Most helpful positive review
206 of 211 people found the following review helpful
Very good functional pants - not perfect, but close!
on March 30, 2013
Like most of you, if you are reading reviews for these pants, I am always on the hunt for that perfect pair of practical (or cargo, or tactical, as you prefer) pants. I am not military or law enforcement, and I don't really want to look like a Wannabee - but I do engage in practical activities that require a good pair of practical pants. I'm a competitive shooter (mostly IDPA) and need pants that can hold and stow a lot of gear for a long day at the range. I also need them to be strong and durable, comfortable, and to allow good freedom of movement. And yeah, I will also wear them all weekend long too, or on trips around town.
There are a few key brand names in the Tactical Pants business. 5.11 is one, perhaps the most popular or well known. It is difficult to discuss the attributes of a pair of Tac pants without making the obvious comparisons to 5.11. Add to that - this pant is designed VERY SIMILAR in many aspects to the 5.11 Tactical pants. Therefore, it is almost necessary to compare them side-by-side.
I recently purchased my first pair of Propper pants, in Gray lightweight, 32x30. If you don't want to read all the way through - here's the cut to the chase: I like them very much and will probably buy more. Now, here's why:
- Quality of finish and materials is top notch. There are no loose threads, no crooked seams, no dropped stiches. Good stuff all around.
- Rip-stop material is light but incredibly strong. You will get a lot of wear from these pants before they hit the rag pile. They also feel very breathable, unlike a typical synthetic feel. This could just be because they are lightweight, but it works.
- Sizing is very accurate. One important note however - the sizing is a very true sizing, not ego sizing. I have several 5.11 pants in 32 waist and they are much looser than these Propper pants are at the waist. That is good and bad... it's okay if you really do know and order your real size, but not if you rely on the "extra" that most clothing makers give these days. That said, I would like a wee little bit of relaxation to the waist. The expandable elastic waistband is a bit rough on the skin. This is in part due to the synthetic material (opposed to soft cotton), but worn snug they will leave some red marks.
- The Propper pants are almost a carbon copy of the 5.11 design, but for a few key and very noteable exceptions:
--- Rear pockets are not as low cut as 5.11, but run straight across at the back
--- Inside the rear pockets (which are large and roomy) there is a second pocket that is "regular sized" and perfect for a wallet. This is a HUGE plus for me, because I hate my wallet rolling around inside the 5.11 pants and landing in all sorts of uncomfortable spots. The wallet stays put right where it should be in the Proppers - whether you are a right or left cheeck kinda guy... they are both there.
--- The front right pocket has a watch pocket as well as a small inner sub-pocket at the bottom. Both good to have. The left has neither and is just a normal pocket. Front pockets are well cut with a good angle, allowing easy in/out access for your hand - even if you're holding something in your hand...
--- Fewer belt loops on Propper than on 5.11, and differently spaced.
--- Less material in the crotch area on Propper than on 5.11. If you do significant crouching activities, you may notice the difference.
--- The fly is shorter on the Propper, maybe by 1/2" or more overall. This does have an ergonomic impact gentlemen (I prefer the 5.11 one).
- Things that are same/similar to 5.11 Tactical Pro:
--- The lower edges of the pocket stitching is reinforced for a knife or flashlight clip or similar. This should help prevent premature wear from metal clips. (front pockets only on Propper, 5.11 has it also on rears)
--- Left side small cargo pocket, perfect for most cell phones, flashlight, magazine, etc. Basically identical to 5.11
--- Right appendix D-ring on belt loop
--- Similar material weight and construction. Rip-stop synthetic blend.
- Miscellaneous comparisons (in no particular order):
-- 5.11 is overall more comfortable right off the bat, but Propper is cleaner looking and "dressier".
-- Propper has much less "droopy flat butt" look than 5.11. Trade is comfort and flex versus ego and appearance. Your significant other will tell you that you look better in the Propper pants. :-)
-- Propper includes a nice duty-style belt in the matching color of your pants. That's nothing to sneeze at, because even a cheap duty belt is $20 or more. The belt is great quality, but is a bit longer than it needs to be. A great added value.
Overall, I don't want to give an opinion about one versus the other. I think the comparison is important, whether you're trying to decide between the two brands for a first purchase, or if you're familiar with 5.11 already. In the final analysis - I like these Propper Tactical Lightweight pants, and will order more. I have the gray - which is much darker than the photo here shows. Khaki would probably be my next choice, since summer is coming soon! Propper is about $10 less than 5.11, as of this writing. Consider the included belt, and that is a great value. I think you owe it to yourself to give them a try!