5 Best Men’s Cargo Pants for Work

Cargo pants are as fashionable as never before, making a major comeback and along with style, they bring functionality, making them the ideal pair of pants for the workplace, as well as outdoor activities.

When it comes to workwear, they are truly essential for your wardrobe thanks to cargo pockets to allow you to carry along accessories and small tools or items necessary for your job.

And many cargo pants have been created specifically with workwear in mind with specific characteristics to meet varying work situations. 

Cargo PantsMaterialPocketsFitExtra
5.11 Tactical Cargo Apex67% polyester and 33% cottonFifteenStretch fabricTeflon coating to resist moisture, dirt, and stains gusseted crotch
prAna Stretch Zion97% Nylon and 3% spandexFiveStandardUPF 50+ UV protection, DWR  – water-repellent, gusseted crotch
Columbia Silver Ridge Work100% NylonSixElastic waistbandUPF 50+ UV protection, Omni-wick moisture wicking
Arctix Snow 100% polyesterFourAdjustable waistBoot zippers, O-rings
LA Police Gear TacticalPolyester and cotton ripstop fabricEightElastic waistbandKnee and seat padding, gusseted crotch

What Are Cargo Pants?

What are cargo pants you ask? These are pants that feature extra pockets for carrying extra “cargo”. These pockets will usually feature closure or flaps that secure with Velcro, buttons, magnets, or snaps.

First seen worn by the British Armed Forces, they are synonymous today with heavy-duty resistance for work or outdoor environments. They are often worn by military and emergency personnel, including police, SWAT, EMTs, and the armed forces.

Finding the right cargo pants can be challenging, because there are so many, and some feature details that are convenient for specific professions. We’ve found some outstanding cargo pants for work for you to consider introducing into your workwear rotation.

Best Men’s Cargo Pants for Work

Our top favorite is the 5.11 Tactical Cargo Apex Work Pants. Locking zippers. Fifteen pockets, a gusseted crotch, and Teflon coating make for a durable and functional pair of cargo work pants. They may cost somewhat more than other cargo pants but are definitely worth the investment.

So, if you’re thinking about getting cargo pants for work, consider what you need. Do you want pants that are water-resistant? Should they be lightweight? Do you want secure pockets that feature zipper closures? Or would you like a gusseted crotch because your job requires a lot of movement like bending or squatting?

Whatever your preferences there are some great work cargo pants out there for you to choose from.

The Reviews

Best Overall Cargo Pants for Work

1.) 5.11 Tactical Cargo Apex Work Pants

Manufacturer 5.11 is well-respected in the clothing industry for tactical gear and workwear. Their Apex line of clothing is truly top-notch with pants’ construction that features 67% polyester and 33% cotton for a nice thick pant that remains flexible yet features breathability.

Eight visible pockets make carrying accessories easy, and considering that many have inside pockets, these cargo pants offer a total of fifteen pockets for various uses.

YKK Zippers lock for security and the pants are treated with a coating in Teflon to resist moisture, dirt, and stains.

The crotch is fully gusseted to enable movement and the waistband stretches. Available in a selection of ten color options, they are machine washable.

Pros

      • 67% polyester and 33% cotton for comfort
      • Locking zippers with lock tabs
      • Elastic waistband with hidden space for accessories
      • Teflon coating
      • 15 pockets
      • Gusseted crotch and double stitching with bartacks

Cons

      • More expensive than other cargo pants
      • Quality control considerations
      • Sizing considerations
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Lightweight Cargo Pants for Work

2.) prAna Stretch Zion Cargo Pants

Weighing approximately 400 grams, these lightweight pants from prAna are manufactured to be sturdy and durable regardless of weight.

Produced in 97% nylon and 3% spandex, they feature double stitching. Seams are reinforced for added durability.

Five pockets, with the main pocket being six inches deep with a double entry at the flap or from the side with both having zipper flaps.

These pants offer impressive breathability but can retain heat. Legs can be rolled or pulled up for heat dissipation. 

These pants offer an impressive UPF 50+ shielding you from harmful UV rays. The crotch is gusseted for increased movement and boasts vents for air ventilation.

Water-repellent and quick-drying, the 3% spandex confers just enough flexibility.  An integrated hip belt means you can avoid wearing a belt but still adjust your size. Available in ten color options. Machine washable.

Pros

      • Reinforced seams and double stitching
      • Gusseted crotch improves range of movement
      • Zippered cargo pocket
      • Fabric is abrasion-resistant
      • Lower legs can be rolled up and secured
      • UPF 50+ UV protection
      • Lightweight at 400 grams
      • Treated with DWR  – water-repellent

Cons

      • More expensive than other cargo pants
      • Sizing issues
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Moisture-Wicking Cargo Pants for Work

3.) Columbia Silver Ridge Work Cargo Pants

These Columbia cargo pants are manufactured in a blend of nylon and polyester making them exceptionally lightweight yet comfortable during wear.

They feature a classic fit design, and the fabric offers Columbia’s Omni-shade UPF 50 protection affording you the maximum protection from dangerous UV rays. One pocket features a zipper closure while others offer hook and loop closures.

If you need to cool off, the bottom half of the pant leg is removable. These pants also feature Columbia’s Omni-wick technology. This technology pulls moisture outward and away from the skin and toward the pants’ surface for evaporation.

These pants resist wind as well as harsh sun. Mesh pocket bags are great for carrying accessories. A belt comes with the pants.

