With a focus on getting back outdoors, I tested out another set of professional clothing from 5.11 Tactical sharp enough to wear to work but tough enough to wear to the range or on the trail. Putting together the Carson short sleeve shirt, Defender-Flex Range Pants, Stay Sharp leather belt and Daybreaker Sunglasses I set out for some days in the sun.
The Carson Short Sleeve Shirt is a regular cut, cotton/polyester blend shirt with a single pocket that creates a clean look. It comes in four different shades of heather and a solid blueblood or volcanic black. There is also a plaid version with five variants for the same $39.99 price. The shirt is a lightweight breathable material perfect for hot days in the sun. I won’t say the material has a stretch to it, but it does give a little during activity. The shirt closure is made with 5.11’s RAPIDraw™ center front snap placket designed with the appearance of buttons continuing the professional look. The back of the right shoulder has a small woven 5.11 [+] label along the yoke seam, however this is the only one. The shirt is long enough to tuck in, but still short enough to leave untucked on relaxed days. The shirt is what cleans up the outfit and gives off the professional look.
From the first time I wore the Defender-Flex Range Pants, I knew they were going to be one of my go to hard-use pants. They have a durable feel but enough stretch for the active days outdoors. They were a slim fit design but not a “skinny jean” cut. I chose Ranger Green but they also come in Khaki and a Brown Duck (think – a little oranger than Carhartt’s standard color). The $69.99 price puts it on par with other hard use pants I have bought in the past and feel like they will last just as long. The standard 5.11 pant features include reinforced belt loops to support the weight of EDC belts up to 2” and holsters, riveted reinforcement at the front hand pockets and two additional rear pockets at the yoke large enough to fit a 30 round mag or today’s near tablet sized cell phones. The pants were designed with the 5 pocket jean look including some additional stitching in the rear pockets. Besides the rivets and button from the fly carrying the 5.11 logo, there is a small 5.11 [+] label sewn on the right rear pocket and a [+] stitched near the left seam. The pants held up to multiple day abuse while camping and hiking in the rocky terrain of the Lincoln National Forest. As with any cotton pants, they will eventually show wear from the work and activities you do, but will still protect from the elements.
Since the look was a little more professional than my usual T-shirt and pants, I added a Stay Sharp Leather Belt. The Stay Sharp belt is a 1.5” leather belt with a double prong zinc buckle and built-in keeper. The double prong buckle reduces strap movement and stretch on the holes, while providing a clean look with the 5.11 [+] logo etched on the top and bottom of it. The Genuine leather holds up to the demands of EDC and the weight of a holster and mag pouch. Since wearing it, there has been a little stretch to it but only a mild curve that most leather belts take on (similar to the curve built into the Apex T-Rail Belt made of TPU coated B10 webbing). The belt is comfortable and the designer style buckle ties the outfit together. This is one of 5.11’s higher end belts at $59.99 and also comes in black.
Trying out the Daybreaker Brown Tortoise Polarized Sunglasses is a change in my usual eyewear selection of black wraparound sunglasses. These glasses have a large Ray-ban Wayfarer shape to them. Unfortunately for me they were too big for my face and allowed a lot of light in through the sides. This also caused them to slide down my nose while hiking and looking at my footing requiring constant repositioning. Only a handful of my sunglasses have polarized lenses, and most have a darker colored lens. The quality of the view through the Daybreaker lens seemed “high-def” during the bright sunny days while camping in New Mexico. It produced a clear, crisp-edged picture, while dulling down the intensity of the bright sun. The quality of construction is above their $69.99 cost, with larger than normal hinges and hard plastic frames. The ear and nose pieces are made of the same material as the rest of the frame , which has been coated to resist scratches and oil, unlike a majority of my other sunglasses that have started to peel from sunscreen use. These sunglasses should maintain their classy appearance for a good while. The glasses have the 5.11 [+] logo on both ear pieces and a small one in the top right corner of the right lens keeping with the professional look.
Final Thoughts: This outfit had a nicer look while still being rugged enough for any outdoor activity. The Carson shirt will be a little tight in the lats (it’s a large) as I get back to lifting instead of running, but should still give a clean, professional appearance. . The Defender-Flex pants will go next to my Apex Pant as far as comfort but will outperform them in durability. I will continue to use the Stay Sharp belt until it falls apart because of its strength and good looks. I will be going back to my wraparound black sunglasses even though the Daybreakers were made well, they are just too big for my face.
By the numbers:
Comfort – 5/5 Aside from the Daybreaker sunglasses being too big for my face the rest of the outfit was a good fit and the stretch of the Defender-Flex Range Pants meant all day comfort
Durability – 5/5 The shirt and pants are constructed of top of the line materials and appear to be of sound construction. Most seams are double stitched and the front hand pockets were riveted for reinforcement. The oversized belt loops were reinforced to handle the weight of a holster. The Belt buckle was double stitched in place on genuine leather.
Functionality – 4/5 All items performed as advertised and were designed for active lifestyles, the Daybreaker sunglasses were just too big to stay put while hiking and moving about the outdoors..
Weight – 4/5 the Carson Short Sleeve Shirt was lightweight and built for a warmer climate, the Defender-Flex Pants were a little heavier being 97% cotton but not unbearable in the warmer temps of summer. .
Value – 4/5 This outfit was on the higher end of shirts and pants that I would look at for work clothes and the belt was on par with competitors pricing for similar quality genuine leather belts. The prices were what I would expect to pay if I was buying clothes to talk to future business partners and clients.
Overall rating: 4.4/5 I might have to keep the shirt and belt for more professional use while I plan to wear the life out of the Defender-Flex Range pants and buy another pair when I do.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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