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As a sizing reference: I'm 5'7", 155 lbs (yeah, I'm a little guy), medium build (BDU top medium/regular, BDU pant medium/short), waist 32", chest 43". Keep this in mind when you read my comments with respect to sizing, so you have an idea of how the garments featured below will fit on you. ALL garments in these pages are size Medium, unless stated otherwise.

TO VIEW FULL SIZE IMAGES: USERNAME and PASSWORD are both "mm"

VERTX Tactical Pant

3/21/09 - This is a preview of a new Pant from VERTX due out in July '09. The premise behind the VERTX pant is that it is a covert pant for 'any time, any place, any mission' with its best features unnoticed by anyone but the operator wearing them.

The VERTX brand is owned by Fechheimer, which has been manufacturing uniforms and and public safety apparel since 1842. For the VERTX pant, they enlisted the design services of Arc'Teryx who took direct input from operators to come up with this pant. Feccheimer had previously collaborated with Arc'teryx on their Flying Cross brand Justice Jacket for LE use.

Description - In a market flooded with tactical pants that in some places might attract unwanted attention or notice with overtly 'tactical' or military-looking external features, the VERTX Pant is designed as a covert, comfortable walk-around pant that doesn't stand out, yet has features that provide the wearer with cargo-carrying capacity and full freedom of movement and mobility when he has to burst into action without warning.

If you're familiar with Arc'Teryx, and have owned or seen the LEAF line garments featured elsewhere on this site, you'll know that Arc'Teryx designs are very streamlined with simple lines, vs. more complicated or 'loaded' designs on the market. Arc'Teryx clothing are somehow able to strike the balance between function and aesthetics. This design philosophy is apparent in the VERTX pant. The design of the VERTX pant took over a year with six pattern iterations.


VERTX pant


Upper pant details

Stretch fabric and shaped knees

Features - Here are the key features on the VERTX Tactical pant (32" waist, 30" inseam shown):

  • Material - This is the key to the VERTX pant's comfort and mobility. The material is 98% cotton, 2% spandex, allowing the fabric to stretch. I'd call the fabric mid weight.
  • Stretch waistband - The waistband has elastic on the sides for a little bit of give. It's not bunched up enough to be uncomfortable, but has enough stretch to add about two inches to the waist. The pant has a front button and zipper fly.
  • Higher back - The back of the pant is higher than in the front so that you can bend, kneel, squat without the rear being pulled down.
  • Belt loops - The belt loops will accomodate 2" belts, and there are double belt loops at the rear for reinforcement, as the stress is typically more to the rear of the pant.
  • Gusseted crotch - The crotch is designed for mobility. Many gussets have an apperance of added mobility but don't really do much. The front gusset seam is low in the crotch and the rear seam has been moved higher up the back 'crotch curve'. This design does not 'point load' the seam but spreads the load across the seam. This results in true range of motion without restriction and less chance of blown seams.
  • Utility notch pocket - The utility notch is a relief at the bottom of the side slash pockets that provides a space for a knife clipped to the pocket.
  • Concealed security pocket - There is a zippered security pocket located near the opening of the right hand side slash pocket. The opening is so well concealed that you'd never really notice it there, as the zipper isn't exposed. The zipper pull is below the utility notch, and is accessed when you put your hand inside the pocket. This is a secure hidden pocket for ID, wallet, magazine, spare mag etc and is the same size as the side slash pocket.

Front details

Rear details and stretch waistband

Gusseted crotch

Side slash pocket with utility notch

Concealed zipped security pocket

Hidden pocket open
  • Rear pocket credential trap - There are two patch pockets on the back of the pant, about 5.5" wide and 6" tall. This is an internal angled 'flap' that can be used to secure a larger wallet, passport or credential holder. For the flap to secure the item, the item should be at least 5 inches tall. Otherwise, the flap will not trap the top of the item.
  • Low profile side cargo pockets - Rather than the 'normal' configuration where the pocket is sewn to the outside of the pant leg, the 8.5" x 7" VERTX side pockets are inset, giving it a discrete, covert touch. A hole is made in the side of the pant and the pocket sewn to the inside instead of the outside, creating a very low profile pocket. The pocket has a 'speed pleat' which allows it to expand its carrying capacity when needed. The top of the pocket is overlapped by the flap which is sewn down at the ends and does not flip up, eliminating the need for a closure system like buttons or velcro. The opening is angled down towards the rear slightly for more natural access.
  • Internal side pockets - Inside each side cargo pocket is a 3" deep internal slot pocket for organization. This pocket will fit a sunglass case, cell phone etc, and a 30-round M4 mag perfectly. When the mag is placed in the internal pocket, it stays upright, ready for extraction.
  • Articulated knees - This is a key design feature of the pant. The VERTX pant is designed for mobility and to accomodate a lot of movement and positions other than standing. The natural stance of this pant is with a straight trunk and bent knee. When you wear a regular pair of pants and bend your knee, you leg movement might be restricted, and if not, the fabric will tighten up over the knees and ride up at the ankles. Not so with the VERTX. The knee is designed with darts, which pre-shape it, and also with more volume, which allows the knee to bend without the bottom riding up, or the fabric getting too tight and restrictive.
  • Wider cuffs/ankle opening - The cuffs on the VERTX pant are a bit wider than most others. I measured them to be 9" - most of my other pants are from 8" (the tightest) to 9". They're wider to accommodate boots, and to better conceal a back-up weapon/ankle holster. Also, the knee is wider than a regular trouser, hence the wider bottom.
  • All stress points are bartacked.
  • Colours - Available in Khaki (shown here), Desert Tan (deeper reddish tan), Black, Navy and OD Green.
  • Sizing - The VERTX pants are available in even waist sizes, and also these odd ones (29, 31, 33, 35). Inseam lengths available are 30, 32, 34 and 36.

Back pocket credential trap

Low profile side pocket

Internal pocket

Articulated knee

Notes and observations - The pair shown here is a pre-production pant, but it shows no signs of being anything but a production model. It's very well put together, and as I mentioned before, evokes the typical Arc'Teryx-designed functionality and subtlety.

