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Dickies Tactical Pants are tough but very comfortable

$50 pants offer rip-stop material, plenty of pockets and a relaxed fit


The following is paid content sponsored by Dickies

By Sean Curtis for Police1 BrandFocus

Dickies, a brand synonymous with quality and toughness, has entered the tactical market with a new line.  Having worn their products for years I was intrigued by what their approach to this performance-driven genre of clothing might mean.  I wore the pants in a number of different environments while enjoying several different activities and found them to live up to my expectations.  Though I was a little surprised to find that one of the greatest assets of the pants was their exceeding comfort.

The pants, called Tactical Relaxed Fit Straight Leg, are just that.  When I pulled them on I was really impressed with the waistband.  The entire front panel stretches forward to accommodate your girth, even after a large meal.  The basic cut is a relaxed fit, with ample room through the thigh.  Sweeping down this wide leg is thematic, all the way to the hem.  These are definitely not bell-bottoms but the designers left enough room at the ankle for those who like to conceal a backup or IFAK without concerns for printing.  With the overall first impressions being great, I dug into the details.

Intelligent Design

At the waistline the tunnel belt loops are strong and well-spaced, allowing me to wear a 1.5-inch belt and place my gun, handcuffs, and magazines right where I wanted.  The inside of the waistline also sports a strip of rubber across the back which grabs on to the shirt tail and prevents that malady often attributed to plumbers.  The pockets are one of my favorite features of these pants and reflect an intelligence in design.

An inch-long taper at the bottom of the front slash pockets makes it easy to clip a pocket knife.
An inch-long taper at the bottom of the front slash pockets makes it easy to clip a pocket knife. (Photo/Sean Curtis)

The front slash pockets seem standard enough but for an inch-long, nearly horizontal taper at the bottom.  Here, my pocket knife clipped easily enough, but the taper allowed my knife to stay out of the way when I put my hand in my pocket.  There is reinforced stitching for the knife rest, but the material is not overly thickened which sometimes causes difficulty for knife clips. 

On the front of the right thigh is another pocket with great utility.  Roughly 4 inches wide and 5 deep, this area can store cell-phones, knives, magazines, or whatever you might be working with currently.  I found myself using this pocket a great deal and wondering how I had gone without one for so long.

The thigh (cargo) pockets we have all grown accustomed to were also well done.  Using a strong hook/loop for closure of the flap, the gusseted pockets ballooned out in size the more I stuffed in them.  However, they remained flat to the leg when unencumbered.  These cargo pockets also have an interior divider which runs horizontally.  This divider allows you to store some items closer to the leg with less printing.  For my purposes, the cargo pockets easily carried a tourniquet and combat gauze without advertising.

Switching to the seat of the pants, the rear pockets held another surprise: a combination of deep slash and standard pockets.  Anyone who has had to stick a full-size flashlight in their rear pocket while they quickly conducted some other business has appreciated the deep slash pockets in the rear.  However, putting your wallet down there and driving around on patrol for hours on end is a recipe for going to see the chiropractor.  Dickies solved this dilemma with a deep slash below a more standard rear pocket.  I was able to wear my wallet and ID badge in the top rear pockets which was comfortable for sitting.  All four of the rear pockets have hook/loop tabs for keeping the pockets closed.

The material is a tough, ripstop, poly/cotton blend.  The knees of the pants are double-walled and the whole exterior has a DuPont Teflon coating—both of which came in handy during testing. 

 

The material and stitching of the pants can withstand pounds of gear in the pockets
The material and stitching of the pants can withstand pounds of gear in the pockets. (Photo/Sean Curtis)

Range Day

I first wore the pants to the range and appreciated the comfort they afforded while we moved targets and got set up.  Dickies are like wearing a light coat of armor, banging around, scratching, and minor dings did not bother my legs with these pants on.  SWAT had left a wall with a window and door to practice entry so we obliged the setup.  Through several iterations of tactical scenarios, I banged around the feature, booted the door, and ground my knees into the gravel to make use of good cover.  The Dickies tactical pants took the beating and saved me from harm.

The overall strength of the material and stitching had me wondering.  I filled the cargo pockets with so much gear I had to tighten my belt to keep my pants up.  When I walked, the loot in my pockets had them swinging like batwing chaps on a buckaroo!  The pants can carry a ridiculous amount of gear.

A Teflon coating make the pants to be waterproof and ideal for avoiding insects and foliage while hiking.
A Teflon coating make the pants to be waterproof and ideal for avoiding insects and foliage while hiking. (Photo/Sean Curtis)

Hiking

Some other surprises came when hiking along a local river through an overgrown area.  Traversing some water-logged areas proved no problem as any water that splashed on the pants simply ran down and fell off.  I also saw the normal amount of cockleburs attached to my fellow hikers’ clothing had not been able to find purchase on the Dickies.  Finally, I imagined several mosquitos with dented proboscis trying to bite me through pants that simply would not allow access.

The bottom line

The Dickies Tactical Pants combine all the best attributes you want in your clothing: they have awesome functionality, are tough as nails, but also have all day wearability.  The relaxed cut never restricted my movements, regardless of what I did.  The pockets are well designed and implemented, allowing the wearer a large number of storage options.  The forgiving waist is a great feature that provides additional value.  The comfort alone is great but if you are the type that gains a little weight in the winter/loses in summer, you don’t have to store these pants.  Finally the toughness, a hallmark of the Dickies brand, is also well represented in their tactical offering with rip-stop material, doubled-walled knees, and Teflon coating.  At an MSRP of around $50.00, the Dickies Tactical Pants are a great value.

 

About the author

Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with 15 years of experience, serving with SWAT, diving, and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS, and emergency management.

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