The 5.11 TDU Tactical Pants

Survivalists, preppers, scouts, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts need rugged, comfortable pants, and the ripstop 5.11 TDU (Tactical Dress Uniform) pants fit the bill. They look good and can be worn everywhere. In fact, I wear mine nearly all the time these days.

5.11 TDU Tactical Pants Features

5.11 is one of the most famous apparel suppliers for professional first responders. These pants come in several models, but we’ll take a close look at my personal choice, the ripstop TDU.

  • Made of tough, polyester/cotton ripstop. This really is a tough fabric, yet flexible and feels soft on the tender parts of the leg, like behind the knee and inside the upper thigh. No chaffing.
  • Self-adjusting elastic waistband. The waistband is wide, and the elastic is very durable. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about it coming apart for a long time.
  • Lots of pockets. Very smart pocket design. The front pockets are deep and large, with slips on the inside to hold the muzzle of a pocket gun or a knife. The cargo pockets are large enough to hold lots of survival gear — or a few diapers and a pack of wipes. Each cargo pocket features two interior smaller pockets for separating a few items, like two AR magazines, a cell phone, a mylar blanket, or a poncho.
  • Velcro fields in the cargo pockets. These allow you to insert a loop-system gun holster or other accessory.
  • Knee pads. You have to buy these separately, but I highly recommend them. They’re very flexible and unobtrusive, and provide the perfect amount of padding for crawling around on all fours.
  • Double and triple stitching. Double stitched everywhere, and triple stitched in stress areas.
  • Nice fit. These pants look good because they’re not too baggy, yet they have plenty of room for comfort and range of motion when running, climbing, driving, or on tactical maneuvers.
  • Teflon coated for stain, liquid, and dirt resistance.


Photo Details of the 511 TDU Tactical Pants

Detail of the pocketknife clip reinforcement band in the pocket hem. Note also the triple stitched outseam

The elastic waist band is discrete and very sturdy.

The waist band expanded. The large pants range comfortably from 35.5 to 39 inch waist.

Prym snaps and YKK zippers

The knee pad pocket is very discrete. Your pants look good enough to wear to church

You can tie your pants down around your boots to keep out dust and critters.

The seat of the pants is heavily reinforced, but still leaves plenty of room for comfort in contorted positions

You turn the pants inside-out to insert the knee pad

The non-tacky side of the pad faces your knee. Curl the tacky side down and it makes it easy to insert the pad

The pants look good and feel very comfortable, despite the sturdy fabric. You can see the knee pads in this shot

Even though they fit right, these pants have plenty of room in the seat and crotch so you can climb, ride, drive, run, crawl, or clamber, and never get uncomfortable

Other Choices from 5.11, and their key features

  • Stryke Pant with Flex-Tac. Made with a stretchy material.
  • Covert Cargo Pant. Features clever, very discrete cargo pockets and other nifty hidden pockets, so you look casual, but still carry lots of gear.
  • EMS Pants. The pockets are designed specifically for EMS.
  • Station Pants. Designed especially for the fire station. All-cotton, and available fire-resistant treatment.

You have a lot of choices in tactical pants. I like these because they’re the best ones for the money, and provide a lot of value. I have spent two-thirds as much on pants, but had to buy them twice as often. Remember, nothing’s ever free — cheap pants might cost more in the long run.


3 thoughts on “The 5.11 TDU Tactical Pants”

  1. I got some of these about a week ago b4 i saw this. they are pretty cool and hold ALOT of stuff. not to cheap but very good.

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