As far as sizing goes, the VERTX pants fit 'true to size'. A size 32 fits a 32 waist. But, if I'm a little over 32, it's going to be on the snugger side. Some pant manufacturers add a bit more to the waist, but VERTX measurement doesn't add any extra. So, some people might be used to the looser fits, and wonder why the VERTX fits a bit snugger. I'd recommend measuring your true waist size. If you buy that size, it'll fit. If you want a bit more of a looser fit, or plan on carrying a pistol IWB, then go a size up.

I use the term 'comfortable' a lot in my writeups - so much that I wonder if I overuse it. I mean, can all the pants I review be 'comfortable'? I thought about it carefully, and decided that no, I don't think it's inaccurate to use it. If I find a pair of pants comfortable, it means that I can't find anything outstanding that causes discomfort, like it being too tight in one area, or a scratchy seam somewhere etc. Comfort is relative, and it depends on the conditions the garment is used in (weather, temperature, humidity etc). Anyway, while I have found most of the pants I've featured on my site to be 'comfortable', I think the VERTX pant is the most non-restrictive feeling pair. Other pants don't really restrict movement - by that I mean that my legs aren't going to be prevented from going where they need to because of a pair of pants. But what I mean is that when assuming different leg positions, like when kneeling or squatting, the pant can tighten up in certain areas as the dimensions change, and won't feel as 'comfortable' as when standing up straight. With the VERTX pants, on the other hand, I felt less binding and tension in the fabric. Part of this is attributed to the design/cut, the other is the spandex in the fabric. The cut feels more like a Karate Gi pant or climbing pant than a regular 'tactical' pant.

The stretch properties of the fabric are immediately apparent the moment I took a knee or squatted. There's extra room at the front of the knees and the knees are already pre-shaped with a bend in them. Squatting doesn't feel one bit restrictive, nor do the bottoms ride up a lot. The rear of the pant waist pretty much stays put, instead of being pulled down when the thighs come up. These pants have more mobility built in than my old legs do.

One thing I noticed when I first started wearing the pants was that they seemed to show dirt easily. For some reason, dust and dirt wouldn't brush off like on other pants and I'd find a bit of lint here and there stuck to the pant. For example, if I brushed up against a dirty car, the dirt wouldn't dust off with my hand easily. I contacted VERTX and they said that they'd noticed that as well, and it would resolve itself after the first couple of washes. Sure enough, it did. By the third wash, I didn't notice the VERTX pant attract lint or dirt any more than my other pants. Dust/dirt brushes off with my hand same as any other cotton pant. I guess the fabric needs some sort of 'break-in' period by going through the wash a few times.

I'd consider the VERTX pant a lightweight/midweight pant, suitable for a wide temperature range. I'll wear it in the summer and see how that goes when it gets hot. Another thing I liked about the VERTX pant is that the utility notch on the side slash pockets makes it easier to access items in the pocket when seated, like in a vehicle. The side cargo pockets with their overlapping flap and no velcro or buttons are quick to access and seems secure enough. One addition I'd like to see is a small velcro patch closure to provide additional security for the back patch pockets, when an item is too short to be captured by the credential trap.

All in all, a very promising pant for those who need or want tactical features in a less tactical-looking package. Even if that's not needed, most people will appreciate the low profile nature of the design, and most importantly, the comfort and mobility without restriction that these pants provide. I can see these worn for travel, hiking, shooting, climbing, or just every day around-town wear.

VERTX Tactical Pant now available

8/3/09 - The VERTX Tactical Pant is now in production and available here (or by clicking on the banner above); and I'm pleasantly surprised to see it offered at a very competitive price. The final production version, shown here in OD Green, is the same as the Khaki pre-production one shown above, except for two improvements:
1 - The overall stitches per inch on seams has been increased. If you look at the photo below and count stitches, you can see that the OD Green pant has more stitches per inch than the pre-production khaki ones. This results in increased seam strength.
2 - The hidden security pocket on the right now has a slightly larger, and colour-matched zipper.

The OD Green production pant has the same cut and is just as comfortable and non-restrictive as the khaki one. A new colour has just been introduced - Crye MultiCam. This is the only one in 50% nylon/50% cotton ripstop instead of the stretch cotton/lycra, as the material is from Crye. Also shown below is the Desert Tan pant vs. the Khaki one.


VERTX production pant in OD green

Tighter stitching on OD pant

Colour matched zipper


Desert tan

Khaki vs desert tan

VERTX Tactical Pant - revisited

4/25/12 - Almost exactly three years later to the day that I posted my initial preview of the VERTX Tactical pant back on 3/21/09, I had a motorcycle accident while wearing my OD Green pair of VERTX pants. I mentioned this on my Facebook page; VERTX saw it, and generously offered to replace my damaged pair of pants. I thought it'd be a good opportunity to see if any changes had been made over the past three years.

Over the past three years, I've worn a pair of VERTX Tactical Pants at least a couple of times a week, non-stop. I have quite a few different pants to choose from, and find myself reaching for my VERTX pants, as well as my TAD Gear Force 10's for every day work wear more often than others. There are a number of reasons why I like to wear them so often: the non-baggy but comfortable fit; I don't have to wear a belt with them (the size 32" fit me perfectly); the low profile side cargo pockets are more discreet and look 'smarter' in a work/office environment than standard flapped cargo pants, and I make use of the internal slot pockets for my phone or sunglass case. Even after three years, they're still going strong and the fabric still feels rugged.

On 3/14/12, I was involved in a motorcycle accident on the way home from work; I went down avoiding a woman who turned out in front of me. My bike was totaled, and I ended up with abrasions, bruises, and a fractured ankle and ribs, even though I was wearing protective gear (helmet, motorcycle jacket with armour, motorcycle gloves, hiking boots). I had my OD green VERTX pants on. I 'low-sided' on the bike, went down hard on my left side and slid for a short distance. Even though I had abrasions on my left hip and knee, I was surprised that the fabric of the pants had not ripped completely through. I had a previous lower speed motorcycle accident where my denim jeans had been ripped through. The worst damage to the VERTX pants were in the area over my folding knife I had clipped to my pocket on my left side, which I also lost in the accident. The side cargo pocket flap had ripped there. Even though my knee suffered abrasions, the fabric on the pant knee was almost completely intact with only a small hole worn through. I believe that if I had been wearing Levi's, or a thinner pair of pants, my abrasions would have been much worse. Even though they were about three years old, the pants still remained rugged, instead of the fabric 'thnning out' and getting weaker the way jeans do after a few years.

