Pants (Regular) Page
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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 Phantom OPS Tactical Pant
2/28/14 - The Phantom OPS Tactical Pant from VERTX is the newest pant in the Phantom line. It's a light weight design that features added carrying capacity and utility for those that don't require a covert pant. They're available from VERTX dealers like PredatorBDU.com, who supplied the sample 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. The Phantom LT is the lighter weight fabric version of the Original VERTX pant in a mini Rip-Stop fabric. VERTX has now introduced the Phantom OPS Tactical Pant shown here, which has some added features for more carrying capacity, and in exactly the same mini Rip-Stop fabric as the Phantom LT pant.
While the Original VERTX tactical pant and Phantom LT pant were designed to be more 'covert'; the Phantom OPS pant is closer in looks to a BDU pant with its pleated side cargo pockets. Still, it's not as overt as a standard BDU pant with pocket flaps all over the place, and is still wearable in general public without looking too 'tactical'.
I've been wearing the Phantom LT pants and shorts, and have been pleasantly surprised by the lightweight 65% poly/35% cotton mini Rip-Stop fabric with IntelliDry™ treatment which keeps the wearer more comfortable with advanced moisture wicking while providing superior water/stain resistance.
As I've mentioned in the Phantom LT writeup, 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. The VERTX Smoke Grey is dark shade of grey closer to charcoal, while the others are medium shades. The LT/OPS fabric has a visible 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.
Features - The Phantom OPS tactical pant shares many its main features with the VERTX Original and Phantom LT pants, with some exceptions:
Notes and observations - I first featured the VERTX Men's Original Tactical pant back in 2009, and outlined some small changes here in 2012. Since many readers probably own the VERTX Original tactical pant, I thought that it'd be useful to take some side-by-side comparison shots of the main differences between the Original and OPS pants below.
In the first two pics on the left, the Original Tactical Pant is the OD green one, and the OPS pant is the smoke grey. You can see that the side slash pocket openings appear identical, as does the waist band. The rear pocket on the Original pant is an external patch pocket while the flapped pocket on the OPS is internal. While the Original pant pocket has the 'credential trap' to keep wallets secure, my wallet is too small to allow the trap to overlap it, so I'm always a bit wary about putting my wallet there. The rear pocket of the OPS pant is way more secure, without the hassle of buttons or velcro. The corners of the flap is sewn down, just like the flap on the side cargo pockets so that you have to make quite a conscious effort to insert and retrieve the wallet. It's slower than not having a flap of course, but more secure. If you're the type of person who needs to whip out their wallet quickly to get the check at a restaurant, make sure you get your wallet out beforehand or you'll be slower than your buddy at getting the credit card out. Maybe that's not a bad thing, haha. Since the corners of the flaps are sewn down, they don't stick up and out untidily like normal BDU pocket flaps, and maintain a neat appearance.
The slim line slot pocket on the OPS pant won't fit large folding knives or 9mm double stack mags, but is meant more for pens or slim tools. I'd have made it 0.5" deeper though, so that pen clips would have full engagement. As it is, pens stick out slightly. I wouldn't put anything in it that doesn't have a clip as there's no retention and the item would likely slide out when seated while driving if it doesn't fit somewhat snugly.
One thing I found curious was the shape of the slash pocket; the pocket liner seems to have reverted to the original design. If you look at my revisitation of the VERTX Original Tactical Pant, you'll see that somewhere down the line, the pocket was changed to have a more vertical 'drop' in the front. With the old design, a folding knife would start wearing a hole in the pocket liner because it rested on the curved part of the pocket liner. The liner was later changed to have a more vertical drop, which resulted in the knife hanging straight down in the pocket. This vertical drop pocket configuration is what is on my newer Original VERTX pants, and the newer Phantom LT pant shown in the 3rd and 4th photos. For reasons unknown to me, the OPS pant has gone back to the old pocket configuration, with an angle. You can see in the 4th photo that the old pocket design causes a folding knife to sit at and angle, with the bottom of the knife forward. This creates points of abrasion at the top of the knife above the utility notch, and where the knife is pushed forward inside the pocket. The 5th photo shows my two original VERTX pants from 2009 and the holes worn through the side of the pant and pocket liner from daily folding knife carry. It's not the type of knife because I rotate my pants with other brands and none have worn through like that. Most show fraying wear at the edge of the pocket entrance where the knife clip sits. I'd like to see VERTX keep the pocket design consistent, and hopefully change to the newer design on future runs of the OPS pant, or else I'd expect to see the same kind of wear eventually.
