[Updated Post]

Whether you are military, law enforcement or a civil service guard, the gear you wear should help you do your job better. That is true of the gun you carry, your tactical tools such as your flashlight, and above all else, your pants. In this dressed-to-kill blog, we look at out top five choices in 2017 for tactical pants and let you know why we like them. Let’s get started.

Product Material Editor Rating Purchase Price
5.11 Men's Tactical 74273 TacLite Pro Pant Cotton/Poly Blend – 35%/65% buy it now button
PROPPER MEN’S 50N/50C ACU TROUSER 100% Cotton buy it now button
Tru-Spec Men's Tactical Response Camo Ripstop Uniform Pants 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton Ripstop buy it now button
Vertx Men's Original Tactical Pants 98% COTTON/ 2% LYCRA buy it now button
TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Tactical Pant 65% Polyester/35% Cotton buy it now button

Why Are Tactical Pants Important?

There are a lot of reasons why tactical pants are important. Since the are much akin to modified cargo pants, they provide extra storage space for some of the gear you carry. Let’s face it, when you are in a tactical position, you are going to need that gear. One key point about tactical pants is that they are engineered to provide protection, outperform regular cargo pants, and still maintain a comfortable and secure fit. In the field, anything that is a distraction can be deadly.

Benefits of Wearing Tactical Pants

Tactical pants offer design standards that enhance your ability to do your job. They are made of thicker material and have inserts for knee pads, which are almost always sold separately giving you the option to dress your pants to your own standards. Their design helps you fit into every situation without the concern of material failure, faulty closure, or losing gear from your pockets if you have to move quickly. In short, they are designed for the job they have to do.

In What Situations Are Tactical Pants Perfect For?

Tactical Pants come in heavy fabric and light fabric. They come with pockets for knee pads and without. The are designed to work in every type of environment from the hottest deserts to the coldest tundra. Between those two extremes, tactical pants fit in perfectly with those who protect and serve.

Need to crawl through the unknown? Not a problem. Need to work in 115°F heat? Not a problem. Need to walk a beat in the pouring rain? Not a problem. Need to search for a suspect in -20°F weather? Not a problem, though you will probably need an outer layer too. The variety of fabrics for tactical pants allows the wearer to match the pants to their expected environment.

Lightweight vs. Heavier Pants

Fabric choice is all about comfort. The choice relates both to where you will be working and the type of reaction your body had to those environments. Lightweight fabric is best in hotter tropical weather where you are likely to sweat. A good wicking material helps to keep you drier in those sort of arid environments.

Heavier fabrics are for places where you will take abuse and colder climates. Likely to encounter broken glass during your shift? A heavier material works better. Need to crawl through the sand to find an optimal vantage point? Lighter weight fabric is likely going to be your best friend.

Note: Tactical pants have inserts for knee pads. Those knee pads are almost always sold separately. The advantage is that you get to choose the type of knee pad rather than have that choice made for you.

Our Five Top Tactical Pants With Knee Pads

5.11 Tactical #74273 Men's TacLite Pro Pant


5.11 Tactical offers there TracLite Pro Pant in a cotton/poly blend – 35%/65% – giving these pants a breathability, and lightweight. Made with ripstop TaclLite fabric these are designed to take your worst. 5.11 Tactical means business with a gusseted crotch, double-reinforced seat, reinforced knees, and with 75 points of reinforced bartacking plus a waistband that is designed for active use.

Perfect for hot to mild weather and across all types of professional usage. Expect plenty of extra storage with tactical-designed pockets featuring YKK zips, high-grade snaps, and a D-ring for keys.

5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Pants, TDU Khaki, 34Wx30L
4790 Reviews
5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Pants, TDU Khaki, 34Wx30L
  • Lightweight 65% polyester and 35% poly cotton ripstop is treated with HT Teflon wear-resistant finish
  • Two cargo pockets; magazine/cell phone pocket
  • Signature rear strap and slash pocket design; rear web strap

Propper Men's 50N/50C ACU Trouser


100 percent cotton fabric with military style drawstring waist adding to their comfortable fit and providing security. Attention to detail makes these pants ruggedly strong with felled seams — inseams and outseams — plus treatment of the crotch and seat seams. In terms of storage, there are eight pockets. Knee pads can be added via outer pockets that shore up using hook and loop closure. Military inspired, with durable construction and perfect for heavy use environments.

