Pants

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Always wearing pants

  • Long pants provide abrasion resistance, water resistance, and sun protection to the legs. Having abrasion resistance on the full length of the legs is useful (rather than just the top). Long pants also help protect against bugs and wind.
  • Long Pants and Safety

Pockets

  • Pants without pockets are silly. Pockets come in useful for carrying things around day-to-day and also for storing things temporarily if you need too.
  • The question then is how many pockets. Guy’s pants run the gamut from the typical 4 pockets all the way to 16 or more, while ladies’ pants have less of a range.
  • Relevant pocket factors

    • Total number of pockets (common configurations: 2 front slash/2 back, 2 front slash/2 back/2 cargo, 2 front slash/2 back/2 side seam).
    • Big enough for intended items. In general bigger is better (within reason) since it adds versatility.
    • Not abrasive/uncomfortable to get into (such as having pointy metal zipper tracks)
    • Quick to get into (not too tight, no fiddly bits to mess with to get pocket open)
    • Ability to be sealed (often conflicts with above two). Velcro, zippers, etc.
    • Positoned in such a way that they do not overlap. Overlapping pockets (such as dual front slash pockets) are difficult to distinguish from each other, and can cause uncomfortable bulk if items happen to land in the same place.
    • Do not inhibit free movement/the strecth of the pants
    • Subpockets vs. no subpockets (I think they take to long to get into/are too fiddly, but they can make things more comfortable by letting you store items in a more distributed way. Personal call).
    • Reinforced pocket edges for clipping things like knives and lights
    • Abrasion resistant nylon interiors
    • Upward facing pocket openings (allows storage of objects larger than pockets, kept in by forces of gravity)
    • Ability to get into pockets when sitting down
  • My personal pick is 6 pockets: 2 unzippered front slash pockets, 2 sealable back pockets (velcro + buttons), and 2 sealable cargo pockets (velcro + buttons).

    • Buttons are more pickpocket proof than zippers, velcro, or snaps

Zippers

  • For pocket closure, more secure than velcro, snaps/buttons, or deep pockets alone. Also quieter than velcro and snaps, and much less fiddly than buttons. Best mechanism for preventing things from falling out.
  • Zippers on pockets and pants zipper should be large and easy to grasp
  • Should be self-repairing
  • Metal or plastic; doesn’t matter as long as they are durable. Metal has slight edge for durability.
  • Locking zipper mechanism
  • YKK zippers are preferable

Velcro

  • Fastest open/close mechanism for pockets. Prefer over zippers if you don’t need really tight sealing.

Non Sealing Pockets

  • No zipper lines/velcro/etc. to scratch things, rub arm/hand/watch when fishing in pocket, or break over time with use.
  • Can move items into zippered pockets when needed: convenience/comfort 95%+ of the time trumps the 5% or less when you actually need full closure. (notepad etc. can double up with items since they won’t scratch them).
  • Should have the fewest number of sealing pockets that comfortably allow you to have all items in sealed pockets when the need arises. Highest frequency use pockets should be the one(s) without closure.

Belt loops

  • As long as they are stitched well, thinner loops make it easier to clip stuff onto them and put belts on without sacrificing much durability/load bearing capacity
  • Should be able to accommodate larger belts (at least 1.75”), which are more useful overall for load bearing activities (less pressure due to greater surface area to distribute force; wider nylon and beefier cobra buckles can take heavier weights). Specifically SOE Cobra Riggers Belt.
  • Loops should strike a happy medium between being too loose (belt not held close to the waistline; floppy) and too tight (can’t clip any things onto belt loops or double up belt).
  • Should be a reasonable amount of space between front belt loops to accommodate riggers belts comfortably. Should be able to hold overlap on normal buckle belts.

Closure system

  • Hard metal objects (like the backs of buttons) digging into your skin are bad. Maximizing the surface area of hard objects on the back of the front will help distribute load better. Better yet, don’t have them in the first place.
  • Buttons can fall off if thread fails, hook clasps and snaps can’t
  • Snaps are faster than buttons or hook clasps to undo when going to the bathroom and getting the pants on and off.

    • But they may be less secure if poorly designed. Under loads, I’m not sure closure system will really matter: they’ll all fail in some way under heavy load, it’s just a matter of when and with how little applied force
  • As long as they don’t interfere with day-to-day use, add bulk, etc., having multiple closure systems is a good thing not a bad thing. You can always not use them most of the time, but have the option of double or triple securing your pants if you want the extra reassurance.

Waistband

  • Expandable to allow for carrying things inside the waistband, ease of movement, etc.
  • Also doubles as useful feature to accommodate future weight gain, if necessary
  • But not tight during normal wearing: only want tension when it’s needed to dynamically change circumference, not during everyday use

My Pick



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