When in Doubt, Choose Cargo Work Pants for Your Construction Job


Construction and other trade work can be demanding on apparel. Cargo pants not only protect a worker’s skin from the elements, but also do double-duty as tool storage. Because of the demanding nature of construction work and other trades, pants also need to be durable as to offer the optimal return on investment. 

5.11Tactical notes the combined strength of durable fabric and convenience of extra pockets and compartments make cargo pants the ideal choice for those in construction, welding and carpentry, among other occupations. 

While cargo pants have features that can be found in other types of work apparel, their unique combination of features make them an appropriate choice on a jobsite.

Benefits of Cargo Work Pants

Cargo pants have more pockets and storage space than other types of pants, which is what makes them suitable for construction work. Belt loops also are a common feature. The multi-use pockets are typically located on each leg and are large enough to hold items such as small tools, nails, screws, knives, and cell phones.

Consider the Carhartt Rugged Flex Steel Cargo Multi-Pocket pant. This heavy-duty men’s pant has multiple pockets, including Cordura-reinforced front ledge pockets, a reinforced Cordura back pocket with free hanging bottom for added capacity, and a right hammer loop. The pants also feature a left utility cargo pocket with free hanging bottom for added capacity and drop in opening at top of pocket for easy entry. While it is not removable, it can be tucked into the front pocket when not in use. The pant also features a right front cargo pocket with free hanging bottom for added capacity and a back utility pocket with free hanging bottom for storage.

Individuals can choose from a variety of fabric and material availability to accommodate different job environments, including polyester, cotton twill, canvas, ripstop and denim – with the choice dictated by the type of work being done and preferences hinging on the varying degrees of toughness and durability. In hot weather environments, cotton may be the preferred fabric choice.

Case in point is the Red Kap Men’s Industrial Cargo Pant, designed with a 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton twill fabric and Touchtex Technology designed for stain-release and color-retention capabilities. The Carhartt Rugged Flex Steel Cargo Multi-Pocket pant is made of 59 percent cotton/39 percent polyester/two percent Spandex ripstop which prevents minor tears from occurring. In terms of pant construction, rivets provide reinforcement at crucial wear points where strain is heaviest. Double- or triple-stitched seams provide the optimal durability. 5.11 Tactical points out a cargo pant fabric choice should consider the weight of the tools being carried. Seams that are double- or triple-stitched for ultra-durability are a key factor of cargo pants, as is noted by 5.11 Tactical.

Safety Features

High-visibility is always a desired feature when construction jobs place workers near traffic and some manufacturers have provided hi-vis cargo pant choices. Consider such options as presented by Gostwear, which offers Big Bill Hi-Visibility Ripstop Cargo Pants. The pants have all the features of cargo pant with multiple pockets and safety features, plus they offer high visibility. The pants must be paired with an ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 shirt to meet the ANSI 107 Class E requirements.

As with a lot of construction work apparel, women often have had a difficult time finding pants that offer them the same features as that of men’s pants. 5.11 Tactical offers women several cargo pant choices, including the Women’s Icon Pant. The brand took into account input from women and manufactured a pant with 80/20 Flex-Tac mechanical stretch ripstop fabric, is reinforced at strategic locations, and offers a gusseted design. Strategic pockets have been strengthened with Nylon 6. The pant has 12 pockets, including a pair of mag pockets inside the internally divided cargo pockets, a comfort waistband, and a Teflon finish for stain and soil resistance.

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