Shorts Page 1
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"
RailRiders VersaTac Shorts
4/2/10 - It was only a matter of time before RailRiders introduced their short version of their popular Versatac pants. Due to the overwhelming success of the Versatac pants, RR expanded the line to include shorts. Like the pants, the Versatac shorts are available in both Light and Mid weight versions. While the shorts share many of the same features as the pants, they aren't simply the pant version chopped off at the knee - there are some differences between them.
Note that I'm comparing the shorts to the original VersaTac Pants reviewed above. Some changes might have been implemented since then.
Lite and Mid VersaTac shorts - The Versatac shorts are available two versions; the Lite and the Mid. The only difference between the two are the fabrics used, which are the same as the Lite and Mid Versatac pants. The Lite utilizes 3 oz Duralite for the shell (main body), and Rail-Tex for the patching fabric and reinforcements. Rail-Tex is a very tough, lightweight, abrasion-resistant 5.2 oz nylon, equivalent to 280D cordura. The Lite short is available in Khaki and Light Tan.
The Mid (featured here) is constructed entirely of a 6.6 oz canvas-weave nylon named 'Yukon Canvas', for both the shell and all patches/reinforcements. Even though it's heavier by weight, it has a looser weave and is very soft, breathable and comfortable. The Mid Short is available in Stone (pictured here) and Natural. The Stone is more of a medium tan and the Natural is light greyish tan. Both are treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) finish that provides some stain resistance and water resistance.
Features - The main features of the Versatac Mid shorts are:
Notes/Obervations - Construction and workmanship on the VersaTacs are excellent. All points of stress are bartacked. Like the pant, fit and cut is not too baggy nor tight, and very comfortable for everyday or active wear. The short ends right above my knee (I have short legs, though).
While not as secure as flapped pockets, I do like the convenience of the open-top rear pockets. I did jump up and down with my wallet inside and couldn't make it fall out. However, just to be on the safe side, when I insert my wallet, I orient it with the long edge horizontal instead of vertical, so that it's too wide to slip out between the velcro patch and the side. As mentioned above, the side entry pockets are very deep. In fact, my fingertips don't touch the bottom when my hands are in there. I'm more used to having my hands supported in my pockets and the contents a bit higher up, so it takes a bit of getting used to.
If you plan on carrying a lot of stuff in the pockets, I'd pick the Mid over the Lite as the heavier material carries items better. With thinner shorts, stuff in the pockets tend to sway a lot more. However, if I was around water or anticipated getting wet, I'd pick the Lite as the material dries faster and won't be as heavy when soaked. I'd also pick the Lite for humid environments. I've found that in high humidity, thicker garments just get heavy with sweat, no matter how breathable.
Mid or Lite, the Versatac shorts share the same comfort and functionality as the Versatac pants that preceeded them.
TAD Gear Force 10 Cargo Shorts
6/7/07 - At first glance, I thought that TAD Gear's Force 10 Cargo Shorts were simply a short version of their Force 10 "Legionnaire' Classic Cargo Pants. Upon closer examination, I found that the shorts combine features from both the Legionnaire pants and the Force 10 Cargo Utilities.
The Cargo shorts are available in two fabrics - a Desert
Tan 100% 7.5 oz cotton twill gabardine (like the Legionnaire pants),
and a lightweight 100% nylon 'Amphibious Cloth' in Khaki. TAD Gear's
Green and Black labels refer to their garments made of natural fibers
and blends/synthetic fibers respectively.
The Cargo shorts come in even waist sizes from 30" to 44" , with a 10" inseam for sizes 30" to 34" and 11" inseam for sizes 36" to 44". On me, the size 32's come down to mid-knee level.
Here's a rundown of the features on the Force 10 Cargo shorts (size 32 shown):
If you own one of TAD Gear's pants, you'll be familiar with the features and build of the shorts. The shorts have no less than 58 bartacks for reinforcement in high-stress locations! I found both the cotton and nylon shorts to be equally suitable for every day, casual use. I found the heavier cotton fabric sways a bit less when carrying stuff in the pockets but the nylon ones are a bit cooler in hot or humid weather. If there's a chance I'd encounter water or needed light weight and packability, I'd pick the nylon ones. For dry, rocky environments, I'd pick the cotton ones. It also depend on personal preference whether you prefer traditional cotton or high-tech nylon. Either way, I'm well-equipped for summer.
Rocket World Force 10 Spartan Shorts
7/31/09 - Just in time for the rest of summer, the Rocket World Force 10 Spartan Shorts from TAD Gear are the short version of their Spartan Pants with some newly incorporated features. Like the Spartan Pants, the Spartan Shorts are sans side cargo pockets, which result in a more streamlined version of the Force 10 Cargo Shorts featured above.
Rocket World is another outlet for the creativity of TAD Gear's owner, Patrick Ma. Rocket World special edition TAD Gear apparel will often have subtle (or not so subtle) details that inject a little humour or fun into a tactical world that sometimes takes itself too seriously. With the Rocket World Spartan Shorts, the bartacks are done in green contrast stitching, and the buttons are taped using the same colour. It's a very subtle effect.
The Spartan Shorts are available in two colours - Arid Earth (shown here), and M.E. Green in a light weight 100% cotton ripstop. The fabric used is in between the heavier cotton twill gabardine Cargo shorts and the light weight 100% nylon 'amphibious cloth' in the previous writeup.
The Rocket World Spartan shorts have 'California Cut', with a slightly slimmer leg and longer inseam than the Force 10 Cargo shorts. If you look at the photos in the Cargo shorts review above, you'll see that they end right at mid knee. The Rocket World shorts have a 2" longer inseam (so they below my knee) and aren't as baggy.
The Spartan shorts come in even waist sizes from 28" to 44" , with a 12" inseam for sizes 28" to 36" and 13" inseam for sizes 38" to 44".
Here's a rundown of the features on the Rocket World Force 10 Spartan shorts (size 32 shown):
Observations/Notes - Like the TAD Gear Force 10 Cargo Shorts, the Spartan shorts are bartacked at all stress points and are just some of the most practically designed shorts I've owned. The rip stop fabric on the Spartan shorts seems a bit lighter weight than the fabric used on the ODRP pants in the writeup below - but that was a couple of years ago and the current ripstop pants should have the same fabric as the shorts. It's really good stuff for hot weather, and when wet, it dries faster than the heavier ripstop or twill fabrics.
The new hypalon knife clip pocket reinforcements can work for, or against you, depending on the tension of the knife clip. Hypalon is very grippy material. It really does help increase the purchase that the knife clip has on the pocket, reducing the chances of it slipping out accidentally. However, on knife clips that are tight to begin with (like ZT knives), the hypalon can make it difficult to extract the knife quickly. The pocket wants to follow, and it requires a good tug to free the knife. On some other knives with less 'aggressive' clips, the feature works great.
As mentioned above, the Spartan shorts have a 'California cut', and they do have a bit of a board short look and cleaner/smarter appearance because of the lack of cargo pockets. I like this less baggy cut as I have skinny legs. After a few washings, the fabric breaks in nicely, and they're great for everyday wear or outdoor activities in spring, summer and fall.
8/12/10 - The S.O.D. Short Pant 01 from S.O.D. (Special Operations Department) is a short pant based loosely on their Para One Pant 1.2. Some of the 'combat features' have been toned down for the shorts, to make them more suited for everyday wear.
As mentioned in previous writeups, S.O.D. has been making clothing since 1938, so they're not newcomers to the clothing industry. S.O.D. actively participates in the development of its raw materials, together with its own collaborators and suppliers. This results in near perfect colour matching between various fabrics and components; something that most manufacturers will agree is not only expensive, but difficult to do. The attention to detail and workmanship (all S.O.D. items are designed and manufactured in Italy) are some of the best I've seen in garments. All materials used by S.O.D. are of Italian, U.S. or Canadian origin.
HCS (Hybrid Coyote Sage) - S.O.D. offers their products in quite a few different colours, including Crye MultiCam, and the desert and woodland versions of Italian Vegetato. HSC (Hybrid Coyote Sage) is a new colour exclusive to S.O.D. that has just been introduced, and is in service with the Italian SF. As the name implies, HCS is a hybrid of coyote brown and sage green. The end product is a brownish-green shade that works better than sage or OD green in arid areas, and very well around dry grass and shrubs. While it may not be as effective as camouflage patterns in some environments, it's surprisingly good for a solid colour, both in rural and urban areas. It's probably the most versatile solid colour for a uniform I've seen yet. What's also pretty impressive is how SOD has been able to match the components used to construct their garments. HCS is also suitable for LE as it doesn't look as 'military' as a camo pattern. I've been wearing the HCS shorts below for two months now all over the place, and they just look like a pair of cargo shorts.
Features - Here's a list of the features on the Short Pant. Size M (European size 50) is shown here:
Additional Notes and Observations - While the Para One Pant is cut a bit snugger than the typical U.S. BDU pant, the S.O.D. shorts are a relaxed, casual fit. As I mentioned above, I really like the elastic waist on these - they provide enough tension so that I don't have to wear a belt, yet expand when needed. The material is the same as that of the Combat Line clothing, and it really is the most breathable/comfortable NYCO fabric I've worn. More so than any U.S. BDU made out of NYCO or 100% cotton. As with the Combat Line garments, the attention to detail of the shorts is apparent upon close examination. There are little 'extras' all over. Pocket corners and flaps have angled corners, mini-bartacks everywhere, and all components are closely colour-matched or compatible. These shorts are great knock-around shorts for relaxing, or some serious outdoor use with its load-carrying capability.
As of this writing, the S.O.D. items are only available directly from Italy. S.O.D. is currently working with TangoDown for U.S. distribution/retail.
VERTX Tactical Short
8/29/10 - The VERTX Tactical Short is a direct modification of the VERTX Tactical Pant, and provides a hot-weather alternative for those who like the same practical and low profile features of the Pant.
Description - The VERTX short is a derivative of the VERTX pant, which 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. Obviously, with short pants, looking 'covert' and not attracting unwanted attention or notice with overtly 'tactical' or military-looking external features is less of a concern, as cargo shorts are commonplace and don't stand out in a casual environment. The reason one would want a VERTX short over another cargo short is the ability to carry the same items in a more streamlined design.
Features - Here are the key features on the VERTX Tactical short (32" waist shown):
Notes and observations - As far as sizing/fit goes, the VERTX short, for some reason, fit snugger than the pant. The VERTX pant fits '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. With the short, I got the same size 32 as the pant, and the waist was definitely tighter. I compared it to the 3 VERTX pants I have and experienced the same thing. When I did some measurements on the shorts, I found that the size 32 measures 32 when the elastic is fully stretched out. A size 33 would probably have been a better fit on me. So, I'd recommend going up a size when purchasing the shorts. Also, although the cut/pattern is based on the pant, the shorts have been modified slightly to fit properly, and the cuff (leg opening) has been narrowed slightly so that it doesn't flare out, so it's also a bit tighter around the butt.
One thing I'd like to see added are small velcro patches to keep the rear pockets closed more securely. The credential trap works well, but the wallet must be tall enough for it to be 'trapped'. If it's too short, the credential trap won't keep it from falling out.
If you appreciate the low profile nature of the VERTX pants, you'll appreciate the VERTX shorts for hot days on the range, hiking, climbing, or just every day around-town wear.
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