Best Tactical Pants Hand-Picked By A Survival Expert

By Jason K. | Updated: 06/24/2023

Tactical PantsToday I’ve got something I’m very excited to share…

A List Of The Best Tactical Pants You’ll Want To Wear Daily

Because I recently switched from wearing “hard pants” (i.e., jeans) to comfortable tactical pants FULL TIME. 

And I’m never going back.

Since I’ve made the switch, I’m more comfortable AND ready for anything!

They’re lifesavers on the job or in the backcountry.

Ones ready for combat, the sun, fierce winds, or torrential downpours.

BRANDS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Best Tactical Pants For The Modern Age

1. Our Top Pick
5.11 Tactical Men's Taclite Pro Lightweight Performance Pants

First off, 5.11 Tactical is a trusted name in the gear market. They've earned this reputation for a good reason - they just design and sell quality gear!

Their TacLite Pro pants are an upgrade to their original Tactical cargo pants.

These pants are built with a newer, lightweight ripstop material, made of a 60/40 poly/cotton blend.

This means they breathe and dry quicker than the original - and they resist tears and punctures!

It’s also Teflon coated, so water and dirt roll right off the surface.

The TacLite Pro pants feature a gusseted crotch, which is essential for mobility.

That's why these are an excellent choice for a bug out situation.

They also have plenty of pockets in all the right places.

This puts them high up on my EDC pants list as well.

For example - cell phones, extra magazines, and knives get their own dedicated pockets. And each is complete with Cordura reinforcement.

For everything else, use the large thigh pockets, deep hip pockets, and diagonal slash back pockets.

And IF you manage to run out of pockets (not an easy feat), take advantage of the oversized belt loops.

These loops are reinforced to stand up to a heavy utility belt full of gear and weapons.

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2.
5.11 Tactical Women's Taclite Lightweight EMS Pants

And here are the exact same 5.11 tactical pants but made specifically for a women's figure.

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↓ 511 TacLite Pro Pants Review

3.
CQR Men's Flex Stretch Tactical Pants

If you're looking for comfortable cargo pants at a reasonable price, look no further than the CQR and their Flex Stretch Pants.

These CQR pants are constructed with a hint of military and law enforcement performance.

It is made with a ripstop fabric blend of 63% poly and 34% cotton, which resist wrinkles, fading, and shrinking.

They have 8 Multi-purpose cargo pockets for various tools and equipment, making them great pants for everyday carry. 

These pants include high-strength, high-density metal alloy snap buttons, and zippers.

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↓ CQR Pants Review

4.
Tru-Spec Women's 24-7 Lightweight Pants

These Tru-Spec Pants are one of the best women's tactical cargo pants.

They are made with a combination of 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton. And these pants include a comfortable-fit slider waistband. This feature helps eliminate the need for bunchy elastic.

You'll enjoy the extra deep front pockets, 2-knife/accessory pockets, 2-cargo pockets with hook & loop closure, and bellowed side gussets.

Plus, 2-internal magazine compartments in both cargo pockets.

Finally, these women's tactical cargo pants include reinforced knees with an inside opening for knee pads.

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↓ TRU-SPEC Women’s 24-7 Series Xpedition Pants

5. Our Budget Friendly Pick
Dickies LP702 Canvas Pants

I've always associated Dickies with the overalls my Jeep mechanic wears. So I was a bit surprised to see they also have tactical options.

Like most workwear lines, their pant is made with 100% cotton canvas. It's cut with extra room in the seat and thighs, which makes them comfortable.

The wide tunnel belt loops distribute weight well, so a heavily-load shouldn't be an issue.

The double-layer seat and reinforced interior pockets help with durability. And the double-layer knee panels allow you to add knee pads.

They look great, and the Teflon-treated outer surface keeps stains to a minimum, so they stay that way.

My only genuine concern is the water resistance. But in dry conditions (or minor spills), the cotton material should be fine.

Yet, if the weather turns bad or you take an unexpected dip, it could take a long time for the heavy 8.2oz material to dry.

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↓ Dickies Tactical

6.
Helikon-Tex OTP Outdoor Pants

The Helikon Tex Urban line has a more aggressive cut and style than some other pants on the list.

With a total of 12 interior and exterior pockets, there's a place for just about everything.

The slight stretch in the material offsets the tailored feel of the pants.

This flexibility leaves you with a full range of motion and no binding when you need maximum agility.

The reinforced stitching and ripstop material mean these pants can take a beating.