When I received my replacement pants, I thought I'd take a look to see if anything had changed. You can see from the photos below that the colour has faded slightly overall, but not by much. If the new pants below look lighter than my original photos in the previous review of the OD pants, it's due to the lighting. The high-wear edges and seams obviously show some fading due to wear, and you can also see the outline of internal slot pockets in the side cargo pockets. But overall, they've held up very well. Like the original, the new pant did shrink the same amount (maybe about 5%) after washing/drying and became the perfect fit for me. Before the inital wash, they're a bit loose.

Everything about the pant looked to be the same, except for these:

  1. The sewn-on label behind the front zipper has been changed, and the one in the rear of the waistband has been deleted. The front button is slightly different in look, but not functionality.
  2. No more sewn-on label at the upper corner of the right side rear pocket, but a subdued embroidered logo has been added to the bottom corner of the left side cargo pocket.
  3. The side slash pocket profile on the inside has been changed. With the original VERTX pant, the part of the hanging pocket right below the 'utility notch' curved rearwards a bit. This caused a knife clipped onto the utility notch to sit at an angle in the pocket, instead of vertically. While it didn't bother me at first (until my pockets started abrading), other customers did bring it up as it caused the knife to wear through the pocket prematurely, and it was eventually changed (I'm not sure exactly when). On the current design, the pocket comes straight down, allowing a knife to sit vertically in the pocket. After using this for a bit, I agree that it's a definite improvement.

Anyway, I was glad to see that none of what I liked about the VERTX pant has changed, and only improvements have been made to it. It's still the functional, rugged and well-fitting pant that I'm used to. I'm good to go for the next three years.


New vs. old in OD green

Rear view

Front view

Changed pocket

Knife abrasion points on older pant

VERTX Phantom LT Pants

1/7/14 - The Phantom LT Pants from VERTX are a lighter weight, mini Rip-stop fabric version of the original VERTX Tactical pant. They're available from VERTX dealers like PredatorBDU.com, who supplied the sample here.

Ever since I reviewed the VERTX Men's Original Tactical pant back in 2009, the design was updated and small improvements made, which I outlined in the writeup above in 2012. Current Original Tactical Pants all have the improvements, as do the Phantom LT Pant shown here. The original VERTX tactical pant was designed as a covert, comfortable walk-around pant that doesn't stand out, yet has features that provide the wearer with cargo-carrying capacity and full freedom of movement and mobility when he has to burst into action without warning.

As I've mentioned before, I've worn a pair of VERTX Tactical Pants at least a couple of times a week, non-stop. The main reasons why I like to wear them so often are: the non-baggy but comfortable fit; I don't have to wear a belt with them (the size 32" fit me perfectly); the low profile side cargo pockets are more discreet and look 'smarter' in a work/office environment than standard flapped cargo pants, and I make use of the internal slot pockets for my phone or sunglass case. My original OD green pant from August '09 was replaced in 2012 after I was in a motorcycle accident. I still wear it, though, as well as the Desert Tan pant also from '09. After four years of weekly wear, the main points of wear have shown themselves (more on that below), but overall they've held up darn well for a daily-wear pant.

I've been wanting to try out the Light Weight version of the VERTX Tactical pant, called the Phantom LT Men's Tactical Pant, but also wanted to wait until the Smoke Grey version was introduced. The Phantom LT Men’s Tactical Pants have all the same great high-performance features of the original design with a lightweight durable 65% poly/35% cotton mini Rip-Stop fabric. These pants also feature IntelliDry™ treatment which keeps the wearer cool with advanced moisture wicking while providing superior water/stain resistance.

VERTX's Smoke Grey is significantly darker than the other 'tactical' greys on the market, like TAD's Battleship Grey and Arc'teryx's Wolf Grey shown in the photos below. The VERTX Smoke Grey is dark shade of grey while the others are medium shades. The LT fabric has a mini-ripstop weave which is 2/3 the size of the standard USGI weave seen on most BDUs. It's definitely lighter weight than the 98% cotton/2% spandex fabric of the VERTX Original Tactical Pant.


VERTX Smoke Grey Phantom LT

Colour comparison

Colour comparison to TAD Grey

LT vs. Original fabric

Current vs. old Original

Current vs. old Original pocket

Features - The LT shares the same features as the VERTX Original Tactical pant, except for the fabric.

