I live in two worlds…one where I am a business casual, dress shoes, khaki pants and office politics guy. The other, where I am (allegedly) a gunslinging, tacti-cool, gun blog aficionado (I’m definitely not). So when I saw these pants on 5.11 Tactical I suddenly got curious. Maybe there was a way I could combine the two personalities and be Business Casual AND Tactical… Tacit-Casual!
Whitey: “I’m doing a review on these pants”
Whitey: “These things are awesome. Favorite pants…I’m wearing them”
Whitey: “I dunno dude, they’re just awesome..look!”
And it literally went like that for probably another 10 minutes.
All joking aside, I was definitely interested in finding a sturdier pair of pants. I seem to find new and improved ways to wear out random parts of pants like the pockets, belt loops, crotch and cuffs…or maybe I should just buy better pants than Old Navy. I also like pockets, I like having the ability to spread everything around so I don’t have thighs that look like a squirrels cheeks packing for winter. However, Cargo Pants are a business casual no-no. What do you do?
Enter, the Covert Cargo. Now, in an era where just about everyone can get multi-cam, molle covered, coyote brown goodness with the swipe of a credit card… much of those things are nothing you would wear to work. 5.11 Tactical makes many products that (despite their name) aren’t blatantly “Tactical.” Clean lines, rugged builds and purposeful well built designs that literally had the community in mind while not garnishing any sketchy looks at soccer practice as “that gun nut.” Whether Military, LEO, Sheepdog or Range Diva, they seem to have something to fit a purpose for all of the above.
Things most people take for granted like sturdy double stitched belt loops which are wide enough and sturdy enough for a Cobra EDC or tactical belt. Extra material sewn over the pocket where your EDC knife and/or flashlight goes. A secondary pocket cleverly hidden yet easily accessible behind the main hand pockets with built in organizers for spare mags, flashlights, granola bars, you name it. Even sturdy “crotchal region” to prevent rips pulls and tears. But WAIT! There’s more!
Cargo pockets are as mentioned before…verboten. 5.11 Tactical does a good job of hiding these pockets by making the actual pocket IN the leg instead of just sewing a pouch ON the leg. In many cases I can tell you, sometimes I like that look. But I don’t have a single pair of cargo’s that are not only organized, but relatively invisible. There is a stitch that can be seen as well as the tab on the zipper to access the enormous cargo interior but only noticeable upon close inspection. If you aren’t looking for them, they easily slip under the bosses radar. Oh, and did I mention that they hold 2 – 30 round AR mags and then some in each cargo pocket? Minor details. There is even elastic expansions on the 3 and 9 o’clock positions for both flexibility as well as (from my experience) a quick expansion that makes it a lot easier for IWB conceal carry.
So I didn’t just put these pants on and say “Man these are just swell, let’s write up something about them!” I used them for work… for weeks straight as business casual attire. I wore them to the range. I packed them full of everything I could carry and jogged around. I rolled in the dirt, wore every piece of tactical gear I own and to top it all off I washed them EVERY single time I used them. I still love them. Not a single stitch has loosened, not a stain has stayed on them. I have yet to fray the cuffs or start wearing out the pockets and they still look as good as the day I bought them. My only problem with these pants is…velcro. The rear pockets are velcro. So let me be clear, these are TACTICAL pants and I want them to be everything pants. Sacrifices must be made and with everything that I love about these pants, this is not a deal breaker. The rear pockets are made to be velcro for a specific reason, keep what’s in the pocket in there and still have quick access to its contents as well as securing them. I cannot think of anything better than velcro so, touché 5.11, you win this round.
Overall I really can’t say they have gone through a “full” life cycle yet, but if these pants are any indication of how 5.11 builds all their gear, I may be a fan for life. They are still getting worn and are on a heavy rotation, while the days I don’t wear them, I wish I had them. Maybe I am getting old, but man do I love a good pair of pants, especially when they serve multiple needs.