But the strategic padding means YOU don't have to!

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↓ Helikon-Tex: Urban Pants

7.
AKARMY Men's Casual Cargo Pants

Another budget-friendly option is these relaxed-fitting tactical pants for those who prefer comfort over style.

These AKARMY Combat Work Pants are 100% cotton, multi-pocket survival pants.

They are ideal to use as comfortable casual pants for outdoor activities such as hiking & camping or relaxing weekends around the house.

However, the "front pocket" zipper is not a pocket. It's only there for show and style. But for this price, many people can overlook this minor annoyance.

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8.
5.11 Tactical Men's Stryke Operator Uniform Pants

Another entry from 5.11 on our list?

While the 5.11 TacLite Pro pants are a traditional cargo pant cut, the Stryke pants have a more modern cut.

With 12 pockets, these are pants made to carry it all.

In particular, the thigh pockets are higher and more streamlined. This design keeps the pocket contents from swinging back and forth with every step.

This problem has always been my gripe with all cargo pants and cargo shorts. Wild swinging is such a distraction and can affect your balance and agility in a run.

That's why so I'm a massive fan of the streamlined feature.

I also like the front cell phone (or magazine) pockets on each side. This setup means I can be ambidextrous with my gear, which is handy in certain situations.

Like most 5.11 tactical pants, the Stryke pants feature a gusseted crotch and reinforced knees.

It also includes a Flex-Tec material that has a 2-way stretch.

This material makes them extremely easy to wear when you're on the move.

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9.
5.11 Tactical Women's Stryke Pants

And here are the exact same 5.11 pants but made specifically for a women's figure.

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↓ 5.11 Stryke Pants Review

10.
Under Armour Men's Tactical Patrol Pants II

I'll confess... I didn't expect much from Under Armour in the tactical gear market.

Sure, they've been making advances with their products recently, but I still can't shake the image of their signature skin-tight muscle shirts.

So, I was surprised to see their Storm Tactical Patrol Pants. These are some great-looking and well-designed pants!

First, they're one of the few 100% synthetic material pants on the market.

While I love the way soft cotton feels, I've spent enough time mountaineering to know the saying "cotton kills." Cotton can soak up water and be slow to dry, exposing you to hypothermia.

Synthetic materials are way more efficient at keeping H2O away from the skin and drying fast. This is VITAL in cold, wet weather.

Second, UnderArmor didn't try to add every feature to these pants.

They're just the essentials - standard cargo pocket configuration:

  • Magazine holders
  • Reinforced knees and crotch
  • Unhemmed inseam

I wasn't expecting this, but these are contenders for my favorite on the list!

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↓ TD Product Demo: Under Armour Tac Duty Pants

Survival Gear Checklist eBook Cover -with fire piston on a rock and campfire in the background

Want a free 54 item survival gear checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

Gear For Your New Cargo Pants

Everyone’s situation is different, and what you stash in your pants is your choice.

It also depends on your other tactical gear (i.e., tactical plate carrier, tactical backpack, etc.)

Here’s a list of popular everyday carry items for your new pants:

Of course, I didn’t list every possible piece of gear but it should help you get started.

Final Thoughts

Tactical items are becoming more mainstream for everyone.

Why? Because they blend comfort, function, AND style.

Tactical products now range from tactical backpacks to tactical watches

And when it comes to choosing a pair of tactical pants, it all comes down to your specific needs and requirements.

For example:

If you’re looking for a solid pair of pants for the job site, I’d get a pair made of canvas cotton.

It’s got superior durability on its side.

But if your pair of pants is for wilderness survival – go synthetic.

The good news is:

No matter which you choose, all survival pants should have these standard features:

  • multiple pockets
  • durable construction
  • athletic cut for mobility, including gusseted crotch
  • technical materials
  • designed with utility belt (and holster) in mind – check out our survival belts article for a quality belt

Beyond that, think about what you’d like in a regular pair of pants – since you might want to wear these daily.

  • If you like a modern slim cut, look for tactical pants with some stretch and a closer cut.
  • If you prefer (like me) a more relaxed cut, there are options with and without stretch material.
  • Wet weather means you might want to avoid cotton, while hot, dry conditions might be perfect.

I don’t want to cross over to draw my tactical knife every time.

So if you’re a lefty, configure your pocket gear for how you like to carry it.

And if you ever do get dropped off in the remote jungle without your pants, good luck with those palm leaves.

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