Reviews

LAST UPDATED: December 19, 2019

Best Tactical Pants: Be Comfortable When You’re on Duty

Your duties are demanding and you need tactical pants that can keep up

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

The Review Team

  • Product Network

    21 Products

  • Clock

    7 Hours

  • Reviews

    14 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019

Your job demands a lot of you, and you need a pair of pants that can keep up. Tactical pants offer you pockets for everything so that all of your gear and equipment is within reach. The tough material is durable enough to withstand any activity you’re tasked with doing. Try a pair of the top tactical pants in our buying guide.

  • Best Overall
    5.11 Tactical Men’s Ridgeline Covert Pants
    Summary
    Summary

    These tactical pants are made from a premium blend of polyester and cotton ripstop fabric. They have a fitted waistband, double-stitched seams, and a fully gusseted crotch. They feature eight-inch, high-capacity pockets and two additional hidden pockets.

    Pros
    Pros

    The Teflon finish on these pants makes them resistant to stains, dirt, and moisture. They also have YKK zippers for reliable and durable performance. 

    Cons
    Cons

    There is inconsistency in the sizing, length, and cut of these pants. Some of the decorative stitching may start to come loose with wear. 

  • Best Overall
    5.11 Tactical Men’s Ridgeline Covert Pants
  • Best Value
    Mars Gear Vulcan TAC Outdoor Tactical Pants
    Summary
    Summary
    These pants have 12 strategically placed pockets that are perfectly sized for everything from your pistol magazines to your electronic gadgets. They feature a gusseted crotch, elastic waistband, and high-rise cargo pockets.


    Pros
    Pros
    You’ll enjoy a full range of motion with the integrated gusseted crotch and articulated knees. The elastic waistband gives you the greatest comfort and room for movement.
    Cons
    Cons
    The material is heavy and feels like snowboarding pants. They also tend to have extra material in the seat and thighs, which makes them a bit baggy. 
  • Best Value
    Mars Gear Vulcan TAC Outdoor Tactical Pants
  • Honorable Mention
    Propper Men's Canvas Tactical Pant
    Summary
    Summary
    These tactical pants feature Teflon fabric and extra-large belt loops. The polyester and cotton fabric is shrink-, fade-, and wrinkle-resistant. They come in four colors: black, navy, khaki, and olive.


    Pros
    Pros
    There are internal openings at the knee so that you can insert knee pads. You can keep your wallet safe by putting it in the hidden pocket within a pocket.


    Cons
    Cons

    The zippers and snaps on these pants tend to break after wearing them several times. You may also find the material feels coarse or rough against your skin. 

  • Honorable Mention
    Propper Men's Canvas Tactical Pant

    Your job demands a lot of you, and you need a pair of pants that can keep up. Tactical pants offer you pockets for everything so that all of your gear and equipment is within reach. The tough material is durable enough to withstand any activity you’re tasked with doing. Try a pair of the top tactical pants in our buying guide.

    Best Tactical Pants Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    These pants are perfect for people who want strength and durability without a “tactical look.” Despite looking casual, they still have enough covert pockets stitched into the seams to carry a reasonable amount of stuff. 


    Thanks to the fabric, they can easily stretch enough to allow physical activities and exercises without restricting movements or getting out of shape. The Teflon coating repels water and dirt and makes it ideal for the outdoors. These pants are known for being tough and comfortable. 


    However, there have been complaints that they are a bit small and have a poor fit. Also, the pockets are on the small side.

    Best Value

    These pants have 12 double-stitched pockets in different sizes. The strategically placed pockets are designed to carry knives, gadgets, and magazines securely in convenient and easy-to-reach locations.

    They are made from a mixture of poly and cotton ripstop, which is durable and flexible to allow freedom of movement. The fabric is soft and lightweight to make it very comfortable. These pants are ideal for both tactical and everyday use.

    There have been complaints that they are too high-waisted and that the fit is a bit too big. Also, the buttons fall off easily, and the pants aren’t Teflon coated.

    Honorable Mention

    These tactical pants are ideal for people who want sturdy and comfortable pants without breaking the bank. They come with nine strategically placed pockets, including two hidden coin pockets and a mag pocket with hook and loop closure. There are also extra-large belt loops designed for duty belts and a D-ring to hang keys or tools.


    The fabric is Teflon-coated and made from a mix of cotton and polyester. It is fade, wrinkle, and shrink resistant with internal knee pad pockets.


