Stretchy and Light: Stryke Pants from 5.11 Tactical

Hey, I’m all about rugged wear, but when it gets hot and humid, my go-to item around the SnoMan’s farm is my Utilikilt. The fabric is heavy, which is nice in high winds, but a kilt’s design leaves you unencumbered, roomy, and ventilated, so it’s much cooler and more comfortable than pants. The one I wear is the Workmans Kilt. It has extra pockets and attachment points, including a clip and a leather loop for a tape measure.

Still, there are advantages to wearing pants, not the least of which is the ability to stand on a ladder without attracting unwelcome attention. Other advantages include scratch protection for your lower legs in dense brush. Plus, it’s a lot easier to scrape those sticktites off of ripstop fabric than it is to work them out of your leg hair.

When I have to wear pants, I prefer so-called “tactical” pants, and when I have to wear them in the heat, I like a lighter fabric. Also, if the fabric is stretchy, it gives you more mobility with less binding. I’m pretty active when I’m not sitting here writing articles and editing videos, and with all the squatting, getting up, and getting down on my knees, stretchy fabric really makes a big difference.

The 5.11 Stryke Pants have those qualities, plus the following:

  • Self-adjusting waist band. The ruggedly-built elastic waist is much more comfortable if you moving — or eating — a lot.
  • Full-gusseted crotch. This common in tactical pants — it reduces stress on the crotch seam, making it stronger.
  • Front hip pockets for cell phone or knife. I have the SOG Spec Elite.
  • Deep cargo pockets.
  • Badge holders, if you need them.
  • Articulated knees with knee pad pockets.

The 5.11 line of clothing is all good quality in terms of design and build, and these pants are no exception. The fabric in the Stryke is not as sturdy as in the original 5.11 Tactical, but that’s exactly what you’re looking for in the heat. More info about the 5.11 Stryke pants.

One other thing bears mentioning: The 5.11 pants in general have a bit of an understated cut, so they don’t jump out and scream “I’m carrying a weapon and I’m ready to use it!” People will kind of have to look twice (and most never look up the first time from their cell phone) before wondering if you’ve got a gun somewhere in those pants. I don’t usually wear the SnoMan outfit when I head for the city, and this understated design helps in the Urban Stealth department.

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