Are you in the market for a comfortable and durable pair of pants for demanding activities? This garment from 5.11 Tactical should fit the bill. I think they are worth price tag. They make for good casual-wear along with being flexible enough for laborious work.
The Defender-Flex Slim from 5.11 Tactical is offered in sizes from a 28″ to a 40″ waist and the inseam (leg length) ranges from 30″ to 36″. Though my particular pants are the slim version, 5.11 does offer different fits and types as part of the Defender-Flex line. The other pants include the Defender-Flex Straight Jean, the Defender-Flex Slim Jean, and the Defender-Flex Straight Pants. Now, the big selling point on these pants are that they are flexible which means they should be more comfortable as you move about. I can attest to this! These are pants you can run in. You can squat in these pants. The Defender-Flex Slim’s aren’t the most stretchy pants I have come across but they are certainly more comfortable than a pair of Levi’s. I have worn these pants with shorts and a base layer underneath for when it has been very cold and they still do okay in the comfort department for when you have to do a lot of moving. For my slender 6’2″ form, these pants in size 32 X 34 fit right after a little bit of shrinking in a normal heat cycle in the washer and dryer. I had these for a while where I only washed them in cool water and dried them in low heat and they where a little large in the waste area. After a normal temperature washing they have shrunken a little so now they fit great. The change was nothing drastic. It was just noticeable. If you buy these pants and they start off with perfect fit just wash them in below-normal wash and dry settings to preserve the current fit.
Now I’ll touch on features. The Defender-Flex Slim’s are designed by 5.11 Tactical so they will do something special. There is a magazine pocket above each back pocket that you can reload from. I think one could fit something as large as a AR-10 mag but I don’t know. These mag pockets can completely envelop a 20 round stamped-aluminum AR-15 mag but with a standard 30 round magazine the pockets gives enough space to quickly grab hold of the magazine. I do find these extra pockets useful. More on the features… These pants have 8 belt loops which is more than normal to help keep heavy holds on the belt more secure. The belt loops can accommodate belts and buckles that are 2″ wide (5cm). This is needed for those more-sturdy belts and belts that utilize those super slick cobra buckles. The wide belt loops will allow you to “lace” those sturdy belts through them without having to disassemble your belt.
The front pockets aren’t super stellar, sadly. They are more shallow than I like at around 6.3″ (15.9cm) deep and due to their position, if you have a knife that doesn’t have a deep carry pocket clip and you go to squat you will feel the exposed end of the knife handle push into your leg. This causes the knife to shift around which is annoying. Both pockets have additional reinforcement material in the outer corners to accommodate the extra wear from carrying cool gear like a knife and a light.
This brings us to durability. I have owned these pants for over 4 months and I have worn them the most compared to any other pants I have. They are holding up perfectly. The stitching is strong in all areas. The pocket reinforcement is doing its job. The material is doing fine. By the way, these are made out of 66% cotton,31% polyester, and 3% elastane. The zipper works fine and doesn’t get bound up. These pants feel rugged and not chintzy at all compared to other more-flexible pants and jeans I have.
5.11 Tactical does seem to be interested in quality and logical design in general and it shows with this product. I feel like calling these utility pants, is a fair description. I am very happy with my pair of pants and I am interested in buying more in spite of the M.S.R.P. being $70. I really like having these pants for when I go hit the shooting range or when I’m in the machine shop. When wearing these I feel agile and free.
Thanks for reading my article. I put effort into making sure my reviews are well constructed and useful. If you have any questions, criticisms, or comments go ahead and let me know. I will respond quickly and I really appreciate the feedback.