    However, users have complained of the zippers failing and the buttons coming off. Also, the length may be too long for those with shorter legs.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

    Learn more

    Benefits of Tactical Pants

    • Carrying capacity. Good quality cargo pants normally have extra pockets to accommodate a range of different items. Some have extra-strong pockets designed to carry knives or spare magazines. Others have hidden pockets to store smaller items like handcuff keys discreetly.
    • Durability. Cargo pants are designed for serious use and are meant to be durable and hard-wearing. They often come with extra stitching around the knee and crotch area to prevent tearing. Some are even treated with materials like Teflon to help repel water and dirt. 
    • Variety. There are a number of different colors, styles, weights, and materials to choose from to make tactical pants versatile. They can be used in most weather conditions and for a number of different tasks. 

    Types of Tactical Pants

    Overt

    Overt tactical pants have the classic military look. They are designed to be functional and have a huge carrying capacity with oversized pockets. They often have reinforced areas for added strength and durability. 

    Covert

    Covert tactical pants are associated with law enforcement agents who want the versatility of tactical pants while still being discreet. Most of the time, they are made from the same materials but have hidden pockets or smaller pockets that don’t attract attention.

    EMS and EMT Pants

    These are designed for ambulance crews and other first responders. They are made of similar material to conventional cargo pants but have specialized pockets and compartments to carry a wide range of medical tools and gear.

    Top Brands

    5.11 Tactical

    5.11 Tactical is based in Irvine, Calif, and it designed its first cargo pants in 1968. The founder was a mountain climber who was unhappy with the durability of the trousers at the time, so he decided to make his own. Since then, the brand has grown considerably, especially because of its popularity with law enforcement agents. Check out their 5.11 Tactical Men’s Ridgeline Covert Pants.

    Mars Gear

    Mars Gear is an online retailer that specializes in tactical clothes and gear. They stock many renowned brands like Magpul, Kershaw, and Gryffon, as well as their own line of apparel and accessories. They are a one-stop-shop to get a wide range of high-quality equipment. One popular product is the Mars Gear Vulcan TAC Outdoor Tactical Pants.

    Propper

    Propper was founded in 1967 and is one of the largest suppliers to the U.S. military. They offer a wide range of tactical and duty gear, including tactical pants, boots, bags, body armor, and more. Generations of military and law enforcement officers have trusted Propper to provide tough and functional equipment for any situation.  A best-selling product is the Propper Men's Canvas Tactical Pant.

    Tactical Pants Pricing

    • $10 to $30: At this price point, the pants will still have the required pockets, but the stitching and overall strength won’t be the best. It will also be made of basic cotton fabric.
    • $30 to $60: These tactical pants will probably be more durable and feature double-stitching and reinforced areas. The material may vary between cotton, ripstop, or twill.
    • $60 and up: Tactical pants in this range will be high-quality with a gusseted crotch and double-stitched areas. They will normally be treated with Teflon and have a comfortable fit.

    Key Features

    Pockets

    The reason for the popularity of tactical pants is their carrying capacity. Pockets can range from eight upwards and many have smaller compartments to carry gadgets, magazines, torches, and a multitude of other stuff. Ideally, the pockets should be easily accessible and have easy to use opening and closing types. Buttons are generally out of favor, while zippers and Velcro are the more popular options.

    Material

    There are a few things to consider when choosing the right material for your tactical pants. Heavier fabrics are ideal for colder temperatures, while newer, lightweight fabrics are ideal for warmer weather. Ripstop and twill are two popular fabrics due to their strength and durability. Some materials are a combination of different fabrics, which allow the pants to stretch and still maintain their shape. Treated fabrics have water-repellent abilities and are ideal for the outdoors.

    Fit

    As with any other pants, having the correct fit is important. Many tactical pants sit higher on the waist than normal pants in order to accommodate heavy equipment and duty belts without sagging. Having the correct fit means they will be comfortable to run or climb in without restricting your movements.

    Other Considerations

    • Reinforcements. For serious use or tactical situations, it’s possible to get tactical pants with reinforced knees or knee pad pockets. Some have reinforced crotch areas. There are also tactical pants available with reinforced stitching and belt loops to accommodate tools or other items. The pockets should also be double-stitched, and the zippers, snaps, and Velcro should all be heavy-duty.

    Best Tactical Pants Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    These pants are perfect for people who want strength and durability without a “tactical look.” Despite looking casual, they still have enough covert pockets stitched into the seams to carry a reasonable amount of stuff. 


    Thanks to the fabric, they can easily stretch enough to allow physical activities and exercises without restricting movements or getting out of shape. The Teflon coating repels water and dirt and makes it ideal for the outdoors. These pants are known for being tough and comfortable. 


