The Best Tactical Pants

Tactical pants are different from your everyday casual trousers. 

You probably don’t need tactical pants for any daily task – but a good pair of tactical pants will ensure you can carry items, move unencumbered, and tackle physical work that takes place outdoors without fear of ripping or limiting your range of motion. Law enforcement, security guards, and military personnel all use tactical pants for these unique qualities, and there’s no reason you can’t get these benefits whenever you roam. 

Outdoor enthusiasts also benefit from the use of tactical pants, thanks to their big pockets and the ability to carry small food items, tools, and supplies without getting in your way. Even climbers benefit from the increased range of motion tactical pants can provide.  

To find the best pair of tactical pants we spent 30 hours conducting research, speaking to experts & outdoor enthusiasts, and hiking through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to find top-notch tactical pants that excel in a variety of situations. 

Quick List: The 5 Best Tactical Pants:

  1. Best Overall: TRU-SPEC 24-7 Tactical Pants for Men 
  2. Best for Women: 5.11 TacLite Pro Tactical Pants (Women’s Version)
  3. Best for Warm Weather: LA Police Gear Operator Tactical Pants
  4. Most Pockets: BLACKHAWK! Tactical Pants  
  5. Most Durable: Under Armour Storm Tactical Pants   

Our Top Pick (Best Overall):

TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Series Original Tactical Pant, Black, 28W Unhemmed
  • LIGHTWEIGHT TACTICAL PANTS: These stylish pants for men are made with a polyester and cotton blend...
  • COMFORT FIT: Comfortable pants with adjustable slider waistband eliminate the need for gathered...
  • EFFICIENT DESIGN: Water repellent, men cargo trousers come with an inside opening for knee pads;...

TRU-SPEC is one of the most well-known companies when it comes to tactical gear. Our testers found that the 24-7 TACTICAL PANTS lived up to TRU-SPEC’s reputation by offering users high-quality tactical pants with incredible versatility.

Their comfort, durability, and visual appeal are all top-notch, and they offered the best overall mix of these critical elements. They’re durable without sacrificing comfort, tough but casual enough for daily wear – they tick all the boxes without a hint of compromise.

Their lightweight design makes it easy to get around, haul gear, and – if we had to – jump a fence at a moment’s notice (without splitting the crotch.) You’ll have the flexibility to perform with these pants from TRU-SPEC. 

Fit is certainly key, and it’s that feature that separates the 24-7’s from the competition thanks to their self-adjuster sliding waistband. It’s super quick and easy to get the perfect fit, and adjusting for different loads (empty pockets vs pockets full with stuff) is a cinch and gives these pants a level of capability not found elesewhere.

Pros

  • Fashionable
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable slider waistband 
  • Knee Pads
  • Internal pocket compartments

Cons

  • Small cell phone pocket

Best for Women:

Sale
5.11 Tactical Women's Taclite EMS Pants, Dark Navy, 6/Regular
  • HIGH-QUALITY MATERIAL - Constructed using premium polyester and cotton mechanical stretch tactile...
  • TEFLON-TREATED FABRIC - Coated with Teflon, these pants have a protective finish that resists stain,...
  • SECURE FIT - Featuring a self-adjusting tunnel waistband, a double-time belt loops with web straps,...

5.11 Tactical specializes in a wide range of tactical gear – well beyond pants – with bags, shirts, and tactical accessories, so they’re in the business of making products that can perform. 

5.11 turned some heads with their original Taclite cargo pants, and with the release of TacLite Pro Tactical Pants, 5.11 upgraded the pants with a more durable, lightweight, and flexible design – and introduced options specifically for women. 

The fabric present in TacLite women’s pants is a poly/cotton combination that offers both breathability and quick drying. The Teflon-coated material also gives users extra protection against moisture, stains, and odor, and resists rips and punctures incredible well, making them ideal for outdoor adventures where you may have to scramble through some brush or jobs where you might encounter liquids or harsh products – such as an EMT.

The Tactlite’s provide plenty of pocket storage for easy access to whatever gear and accessories you’re carrying – cell-phones, knives, sunglasses, and the like all fit with ease, didn’t jostle around when on the move, and were easy to organize. We found the 5.11 Taclite Pants thigh pockets particularly spacious.

Pros

  • Efficient Pocket Design 
  • Teflon-Coating 
  • Breathable 
  • Secure fit through self-adjusting waistband 
  • Knife pocket
  • Reinforced knees
  • Front pockets
  • Seat and knee comfort

Cons

  • Belt loop on the right side can block a holster (removable) 
  • Smaller belt loop size

Warmer climates or outdoor work require specific kinds of products – and while some tactical pants may perform well during the more temperate months or mild weather – when it gets hot you’ll need pants that can keep you cool and perform.

The needle tactical pants need to thread is between keeping you cool, breathing well, and still being durable enough to stand up to the rigors of physical use. The LA Police Gear Tactical Pants offer the right balance of durability and comfort for warmer climates thanks to a smart mix of material and design. 

By blending cotton and polyester, the LA Tactical Pants are lightweight, ensure air can circulate around your legs and torso, but won’t snag on a fence or blow out the knee if with a fall. The inclusion of an elastic waistband helps keep the fit comfortable whether standing, bending, or running. 

Deep cargo pockets on the sides of these pants are large and designed for quick access with large, wide opening. The pockets are smartly designed with a forward slanted, making access easy when seated – such as when driving. 

All of the above features create a pair of tactical pants that combine durability and comfort and are ideally suited for active users in warmer weather.

