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Military style pants

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Guppy, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

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    I'm a big fan of military pants. They're pretty much all I wear. I've always liked them, ever since I saw my first pair of pants with side pockets on the legs. Modern or vintage, military, para-military, or civilian.

    I'm not sure how on-topic this is, since mostly people who wear period clothing are going after something more formal, but I just love the ruggedness and practicality of fatigue pants, so I thought I'd start a thread on them.

    Here, in no particular order, are my favorites:

    US Army M1951 pattern

    m51pants2.jpg

    Easy to find (at least in the USA), inexpensive, good looking. I like the flaps on the front hip pockets. They can tuck inside the pocket if you don't need to secure the contents with the snap closure.

    West German Bundeswehr wool

    west-german-military-army-wool-field_1_5a3d1691a9839047329e1c6748533204.jpg

    Getting hard to find, especially in good condition, these date from the 1960s. Made from a heavy melton wool, these are excellent in cold weather, rugged, and very, very handsome. Everyone should own a pair, if you can find one in your size and in good condition, do not hesitate to pick it up

    Triple Aught Design Force 10 Cargo pants

    Force10.png

    Modern, military-inspired civilian pants. Fairly expensive, but if you're used to spending $$$ on raw selvedge denim, the price won't sticker shock you. They're well made and even better designed, with inner pockets to better secure small items you put in the main pockets. There's even hidden pockets inside the waistband for stuff you need to secure from pickpockets. They'll accept knee pads, and have D-rings on the front belt loops for attaching things like carabiners and keyrings, lanyards, etc. The front hip pockets are the perfect size for a mid-sized cell phone. This is my go-to pants on most days. Also available as shorts, and in other styles worth looking at.

    Czech M85

    CZ M85.jpg

    I only became aware of these recently. They are weird, quirky pants, which I like about them. Part of the Czech military's uniform design of 1985. They are extremely high waisted, and to get a proper fit you'll need to measure your waist about an inch above your belly button, but the top of the waist band can fold over and button down, making them a bit more normal fitting. I actually like them buttoned up high. There are two side pockets on the front and two on the rear of the thigh, which are convenient, but oddly a bit lower than on most other military field pants. The front hand pockets are a bit shallow, and I find the stuff tends to fall out if I'm putting my feet up. The cuffs are odd, with a kind of foot loop like a stirrup that cinches the cuff tight when your foot is in it. They're kinda so ugly you can't help but like them. Unfortunately these seem to be almost gone from the surplus outlets, with only a small quantity remaining in odd sizes, but if you can find a pair in your size, they're probably dirt cheap. Pick them up if you like something different and quirky.

    British 1952 pattern

    British M1952.jpg

    Original issue are exceedingly rare and bound to be very expensive, but North Sea Clothing currently offers an exellent quality reproduction, in both navy blue and olive green. While expensive, they're worth the price. They feature a thigh pocket on the left leg, and a front hip pocket that is about the size of a mid-sized smartphone. I can get a Galaxy S5 into them, nearly a perfect fit. I like the wide belt loops that button to the pants.

    USMC P44

    USMC P44.jpg

    Another odd style. These feature just three pockets: Two huge pockets at the side of the hips, replacing the normal front pockets at the top of most pants, and a giant, external bag of a rear pocket. Dubbed "monkey pants", originals will run you over $1000 if you can find them. Made with a nice herringbone tweed. Bronson and Workware are two asian makers who do nice reproductions, and I'm thinking about picking up a pair. Bronson also has a variant in short length for summer wear. I'm not sure how practical the pocket configuration is for these, but I'm again just attracted to the unusual style of them.

    What else do you like? What do you think of these? Let's see what you got, the more variety the merrier.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  2. zebedee

    zebedee Practically Family

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    Quality looks great, but I couldn't pull those off much after 25. Envy people who can.
     
  3. EngProf

    EngProf A-List Customer

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    366
    I do reenacting of various eras so I have US military-style pants of several time periods.

    The ones I used to find most comfortable in the summer were the rip-stop lightweight Vietnam-era pants.
    I stopped wearing military-style pants (except when reenacting) when they became associated with certain political extremists - unfortunately.

    If you are interested in good quality military-repro pants you should try At the Front.
     
    Guppy likes this.
  4. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

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    I'm actually more interested in seeing what designs other countries have come up with for outfitting their forces. I really like seeing eye-catching, unusual designs, unusual camo patterns, etc. Although, mostly I wear solids these days. That HBT they use in those P44 monkey pants is just killer. I'm a sucker for herringbone.
     
  5. navetsea

    navetsea Call Me a Cab

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    I always like the well designed knee articulation on more modern ones, I only have camping/ outdoor civilian version/ the cheap made in china ones (between $30-$60 brand new on ebay), they are very fast drying, not fading, not fraying, very easy to wear, smooth surface low friction, rip stop fabric, lots of easy to reach pockets, and been modified to fit slimmer on the leg and with zipper ankle, I don't know why do I wear clumsy jeans these days.
     
  6. VictoriaEmu

    VictoriaEmu New in Town

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    Melbourne
    Hey. If we talk about China, then 30-60 dollars for Chinese pants seems to me very expensive. For this money, you can choose a manufacturer for better.
     