Propper Men's 50N/50C ACU Trouser, Universal Digital, Medium Regular
301 Reviews
Propper Men's 50N/50C ACU Trouser, Universal Digital, Medium Regular
  • External openings for knee pads with hook and loop closure
  • Drawstring waist for secure fit
  • Felled inseams outseams and seat seams

Tru-Spec 1293 Tactical Response Uniform (TRU) Pants, Desert Digital Camo

Tru-Spec Men's Tactical Response Camo Ripstop Uniform Pants

The poly-cotton blend makes this a medium – lightweight pant. Knee insert pad pouches are internal and feature a loop/hook closure. Expect a button fly with a drawstring waist. Pockets include bellowed-calf and forward tilt cargo pockets. High-quality camo print or available in solid colors such as olive drab, coyote, and blue.

Perfect for most types of warm and mild environments. The cotton blend fabric adds breathability and the polyester makes this a dry pant in hot environments. 4.5 stars on Amazon with complaints about waist size being too big and the lack of waistline adjusters.

TRU-SPEC 1289005 Tactical Response Uniform Pants, Polyester Cotton Rip-Stop, Large Regular, Black
100 Reviews
TRU-SPEC 1289005 Tactical Response Uniform Pants, Polyester Cotton Rip-Stop, Large Regular, Black
  • 10-Pocket design with drawstring waist and button fly
  • 2-easy access slanted cargo pockets with drain holes, 5"x5" hidden pocket and elastic drawstring with cord lock for secured closure
  • 2-extra deep front slash pockets with reinforced openings

Vertx Men's Original Tactical Pants

Vertx Men's Original Tactical Pants

The fabric is 98 percent cotton and 2 percent Lycra giving the pants a little stretch. The lower profile crotch makes these more casual and less fitted but improves maneuverability helpful for climbing or kick-fighting. Front button closure with size elastic for a snug fit. Plenty of belt loops and the high rise back keeps them in place.

Right side zip pocket with a back flap pocket for added and secure storage. Does not support knee pads. High-quality construction with gusseted crotch helps with comfort. Expect a high-quality garment. 4.5 stars on Amazon.

Vertx Men's Original Tactical Pants, Desert Tan, 36-32, VTX1000
260 Reviews
Vertx Men's Original Tactical Pants, Desert Tan, 36-32, VTX1000
  • Low profile, insert cargo pockets lessen tactical appearance while delivering maximum capacity
  • Side stretch waistband and higher rise in the back maintain proper fit
  • Concealed zippered pocket on right side prevents valuables from falling out

TRU-SPEC Men's Lightweight 24-7 Pant

TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Tactical Pant

Clean cut and professional with a polyester cotton blend. Added comfort from the self-adjusting waist with invisible support. The Teflon coating keeps these pants looking nice and easy to launder. The clean cut look comes from bellowed side pockets that lay flat when not loaded. Pocket space holds two magazines and includes a cell pocket, two accessory pockets for a tactical knife or other gear. Expect quality construction with reinforced knee pockets that hold pads. 5-star rating on Amazon.

TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Tactical Pant, Khaki, 32 x 32-Inch
1041 Reviews
TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Tactical Pant, Khaki, 32 x 32-Inch
  • Comfort fit slider waistband construction eliminates need for gathered elastic or adjustable side tabs
  • 2-Cargo pockets with hook and loop closure and bellowed side gussets; 2-internal magazine compartments in both cargo pockets
  • Reinforced knee with inside opening for knee pads (not included)

Overall, these pants offer something for every grade of active lifestyle from the professional EMT to Law Enforcement and onwards to the casual wearer and outdoor enthusiast. Which is your first pick?


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