Fit - Even though they're supposed to be the same pattern, the Phantom LT pants I featured previously felt ever-so-slightly more snug in the butt than the Original VERTX pants. The Phantom OPS pants, on the other hand, feel a bit roomier than the Phantom LT; and very close to the Original VERTX pants. As I've mentioned previously, it's difficult to represent the true colour of the Smoke Grey in photos, as they can reflect the surrounding light. It can look bluish uder some light, but there really isn't any blue in the colour. Hopefully the reader can get a decent idea of the Smoke Grey colour by taking the sum of all the photos in this writeup.
The triple-bellowed side cargo pockets are a bit shorter than the side cargo pockets on the Original and Phantom LT, but can hold more due to the additional expansion. While not quite as neat or low profile-looking as the Original/ Phantom LT pockets, they're still lower profile than many other cargo pockets because they're inset, and don't have the normal flaps sticking out. There are no corners poking out to the side either. They're definitely smarter in appearance than standard BDU pants, which 'look' like BDU pants, have a baggier cut and tend to look sloppy once they start wearing in. Cargo pants are so popular all over the place; even at the office, that I'm not sure whether looking too 'tactical' due to pants alone is a concern anymore. It's the whole package that will give it away.
It's a bit soon to predict, but so far the mini rip-stop fabric looks like it's going to harder-wearing and maintain its colour much better than 100% cotton ripstop fabric. When machine washed and thrown in the dryer, the OPS pants come out pretty much wrinkle free, unlike cotton pants. You can get the Phantom OPS pant from PredatorBDU.com and get 10% off any order with the discount code MM10.
VERTX Phantom OPS Airflow SOLID Tactical Pant
7/9/14 - The VERTX Airflow SOLID Tactical pant is based on their Phantom OPS Tactical Pant with one big difference: It's vented using Fighter Designs Active Airflow System that allows air to flow through the pant and create effective air cooling during hot weather use. They're available from VERTX dealers like PredatorBDU.com, who supplied the sample here.
Background - 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. The Phantom LT is the lighter weight fabric version of the Original VERTX pant in a mini Rip-Stop fabric. The Phantom OPS Tactical Pant reviewed above has some added features for more carrying capacity, and in exactly the same mini Rip-Stop fabric as the Phantom LT pant.
The new Airflow SOLID Tactical pant is the Phantom OPS Tactical Pant with the incorporation of the Active Airflow System from Fighter Design LLC. Fighter Design LLC came out with their own Airflow Pants about a year ago, that incorporated mesh panels in the inseam of the pant legs and mesh-vented side cargo pockets to allow air to circulate and move through the pant. VERTX partnered up with Fighter Design to incorporate their Airflow system into the Phantom OPS pant.
The Phantom OPS pant is not as overt as a standard BDU pant with pocket flaps all over the place, and is still wearable in general public without looking too 'tactical'. The lightweight 65% poly/35% cotton mini Rip-Stop fabric with IntelliDry™ treatment keeps the wearer more comfortable with advanced moisture wicking while providing superior water/stain resistance. The fabric has a visible 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.
The Phantom OPS Airflow pants were originally introduced in Desert Tan and OD Green with Crye MultiCam mesh panels. I decided to wait for the SOLID colours to be introduced, as I didn't like the look of the camo panels with solid colour pants, and I felt that they would draw attention to the mesh panels. The SOLID tactical pants have colour-matched mesh panels. In addition to OD Green (shown here) and Desert Tan, they're available in Smoke Grey.
Active Airflow System - The Active Airflow System has two parts to it. The first is a 3.25" wide mesh panel incorporated into the lower inseam of the pant; from the cuff to just above the knee. In order to facilitate/encourage air flow, the normally solid fabric used for the back of the inset side cargo pockets is mesh, and also a rear panel of the cargo pocket. This allows warm air to rise and exit through the side cargo pockets. More on this later.
