Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gear Closet: 5.11 Tactical Stryke Pants

Just a few days before I set out for Ecuador, a box was unexpectedly delivered to my door. Since I wasn't really expecting anything, I wasn't sure what was inside. I opened it up to discover several excellent pieces of gear from 5.11 Tactical, a company that makes great clothing and other items for outdoor enthusiasts, military personnel, and law enforcement agents. While not all of it was appropriate for my trip to South America, I did immediately add their Stryke Pants to my backpack, as I though Ecuador would a perfect place to test them. It didn't take long for me to realize that they were a great addition to my pack, and a vital piece of equipment for my trip.

Made from Flex-TAC ripstop fabrics, the Stryke Pant features a cut that fits the body nicely, without inhibiting motion in any way. Comfortable to wear, even for extended periods of time, these pants allow you to move as necessary over rough terrain, and in difficult conditions. On top of that, they are treated with a Teflon coasting, that provides protection from stains and dirt, as well as a measure of moisture resistance as well. This is a nice benefit for travelers who like to travel light, as it allows you to carry fewer items with you when you go. In my case, I brought only two pairs of pants on my trip to Ecuador, with the Stryke Pant getting the bulk of the use during active pursuits.

Tactical 5.11 knows their customers well, and when designing these pants they incorporated plenty of pockets and stash points to store all of your important items. In addition to the traditional pockets on the front and back, there are also cargo pockets conveniently located on each leg. Inside those two pockets, you'll find organizational compartments as well, which are perfect for a cell phone, digital camera, a pocket knife, or what ever other items you want to keep close at hand. Both the cargo and rear pockets also feature velcro flaps to ensure a level of security too. Those flaps stay solidly in place, and are nearly impossible to open without drawing the attention of the wearer. This is also a nice feature for travelers, who want to keep their wallet, and other valuables, safe while on the road, although they also come in handy for making sure nothing falls out while you're scrambling up a mountain, or hiking a difficult trail.

I was impressed with how durable and rugged these pants are, without being overly weighty. The articled knees include knee pads to help protect the fabrics when you're kneeling on the ground, and other important areas of the design are reinforced as well. I put these pants through the wringer on multiple hikes in the Andes, as well as on mountain bike and horseback rides, and they came away looking brand new. They are even incredibly easy to wash while traveling, which allowed them to stay looking fresh, even though I had just worn them on a hike up a 4200 meter (13,779 ft) mountain.

As mentioned above, the Stryke Pant is moisture resistant, but not water proof. I found this out the hard way when I got caught in a rainstorm on an afternoon hike in the Andes, and ended up having to descend for about three hours in a squall. Surprisingly enough however, the pants still performed very well, and repelled water far longer than I would have expected. At the end of the day, they also dried fairly quickly, and were ready for use the next day without a hint of moisture remaining. While I wouldn't recommend wearing them on an adventure in which you expect to get wet, if the need arises they can certainly keep you moving, even when conditions are less than optimal.

While these definitely look like a pair of pants that you would wear on an adventure to some far flung destination, they also look good enough that you can also wear them about town, and not feel out of place. In fact, I wore them around Quito on more than one occasion, including grabbing dinner at a nice restaurant. I have the black version of the Stryke Pant, and they actually have narrow pin-stripes incorporated into the design. This actually makes them look a bit like dress slacks, even while carrying all kinds of extra gear in the pockets. Again, as a frequent traveler, it is nice to have versatile apparel that can pull double duty on the trail and at a nice dinner.

Tactical 5.11 sells the Stryke Pant for $70, which I feel is quite the bargain. They are incredibly well made, and seem like a piece of gear that you can rely on taking with you on multiple adventures for years to come. Very durable and comfortable, these pants will be a welcome addition to any outdoor enthusiast or adventure traveler's wardrobe. I know that I will be carrying them with me on many of my future journeys for sure.

No comments: