20 Aug Choosing THE BEST Combat Pants for Military & Airsoft
Choosing THE BEST Combat Pants for Military & Airsoft
If you’re looking for a pair of combat pants on the market these days, you have quite an amount of options to go for. These sort of pants come with lots of different features and choosing one that fits you can be pretty hard, because it depends on your budget and needs. So with today’s blog we’re going to bring you a general guide that will hopefully help you get an idea of what’s out there these days and what stuff you need to be aware of when it comes to choosing combat pants.
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So let’s get started.
Combat pants purposes
In general combat pants have 3 main purposes which are 1 protection, 2 providing camouflage and 3 functioning as a carrying system. But what do we mean by those? Let’s clarify these a bit.
With protection we’re talking about it being your first layer against sharp edges, plant needles, abrasive surfaces and of course providing protection against the elements. For this, these sort of pants are usually water-repellent up to a certain degree and some are even built to be fire-retardant or fire-proof. Which might be necessary for certain risks you come up against.
Another protective feature you see more often these days is the implementation of knee pads into the pants themselves. These are primarily meant to protect the knees against impacts on hard surfaces, but above that they can also offer protection against sharp objects like glass.
If you’re the type of person that has to go on a knee often, then knee pads are essentially a must have feature and having them directly in your pants can be a thing to less worry about.
In a bit we’ll go deeper into what sort of kneepad setups there are these days with all their pros and cons.
Next thing is camouflage, which is in practice another form of protection, but it’s only useful if the pattern and colors you’re wearing blend in with the surroundings you’re finding yourself in obviously.
Above that, some pants are also IRR treated which means they’re Infra-Red Repellent. This is important to be protected against devices that detect IR light such as night vision goggles. The weird thing is that this feature is not always mentioned in the specs of the product, so if you’re looking for one that has IRR, you might want to contact the specific brand for that info.
Now, another thing when it comes down to camouflage is to be aware that it doesn’t make you invisible. Most of the time it’s actually only useful when you’re not moving at all.
The last purpose we mentioned was that pants are also meant as a convenient carrying system for all sort of tools and utilities. Usually combat pants have about 10 pockets on certain convenient places to quickly access or dump something in them. Also about these different designs we’ll share what might be a good or a bad thing a bit later in this video.
Other important factors
So, these are the 3 main purposes why combat pants are needed. Beside these also things like comfort, adjustability and convenience in use are important factors in deciding what pants to go for.
Fabrics & Maintenance
Fabrics & Materials used
Before we get into the specific design features, we first want to talk a bit about the fabrics. Nowadays these pants are being made from a combo of Nylon, Polyester, Cotton Twill or Ripstop fabrics.
In general Twill fabrics are considered to be more comfortable than Ripstop, but Ripstop fabrics do stop rips, as the name says. Of course rips to the seams won’t hold, but on the fabric itself it will stop ripping further.
Important to realize as well is that the composition of the pants can already differ with different camouflage patterns. Some might be more durable, while others might feel more comfortable even if they are made by the same brand.
Another important thing to mind is that combat pants are designed to be strong and resist abuse, but that doesn’t mean you have to exaggerate with them. We’ve already heard about guys complaining certain reputable pants didn’t last them, but then hearing about them doing things like sliding down a rough rocky hill on their asses with those pants, makes you realize they were basically asking for them to fail.
So guys, they can take some shit, but they’re not invincible.
The next thing we want to mention is to look out for the weight of the pants. A pair of combat pants that already nears 1 kilogram may have too many whistles and bells on it for your usage. It’s only 1 kilo, but every gram adds up. However some combat pants their weight is justified for example, all weather pants for during winter.
At last before we go into the features, we want to mention the importance of correct washing. If you spend all that money on something decent, you obviously want it to last as long as possible and washing is a big part in this.
As an example, things like them being water-repellent degrades each time you wash until it’s completely gone, but you can apply that water-repellent feature again with the correct products.
We once made a video on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to cleaning tactical apparel, so we’ll leave the link to that video in the description below.
That all said, let’s now have a look into the available different features these days and what these translate to in practicality. For this we will start from the top and go all the way down to the bottom. So, lets’ start at the waistline.
The very first thing you’ll practically always find is an adjustable waist on these products. This can be in the form of two lips positioned on the front or the back and once you pull them, you tighten the waist. This is usually locked with Velcro. With some designs however it can result in the waist fabric folding which can be of minor discomfort.