Features - The AIRFLOW pants share the same features as the Phantom OPS tactical pant except for the incorporation of the AIRFLOW system. Please refer to the Phantom OPS writeup above for more photos:
Notes and observations - The only difference between the Phantom OPS pant reviewed previously above, and the Phantom OPS Airflow pant is the Airflow feature; so my general notes and observations for the Phantom OPS pant will also apply.
The Phantom OPS Airflow pant isn't the first ventilated pant I've featured. Nine years ago in 2005, I wrote about the Rail Riders Eco-Mesh Pants. The Eco-Mesh pants have a mesh panel running the length of the leg, which can be opened or closed depending on the ventilation needed. With the Airflow pants, there isn't any option for adjusting the amount of ventilation, so the amount of ventilation is fixed.
When the Phantom OPS Airflow pant debuted at this years SHOT show in January in OD and Desert Tan, they had Crye MultiCam Mesh panels, which illustrated the Airflow feature of the pant very well by drawing attention to the mesh panels, but didn't look very good in my opinion. While I was eager to try out the Airflow feature, It would have prevented me from wearing them at work, so I waited until the SOLID version with colour-matched mesh panels came out. With the matching mesh panels, most people won't notice them and they're much more discreet (and look better IMHO).
The mesh doesn't feel scratchy at all, and looks sturdy. The colour matching of the mesh and solid fabric is very good. I do wonder whether the mesh material and 65% poly/35% cotton mini Rip-Stop fabric fade at the same rate and to the same shade, though, through multiple wash and wear cycles, and exposure to the elements over time.
Ventilation is one thing, but airflow combined with ventilation helps cool/dry much more efficiently. That's why the Airflow system has two source of ventilation to promote air flow through them. The main ventilation comes from the 3.25"-wide mesh panels located on the lower inseam of the legs, from the bottom of the cuffs to just above the knee. Air flow through the pant leg is encouraged by the mesh panel on the side of the thigh, used to construct the back of the side cargo pocket and its small interior pocket, as well as the rear-most speed pleat. Depending on how full the side cargo pockets are, outside air should be able to enter through the inseam mesh panels, and out through the cargo pockets, hopefully transporting moisture with it. My lower legs are visible through the mesh, although only a few people have noticed and commented on that. Don't wear weird brightly coloured polka dot socks or anything you wouldn't wear with shorts when wearing the Airflow pants, unless that's your thing.
Does the Airflow feature work? It sure does. The difference between a regular OPS pant and the Airflow is immediately noticeable if there's a breeze. If there's any kind of breeze hitting the mesh on the inseam, I can feel it on my legs. When static, the Airflow pants don't feel as stuffy as regular non-ventilated pants, especially on the lower parts of the legs. When walking around normally when there's no breeze, I can't say I notice air flowing through the pants but they do feel cooler than solid fabric pants, and less stuffy. When I'm moving faster with them (like running), I can detect air movement through the pant. Whether it's really going through the cargo pockets or just the ventilated inseam panels working I can't tell, but the sweat on my lower legs seems to evaporate quicker than when I wear regular pants. The Airflow pants do increase comfort in warm and hot weather, but they can also make you less comfortable when it's cooler. I wore the Airflow pants down at the beach in the evening and they were quite chilly as they let the strong, cool ocean breeze go right through them. So, these will be warm/hot weather pants for me mostly. Note that with the Rail Riders Eco-Mesh pant, the ability to close the vents completely to block the wind and trap heat allowed them to be used in both hot and cooler temperatures, like pit zips on jackets.
One thing I'd actually like to see is some more ventilation added - either in the form of small crotch holes (like tiny drain holes) or maybe a bit of mesh used at the top of the side slash pockets to allow warm air to escape even higher up. The Prana Stretch Zion pants I have incorporate little vent holes in the crotch which are small enough so you can't see through them, but large enough to let air through. I do feel that they make a slight difference.
I also noticed that while the mesh panels let air in and keep me much more comfortable in the heat, the flip side to that coin is that they can also let in sand/debris/dried grass if I'm in the prone position and I have one leg bent and the inseam flat on the ground. Might be a bother to some, might not be to others; just something to be aware of. I think that Airflow pants are a great pant to use for hot weather if you like the fit and function of any of the VERTX tactical pants (which I do). They do help reduce the 'swampiness' on your legs when you're perspiring in the heat.
