Helikon-Tex SFU Trousers – Budgeted quality
When multicam became a big thing it was compulsory for any wanna-be tactical dude to get a pair of multicam trousers. Back then us both, we were not earning our own keep and so could not afford any of the real good brands. Then we noticed the Helikon SFU trousers from a local Finnish dealer.
With an affordable price tag of approximately 60€, well under any REAL multicam trousers, which actually were not even available at the time.
We rushed together to get our hands on these bad boys, only to discover that the pattern was actually Camogrom, a derivative of the Polish army’s Suez- camo pattern, which itself is a derivative of the original Multicam pattern. But hey, close enough! Never really bothered us after the initial shock.
The years (5+ years really, it has been so long we do not even remember anymore) have gone by and these trousers have seen some really hard use on both of us. And we have to say, that these pants are really worth the money.
Helikon-Tex, by their own definition, a Polish company manufacturing military and paramilitary clothing could probably be called one the pariahs of the industry. And from what we’ve managed to hear and read in the recent years, is mostly rather negative feedback on their products and quality.
We two have wondered this on many occasions given the experience that we have had with the trousers, and now we will try to convince you too to see the trousers like we see them.
The SFU stands for “Special Forces Uniform”, which in this case means Helikon’s own slightly improved design and cut of the timeless and well proven US Army’s old Battle Dress Uniform “aka” the BDU. The improvements from BDU pants aren’t that vast, but some you really come to appreciate and enjoy over time.
Helikon-Tex SFU trouser features: (BDU Improvement’s marked with*)
– Adjustable waist and cuffs
– Two front pockets* (slight change in cut)
– Two slim front EDC gear pockets* (100% add-on)
– Two back pockets* (velcro tab closure without a flap)
– Two pleated, lightly angled thigh cargo pockets with Velcro flaps* (velcro closure, angled)
– A calf pocket with Velcro flap* (100% add-on)
– Reinforced knee parts with kneepad compartments*
– Reinforced seat
– Buttoned fly
So it has been a few years since we both acquired ourselves a pair of Helikon-Tex SFU Camogrom trousers(and Blue also has SFU-PT trousers in black). We have used them for airsoft and for general outdoor activity, hiking and such.
The cut of the trousers are nicely generous and the legs are rather loose, which gives you the freedom of movement but the trousers seem to sag a bit at times because of this too. Reinforced knees are nicely designed for a tacticool look and can hold some sort of protective inserts(never seen anything sold for these though, maybe one has to DIY those).
The fabric on the Camogrom variant is very durable 50/50 cotton and nylon mixture with ripstop, and is significantly more comfortable and lighter than SFU-PT trousers in black, which are made of a 60/40 cotton and polyester twill. Well the weight difference between in XL sized pants is no more than 100 grams(730 grams vs. 830 grams), but the Camogrom variant is a clear winner in comfort and wearability thanks to the lighter fabric.
Sewing quality in these pants is more than excellent in our opinion. It’s clean, sturdy, uniform, and not a single seam or button has fell apart on any of our pants during use. None whatsoever. The tabs to adjust the waist are quite slippery and really do you no good, and the cords in the leg openings(like in BDU’s) are quite useless as well, they do work, but not admirably.
We recommend you use a pair of separate elastic trouser cuff trimmers, or just forget them all together. The velcro patches which with the pockets are closed are not mil-spec, maybe not even the next best thing, but they do their job. Some might prefer the old BDU-style button flaps, which are nearly soundless, in case you need to operate in silence.
The array of pockets on the SFU trousers is vast, and follows the style and positioning of the old reliable BDU-style with a few add-ons and changes as follows:
– Regular front pockets – very deep, keeps things inside surely.
– Front EDC-pockets – small insertions on top of the regular front pockets, big enough for most smartphones, width and depth wise. Not secure, but usable when not operating.
– Back pockets – Fits a wallet, no flaps and buttons like BDU’s have, just a velcro tab for closing. Wallet security-wise not so good, sitting comfort-wise, very good.
– Pleated side cargo pockets – A friendly face from BDU’s, but lightly angled and with a half width velcro closure. Not the most secure maybe, but compensates with space, when necessary.
– Calf pocket – The true oddity. It’s just there.
Size approx. 18cm deep and 8cm wide. Why would anyone use this for anything? Has two elastic loops on the outside, maybe for chemlights, but why on earth would you place them, or anything else on your calf!?
Serves no obvious purpose to us, besides maybe for strategic combat motivation-enhancing-chocolate-bar stashing purposes (just like they used to serve in the Finnish Defense Forces field rations! Ah, the memories… -Noble).
Having worn regular BDU pants before, we have to say that the SFU cut is more comfortable and with the enhanced features Helikon-Tex brought the BDU trousers to the modern era. All in all the Helikon-Tex SFU Trousers are good quality and, that being considered, very inexpensive.
– Noble & Blue
Plenty of pockets
Maybe a bit too generous cut?
Calf pocket is absolutely useless
Waist adjustment cloth tabs
Calf pocket (This really needs to be mentioned again, it literally is so bad.)
This review was first published in the Noble & Blue. Noble & Blue is a small Finnish outdoor and tactical gear reviewing blog, that also shares stories of learning and adventure. Click here to know more about Noble & Blue
I received this product using my own funds to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.