The Best Tactical Waterproof Pants
Leverage the functionality of waterproof tactical pants for outdoor activities and tactical missions.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Norah Tarichia / LAST UPDATED ON August 30, 2021
Most situations that call for tactical pants occur in outdoor settings. Of course, tactical apparel is constantly put to the test and is exposed to moisture, dirt, and debris. To keep them in optimal condition for long periods of time, it helps to find tactical pants that prevent damage due to water. This maintains the quality of the pants and adds to their comfort.
Waterproof tactical pants with a quick-drying construction keep you from being soaked and also help to keep the fabric sturdy by preventing water damage. The most important criteria in choosing waterproof tactical pants are durability, structure, and ability to keep water at bay. The best tactical waterproof pants incorporate all three. Naturally, since this is a specialized piece of apparel, it can be tricky to find the right option. To make your shopping easier, we’ve created a list of some of the best options.
These tactical pants are made of 100 percent polyester that’s resistant to tearing and ripping. It repels water by forcing it to bead on the surface.
- Elastic waistband provides a comfortable fit
- Designed with anti-odor technology so they smell fresh all-day
- Machine washable fabric
- Not as many pockets as most tactical pants
- Fabric isn’t soft and makes a swishing noise when you walk
Made of a combination of lightweight and waterproof nylon and spandex, these men’s tactical pants help you stay comfortable when outdoors.
- Lightweight and comfortable for outdoor maneuvers
- Includes multiple pockets for storing tactical accessories
- Features an adjustable waist
- Fabric is somewhat noisy
- Not entirely waterproof
- Sizes run small
These waterproof tactical pants are made of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. They include an adjustable slider waistband for a comfortable fit.
- Comes with multiple pockets, including hidden pockets
- Includes an inside opening for inserting knee pads
- Comes with large belt loops to accommodate a tactical belt or a holster
- A bit noisy on the lower leg part
- May feel too warm for summer use
- Not stretchable enough for crawling
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Tactical Waterproof Pants
- Perform in wet conditions. These pants are treated with a waterproof layer that seals out water completely and forces it to bead up and roll off the material. Therefore, you can work in the rain without getting your pants wet.
- Store your survival gear. Tactical pants often feature neatly organized pockets with hidden or concealed carry pockets. This lets you carry most of your survival tools or tactical gear on your person. Also, you can keep your weapons hidden.
- More functionality than regular cargo pants. While they may seem similar, tactical pants are better at carrying more tools, gear, and equipment than cargo pants. Tactical pants can also be used in any harsh environment and can withstand the effects of harsh weather without getting damaged easily.
- Can be worn by anyone. You don’t have to work in law enforcement to wear tactical pants, This is why most don’t come with the typical camouflage design. Tactical pants can be worn by hunters, fishermen, campers, backpackers, and any outdoorsman.
Types of Tactical Waterproof Pants
Formal tactical pants are a traditional design featuring a higher waist that can accommodate a tactical belt. Some models feature a bulky design that resembles the typical tactical gear used by military personnel while others have a more subtle look with large pockets that stay flat so they can go unnoticed. The latter can be worn to work and still pass as a formal look despite the side pockets.
Casual or modern tactical pants have a slimmer design that’s comfortable enough for everyday wear. They also have a low waist with some designs featuring elastic waistbands for a loose fit. Similar to cargo pants, they have large side pockets and roomy front pockets but are more resistant to moisture, wear, and tear in comparison.
Specializing in footwear, sports and casual apparel, Under Armour is a reputable brand known for its trendy and innovative designs. It traces its roots back to 1996 when it was founded by Kevin Plank in Washington D.C, and is currently headquartered in Baltimore, Md. Some of its best-rated tactical pants include the Men’s Tactical Enduro Pants and the Men’s Tactical Patrol Pants.
