I’ve been searching for a decent pair of combat trousers to cover activities such as shooting, hiking, work and general wear for quite a while and at this years Northern Shooting Show, CJ from 617 Photography took me round to the Tactree stand who as the UK’s only 5.11 Select Premium Dealer had quite a selection on display (and with a 20% discount during the show).
I had heard of 5.11 before and upon looking for trousers had came across them however the price initially did put me off them and I previously decided to purchase a cheaper but very similar style of trouser from a Polish manufacturer which I ultimately was disappointed in. So with the recommendation of CJ and the fantastic show price I purchased a pair of 5.11 Stryke Trousers.
Upon trying them on the difference in manufacturing quality and fit comfort were noticable right away and it became clear why there is a price difference.
Key differences I noticed were
The 5.11 brand trousers have a self adjusting semi elastic waistband which was a lot more comfortable than the other brand which had very little adjustment and really made any bending movement uncomfortable. This is likely due to the Flex-Tac patent-pending fabric which features “mechanical stretch (built into the yarn) for lasting flexibility and freedom of movement. The fabric has a low-visibility ripstop weave for additional strength and protection.”
The 5.11 trousers have a zip fly with a stud fastener at the top which I find more convenient compared with the plastic buttons on the other brand, these buttons also lasted about 1 day before popping off on the cheaper brand due to the poor flexability of the trousers around the waist area.
You can comfortably have items in the side pockets and access them with ease and crouch down without things like your wallet or mobile phone feeling like it is trying to dislocate your hip or cut off the circulation to your lower legs. Again this is no doubt due to the Flex-Tac Fabric and better designed cut of the material.
For general wear the trousers are very comfortable, they look fairly smart for day to day casual wear. I also noticed how cool my legs felt wearing them on a hot day. I felt the leg length was very good and sits just as well with boots or trainers, I particuarly like that the trousers are not so long that they end up dragging on the ground when wearing trainers.
For hiking the trousers are excellent with 10 pockets there is plenty to ensure all your items are safe and wont fall out. The pockets are spacious enough to hold a bottle of water in and supplies you may need for a day long hike and and some have separate compartments where you can hold a small pocket knife without it falling about or rubbing against other items in your pockets.
Again the various pockets are very handy you also have 2 pockets on the front of the thigh that I believe can hold an AR15 type magazine. It fits my 15-22 magazine fine and also is ideal for a smart phone. I think the trousers can be happily used for any days shooting from target to practical, they wont hinder you and have little features such as the magazine pockets to help.
Having also wore them to work I can say the trousers really are very comfortable for any crouching, bending or crawling you have to do and there is also a space for knee pads to be fitted for extra comfort.
Wether your career is law enforcement (which I understand is a big market for 5.11) or down a building site. The trousers won’t let you down.
Other features of note
- Teflon® fabric protector for soil, stain and moisture resistance.
- Reinforced fabric in high-wear zones including seat and knees.
- Built with a large quantity of reinforcing bartacks in high-stress areas
- Rip Stop Fabric
For me it is clear that although some trousers may look the same they are not the same in terms of quality and comfort. The 5.11 Stryke trousers are comfortable and functional in all the above scenarios I have mentioned. The brand is well worth paying that little bit extra for the added features, quality and comfort you receive. I am already looking at getting another pair.
I’d like to thank tactree for allowing me to use their pictures. If you are interested in the 5.11 products you should check out www.tactree.co.uk. Where you can often find various deals and discounts available.