  • Material - 65% poly/35% cotton mini Rip-Stop fabric
  • Stretch waistband - The waistband has elastic on the sides for a little bit of give. It's not bunched up enough to be uncomfortable, but has enough stretch to add about two inches to the waist. The pant has a front button and zipper fly.
  • Higher back - The back of the pant is higher than in the front so that you can bend, kneel, squat without the rear being pulled down.
  • Belt loops - The belt loops will accomodate 2" belts, and there are double belt loops at the rear for reinforcement, as the stress is typically more to the rear of the pant.
  • Gusseted crotch - The crotch is designed for mobility. Many gussets have an apperance of added mobility but don't really do much. The front gusset seam is low in the crotch and the rear seam has been moved higher up the back 'crotch curve'. This design does not 'point load' the seam but spreads the load across the seam. This results in true range of motion without restriction and less chance of blown seams.
  • Utility notch pocket - The utility notch is a relief at the bottom of the side slash pockets that provides a space for a knife clipped to the pocket.
  • Concealed security pocket - There is a zippered security pocket located near the opening of the right hand side slash pocket. The opening is so well concealed that you'd never really notice it there, as the zipper isn't exposed. The zipper pull is below the utility notch, and is accessed when you put your hand inside the pocket. This is a secure hidden pocket for ID, wallet, magazine, spare mag etc and is the same size as the side slash pocket.
  • Rear pocket credential trap - There are two patch pockets on the back of the pant, about 5.5" wide and 6" tall. This is an internal angled 'flap' that can be used to secure a larger wallet, passport or credential holder. For the flap to secure the item, the item should be at least 5 inches tall. Otherwise, the flap will not trap the top of the item.
  • Low profile side cargo pockets - Rather than the 'normal' configuration where the pocket is sewn to the outside of the pant leg, the 8.5" x 7" VERTX side pockets are inset, giving it a discrete, covert touch. A hole is made in the side of the pant and the pocket sewn to the inside instead of the outside, creating a very low profile pocket. The pocket has a 'speed pleat' which allows it to expand its carrying capacity when needed. The top of the pocket is overlapped by the flap which is sewn down at the ends and does not flip up, eliminating the need for a closure system like buttons or velcro. The opening is angled down towards the rear slightly for more natural access.
  • Internal side pockets - Inside each side cargo pocket is a 3" deep internal slot pocket for organization. This pocket will fit a sunglass case, cell phone etc, and a 30-round M4 mag perfectly. When the mag is placed in the internal pocket, it stays upright, ready for extraction.
  • Articulated knees - This is a key design feature of the pant. The VERTX pant is designed for mobility and to accomodate a lot of movement and positions other than standing. The natural stance of this pant is with a straight trunk and bent knee. When you wear a regular pair of pants and bend your knee, you leg movement might be restricted, and if not, the fabric will tighten up over the knees and ride up at the ankles. Not so with the VERTX. The knee is designed with darts, which pre-shape it, and also with more volume, which allows the knee to bend without the bottom riding up, or the fabric getting too tight and restrictive.
  • Wider cuffs/ankle opening - The cuffs on the VERTX pant are a bit wider than most others. I measured them to be 9" - most of my other pants are from 8" (the tightest) to 9". They're wider to accommodate boots, and to better conceal a back-up weapon/ankle holster. Also, the knee is wider than a regular trouser, hence the wider bottom.
  • All stress points are bartacked.
  • Colours - Available in Smoke Grey (shown here), Desert Tan, Black, Khaki, Navy and OD Green.
  • Sizing - The VERTX pants are available in even waist sizes, and also these odd ones (29, 31, 33, 35). Inseam lengths available are 30, 32, 34 and 36.

Notes and observations - I normally don't do long-term wear updates on items I review because I don't get a chance to use most items every day. I have enough jackets that I rotate them, and they therefore don't see the long term wear and tear that someone with a single jacket would see. However, I have been wearing my original VERTX pants for the past four years, more than once a week, so I thought that this is a good opportunity to point out the main areas of wear. As you can see in the above photo on the right, comparing the current slash pocket design vs. the 'old original', the bottom contour of the pocket on the early version is worn through by wearing a folding knife there. I didn't really see the wear for the first couple of years, it's completely worn through now. The other major point of wear is the bottom cuff, especially in the rear. The photo below on the left shows both pairs of my original OD and Desert Tan pairs. The pants are perfectly serviceable, but look a bit ragged at the bottom from all the different boots and shoes that I wear. Considering that both pairs have been worn for four years more than once a week (more like twice a week); that's not bad at all. It'll be interesting to see how the ripstop fabric on the Phantom LT pants hold up.

Fit - for some reason, the Phantom LT pants feel ever-so-slightly more snug in the butt than the Original pants. The cut is supposed to be exactly the same, so I'm wondering whether the lack of spandex in the LT fabric makes a difference. The fabric in the Original pant is 2% spandex for some 'give' while the fabric of the Phantom LT does not. It's really hard to represent the true colour of the Smoke Grey in photos, as they can reflect the surrounding light. In the photos below, taken in daylight, they look slightly bluish (which they're really not). The previous photos above taken under artificial light are a better representation of the Smoke Grey.

As far as the fabric goes, the LT obviously feels more light weight than the Original and more suited to hot weather than the mid-weight Originals. When the Original pants are brand new, they are also a bit stiff, while the LT fabric breaks in after a few washings. The LT fabric also dries faster than the Original. Although it's winter now, we've had some unusually warm weather where I'm at, so these lightweight pants have been great to wear. By the way, use the discount code MM10 for 10% off any order at PredatorBDU.com!


Cuff wear after 4 years on Original pants




 

 


Arborwear Tech Pants

5/13/09 - Arborwear isn't a widely known name in the tactical pant arena, which isn't a surprise since they don't make tactical pants. However, they do make durable and comfortable pants that are well suited to 'tactical' or outdoor use, as well as what they were originally design for - tree climbing. I think I first heard about them from my friend, GG, a few years ago. I didn't really think much about them until I ran across them recently on the AFMO website. I picked the Arborwear Tech Pants, as they were made of nylon instead of cotton.

Arborists are folk that take care of trees. Two options were available at that time - canvas work pants, which were too stiff and restrictive for climbing, and technical rock climbing pants, which provided the mobility, but not the durability needed for tree work. So, Arborwear was started to design a pant that combined the durability of a work pant and mobility of a rock climbing pant. The pants were a success, and fit the needs of arborists, but Arborwear also found that a lot of other people liked them too.

Description - Most of Arborwear's pants are made from cotton of various weights; 12.5 oz canvas, 9 oz twill, etc. The Tech Pant is Arborwear's 7 oz. nylon version of their canvas pants. The nylon used is not a thin, flyweight nylon, but a soft but durable-feeling midweight material that looks and feels like cotton instead of nylon. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't have believed it was nylon.


Tech Pant



Features - Here are the key features on the Arborwear Tech Pants (32" waist, 30" inseam shown):

  • Material - 7 oz light-midweight nylon canvas. Available in Forest Green, Dark Grey and Driftwood (shown here).
  • Button waist, zipper fly.
  • Belt loops - Seven belt loops will accomodate 2" belts.
  • Front/side hand warmer pockets - these are same-fabric pockets with openings more to the front like Levi's than side slash pocket openings.
  • Rear patch pockets - These measure 6" tall x 5" wide and have velcro-secured flaps. The flaps have angled corners for minimal snagging and curling.
  • Gusseted crotch for mobility.
  • Side cargo pockets - The side cargo pockets have two pleats for expansion and measure 7" tall x 6" wide. The flap is secured by two patches of velcro. There is a small inner pocket inside the right cargo pocket, for a folding knife, handgun magazine or multi-tool etc.