TRU-SPEC, which is an abbreviation for True Specifications, is an apparel and accessories manufacturing company that’s based in Marietta, Ga. It was founded back in 1950 by Jack Zaglin with the aim of designing tactical clothing and equipment for the military and law enforcement personnel. The 24-7 Tactical Pants and the Tactical Response Uniform Pants are some of its best-selling tactical pants.
Tactical Waterproof Pants Pricing
- Under $50: Shopping for pants priced this much doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be compromising on quality. You can find a durable set from a high-end brand that’s under $40. However, the pants may come with fewer pockets.
- $50 to $100: Expect to find better-designed tactical pants as the price increases. Most come in a variety of colors, including camouflage and solid colors. They also have more pockets, including large side pockets and hidden pockets.
- $100 and up: Most tactical pants within this price range are not only waterproof but are designed to withstand all weather conditions and can be used in any terrain. They can be used for almost any kind of outdoor activity.
The best tactical pants are made of tough ripstop material so they can resist wear and tear when exposed to rough surfaces and all kinds of abuse that come with the tactical environment. On top of that, the material should be lightweight and flexible so you can run, crawl, kneel, bend, or climb easily.
The pants should come with reinforcement at the high-stress areas such as the crotch area, knees, and pocket openings. This way, you can stretch out the pants and put them through rigorous situations without wearing them out. Extra padding on the fabric or double stitching can help to reinforce the material.
The tactical pants should come with multiple pockets to keep your gear organized, including zippered and open pockets. Zippered pockets help to secure tools that can’t be left exposed such as pocket knives, while open pockets are convenient for storing tools that need to be accessed quickly, such as tactical pens. Also, what’s better than multiple pockets are strategically-placed hidden pockets to help keep some items discreet.
- Color. Choose a color that best suits your tactical environment. For example, if you are out hunting, then you should choose camo colors that make you blend in with the environment. You can choose other regular colors if you only need them for regular outdoor activities such as mountaineering.
- Weather Resistance. You want a pair of weather-protected pants that are good in cold and warm weather alike. They should be breathable enough so you don’t sweat excessively and a moisture-wicking or quick-drying inner layer should help to keep you dry when you do sweat. The material should also keep you insulated in the cold or rain.
Best Tactical Waterproof Pants Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Be sure to purchase tactical pants that are tailored for the climate you will be wearing them in. When buying gear for colder climates, consider going a size up so you have enough room to wear a fleece or thermals underneath.
- Also consider purchasing a waterproof tactical vest, military boots, and other tactical gear so you can get full protection whenever you’re outdoors.
- If you are shopping online for tactical pants, read the customer reviews so you can know what to expect when you receive your pair. Customer reviews are a great resource on the quality and durability of the product.
- When organizing tools in your pants pockets, try to balance out their weight so your pants don’t feel heavy only on one side. If you have large tools, consider incorporating a tactical belt so you can attach them there.
Q. Are all tactical pants waterproof?
Not all tactical pants are waterproof. Waterproof pants are treated with a coating that keeps the fabric from absorbing water. When shopping for waterproof pants, look out for tactical pants with Teflon or Durable Water Resistant (DWR) treatments.
Q. How should tactical pants fit?
You don’t have to get a slim fit. You can get a pair of bulky pants so you can be more comfortable and have enough room to perform a full range of motion.
Q. How do you wash tactical pants?
You should wash your tactical pants as recommended by the manufacturer to avoid shrinking them. However, most pants are machine washable.
Q. Are tactical pants better than jeans?
If you need to work in harsh conditions with difficult terrain or inclement weather, then tactical pants are a solid choice, as they are designed to handle such conditions. You can choose jeans if you are only looking for casual everyday wear.
The Under Armour Men’s Tactical Enduro Pants earns our top spot because they meet almost all your needs for waterproofing, durability, comfort, and gear storage. The pants also resist bad odors. If you aren’t looking to splurge on a pair of tactical pants, then consider the Rdruko Lightweight Tactical Pants. They are affordable, waterproof, and just as durable as most higher-priced tactical pants.