?
The answer to this question depends on the type of activity you are planning to undertake. If you are law enforcement, contractor, EMS, first responders, or other types of situations that are high-impact and call for extreme ruggedness in any gear; then you will certainly find yourself in a pair of tactical pants at some point in your career or personal life.
A real-life example of this is the pants that are a part of the Nassau County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office deputy sheriff’s uniform. Instead of the common usage of places like Cintas for laundry and uniforms, the NCSO deputies may wear tactical cargo pants, many of them use the metal belt ring as a place to keep their cans of pepper spray for easy-reach access and deployment.
So, whether or not you need tactical pants is a question of functionality and utility. The other question you should ask if not whether you need them, but whether they would improve your current routine.
What Are Gusseted Attributes?
On many tactical pants and really, a lot of well-made jeans and khaki’s, you’ll see something called a gusseted crotch.
While it has nothing to do with your actual crotch, it has everything to do with how flexible the pants will allow you to be and how much stress they can endure before you have a below-the-belt blowout. A gusseted crotch means the pants have a diamond or oval-shaped piece of extremely strong but stretchable material, like special types of denims or nylon, that allow for the crotch area of the pants to endure more stress than the rest of the pants.
This unique shape of this material is strategically placed so that it disperses the stress of flexing material over a wider range of material as opposed to putting that stress directly on a pinpoint of four seems. Without the gusset material, your pants’ primary sections would all come together right there where the pants will likely endure the most stress, and as such, increase the probability of failure.
Seeing as though the crotch area is usually the number one fail point on any type of pants, buying pants with a gusseted crotch ensures higher durability, better ability to crouch and high step, and helps overall with the lifespan of your pants.
What is Ripstop?
So, you’re probably hearing all of this talk of “ripstop” in the details of each pair of pants, but what exactly is this thing called ripstop?
Well, ripstop is simply a weave pattern that makes it very difficult for a straight rip to continue spreading. It was initially used to construct hot air balloons and parachutes. Because its properties are well-suited for rugged environments and because of its special characteristics, it was adopted for use in military BDUs and then in the civilian world with tactical pants and other places that require a strong fabric.
More information about Ripstop used in tactical pants is included here. This link will provide you with all of the information that you could ever want on the ripstop pattern and material compositions.
Are All Tactical Pants Made the Same Way?
The short answer here is…..absolutely NOT! While there is certainly a common style and look that goes along with those wearing tactical pants, there are many styles that completely obscure that fact. There are tactical pants that are made for EMS personnel, police/law-enforcement, hazardous work environments, and hazardous “play” environments, such as rock climbing or hiking.
While you may get by wearing one of the standard-look tactical pants, if you work in a highly specialized environment, you may want to try to look for a pair of tac pants that specifically suit your needs.
As with nearly everything in life, there is often balances between key attributes and with these balances, there are usually some trade-offs. Some notable trade-offs in the world of tactical pants may include cargo storage for lightweight and nimbleness or comfort for ruggedness.
A good example would be when it comes to waterproof or more truthfully, water-resistant pants, and the fact that usually when a fabric is resistant to water, it has tightly woven threads with the microscopic holes between them filled with some kind of water-repelling coating. This creates a barrier and thus does not allow the fabric to “breath”, meaning the inside of the pants may take a long time to dry out if they get wet, they may not help shed excess body heat, and they will end up stinking very badly if you get sweaty as that nastiness has nowhere to go.
Why do Tactical Pants Have an Adjustable Waist?
Most tactical pants on this list feature an adjustable waistband in some shape or form and for those of you buying your first pair of tac pants, you are probably wondering why this is.
Many tactical operators, especially those in law enforcement or private military careers, enjoy using an inside-the-waistband holster for their sidearms. At the same time, many civilians who carry concealed weapons prefer this style of carry as well. As such, having a waistband that stretches out a couple of inches allows you to carry the IWB-holstered weapon in style and comfort; and this is the main reason that almost any tactical pants you buy will have the adjustable waistband.
Additionally, for those who plan on wearing their pants while in extreme sporting environments, such as mountaineering, the adjustable waistband will allow you to achieve a full range of movement by adjusting depending on the position that your body is in.
Buying your first pair of tactical pants can seem a little bit overwhelming, due to all the different styles and applications out there. Some people become discouraged at first, especially those who need the functionality of tactical pants with the look of business casual khakis. However, this is particularly I have included some of the styles and brands that we have reviewed here; as I wanted to give readers a true snapshot of the different styles and types of tactical pants on the market today.
So, whether you fell in love with the look, feel, and fit of your BDUs while serving and you want a pair of tactical pants modeled after BDUs; or you just need a pair of pants with more utilitarian features than a pair of jeans could ever offer.
As such, we hope that we have provided you with a selection of awesome tactical pants that you would love to own a pair of! If this is your first time buying a pair of tac pants, you will fall in love with some of the standard features, such as extra-large and hideaway pockets, carabiner belt looks, and adjustable waist straps. Before you buy, make sure you not only read our review but read the reviews of others that have bought and worn the pants you are looking at as this will help you to know if a specific pair of pants will run small, large, or true to size. Once you find the right fit for you, you will want to wear your new tactical pants all time time.
As always, it’s impossible for us to review every pair of pants that resemble any characteristic of tactical awesomeness and as such, if we’ve left out a pair that has served you well, let us know in the comments and we’ll try our best to get our hands, or, I guess, legs, on them!
Corporal Wabo is a former Infantry Squad Leader with 3rd Bn 4th Marines that specialized in Mortars. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, hiking, running, shooting guns, and reviewing gear. He started this website while transitioning out of the Marines, and since has recruited several other Marines to help him work on the Marine Approved website. We are currently looking for former Marines to join the team who are interested in writing about tactical gear, survival gear, hiking supplies, etc. For more information about us or joining the team, check out the “About Us” tab.