Best Tactical Pants: Complete 2020 Buyer’s Guide

soldier by the rails

The type of pants you wear often largely depends on what you plan on doing when you’re wearing them. There are a variety of styles and types of pants, from work pants, to track pants, and denim jeans for casual wear. But when you’re planning for a natural disaster or a week spent in the backcountry, nothing can compare to the best tactical pants. These pants are similar to cargo pants, however, there are certain modifications to the design and important differences between the two types. Tactical pants often feature material that’s fast-drying and lightweight. The materials are more hard-wearing and there are hidden compartments and concealed carry pockets, so you can neatly organize and store all of your essential survival gear, on the down low. If you’ve never owned a pair of tactical pants before, then this guide will come in handy when you’re shopping around. I’ve created the ultimate buyer’s guide that includes all of the important information you need to know, before you buy. I’ve also tested out several of the top-selling pairs, narrowing it down to six pairs of tactical pants that you won’t want to leave home without. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart, which includes each of the pairs that made it onto my list, their best features, and how they rated.

Tactical Pants Comparison Chart

ProductSizesColorsMaterialRating
CQR Men's Tactical Pants

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2144Cotton Ripstop/Polyester
5.11 Tactical Men's Taclite Pro

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1111Polyester Ripstop
Propper Men's Lightweight
Tactical Pant

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5714Polyester/Cotton
TRU-SPEC 24-7 Tactical
Pants for Men

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5613Polyester/Cotton
Elite Tribe Airsoft Hunting
Tactical Pants

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512Polyester/Cotton
LA Police Gear Men's
Tactical Pants

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1310Polyester/Cotton
Ripstop

CQR Men’s Tactical Pants


Our Rating: (5/5)

These pants feature a very subtle design. The high-density, high-stretch material is made with a metal alloy zipper and button, in addition to a mounted stopper that’s very durable. The pants are available in twenty-one sizes and forty-four colors. The Duratex fabric is designed to repel dirt, liquids, and more. The Duratex fabric consists of a mixture of cotton ripstop and polyester.

The pants also come with a wide range of multipurpose pockets that are designed to hold a variety of tools and equipment. There are eight pockets in all, which will give you plenty of room to store and organize all of your gear.

The pair is also wrinkle, shrink, and fade resistant.

Pros

  • Includes eight pockets
  • Fade, shrink, and wrinkle resistant
  • Made from durable cotton ripstop material
  • Material repels liquid and dirt

Cons

  • Does not include a concealed carry pocket
  • No reinforced areas

Conclusion

These low-profile tactical pants will hold all of your essential survival gear. The pants are loaded with pockets, including a mag pocket that’s specifically designed to store extra magazine clips, a Velcro flap back pocket designed for easy access, even if the wearer has gloves on, and an elastic waistband for ultimate support and comfort. As you can see, these pants are feature-packed and come with the type of storage space most buyers are looking for. Durable, breathable and designed to withstand heavy-duty use and harsh environments, these pants are a must-have for any survivalist.

5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These tactical pants are made out of sixty-five percent polyester and thirty-five percent cotton. The pants also feature a triple-stitch design for improved durability. The pants themselves are flexible and sturdy, ensuring maximum performance. The fabric is coated with a Teflon finish that will protect the pants against moisture, soil, and stains, all without compromising the pants’ breathability. The heavy-duty Teflon coating also makes these pants easier to clean. The fully gusseted inseam improves the flexibility of the material and provides a more comfortable fit. In terms of pockets, this pair of pants comes with eight, including a strap and slash seat pocket. The deep pockets found throughout the pants will give the wearer plenty of storage options and allows them to bring along all of the gear they need.

Pros

  • Reinforced seat and knees
  • Breathable design
  • Teflon coating
  • Triple-stitched

Cons

  • Material feels very stiff

Conclusion

These pants feature a reinforced seat and knees, both of which are high stress areas that are prone to excessive wear and tear. The reinforced areas combined with the triple stitch design ensures that these pants can handle dangerous terrain and heavy-duty use. Offering plenty of storage options, a hip-mounted D-ring, and a gusseted construction, these pants are designed to handle any situation or environment.

Propper Men’s Lightweight Tactical Pant


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These lightweight tactical pants by Propper are made out of polyester and cotton and feature a Teflon coating that’s designed to repel liquids and dirt. The extra-large belt loops will work perfectly with a heavy-duty nylon belt. The two hook and loop pockets found on the back are designed to securely hold your wallet and other important gear. On the knees, you’ll find internal openings for knee pads. The seams and knees have been reinforced, for improved durability, however, the seat area is not reinforced, which is surprising, considering this is another high stress area that wears out quickly. This pair of tactical pants comes equipped with a total of nine pockets that are designed to hold all of your EDC gear. This will give you plenty of storage options, so you can keep all of your important gear neatly organized and easily accessible.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Teflon coating
  • Reinforced seams and knee areas

Cons

  • Seat area is not reinforced

Conclusion

The action-stretch waist combined with the breathable Teflon coated material and low-profile design makes these pants a must-have for the serious survivalist. These pants are loaded with plenty of storage options, feature a flexible, breathable design, and offer the type of durability all buyers are looking for. These pants are designed for every type of situation life throws at you and are a great choice for both warmer and colder climates.

TRU-SPEC 24-7 Tactical Pants for Men


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These pants feature a polyester cotton blend, which makes them both durable and breathable, two must-haves in tactical pants. These pants are also lightweight and feature a sleek design, unlike traditional cargo pants that are bulky. These pants are also designed with comfort in mind and feature an adjustable slider waist that eliminates the need for side tabs or an elastic waistband. The waist will accommodate either inside the pants holsters or paddle style holsters, for the ultimate concealed carry. These pants are also water repellent, yet breathable, so they can be worn in a variety of terrain types and environments. Categorized as high-performance tactical pants, these pants offer the classic cargo style in a sleeker, more durable design that allows you to hike through wet and dry environments, easily and comfortably. The pants also come equipped with an opening located inside the knee areas, so you can wear knee pads, for added protection. These are the pants you want to have on you in the event of an emergency, pants you want to keep stored in your bug out bag, and pants that can get you through a natural disaster, allowing you to feel more prepared.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Compatible with two holster styles
  • Inserts for knee pads
  • Loaded with pockets

Cons

  • No reinforced areas

Conclusion

These tactical pants have it all, including plenty of storage options, two ways to hide your concealed carry weapon, inserts for knee pads, and a water-repellent, breathable design. If you’re looking for the ultimate tactical pants, you just found them. Since they’re available in so many color options, you can definitely stock up and wear these comfortable and highly functional pants on a daily basis.

Elite Tribe Airsoft Hunting Tactical Pants


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These pants are made out of 50% polyester and 50% cotton. The pants also have a Teflon coating, which makes them water repellant and dirt repellent. The pants are available in twelve camo color options and five sizes. In terms of size options, this is very limiting and can make it difficult for larger or smaller buyers to find the right size. The color can be another issue. If you’re planning on keeping these pants in your bug out bag or wearing them during a major national emergency, the last thing you want is make it obvious you’re a survivalist. So, these pants did lose some points for their high-profile design. Aside from the poor design choice, these pants are impressively durable and feature a knee pad height adjuster located in the front thigh pocket, and built-in flap covers for a kneecap opening that allows you to insert knee pads. The pants also come equipped with a large expansion panel at the lower back, a couple of rear zippered pockets, a reinforced seat, and a stretch diamond gusseted crotch, for improved durability.

Pros

  • Loaded with pockets
  • Reinforced seat
  • Teflon coating
  • Durable

Cons

  • Only five size options available
  • High profile design is not suited for suburban use

Conclusion

These pants come loaded with all the pockets you need to store water bottles, extra magazines, personal items, and more. The large front thigh pockets can hold an impressive amount of gear, so you’ll be sure to carry everything you need to get you through a natural disaster or emergency. These pants are a better choice for hunting, backcountry use, and other rural areas, due to their camo design which would be very high profile in suburban areas.

LA Police Gear Men’s Tactical Pants


Our Rating: (4/5)

These pants feature a polyester and cotton ripstop fabric blend. They also offer a low-profile design, so it’s not obvious you’re wearing tactical pants. This low-profile design is something many survivalists are looking for when they’re shopping around for the perfect bugout gear. The pants also come equipped with articulated knees and a gusseted crotch, both of which will allow for improved movement. The elastic waistband makes these pants comfortable enough to wear daily, while the large cargo pockets allow you to store all the gear you need and keep it easily accessible when you’re on the go.

Pros

  • Low-profile design
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Reinforced seat and knees
  • Elastic waistband

Cons

  • Pants run a size small

Conclusion

These pants are built tough and feature a reinforced seat and knee areas, an elastic waistband, and a breathable, durable design. These pants may not be quite as loaded with pockets as some of the higher priced tactical pants, but in terms of functionality and durability, these pants excel and perform better than expected.

Tactical Pants Buyer’s Guide

The best tactical pants aren’t just reserved for people who work in tactical-related fields, however, there are certain design elements that make them well-suited for those professions, such as the large variety of pockets that are designed to store tactical gear, and the reinforced knees that are for tough jobs. If you’re looking for a good pair of tactical pants for use during end times, then this buyer’s guide will show you the features to look for, and what makes these pants invaluable in the event of a natural disaster, emergency, or hunting trip. Below, I’ll start off this buyer’s guide by going over the many benefits these pants have to offer.

Benefits of Tactical Pants

soldier holding a gun

  • Tactical pants are much different than your average cargo pants. While they may seem similar in style, they offer more value for your money in terms of functionality, strength, and durability. Cargo pants are still very popular these days, for the outdoor enthusiast, but if you’re looking for functionality over fashion, then a pair of tactical pants is a better option.
  • Tactical pants are made specifically for law enforcement. Fortunately, you don’t have to work in law enforcement to purchase and wear them. Law enforcement and military officials need this type of pant because they offer adequate storage and plenty of space to store a variety of items.
  • These pants are made out of high-quality materials, so they’re able to easily withstand the rigors of the workload.
  • Tactical pants were initially used during the Vietnam war because of the soldier’s need to have additional pockets so they could carry more tools, ammo, and equipment. Back then, these pants were made out of cotton. These days, the pants have improved a lot and the materials used are both breathable and incredibly durable. The pocket design has also improved. Back then, the pants only had pockets placed on the outside. Modern tactical pants have hidden pockets for discrete carry.
  • These pants will allow you to carry more items than what you would be able to wearing a standard tool belt, which makes them ideal for the survivalist, hunter, and hiker.

Other Important Features

These pants are more practical and useful than most people think. They’re able to handle it all. The pants are breathable and flexible enough for mountain climbing and hiking, yet they’re made out of durable, tough ripstop materials that can handle heavy-duty use on the road.

Pros who wear these pants can rely on them for every type of situation. They’re a great choice if you’re going to be in direct contact with rough surfaces, and they’re very versatile and can handle all types of weather conditions.

These pants are a good choice for shooters, especially those who crouch down to take shots. A good pair of tactical pants can handle the abuse of running and gunning, and they’ll still look good enough for everyday wear.

Construction

When you’re shopping for tactical pants, make sure that they’re made out of durable, lightweight material. This is often a mix of polyester and poly cotton ripstop. They should come equipped with several zippered pockets so you can keep all of your gear easily accessible and organized, in the event you need to act quickly.

Reinforced Design

These pants should also come with reinforcements in any and all high-stress areas. This will allow you to go the distance, without your pants wearing down in certain areas. Most pairs will come with reinforced knee areas. As you probably already know, the knees are often the first place where signs of wear begin to show.

Style

There are a number of different styles of pants available to choose from, but not all of them will perform in the same way. As an example, you’ll find pants that feature a higher waist, which is a more traditional design. However, you’ll also come across low rise styles that resemble everyday pants. Low waist pants are often more comfortable.

The style of the pants will also have an impact on comfort. Some styles feature a bulky design they will not be as comfortable to wear as a slimmer style.

Strategic Storage

As any survivalist knows, there will be certain items that must be quickly accessible in a survival scenario, such as a multitool, knife, flashlight, or self-defense weapon. To ensure you have pants that offer the best access, make sure you look for pants that have deeper pockets and zippered or Velcro closures.

These pants share many similarities with cargo pants, such as the presence of several pockets. The pockets included in the design are very critical. Pockets will allow you to store and carry more gear, ensuring that you’re always prepared and able to take more than the bare essentials with you. However, the number of pockets and even the style of the pockets can vary from model to model.

When it comes to pockets, the general rule is to ensure that the pants you choose offer the type of carrying capacity you need and then some, so you can bring along slightly more gear than you can anticipate needing. There are also different styles of pockets, some of which you’ll need, and others you won’t. As an example, do you need easy access to a utility knife? Then an exterior knife pocket will be crucial. Do you want to carry extra magazines? Then you’ll need to search for pants that come equipped with magazine pockets.