Colour comparison to FDE mags

Front details

Rear details

Gusseted crotch

Side cargo pocket

Double layer articulated knees
  • Double layer front - A double layer extends from midway down the cargo pockets to below the knee for added durability. Useful when taking a knee or climbing.
  • Articulated knees - To be expected from a climbing pant, the knees of the Tech pant are shaped/articulated for full range of motion.
  • Tapered cuffs/ankle opening - The cuffs on the Tech pants are slightly narrower than other tactical pants (8" vs. about 9" for other pants). They're designed as such to prevent snagging or catching on objects. They'll fit just fine over boots.
  • Bartacks in high-stress points.
  • Sizing - The Tech pants are available in even waist sizes and different lengths.

Notes and observations - I'd have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect, but the Tech pants were nicer than I expected. They're just a good-looking pair of pants, in my opinon. The first thing that caught my attention was the material. It has a very nice hand to it - feels like worn-in cotton, rather than nylon. It does not have the customary nylon 'swish' sound or synthetic feel. They're actually light-midweights, if you consider a pair of Levi's jeans midweight. More like a pair of BDUs, which are to me, in between midweight and lightweight.

The other thing I liked was the fit. For me, they're a close to perfect fit; I lucked out. Not too baggy but roomy enough to be non-restrictive with a comfortable rise that's not too high nor low. I like the slightly tapered legs and narrower cuff, but that's just personal preference for my build as I don't have big calves. The pockets are all easily accessible and secured with one hand. I found the side cargo pockets to be of a very a practical size; I do wish that they included the inner pocket on the left instead of only the right.

The 'Driftwood' colour shown here is a dark khaki that's actually very close to SOCOM Flat Dark Earth. I've shown it in comparison to a Pmag and ARC mag in the photo above, both FDE. Construction and build quality is good overall, except that I noticed a small knot/loop in one of the pocket stitches. A lighter took care of it.

The Tech pants are suitable for cool to hot weather. We had a couple of unusually warm spring days recently (in the 90's) and while I was hot all over, the Tech pants didn't feel stuffy nor did they stick to me. They felt more breathable than some other lighter weight or thinner materials, which was surprising. They dry quickly and don't get heavy like cotton does when you sweat. They're built like work pants but look and function well enough to serve in just about any activity - indoor or out. As summer approaches, I find myself reaching for the Tech pants more often.


TAD Force 10 Cargo Pant - Battleship Grey NYCO Ripstop (2012)

11/18/12 - The popular Force 10 Cargo Pant in NYCO Ripstop from Triple Aught Design is now available in Battleship Grey. It offers the same increased durability (over earlier 100% cotton ripstop versions), organization capability, and updated fit as the 2011 version previously reviewed.

If you've been reading this site for a while, you'll probably know that I've been wearing various incarnations of TAD's distinctive Force pants since 2006, and each time a new version is released, TAD manages to refine and improve on the quality and performance of their signature pant. The 2012 NYCO Ripstop model has the same improvements as the 2011 model: increased durability with 50/50 NYCO fabric, added triple needle stitching and 1/8" double needle stitching in high stress areas, and changed the cut and fit to produce a lower profile and more streamlined look while retaining all of the practical features of the previous models. Other features include dual internal passport pockets, and internal coin dividers in both side slash pockets, which I always felt were necessary for ambidextrous use.

Those familiar with tactical gear and clothing will know that Triple Aught Design has offered their clothing in U.E. (Urban Environment) Grey for years, and EMDOM introduced their SDU Grey nylon back in 2008, for the same reasons Arc'teryx now offers Urban Wolf. Grey makes more sense than black in an urban environment as it stands out less, whether it's in bright or low-light conditions. Note that I'm referring to the colour grey as being a more effective colour when it comes to blending into the urban landscape, and ignoring the 'tactical look' of the garments or equipment made out of it. Obviously if someone were to dress completely in grey from head to toe and walk around in public, he'd probably stand out, not blend in.

In a LE context, traditional dark uniforms stand out against most modern surroundings like concrete, glass, asphalt and rooftops for urban operations. A medium grey tone makes one less noticeable in light or shadow, and offers an alternative to the black, green and brown shades common to tactical clothing. Over the past few years, I've really come to like grey as a colour for everyday clothing as well as tactical gear, as it's not so 'military' as OD green or khaki, or as 'ninja' as black.

'There are an infinite number of grey shades, with different tints. Trying to get items to match exactly from different manufacturers is going to be quite futile, and really isn't necessary in all practicality. Even matching items from the same manufacturer is difficult if they're made of different materials. Some variation between shades can be a good thing. For the sake of comparison, I took the photo below comparing the Battleship Grey NYCO ripstop Force 10 pants (bottom center), EMDOM SDU Grey Cordura nylon, the Arc'teryx Naga Hoody in Urban Wolf, and TAD's Ranger Jacket and Gen 2 Stealth Hoodie in their U.E. Grey. The Battleship Grey is very neutral medium shade, with very little or no tint to it (some greys have a bluish or green tint). Even a neutral grey will take on a tint depending on the ambient lighting conditions. As you can see from the rest of the photos, it's really hard to nail down a colour in a photo on a computer screen - they all look slightly different. Wiki has a good article on the variations of grey.

Materials and sizing - It's been about a year since my writeup of the 2011 NYCO ripstop Force 10's, and they've proven to be hard-wearing and functional since. The 52/48 Nylon-Cotton Ripstop (6.5 oz) material is lighter than the twill and more hard wearing than the 100% cotton. The NYCO material is made to military specifications and is an upgrade in overall durability and tear-resistance over 100% cotton, while still maintaining the breathability of cotton in warmer environments. This year, it's available in Battleship Grey (shown here), ME Brown (reviewed here) and ME Green.