Pros

      • Soft Nylon blend
      • UPF 50+ UV protection
      • Omni-wicking moisture-wicking technology speeds up moisture evaporation
      • Removable lower leg
      • Durable
      • 28 color choices
      • Machine washable
      • Classic fit

Cons

      • Front pockets small
      • Sizing may be snug
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Cold Weather Cargo Pants for Work

4.) Arctix Snow Cargo Pants

If you want cargo pants for really cold weather, take a look at these pants from Arctix. While designed for outdoor sporting activities, these are perfect for professionals that need to work outdoors in colder climates.

Construction is lightweight and the ThermaLock coating makes them waterproof. 600 denier ballistic fabric is integrated to reinforce ankles, cuffs, hems, and scuff guards.

The scuff guards at the ankles are a standout feature for increasing durability. Innovative grippers make the boot gaiters appealing as well.

Zippers for boots, an o-ring for your keys, and boot zippers complete features. The 100% polyester shell comes with insulation that weighs 85g.

Available in twenty-two colors, they are machine washable with sizing up to 4X-Large. Leg pockets for accessories are roomy.

Pros

      • ThermaTech insulation
      • Ankles, hems, and scuff guards are reinforced
      • Boot zippers
      • Boot grippers
      • Windproof
      • Hand-warming pockets are zippered
      • Roomy pockets
      • Affordable

Cons

      • Sizing considerations
      • Less durability
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Padded Cargo Pants for Work

5.) LA Police Gear Tactical Cargo Pants

Manufactured in a 7.5-ounce blend of 35% cotton and 65% polyester ripstop fabric, these cargo pants by LAPG come with eight pockets designed for carrying gear and lots of them.

The extra feature in these pants is the padding featured on the knees and in the pant seat.  The elastic waistband permits you to carry the gear you want to remain concealed.

These pants are true to size, so getting the right fit should be no problem when ordering. Two of the numerous pockets can hold iPad Minis. The crotch is gusseted for increased movement and the knees open to permit the insertion of knee pads.

Zippers are YKK and TAC buttons are used for closures. These cargo pants feature D-rings on both cargo pockets and the front pocket as well. Available in ten color options, they are machine washable.

Pros

      • BDU cargo pockets
      • Eight pockets
      • Uses knee pad inserts
      • Dual front slit pockets
      • Polyester and cotton durable ripstop fabric
      • Cargo pocket access is slanted
      • Lightweight
      • Fluid and fade-resistant

Cons

      • Sizing considerations – may run small
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

What to Look for in Work Cargo Pants 

When you’re searching for the best cargo pants for work, think about these characteristics when selecting your favorite pair.

1.) Fit

Fit is always the first consideration when selecting workwear or PPE. Your pants need to fit correctly both to ensure functionality and of course comfort.

Many cargo pants will offer several types of fit including slim fit, loose fit, relaxed fit, or classic fit. Whatever your body type, and your personal taste, there is a fit out there for you.

→ The slim fit is a snugger fit that will fit most body types but may not allow for the same ease of movement as other styles. 

→ A loose fit offers more room at the thighs, hips, and seat, but will continue with a baggier fit down the leg and in the calf area.

→ The relaxed fit is generous with a bit extra room in the thighs and around hips for movement but will taper at the knee. 

→ In the classic fit, which is the most common, the size of thighs, hips, legs, and waist will be average. 

See also: 5 Best Work Pants for Large Men

2.) Knee Pads or reinforcements

Some work pants may offer reinforced knees, while others will feature actual pockets for the insertion of knee pads. If you do a lot of work where you need to kneel quite a bit, cargo pants with knee pad pockets can be a true “knee saver”.

3.) Pockets

Do you want a lot of pockets, and if so, how many? Having too many pockets can quickly pass from functional to uncomfortable.

Having too many pockets, and then filling them up will add weight to your pants and may render them so bulky as to inhibit movement.

On the other hand, not having a sufficient number of pockets can also create lots of problems if you have to carry identification, a cell phone, pencil, or other accessories externally.

Decide beforehand if a standard number of pockets is sufficient or if you need pants with more pockets for your work activities.

Keep in mind that cargo pants will have a certain number of pockets. They may also feature inside pocket divisions for separate accessories.

4.) Weight of Fabric

Depending on where you work, and on your job, you may require a heavier weight of fabric for heavy-duty tasks.

In this case, canvas pants may be a solution. If you work in a hot climate or in a hot indoor environment, you may prefer a lightweight fabric.

Logically a heavier fabric will resist wear and tear better. You may also need insulation. In this case, you may like cargo pants in wool.

5.) Extra Features

Cargo pants can feature all kinds of extra features to satisfy specific professional needs. Crotch gussets are great for bending and crouching with increased comfort.

Some pants may feature coatings or treatments like Teflon coatings to resist moisture as well as staining or may feature a water repellent finish.

Still other cargo pants may have specific moisture-wicking capabilities for excess perspiration. Whatever work you do, there will be cargo pants with characteristics to make them more functional on the job.

Conclusion

Cargo work pants offer you the possibility to carry your gear and accessories right on your person without resorting to carrying a bag.

Imagine having sufficient pockets for sunglasses, wallet, mask, cell phone, writing instrument, tape measure, and much, much more. And now you can find them with insulation, padding, water, and stain-resistant treatments, removable legs, and all kinds of features.

Because they are enjoying a fashion come back, they are also no longer limited to outdoor manual labor, so include at least one pair of these in the workwear lineup.