  7. navetsea

    navetsea Call Me a Cab

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    I think they are well made, i live in them for a year at home and going out, they don't even fade or get random hole, wash them countless time completely dry within 1 hr, I don't know why would anyone care about heavyweight raw jeans which turns their furniture blue, scraping off the skin on the back of my knees, would be fading off into totally different pants within a year, developing holes and fraying chain stitches, and still they are called high quality pants, I don't understand, but apparently I'm wearing this stupid jeans now, and my much superiorly designed pants I used to love and wear constantly sitting in my drawer, because I smelled this suspicious blue dye and got hooked
     
    jonesy86 likes this.
  8. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    19,373
    Location:
    London, UK
    Back when I was seventeen through my undergraduate years, I practically lived in combat trousers, as we called them. Mostly the German ones were available then, though my favourites were the Dutch ones - a better, smoother fabric weave, nice wide leg, good length (German ones always seemed to come up short). Stud-fastening tihgh pockets, and a small, stud-fastrening knife pocket on the lower (right - I think) leg.

    Not my aesthetic now at all, though I have considered picking up some of the repop denim and/or wool British battledress trousers for wearing round the house at some point. I'd definitely get into those if I was going to go hiking again.

    Used to find them great for travelling, as the pockets were great for keeping passports and all sorts safe, thoughb these days I'd rather put all that in a jacket I can just slip off and on at security.
     
  9. The Jackal

    The Jackal Familiar Face

    Messages:
    67
    While I support the concept of wearing military style pants, it isn't something that I can do.

    I know other military branches didn't have the same restrictions, but the Marine Corps drilled into my head pretty hard the idea that utilities are strictly work clothes. We weren't even allowed to wear them off-base unless it was for emergencies.

    If we were off-base for any other reason, we had to be dressed in one of the more formal uniforms. As such, the idea of being seen in public in utilities just feels wrong to me.

    But most people don't have that hangup, so I say enjoy whatever pants feel comfortable.
     
  10. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Unsurprising. Friend of mined is ex-forces; the Brits have a very strong culture of "If we're issued with it, it's not fashion". No different than the guys who hate wearing a suit and tie socially because they're told they have to for work.
     
  11. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

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    I've never been in the military, and I don't exactly care about fashion -- although I do love the way they look on me. I like them because they're practical and durable, and usually cheap.
     
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  12. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    I recently got into military pants! I have 2 pairs: US army, one is 1947, and the other 1976 or so...both bought for $15 ea. I wear them often...love the super comfy cotton sateen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    Guppy likes this.
  13. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton Practically Family

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    This is my bag. I could wear any and all of them. Love the hundreds of different camouflage patterns throughout the world as well. The different design takes on utility you see also fascinates me to no end. And materials; the various blends and thicknesses are surprising. For instance, Alpenflage looks like a spraypainting mistake and was made out of this thick cotton blend that seems antithetical because of how long it takes to dry. I guess I have to admit it is fashion at this point, but I don't consider myself very fashionable. It all started out of a necessity for durability and price point because I did a lot of backpacking, hiking, and skateboarding on an extremely lean student budget. Now that both durability and price point have been compromised in today's market, I can't lean on those aspects so much. So many of the new BDUs are made to lesser quality. And I don't skateboard or get off the grid much anymore.

    Here's a great blog post on the heavy German wool trousers, which I happen to covet.
    http://heberhiking.blogspot.com/2011/03/west-german-wool-army-pants.html

    It's interesting that the first picture at the top are labeled M1951 pattern. I associate that # with the M-1951 worsted wool Korean field pant that I often recommend for various needs. I bought my first pair out of a giant box at a surplus store for $3 or $5 to toy around with a tailoring idea and ended up wearing them for a bunch of unforeseen uses.
     
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  14. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

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    Michael A likes this.
  15. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton Practically Family

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    I'm glad their curiosity got the better of them. I always wondered what was in there, and I was too dense to consider it might be a vapor barrier.
     
  16. Michael A

    Michael A I'll Lock Up

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    Interesting. So are you saying the interlining gets quieter after some wearing? The noise is kind of annoying. But the waterproof part of it is great if you are bicycling in the rain. Keeps the thighs nice and dry. I've got a couple of pair of these, one sadly a bit small nowadays. My go to military pants are probably the 1939 and 1951 wool field trousers patterns. Great pants, though not of the cargo type.

    Michael
     
  17. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

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    Yes, it does. If you want, roll them up and unroll them back and forth. I think the intent is partly to give them stiffness so they appear to be neatly pressed. I don't know about vapor barrier, but they do block wind very well.
     
    Michael A likes this.
  18. Michael A

    Michael A I'll Lock Up

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    Good to know that they will quiet down. I'm assuming the bicycle riding will give them the necessary exercise eventually. Perhaps not this year, given the season. I can personally attest to the water resistance of the layer. If you look at the seams on the inside of the pants you can see the layer. It looks to be a finely woven plastic or glass with a layer of solid plastic layer bonded onto the top side. Rather like the tablecloth material they call oilcloth.

    Thanks,
    Michael
     
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  19. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Just bought another pair
    IMG_7664.JPG
    Thanks @Guppy! ;)
     
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  20. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton Practically Family

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    Location:
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    I think the vapor barrier (my term) is there so when they were kneeling in the snow for any period of time, snow melt wouldn't soak their undergarments (other layers). Probably also a wind barrier as a secondary function, but I think protection from getting wet is the primary function.
     

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