The NYCO Ripstop Force 10s come in even waist sizes, and my normal size 32 waist with a 30 inch inseam fit me very well with a bit of extra room at the waist. TAD's waist sizing normally tends to be on the looser side, rather than tighter, and that's because they're designed to accommodate inside-the-waistband pistols. Note that they will fit large out of the package but always shrink after the first wash to a very good fit (on me), so don't panic if they seem too baggy before washing. Just to see how much they actually shrink, I took some measurements right out of the package, and after washing. Brand new out of the package for my size 32 waist/30 inseam, I measured the length of the pant from top of the waist to bottom of the cuff at 42". The inseam was 32" and the waist was 34". After washing, the length of the pant from waist to cuff was 40.5", the inseam was 31", and the waist was 33". This is an average of about 4% shrinkage all round. Use that as a guide before returning the pants because they seem too large before washing.


50/50 NYCO Ripstop


Front details

Rear passport pockets

Wider 1" belt loops on 2012 version (grey). 2011 version above.

Features - Here are the features of the Force 10 Cargo Pant - NYCO Ripstop 2012 model. All features are identical to the 2011 Force 10 version except for the belt loops. (32" waist, 30" inseam shown, in Battleship Grey):

  • 2" Waist increments - the NYCO Ripstop is available in even waist sizes 28" through 42", in 30, 32 and 34" inseam lengths. Note that my actual measurement of the pants after washing were 1" greater than marked.
  • Canadian-style slotted military buttons - These are used for the waist, side cargo pockets and rear pockets. Taped buttons are attached by nylon webbing which is bartacked on both ends, and are less likely to come loose. The tape and buttons are colour-matched to the fabric. A little button repair kit is included with the pants, with some tape, a button, and a self-repairing button that can be slid onto the tape without a needle or thread.
  • Zipper fly - A Delrin-tooth colour-matched YKK zipper fly for convenient donning/doffing and a military-style taped button waist closure.
  • Larger 2.5" belt loops fit rigger belts. The front two belt loops have colour-matched D-ring (in this case, WJ brand D-rings instead of ITW) gear keepers for dummy cording the contents of the front pockets. The belt loops are also located to accomodate placement of a hip holster. The 2012 version has 1" wide belt loops all around; the 2011 version had narrower ones.
  • Reinforced double seat with double needle stitching.
  • Gusseted crotch for range of motion.
  • Triple needle stitching on the outseam, inseam, and seat for added strength. This level of construction is rarely used, making these the toughest wearing Force 10s yet.
  • Double one-eighth inch stitching on the seat, knee, and pocket clip area - also new for this model.
  • Reinforced knees - The double-layer knees have a knee pad pocket with bottom slot so padding can be inserted through the velcro-closed entrance at the bottom. They're sized to fit TAD's T-Pro Impact knee pads or Crye Precision knee pads (not included). The knees are also articulated with darts.
  • Two rear 7" x 7" pockets with covered flap/slotted button closures - all pockets are made from the same fabric as the rest of the pants for durability, instead of a lighter weight material. Pocket flap corners are angled off.
  • Two internal rear 7" x 7" Passport Pockets to hold vital documents discreetly. These pockets are accessed from inside the waist, and are just an added layer to the rear pockets. They can be very useful for keeping your wallet secure from pick pockets, although you'll look a little weird if you attempt to extract your wallet with people around.
  • Two 6" deep x 3.75" wide welted cell phone/utility pockets in the front - no closure. These continue to be one of my favourite features of the Force 10 pants and I really miss them when I wear pants that don't have them. It's the perfect size for my cell phone, sunglass case or keys, and very convenient. The welt on the NYCOs is a bit lower profile than that of previous versions, and the pocket is 3.75" wide vs. 4".
  • Two side/slash pockets - these have reinforcements for pocket knife clips to reduce wear.
  • Internal coin dividers in each side/slash pocket. Inside both pockets is a small 3" tall x 3" wide coin pocket which also fits my cell phone or pager. It keeps loose change or keys from contacting other items in the hand pockets.
  • Two thigh cargo flap pockets - These are the more expensive 'true bellows' design instead of the more common pleated BDU style and results in a cleaner appearance overall. The roomy 9" deep pocket has bellows in the rear only, for a lower profile and less snag potential when moving forward. The cargo pocket opening is slanted forward - ACU style, for easier access. The covered slotted button closure pocket flap corners are angled. Each cargo pocket has three internal compartments. The one in the middle is 7" deep and accommodates a 30-round M4 magazine or GPS receiver, and the ones to each side of it are 4.5" deep, and will fit most double-stack pistol mags. The photo below illustrates a 30-round ARC Mag and a Glock 17 magazine in each of the slot pockets. Most small folding knives will fit in the side compartments, and longer/larger ones in the middle compartment. The pocket flap has an opening - the 'flashight slot' which allows access to the middle compartment without opening the pocket. It's intended for rulers, longer flashlights, a hammer etc. There's also a D-ring sewn in for dummy cording. I find the internal compartments very useful for segregating items inside the pocket. A removable glow in the dark TAD Gear molded logo attaches to a small 1" x 1" velcro patch on the bottom of the right side cargo pocket.
  • Drawstring cuffs
  • Relaxed fit, straight leg
  • All points of stress are reinforced with mini bartacks (over 60)

 


Rear details

Pocket knife reinforcement

Side cargo pocket

Internal compartments in side cargo pocket

Knee pad pockets (Crye pad shown, not included)

Drawstring cuffs

Replacement button kit included

Observations/Notes - Other than the wider 1" belt loops all around (vs. the 1" loops in front and narrower ones elsewhere), the 2012 Force 10 Cargo pants are identical to the 2011 model. It's got the same great fit, which is slightly lower profile than ones from previous years. The lower profile results in the same exceptional mobility customers have come to expect from the F10s but less drag/bulk (fabric). It's still a relaxed fit. In no way are these slim cut or form fitting.