    However, there have been complaints that they are a bit small and have a poor fit. Also, the pockets are on the small side.

    5.11 Tactical Men’s Ridgeline Covert Pants}
    Amazon

    These pants are perfect for people who want strength and durability without a “tactical look.” Despite looking casual, they still have enough covert pockets stitched into the seams to carry a reasonable amount of stuff. 


    Thanks to the fabric, they can easily stretch enough to allow physical activities and exercises without restricting movements or getting out of shape. The Teflon coating repels water and dirt and makes it ideal for the outdoors. These pants are known for being tough and comfortable. 


    However, there have been complaints that they are a bit small and have a poor fit. Also, the pockets are on the small side.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Best Value

    These pants have 12 double-stitched pockets in different sizes. The strategically placed pockets are designed to carry knives, gadgets, and magazines securely in convenient and easy-to-reach locations.

    They are made from a mixture of poly and cotton ripstop, which is durable and flexible to allow freedom of movement. The fabric is soft and lightweight to make it very comfortable. These pants are ideal for both tactical and everyday use.

    There have been complaints that they are too high-waisted and that the fit is a bit too big. Also, the buttons fall off easily, and the pants aren’t Teflon coated.

    Mars Gear Vulcan TAC Outdoor Tactical Pants}
    Amazon

    These pants have 12 double-stitched pockets in different sizes. The strategically placed pockets are designed to carry knives, gadgets, and magazines securely in convenient and easy-to-reach locations.

    They are made from a mixture of poly and cotton ripstop, which is durable and flexible to allow freedom of movement. The fabric is soft and lightweight to make it very comfortable. These pants are ideal for both tactical and everyday use.

    There have been complaints that they are too high-waisted and that the fit is a bit too big. Also, the buttons fall off easily, and the pants aren’t Teflon coated.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Honorable Mention

    These tactical pants are ideal for people who want sturdy and comfortable pants without breaking the bank. They come with nine strategically placed pockets, including two hidden coin pockets and a mag pocket with hook and loop closure. There are also extra-large belt loops designed for duty belts and a D-ring to hang keys or tools.


    The fabric is Teflon-coated and made from a mix of cotton and polyester. It is fade, wrinkle, and shrink resistant with internal knee pad pockets.


    However, users have complained of the zippers failing and the buttons coming off. Also, the length may be too long for those with shorter legs.

    Propper Men's Canvas Tactical Pants}
    Amazon

    These tactical pants are ideal for people who want sturdy and comfortable pants without breaking the bank. They come with nine strategically placed pockets, including two hidden coin pockets and a mag pocket with hook and loop closure. There are also extra-large belt loops designed for duty belts and a D-ring to hang keys or tools.


    The fabric is Teflon-coated and made from a mix of cotton and polyester. It is fade, wrinkle, and shrink resistant with internal knee pad pockets.


    However, users have complained of the zippers failing and the buttons coming off. Also, the length may be too long for those with shorter legs.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Tips

    • When shopping for tactical pants, look for a pair that have enough pockets for your needs. Then balance that with the freedom of movement that you need. Also, pay attention to the belt loop size for your utility belt. 
    • Since these pants are meant for wear during highly physical activities, they need to have reinforcement at the stress points. Look for double-layer material on the knees and seat. They should also have reinforced stitching. 
    • Pay attention to the material used, as you want it to be the right blend for both comfort and durability. Most high-quality pants are a blend of polyester and ripstop cotton. 

    FAQs

    Q: Why are the belt loops of different sizes?

    A: The manufacturers of tactical pants understand that you’ll wear these pants while on duty. This means you need belt loops that are large enough and sturdy enough to hold a duty belt. Most belt loops on tactical pants are between 1.75 and 2.5 inches. 

    Q: How heavy is the fabric on tactical pants? 

    A: The weight of the fabric used for tactical pants can vary from 6.25 to nine ounces. You’ll see them categorized into lightweight and original weight. Lightweight pants typically range from six to 6.6 ounces. Original weight pants typically range from seven to nine ounces. 

    Q: How do I know what size I need for tactical pants?

    A: The easiest way to figure out what size you should order is to measure your current pants. Lay your pants flat on a table and measure across the waistband and from the crotch to the hem. Use these measurements to buy your new pants. 

    Final Thoughts

    The 5.11 Tactical Men’s Ridgeline Covert Pants are high-quality and durable enough to perform while you’re on duty. The Mars Gear Vulcan TAC Outdoor Tactical Pants are a smart and affordable option for those looking for a balance between price and performance.