You will also find simpler designs with some spots of stretchy material that automatically adjusts to your waist size.
Another thing that you can also find in the waist and especially on the back is a waist padding, usually a moisture wicking one. This is mainly implemented for comfort when carrying heavy belts. Since it disperses the weight.
The downside of this is that it feels hotter when wearing one with padding then one without it and if it’s a moisture wicking one it also becomes heavier due to the moisture it collects.
The thing is also that you can question whether this padding is really needed, since if you would be wearing a belt that can take big loads it will usually be a war belt that already has some sort of padding in its design. And this padding does much more than what’s in the pants since it is way thicker.
Next are belt loops and the most important thing with these is their stitching onto the waistline. These things are after all what holds your entire belt and thus these points have to be able to withstand that stress. Here you want to look out for something that has been stitched a few times.
Double belt loops?
Recently we also noticed that some pants have double loops on their waistline, whereas one is fully stitched as normally is the case, but above those there’s also another one that can be loosened with a button or Velcro. For you guys that have no clue what this is for, it’s actually meant for if you’re wearing an old fashioned threaded belt with all your pouches, holster and other stuff.
One of the downsides of wearing such a belt is that each time you’re taking it off, everything you carry on it, has to come off as well. These loops allow you to remove such a belt without the need of taking everything off over and over again.
Extra loops on the front
Something else that’s being featured these days are extra loops beneath the waist loops positioned on the front of the pants. These are actually pretty convenient in use to attach a D-ring or S-binder for carrying your gloves or chem lights for example.
Some pants even have a plastic D-ring already attached there, but these pretty much only add unnecessary weight rather than being useful.
Let’s go over to the closure system of the pants. This is in fact something we can widen towards all the pockets as well. Here it usually comes down to the use of either zippers or Velcro. Sometimes buttons are still being used as well, but they all have their own pros and cons so let’s talk a bit about those.
Velcro obviously makes noise but is easy to repair or replace. Also over time the loops side of Velcro will start to loose its grip and renders it useless. So it will need replacement after a while of use.
Zippers on the other hand are a little bit quieter and not that simple to repair or replace. They are also a 100% secure system, so you won’t lose anything accidentally inside a pocket. Here YKK zippers are a standard in the industry these days and are pretty solid zippers, but we all know that shit can always happen.
On the other hand there’re also buttons that are very convenient in use, but they can deform easily and are difficult to replace.
If we go a bit further down, we come to the crotch of the pants. Now, the main importance here is mobility. In fact, mobility is one of those things that we can extend to the knees and the butt of the pants as well.
Mobility are of absolute importance, because if your pants limit your space you’re also limiting what your body can do. Think about crouching, going prone and back up, traversing obstacles, etc.
For this brands have come up with their own solutions. One is the use of stretch fabric. This is something that’s being used quite often and works great while providing a low profile design.
But the thing with this fabric is that it can rip or puncture easier than other used fabrics and is overall less tough. So, these are so to say the weak spots. The latest developments of these also come in a Ripstop material, but they will always be less resistant agains abrasion.
The other option certain companies go for is to simply cut their materials differently. This can sometimes end up in a more saggy looking pants.
But others are able to come up with a slim looking design that allows for very good mobility. And this way you’ll obviously don’t get the fragility problem like the ones with the stretch material.
Now, a feature we’ve never tried ourselves, but is actually pretty clever is the addition of a venting system. Almost everyone that wears these sort of pants wears them with the reason of doing physically demanding stuff and knows it can get pretty hot most of the times when doing so.
So, this might be a very interesting feature to help you stay cool when doing so. So, the thing with this is that it adds comfort, but it also adds weight and can also break, so it’s really something that depends on your personal preferences.
Let’s start with the hip pockets. These are usually pretty deep pockets that are easy accessible but there’s a big “but”. What a lot of these companies don’t realize is that people wear such pants with some sort of tactically set up belt and that the cuts are mostly way too high.
What this does is, when you’re wearing pouches and a holster, you can’t access them anymore because all that stuff on your belt is in the way.
What some guys do about this is, they basically cut the pockets a bit more to have a bigger hole for access. But personally we’d rather not cut into our pants.
Now, until this day we only know of 1 brand that has created a low enough cut to access these pockets while you’re wearing everything. So, thumbs up to that company!
If we go a bit lower we come to the cargo pockets. These are probably the most used pockets on such pants since they’re usually big and very convenient.
Many brands have come up their own designs of these pockets that are pretty convenient for various stuff. One of these features is to carry and properly retain a magazine while making it easy accessible.
One design that we know about, simply uses an elastic piece inside the pocket to retain it pretty well, but does not make it super easy accessible. Also when you ditch an empty mag in there, you can’t do it fast and fix it at the same time. So, you’ll usually end up running with a mag that jumps everywhere in that pocket.
Others on the other hand, have come up with ways to have an open pocket design to easily access and ditch the magazine while maintaining a pretty good fix. All these are usually made to fit an AR mag, but we know some brands have also created a system with Velcro inserts to make it fit other magazine styles as well.
Another thing that is featured more often these days is the use of a vertical zipper on the cargo pocket. This comes from the idea to access the pocket easily even when you’re sitting down in a vehicle for example. And that is actually a very useful feature.
Next we go to the back of the pants, to the butt and here all of them feature 2 low profile pockets. There’s not much to be said about them, except for the fact that if you use them they’re most convenient with simple Velcro closures. However most brands seem to using zippers, probably to not have any accidental losses.
Back to the front, there are mostly other smaller utility/mag pockets as well to store away a knife, multi-tool or pistol mag. Especially the ones located on your quadriceps are pretty useful and come in handy to store away a mag quickly during a tactical reload.
Going further down we come to the knees and there’s quite some stuff to talk about when it comes to these. Firstly there’s the style of kneepad. Here there is, let’s call them the “half-open” and “closed” systems.
Let’s start with the half-open system. Inserting them is not the easiest thing to do but it’s also not the most difficult design out there.
They do however can easily come loose. Unless you add extra Velcro onto the pad or fix them with tape. They can usually be fully enclosed as well which holds a bit better, but this way you’re destroying your pants.
The other option is a closed system where you insert the pad into the pants which makes it impossible to lose the pads, but you’ll expose the knee material to the ground. And thus you’ll destroy the pants over time.
They’re reinforced to withstand more, but eventually they’ll fail. And we’d personally rather spend money on a new set of kneepads than paying for a new pair of pants.
Hard layer pads
Now most pads do have the purpose to reduce impact, but not all protect you against sharp things, such as glass, rocks & other sharp objects.
Therefor there are systems that allow an extra layer of hard material to be added as well. This can be done by inserting it with the soft pad into the pants, but this way you’re more likely to destroy your pants.
But there’re also systems that allow the hard shell to be added on the outside of the pants. This is a better way to protect the pants but they’re usually very hard to attach or to take off again.
Furthermore, there’s also the adjustability of the kneepads, since everybody’s body is a bit different.
Also here, brands solve this in different ways, either they make the kneepad big enough so you don’t need to adjust them at all or they’ll provide an adjustment system for the width with Velcro on the back of the knees and for height with an elastic system in one of the pockets.
Anyway, both are pretty solid ways to solve this problem, with the adjustments you just need a bit more work.
Now a thing to look out for with these adjustability straps is that they don’t sit uncomfortable once you’re taking a knee. Some are designed to specifically avoid your knee cavity, but others haven’t really thought about that.
Also the thing with pants that have an adjustment system is that you actually create a more neat profile that is less bulky and doesn’t have excess material that can also get stuck on something.
Last thing when it comes to kneepads and especially the adjustable ones is that they only need to get into place on your knees when you’re actually taking a knee. It’s normal they hang a bit lower when you’re in a standing position.
Lower leg pockets
Going down some more we come to the last pockets on the lower legs. Not much can be said about these except the size can vary from brand to brand so keep that in mind depending on what you want to store in them.
Adjustable ankle width and boot hook
At last at the very bottom, we come to the last adjustable piece on the ankles and the boot hook. Now, these things are a nice idea, it gives a neat look but in practice they almost never hold well.
This may vary depending on what the brand uses. The harder it is to put the hook on, the harder it is for it to come off.
Last TIP: Sizing
One final tip regarding sizing is that the sizing charts are usually off and sometimes way off. The very best thing you can do for a good fit is actually fit the pants physically.
If this is not possible, the next best thing you can do is measure a pair of pants that fit you well and compare it with the dimensions of the pants you wish to buy, however you might need to request the measurements.
Thanks for reading our blog
“Choosing THE BEST Combat Pants for Military & Airsoft”
So guys, hope this gave some insights on the things you want to lookout for when getting a pair of combat pants. Thanks for reading our blog and make sure to visit our store shop.reconbrothers.com.