Pros

  • Adjustable waist
  • Great in warm climates 
  • Doesn’t compromise durability

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold up well in the rain

Best Pockets:

BLACKHAWK Men's Pursuit Tactical Pants, 32" x 32", Stone
  • Ripstop fabric with Teflon Shield + fabric protector repels water, oil and stains and is breathable...
  • 8 multi-purpose pockets with each cargo pocket containing 3 AR magazine compartments
  • Double front belt loops for clips or badges and a gusseted crotch

The BLACKHAWK Tactical Pants have enough pockets we almost feel like leaving our gear bag at home. With an impressive eight (!) pockets we could fit a ton of gear in the pants without sagging or feeling weighed down. They also have interior pockets for additional organization and knee pad slits if you’re looking for even more protection.

Like other top options on our list, these pants combine polyester and cotton for a solid mix of comfort and durability, but where the BLACKHAWK pants stood out is the double layering in both the back and knee areas. This offers extra protection and performance in even the harshest situations. 

These pants are also water and stain-proof, which will add years to their life and makes them an ideal choice if you encounter water a lot – such as an outdoor, boating, or fishing guide. 

When it comes to sifting through different tactical pants options, small details go a long way. With extra-wide belt loops and an action waistband, you can easily keep your shirt tucked in and focus on the task at hand. 

Pros

  • Repels water and stains
  • Tons of pockets
  • Articulated knees

Cons

  • Fairly limited color options

Most Durable:

Under Armour Mens Storm Tactical Patrol Pants, Black /Black, 34/34
  • UA Storm technology repels water without sacrificing breathability
  • Ultra durable ripstop fabric is tough enough to put up with anything in the field
  • Anti odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes

The Under Armour Storm Patrol Pants are incredibly durable thanks to their 100% polyester construction and thick canvas material. They’ll take the best you can throw at them and not bat an eye, but that additional durability means they’re heavier and hotter than other options.

In addition to the durability, these pants also offer a long cut, which makes them easier to wear if you’re taller than average, prefer a roomier fit, or have to fit them over bulky shoes or boots. 

No matter how tough or dirty your work or outdoor hobbies are, you’d be hard-pressed to rip these pants. Sand, mud, and other harsh materials just wash right off thanks to the material and their water-repelling design.

While these pants are water-resistant they also offer good breathability – although not quite as light and breathable as other options. The expandable waistband makes for a consistently good fit, but your thighs and calves may sweat if you’re working in the heat.

One unique feature of these pants is their small interior pocket to store your ID or other documents, which is great for storing your DL and a credit card or two if you want to use the standard pockets for essential items such as knives or gear. 

Setting up a holster with the Storm Patrol Pant is easy thanks to it’s offset belt loops, so if you’re carrying IWB or OWB you’ll be ready to roll.

Not only are these pants comfortable & stylish, but the minimalist design also creates a fresh look that’s easy to clean and prevents snags/tears by avoiding unnecessary flaps and folds.

Pros

  • Not a lot of padding

Cons

  • Not a lot of padding

What makes tactical pants special

There are a lot of jobs and hobbies that benefit from the use of tactical pants, but what is it about these products that make them work better for these activities? 

Pockets 

Pockets are a key perk of tactical pants. If you’re participating in outdoor activities – fishing, hunting, rock climbing, etc. – tactical pants give you the advantage of storing gear and other accessories in those extra pockets. Their position on the leg also allows for unencumbered movement when packed full of goodies.

Durable & Lightweight Material

If you work outdoors and don’t have to carry gear per se but are dealing with warmer climates or direct sunlight, tactical pants are often made from much lighter material than jeans, so they’ll wear lighter, breathe better, and keep you cooler. Plus those materials tend to retain their color much better than jeans or denim, will last longer, often have ripstop or tear-resistant technology to avoid catastrophic damage in an accident, and don’t hold on to smells – which is fantastic for hunting applications. 

Flexibility & Protective Features

If you’re active at work – for example, a police officer in Los Angeles – it makes sense to wear tactical pants because their lightweight and breathable – but they’ll also provide a level of flexibility that other pants can’t offer. Their roomier fit, non-rigid material, and additional padding in crucial areas such as knees gives you the best mix of protection & flexibility for your money.

Great tactical pants don’t hold you back—they propel you forward in what you do. The products we highlight go above and beyond in helping you perform. 

Conclusion

Since there are so many different elements that a quality pair of tactical pants can include, our team of experts thought it’d be best to provide a selection that offers a little bit of everything.

Earlier in this post, there was an emphasis on the idea that great tactical pants don’t hinder your actions. Instead, exceptional tactical pants help you go above and beyond with what you do. 

24-7 TACTICAL PANTS from TRU-SPEC provide high versatility levels through the padding, an adjustable waist, lightweight design, durability, and sleek appearance. 

When selecting the 24-7’s, you’ll own some of the best tactical pants on the market.

Post Ratings:

4.02/5

Sources

  1. Asvel, Clothing Department / Cabelas Tualatin / Phone Interview / 7/9/2020
  2. A Guide to Tactical Pants for Travel, Mapping Megan, 7/9/2020 

More on accessories:

Best 300 blackout magazines - Cover

The Best .300 Blackout Magazines

How to pick the best .300 Blackout Magazines The .300 Blackout is one of the more interesting calibers in recent years, officially approved by SAAMI

Ruger 1022 Accessories - cover

The Best Ruger 10/22 Upgrades

What are the best upgrades for the Ruger 10/22? The 10/22 Rifle There’s a reason the Ruger 10/22 has long been one of America’s favorite

The Best Side Charging Upper Receivers

Why a side-charging upper? The AR-15, when in well-trained hands, is one of the most capable weapons systems ever designed. That longstanding performance and adoption

best mp 15 22 suppressors - cover

The Best M&P 15-22 Suppressors

What are the best suppressors for the S&W M&P 15-22? Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15 22 is a quality firearm that will quickly become anyone’s

MICHAEL CRITES is el jefe around here. He writes about guns and gear.

Read more gun & gear reviews: