Luckily, there are certain guidelines that will help you find the tactical pants that best fit that ratio. In fact, there are tactical pants out there that give you an outstanding “user experience” at a fair price.
Nevertheless, we urge caution. It’s easy to lose track of the points to consider when trying to stick to the guidelines.
For example the materials used. You have probably already heard of the most common materials such as ripstop, CORDURA, Teflon®, nylon, polyester and cotton. However, there are also different blends of polyester and cotton (67/33 or 50/50) that directly affect how the fabric behaves when worn and how it feels when it comes in contact with your skin.
Then there is the overall design. One can use the highest quality materials, but still the pants will perform worse than a cheap pair if they have a “poor fit” or lack the right features.
There is also the question of usage. Will you wear the pants in heavy rain and trust them to keep you dry? Or do you plan to wear them in your free time on a relaxing afternoon at the shooting range?
So you see how quickly you can lose track of this topic the more deeply you deal with it.
OK, but how do you choose the best tactical pants?
The Shopping Checkboxes
When it comes to a tactical pant, the buying process consists of five considerations. We have listed them here for you in the form of checkboxes. Any pair of tactical pants you want to buy must meet each of these points (and if the pants don’t meet all of them, you should keep looking until you find a pair that do). Here are the five checkboxes:
Let’s look at each of these five points individually.
Price is probably the most subjective point among these checkboxes. So we start with that.
When it comes to price, it is often the case that one person finds the amount reasonable, while another person has a completely different reaction to the exact same price.
Namely, the reality is that the price of a tactical pant usually depends on its quality, functionality, durability and comfort. If the latter increases, the total price increases at the same time.
One thought we have in common as consumers is that, in our eyes, higher prices mean better product quality. But is it always like this?
A theory by the American inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil (graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) states that products are often initially classified as extremely ineffective and expensive. However, over time they tend to become more effective and therefore gradually cheaper.
Computers are a good example of this phenomenon. In 1972, computers were huge, boxy things that offered a fraction of the processing and storage capabilities of today’s budget laptops. At the time, one of these early models would set you back a whopping $95,000 (or just over half a million dollars adjusted for inflation).
If you think about it, you’ll find that Kurzweil’s theory basically applies to almost all product types. The manufacturer’s timeline begins with high time-to-market costs in the early stages of production, followed by lower costs as production volume increases and process optimization progresses.
Conclusion: Choose items in a price range in which you feel comfortable. Then look for established brands in this price range.
If price was the most subjective of the five checkboxes, quality (believe it or not) must be the most objective.
This is because the quality of a garment can be quantified using various tests. Here are some of them:
- Elastic fabric/strap stretch test
- Seam Strength Test
- Color shading inspection
- Grain Check (the grain of the primary fabric)
- Hydrostatic pressure method (for waterproof garments)
Most likely, you will not have the opportunity to perform any of these tests yourself. In this case, we recommend that you look for tactical pants made from or with well-known brands of fabrics and first-class manufacturing technologies.
Here is a list of the brands we use in our own garments. You can use this list as a reference:
- G LOFT®
- GORE TEX®
Each of the manufacturers of these brands undergoes strict quality checks. We do the same with our own testing to ensure you get the best performance.
Buying from a well-known brand that has many loyal customers is a good choice as you will most likely get the quality you pay for.
Conclusion: Search for well-known, reputable branded fabrics and/or production technologies.
The consideration that will make it easiest for you to decide is functionality.
First, start by considering how you will most likely use your newly purchased pants.
The biggest factors affecting usage are environment and temperatures. So ask yourself these three questions:
Are you planning to wear your tactical pants in extremely low temperatures?
- If so, you should look for pants with extra thermal insulation. This includes inner lining made of G-LOFT and windproof and water-repellent outer fabrics.
Are you planning to wear your tactical pants in high temperatures?
- If so, you should look for lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying fabrics. In addition, the trousers should have functions such as ventilation zips. Overall, these traits will help you hold out in the heat.
Planning on wearing your tactical pants in heavy rain?
- If so, look for waterproof laminates like GORE-TEX and similar materials.
After answering these three questions, you will next be able to find the right combination of features for your particular use case. Some features will be must-haves given the scenarios you will find yourself in and the expectations you have of your gear.
Here are the key features and some questions to ask yourself:
- pocket configuration. How much gear will you have in your pockets? Do you need special pouches for magazines, small knives or glow sticks (to name just a few pieces of equipment)?
- knee protection. Do you have to wear knee pads?
- locking systems. Which do you prefer – Velcro, buttons or zippers?
- belt loops. Will you wear a duty belt?
Durability is the fourth consideration when choosing a tactical pant.
Each of the following elements affects the durability of a garment. So don’t overlook them:
- Materials. Highly abrasion-resistant CORDURA and Ripstop materials can increase the overall lifespan of the pants by preventing ruinous damage.
- Anatomical fit of the garment. It reduces the risk of your pants snagging and being torn.
seam construction. Using a high-tech seam construction increases overall durability.
- The durability of the pants can be assessed very quickly using these 3 points.
We have already recognized that price is the most subjective consideration. Or maybe not. It may be that the issue of comfort is actually the most subjective (or at least very close to it), as it depends on the individual experience and physique of the wearer.
We therefore recommend that you assess comfort by trying on the pants you are interested in (after first checking the manufacturer’s size chart to make sure the pants fit your waist and leg length).
Another factor to consider is the weight of the pants. Don’t judge by weight alone, though.