by David McBryan
Comfort, Performance, & Storage
Entry-level paintballers usually start with ragged, torn-up clothing because it's cheap and convenient.
But you can only play in the same ratty, uncomfortable jeans for so long.
I did the "cheap and convenient" thing for my first few weekends until a sudden trip over an unexpected tree root left me with a nasty gash that any decent pair of performance pants would have prevented.
Don't wait for a sharp stick or jagged rock to convince you to invest in your safety and comfort.
If you're ready to get serious about your gear, then you're ready for this list of the best tactical pants.
11 Best Tactical Pants of 2021
Tactical pants are the middle ground between "total armored protection" and "lightweight jogger comfort." They're comfortable but durable so you can wear them all day in a variety of settings without risking serious external injury.
Typically, tactical pants have a ton of pockets, are made with high-quality polyester/cotton blends (sometimes with Spandex), and are designed with law enforcement and military personnel in mind.
Best Tactical Pants
Made by 5.11 Tactical, one of the industry leaders in tactical gear (it's right in their name!), these 5.11 Tactical Stryke Operator pants are the best tactical pants available. Their 65% polyester, 35% cotton blend is Teflon-treated for breathable yet durable performance with a gusseted design for top-notch comfort and flexibility.
Best Women's Tactical Pants
A great breathable, warm-weather tactical pant for women, the 5.11 Tactical Women's TacLite EMS pants are made with the same Teflon-treated, 65% polyester, 35% cotton blend as the best tactical pants above, this time with TacLite ripstop fabric for superior durability. They have thigh-mounted cargo pockets plus extra internal pockets for plenty of carrying capacity and are the best option for women on the paintball field.
Best Tactical Cargo Pants
Yet another pair of 5.11 Tactical pants! These Combat Cargo Pants are available in twill, TacLite, and ripstop materials with a self-adjusting tunnel waistband and double-reinforced knees and seat and spacious cargo pockets so you can comfortably carry all of your paintball equipment (with room to spare).
Best Tactical Jeans
Available in straight fit and slim fit with either a dark or medium wash, LA Police Gear's Terrain Flex Tactical Jeans are made from stretchy denim with 2% Spandex and have 8 built-in pockets on the front, rear, and hip plus a hidden "handcuff key" pocket near the center belt loop. They're lightweight yet rugged and are perfect for paintballers looking for versatile, all-day use with the casual denim look.
Best EDC Pants
Designed for EDC (every day carry), these Apex EDC pants from 5.11 Tactical are a 67% polyester, 33% cotton blend of Two-Way, Flex-Tac material that's comfortable yet sturdy. They also have plenty of storage with deep internal twin-back yoke cargo magazine pockets and flexible cuff pockets inside the waist.
Best Military Pants
Available in a variety of patterns including green, camo, and traditional black, these Military Cargo Pants from Survival Tactical Gear are among the most rugged and durable you'll find. They have double-layered knees and seat material for an extended wearable life with a Velcro strap system in the waist for size adjustments as needed.
Best Lightweight Tactical Pants
These HARD LAND Lightweight Tactical Pants are the go-to option when you need full-leg coverage and toughness without extra bulk. Made from 67% polyester and 33% cotton with 10 tactical pockets and additional belt loops, they're as functional as they are comfortable.
Best Waterproof Tactical Pants
If you're tired of getting soaked, you want these SITKA Gear Timberline Hunting Pants. They're bulkier than the other pants on this list but have unmatched water-resistance and durability. Hunters spend entire weekends in the harshest conditions and come back home to buy more of these pants. They'll get the job done for you out on the paintball field.
Best Tactical Pants For Hot Weather
If you're worried about overheating while keeping your legs protected, check out these CQR Lightweight Tactical Pants. They're made from water-repellent, lightweight, ripstop material with convenient cargo pockets and a specially-designed magazine pocket for performance and comfort on long, hot summer days.
Best Tactical Winter Pants
On the other end of the spectrum are these Fleece-Lined Cargo Pants from FREE SOLDIER. They're made from 94% polyester and 6% Spandex for durability and comfort with an inner layer of fleece to insulate your body in cold, wet weather. In addition to their comfort, they also have 5 zipper-sealed pockets and convenient D-rings for all of your accessories.
Best Big And Tall Tactical Pants
If you need a little extra room, get yourself a pair of these LA Police Gear Tactical Pants with an elastic waistband for extra comfort. They even use your taller, wider dimensions to cram more pockets (because you always need more pockets), including two right above the cuff.
The 5.11 Tactical Stryke Operator Tactical Pants are our top choice.
Yes, they are excellent - 4 of our top 11 picks are made by 5.11.
Tactical pants shouldn't baggy nor too tight. They are all about functionality and should be comfortable to move around in and to pull over your boots.
Choose tactical pants based on your activity, body type, weather conditions, and budget.
Lightweight tactical pants can be good for hiking but we recommend wearing hiking pants. Use the best tool for the job, like your dad used to say.
The majority of tactical pants are waterproof.
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