Durability

One of the most single important considerations is durability. Chances are that the pants will be exposed to the elements. They’ll probably also undergo significant wear and tear. Sand, tree bark, brick, concrete, dirt, and rocks, none of these will be a problem. Look for pants that feature reinforced high wear areas, and triple stitching.

Holster Compatibility

If you’re planning on carrying when wearing these pants, then holster compatibility will also be important. You’ll find belt loops that range from two inches  to 1.75 inches. The wider the belt loops are, the heavier the load you’ll be able to carry attached to your belt. Belt loops will play a major role if you need to carry a sidearm. If you do plan on carrying a sidearm, search for a pair of pants that feature offset loops, so that you’re able to properly wear the holster.

Cinched and Tapered Ankles

You’ll come across some pants that feature drawstrings for cinching your boots. This will keep insects, water, dust, dirt, and debris out of your boots. The cinched or tapered design will also make it much easier to tuck your socks into your boots for added warmth.

Weather Protection

Protection from the elements is another major priority when you’re shopping for tactical pants. How a pair of pants will perform in wet conditions will depend heavily on the type of fabric they’re made out of, how the seams come together, and how the fabric is treated. For most emergencies and environments, pants that are water resistant will suffice. However, the survivalist may prefer fabric that’s treated with Teflon, which will seal out water completely and cause it to bead up and roll off. Teflon doesn’t offer protection against submersion, so keep this in mind if you plan on going through a body of water, in which case, your best bet is pants that are made out of quick-drying material. This type of material will not weigh you down when it gets wet like Teflon can.

Terrain Type

When choosing a new pair of tactical pants, you should also keep in mind the type of activities you’ll be performing. Pants that are lightweight are perfect for providing protection from scrapes while you stumble through thorny bushes and over large rocks. They will also be a great defense against ticks and mosquitoes.

More rugged terrain will require durable clothing that can protect you from injury.

Ease of Movement

Pants that will allow you to move easily and freely must be made out of flexible fabric that offers some stretch, in addition to gusseting in the knees.

Color

Typically, your choices will be between camo and regular colored clothing. Each type has its own advantages depending on the situation and your location. If your survival plan requires heading through populated areas, then digital camo isn’t the best choice. In a disaster scenario, you definitely don’t want to stand out as the person most prepared among dozens, or even hundreds of people who are not prepared. Wearing clothing that doesn’t indicate that you’re a survivalist who’s carrying a ton of essential gear is a smarter choice. In this situation, you’ll want to blend in with the crowd in order to get out safely. If you’re in the wilderness, then you’ll benefit from camo patterns or earth tones.

Frequently Asked Questions

army pants

What are Tactical Pants Used for?

These pants are often worn by FBI personnel, EMTs, law enforcement, and people in the military. They are also utilized by survivalists, hunters, and long-distance hikers and any other type of outdoor enthusiast who regularly faces the elements.

Are tactical Pants Waterproof?

These pants are breathable, comfortable, and many are fully waterproof, but not all. Whether or not the pants are waterproof will depend on the type of material they’re made out of.

Why do Soldiers Tuck Their Pants in Their Boots?

This is down to prevent insects from crawling inside the pants and also prevents the pant legs from riding up when moving.

What are Tactical Pants Made of?

These pants can be made out of ripstop nylon, cotton, denim, polyester, and poly cotton ripstop materials. The belt loops are often made out of the same material, with a few layers sewn together, which allows the belt loops to carry more weight.

Why do Special Forces Wear Jeans?

One of the main reasons why a law enforcement officer will wear jeans is if they’re undercover. Undercover work requires officers to dress as civilians in order to blend in with the crowd.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the best tactical pants will offer significant benefits and capabilities. Whether you’re a survivalist, hunter, or hiker, tactical pants are a must-have. However, not all pants are created equal. This guide includes all of the essential information you need, to choose a pair of pants that will suit your needs in a variety of situations. The pants that made it onto my top six list each have what it takes to get you through an emergency situation, hunting trip, or hiking adventure. Just make sure the pants you choose offer the type of carrying needs you’re searching for and come equipped with the storage space you need to make it through.

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