Fit - As far as I know, the Phantom OPS Airflow pants are the same pattern as the Phantom OPS pant, but I could swear that they feel a tiny bit roomier. I'm not sure whether it's possible to see much of a difference when comparing the pictures of me wearing both pants and seeing which one looks looser on me. Either way, they're roomy but not baggy, and very comfortable on me.
You can get the Phantom OPS Airflow pant from PredatorBDU.com and get 10% off any order with the discount code MM10.
Griffon Industries x Mark Owen Calico Premium Denim Jeans
1/18/16 - The Mark Owen Calico Premium Denim Jeans from Griffon Industries are designed for the person who wants the non-tactical look of jeans but wants the added utility of being able to carry a couple of 30-round M4 magazines discreetly.
Background - Griffon Industries (as I know it) is a maker of high-quality kydex holsters, but has branched out into much more; becoming a 'tactical boutique' of sorts. All of the stuff they carry or co-brand are high-end items; and reflect the owner's (Jeff) personal taste in guns and gear. One of the people that Griffon is collaborating with is former DEVGRU member, Mark Owen. Mark Owen is the author of 'No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden', for which he came under fire for, from the U.S. Government. Mark's latest book is 'No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy SEAL'. Most of my readers will know that 'Mark Owen' is a pseudonym, but I'm using it here out of respect for his wishes.
Mark Owen is a certified 'gear nut', and we've actually been corresponding since early 2011 when he was still in the Navy. He's been a regular visitor to my site since 2006 or 2007 he said. I found out that we had quite a few mutual acquaintances - all industry folk (Crye, Ops-Core, Princeton Tec to name a few); as he had provided input and collaborated on designs with them.
A word on fit - Typically I talk about fit later on in the writeup, but decided to address that first so readers would be aware that the jeans are not meant to be as hipster tight as they are in the photos below. I got my jeans before the note went up on the Griffon website that stated: WARNING: Jeans can shrink up to 1 size if washed in hot water and/or dried on high heat. I'm typically a waist size 32". Knowing that the waist is slightly oversized to accommodate a pistol worn inside the waistband, I figured that I'd pick a size 30 so that the waist would be an actual 32 and I wouldn't have to wear a belt. I wasn't planning on carrying a pistol inside the waistband. However, I did not know that the fabric is not pre-shrunk, and will shrink a size when washed and dried normally. Also, the Jeans come in a very long inseam length and are meant to be shortened and hemmed by the user. The Jeans as I got them fit perfectly before washing. Pretty much what was stated - a straight fit with some room. I threw them in the wash and dried them on medium heat with the rest of my laundry, and BAM!, they shrunk to what you see in the photos below. I think they're actually a size 31 now, and as snug as Ho-tac's pants. The good thing is that they look even less tactical now that they're hipster jeans on me; but I'm not really the hipster type. I spoke to Griffon and they put up the notice on their website immediately.
So, I'd recommend doing one of two things: Buy your waist size and only wash in cold water and air dry the jeans. Or, buy one size up and wash/dry normally as they'll shrink a size. Oh, and only measure to get them hemmed after you shrink them.
Features - Here are the main features of the Griffon Industries x Mark Owen Calico Premium Denim Jeans:
Notes and observations - The Griffon Industries x Mark Owen Calico Premium Denim Jeans are a nice, black indigo colour when new, that will slowly fade over time with washing. Despite the pants shrinking one size, they're still very much wearable because of the 20% stretch in the fabric. If they were regular denim, there's no way I'd be able to move around in them. I did wear them before the wash (unfortunately I didn't take any photos to show how their intended fit was), and they definitely had enough room in them to easily conceal the 30-round mags on both sides with a loose top.
There were a couple of things I'd like to see changed on the next round - increase the size of the front welt pockets by .75" in width and 1" in depth, and maybe use a more durable material for lining the pockets (especially the 30-round mag pocket). While I have not used these pants enough to cause wear yet, regular jeans or pants with twill fabric lined pockets will wear quicker when knives are clipped in pockets or magazines are carried, so a tougher material is warranted. This was a problem I encountered on the VERTX pants that use a lighter material for the pocket lining than the rest of the pant. I'm looking forward to more collaborations between Mark Owen and Griffon Industries. I'd love to see a more relaxed fit version of these pants with the changes I mentioned. Hint hint Griffon.
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