All pant components are all colour-matched. Buttons, tape, D-rings, zipper, velcro; they all match; even the webbing for the D-ring inside the cargo pocket is now made from the same fabric as the pant instead of the contrasting nylon webbing of previous versions. The NYCO fabric doesn't wrinkle as much as as 100% cotton after washing and drying.

As in the 2011 version, all the features on the pant are ambidextrous. In previous years, the coin pocket inside the side slash pocket were only on the right side, but in 2011 one was added to the left side as well. TAD refers to their pocket layout as 'Intelligently designed storage', and I'll vouch for that. The organizational capability through internal pocket dividers in the Force 10 pants has always been their most practical feature. The small internal dividers help keep everything organized and segregated, as I don't want some items coming in contact with others. The coin pockets will fit my pager, pen drive and keys, and the front welt pockets my sunglass case and cell phone. I've mentioned it numerous times before - I wish I had those front welt pockets on all my pants, as I use them for frequently accessed items.

While I normally don't utilize all the room in the cargo pockets on the thighs, I defintely make use of the pocket dividers inside them when I run out of small divider space in the welt and side slash pockets. The main cargo pocket compartments are sized to fit a 30-round M4 magazine in the center, then pistol mags, flash light etc on either side. This prevents the heavier smaller items from ending up at the bottom of the pocket where you have to rummage for them. Carrying them in the dividers also reduces swaying of the loaded-up pocket. When I do utilize the bellows pocket, I try to limit them to light weight items, like a neck gaiter, gloves etc. Those who carry more gear than I do in their cargo pockets will appreciate their carrying capacity, I'm sure. I haven't had the need to dummy cord anything to the internal D-ring, so I just tuck it inside the internal divider so it's out of the way. If I had to change anything about the cargo pockets, it'd probably be to sew down the corners of the flaps, so that they're even lower profile; similar to the sewn-down flap on the VERTX pants that have no buttons or velcro. I'd keep the buttons for extra security. If possible, I'd like to see the rear bottom corner also sewn down. I'd also like to see lower profile flaps for the back pockets - maybe a lower profile version of the Force 10 that still has side cargo pockets - sort of a combo of their Force 10s and their Covert Pant RS.

The hidden Passport pockets were first seen on the Spartan Pant, and again, there are now two instead of just one. If the rear flapped pocket with buttons isn't secure enough from pickpockets, then these can always be used to store your wallet or cash. Whenever I'm on travel away from home, I'll usually carry two small wallets - one with a bit of cash and cancelled cards, expired driver's license with my old address in my normal rear pocket, and my normal one with the rest of my cash/money and actual credit cards and ID. The Passport pocket is the perfect place to store the 'real' wallet.

The TAD NYCO material has proven to be comfortable under all conditions I've worn them in - I've been wearing the ME brown ones for about a year and a half now. The Battleship Grey ones are no different, and the grey colour looks smart and less 'military' than OD green or khaki around town.




 

 


TAD Covert Pant RS

4/5/13 - For those who prefer a lower profile pant for every day wear than cargo pants with large thigh cargo pockets, the Covert Pant RS from Triple Aught Design might be a solution. Sharing some of the features with the popular Force 10 Cargo Pants, the Covert Pant RS is a more subtle pant but still offers a lot in the way of functionality.

I've been wearing various versions of TAD's Force 10 pants since 2006, so the Covert Pant RS is a bit of a departure from that as it doesn't have the normal large side cargo pockets. It's designed more for daily wear where large side cargo pockets aren't really needed and a more streamlined look and fit is desired. It's available in ME Brown or Battleship Grey (shown here). Battleship Grey is very neutral medium shade, with very little or no tint to it (some greys have a bluish or green tint). Even a neutral grey will take on a tint depending on the ambient lighting conditions. As you can see from the photos, it's really hard to nail down a colour in a photo on a computer screen - they all look slightly different depending on the lighting. Refer to the writeup above for the Force 10 Cargo pant for a comparison of Battleship Grey to grey materials from other manufacturers.

Materials and sizing - The Covert Pant RS (Ripstop) shown here is made of the same 52/48 Nylon-Cotton Ripstop (6.5 oz) material with DWR treatment as the 2012 Force 10 Cargo pants reviewed above. It's lighter than the twill and more hard wearing than the 100% cotton versions or past years. The NYCO material is made to military specifications and is an upgrade in overall durability and tear-resistance over 100% cotton, while still maintaining the breathability of cotton in warmer environments. The Covert Pant is also available in a thicker 13 oz cotton canvas version called the Covert Pant DC (Doomsday Canvas) for those who want a heavier version.

The Covert Pant RS comes in even waist sizes, waist 28 through 42 with inseam lengths of 30, 32 and 34. My normal TAD pant size is a 32 waist with a 30 inch inseam, and this is the size I got the Covert Pant RS in.

Fit - The fit on the Covert Pant definitely less baggy than that of the Force 10 pant; it's called a 'standard fit' with 'straight leg', whereas the Force 10 pant has a 'relaxed fit' and 'straight leg'. What this translates to is that the Covert Pant RS is less roomy all round for a closer fit. I actually found the fit quite similar to the Crye Field Pants, which are tighter around the butt and have a shorter rise (crotch to waist height). I measured the rise on the Covert Pant RS and it measures about 1" shorter/lower than the Force 10 cargo pants, so it sits lower on the waist than the Force 10s. I definitely feel that there's less room in the crotch and butt, so take note if you're 'fuller' than average in the butt - these pants may be too tight on you, and the Force 10s would be a better choice. The pant cuff is also 1" narrower in circumference than the cuffs on the Force 10's.

Just like the Force 10 pants, the Covert Pant RS will shrink after the first wash. Shrinkage is about 4% all around. After washing and drying, my Covert Pant RS (waist 32, length 30) measured 33" at the waist and 31" for the inseam.


52/48 NYCO Ripstop


Front details

Rear passport pockets

Button fly

Features - Here are the features of the Covert RS pant. (32" waist, 30" inseam shown, in Battleship Grey):

  • 2" Waist increments - the Covert Pant RS is available in even waist sizes 28" through 42", in 30, 32 and 34" inseam lengths. Note that the pant will shrink about 4% overall after washing.
  • Canadian-style slotted military buttons - These are used for the waist and fly. Taped buttons are attached by nylon webbing which is bartacked on both ends, and are less likely to come loose. The tape and buttons are colour-matched to the fabric. A little button repair kit is included with the pants, with some tape, a button, and a self-repairing button that can be slid onto the tape without a needle or thread.
  • Button fly - three buttons.
  • Larger 2.5" belt loops fit rigger belts. The front two belt loops have colour-matched D-ring gear keepers for dummy cording the contents of the front pockets. The belt loops are also located to accomodate placement of a hip holster.
  • Back yoke - the Force 10's are a yokeless design whereas the Covert RS has a yoke (below the waist band) for a more 'tailored' fit.
  • Gusseted crotch for range of motion.
  • Triple and double needle top stitching for added strength.
  • Reinforced knees - The double-layer knees are also articulated with darts.
  • Two rear 7" x 7" pockets without any closure - all pockets are made from the same fabric as the rest of the pants for durability, instead of a lighter weight material. The opening is actually 6" wide, while the pocket is 7" wide. The pockets will each fit two 30-round AR-15 magazines.
  • Two internal rear 7" x 7" Passport Pockets to hold vital documents discreetly. These pockets are accessed from inside the waist, and are an added layer sewn to the rear pockets. They can be very useful for keeping your wallet secure from pick pockets.
  • Two 6" deep x 3.75" wide welted cell phone/utility pockets in the front - no closure. These are one of my favourite features on the Force 10 pants and I'm glad to have them on the Covert RS pants. They're the perfect size for my cell phone, sunglass case or keys, and very convenient.
  • Two side/slash pockets - these have reinforcements for pocket knife clips to reduce wear.
  • Internal coin dividers in each side/slash pocket. Inside both pockets is a small 3.5" tall x 3" wide coin pocket which also fits my cell phone or pager. It keeps loose change or keys from contacting other items in the hand pockets.
  • Two outer thigh patch pockets - Rather than the large side cargo pockets found on the Force 10's, the thigh patch pockets are much lower profile and are meant for quick stashing of items. Since they don't have any closure, care needs to be taken when using them. The opening is slanted, and the pocket is 6.5" deep and about 3" wide. It'll accommodate one 20 or 30-round AR magazine. Usually, TAD has a removable moulded logo attached by velcro to their pants, but the Covert RS is devoid of any external logos or labels.
  • Reinforced heel hem - double layer of fabric on the heel protects against wear.
  • Standard fit, straight leg
  • All points of stress are reinforced with mini bartacks.

 


Rear details

Pocket knife reinforcement

Outer thigh pocket

Articulated/reinforced knees

Reinforced heel hem

Repair button kit included

Observations/Notes - At first glance on the TAD website, I thought that the Covert Pant RS was just a Force 10 Cargo pant without the side cargo pockets. I wasn't aware that it's actually a different pant that shares some of the features. As mentioned above, the fit is probably going to be the most noticeable difference that's not obvious unless you put the pants on. Being used to the relaxed, 'cargo pant' fit of the Force 10s, I was found the fit of the Covert Pants RS a bit tight initially, especially just after the initial washing, right after it had shrunk. I gave it a few wears to break in and allow the seams and fabric to conform and stretch, and the fit did loosen up a bit. Even so, the lower rise and slimmer fit around the butt and hips does make it feel a bit tight on me when squatting or kneeling - very similar to the Crye Field Pants in that regard. Not uncomfortable by all means - but not as unrestricted as the Force 10 fit. I have a 'medium' build; I'm not skinny nor chubby, so based on that, I'd recommend the Covert Pants RS for medium to slim guys. If you've more meat on your bones, go with the more relaxed fit of the Force 10 Cargo Pants.

Like the latest Force 10 Pants, all components like buttons, tape and D-rings on the Covert RS are colour-matched. The NYCO fabric doesn't wrinkle as much as as 100% cotton after washing and drying.

All the features on the pant are ambidextrous (in previous years, the coin pocket inside the side slash pocket on some of TAD's pants were only on the right side, but in 2011 one was added to the left side as well). The coin pockets will fit my pager, pen drive and keys, and the front welt pockets my sunglass case and cell phone. I've mentioned it numerous times before - I wish I had those front welt pockets on all my pants, as I use them for frequently accessed items.

The lower profile outer thigh pockets are quick access pockets since they don't have any closures. I found them to be handy for carrying spare M4 mags when I wasn't wearing a chest rig, but I wouldn't do much running in them as they open-top pockets without any sort of retention (so care needs to be taken). The rear pockets don't have any secure closure either, and will perform like other open pant pockets like on jeans, etc. I've been accustomed to a bit more security for my wallet, so I think it'd be nice if TAD added a single buttonhole and button at the top of the rear pockets like they did on their Force 10 Spartan Pant. Or even a small 1" square of velcro inside like on the Crye Field pants.

At the other end of the 'security' range are the hidden Passport pockets, that were also first seen on the Spartan Pant. These can always be used to store your wallet or cash if there's any fear of pickpockets and if you don't need frequent access to them. If you're on travel in a foreign country or state, you can carry two wallets - one with a bit of cash and cancelled cards and another with the rest of your cash/money and actual credit cards and ID. The Passport pocket is the perfect place to store the 'real' wallet. Accessing the Passport pocket is best done in private, as you have to undo your belt to get to it.

TAD's Battleship Grey is a good match for Arc'teryx's Urban Wolf (Gen 2 Talos top), as shown in the photos below, along with EMDOM USA's SDU Grey nylon gear. The grey colour looks smart and less 'military' than OD green or khaki around town for every day wear. I really dig the lower profile look that the Covert RS pants offer, and would love to see a slightly more relaxed fit in the butt and hips. The slimmer fit is suited to those with slim to medium builds, so if you fall under that category, the Covert RS pants will serve you well. If you need or want more room, then the more relaxed Force 10's would be a better choice.




 

 

 

 


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