I finally feel that I have had enough time with these pants to write a proper review on the! The pants at hand are the Triple Aught Design Recon RS pants, as the title suggests.
As a background story, I did not buy these off the shelf, but again second-hand from a local gear forum. And with these too I feel like I struck a real bargain, because the pants were not used at all! They actually were brand new, but did not fit the previous owner. So I saved some $34.00 from the actual price tag and got me some fresh new TAD pants with the price of used pants. I must have caught the luck of the Irish on me from my time staying there.
For those who do not know them already and have not read my previous reviews of their products, here is a short introduction to Triple Aught Design.
Triple Aught Design (TAD for short) is a California-based manufacturer of tactical inspired outdoor goods. Their maybe best known products are the award-winning FAST -line of backpacks and Ranger and Stealth hoodie product ranges. All of their products have high, military grade standards for materials and durability. Their work is well-known and loved throughout the military, LE and civilian adventurists alike.
Their designs have been more to the tactical side earlier on. But recently they have started to sway towards to more down to earth, “grey man” kind of products. This is a fact I will address further in another article in the future.
For more information, visit their website or read the introductions from my earlier reviews.
The Recon RS pants are one of the few different field pants designs TAD has. I have previously owned and reviewed the Covert RS pants, which I loved, so I had high hopes for these pants as well.
The Recon pants are too made of rip-stop fabric, consisting of 52% Nylon, 48% Cotton (6.50 oz) with a Durable Water Repellent treatment in them. So properly maintained these pants will hold some water off and can stand a lot of wear and tear in use.
The design is well reinforced in all the proper spots. The knees are darted for the ease of mobility, the crotch is gusseted, it has a back yoke for added support and bar tack reinforcing in all crucial stitching. Most seams also have triple or double stitching.
And as one would expect from EDC/field pants, the Recon pants have a ton of pockets for all your gadgets. The two hand pockets on top have two pockets inside them; a welt pocket on top and a smaller coin pocket lower inside the hand pocket. On the back you have two open-topped welt pockets.
On the thighs you have two inset cargo pockets with zippers. These are perhaps the nominal feature of these pants. They are not like other cargo pockets, that usually are large and on the side of the thigh. The inset pockets ride more in front of the thigh and are quite small and un-noticeable. The inset pockets are closed with YKK zippers.
Both the inset cargo pockets and the hand pockets have small flat cords inside them. You can attach small items with carabiners and keep your carry well in place.
And finally you have the hidden pocket. In the Recon pants the hidden pocket is on the inside turn of your fly. It is a small oblong welt pocket with some flat cord in it. Great for handcuff keys or emergency bills etc.
The fly is zippered with sturdy YKK zipper and a signature TAD slotted button on the top.
The Recon pants are offered in Chimera (brownish colour), Deception (dark grey), Multi-Environment Brown, or ME Brown (kind of a shade of coyote) and ME Green.
The pants cost $119.00 US dollars on the TAD website.
When I got these pants I thought that I will save these pants a bit, to be my “better pair” of EDC pants. Unlike the TAD Covert pants that I have given some hard time, these would be my “better” pair of EDC pants. And I have kept that idea, but for the purpose of finding out enough to write this review, I used the Recon pants on many different type occasions during my trip in the US. On the trip, and before that as well, I have tested the Recon’s ability to adapt to the city life.
The Recon pants, despite the name that brings in mind bushes and quiet scoping, are meant for EDC. So one would hope that they fit the street scene well. And well there are more than the one “ghillies and crawling” type of recon.
In my opinion the Recon pants are low-key enough not to draw any unwanted attention by evoking the word “military” in the mind of everybody. Sure, the inset cargo pockets are a bit odd. But compared to the regular type of cargo pockets, they might just be a hip new thing on pants for all people know.
Of course the air that the Recon’s have is that of an outdoors pant, especially in the Chimera colour way that I have them. But still it seems to me to be more subtle and generally more approved than that of other cargo pant types. Or maybe even that of the TAD Covert pants!
Only downside is the ripstop fabric. To someone who knows his or her military gear will spot proper RS fabric from clothes and that might be problem to some. The answer to this problem could be their Recon AC pant. It is made of their Amphibious Cloth (AC), that has better waterproof qualities than the DWR coated RS, and a little more regular look to the fabric. But then you would have to sacrifice durability, which would cost you in the field.
On the field the Recon pants work as one would hope for. The structure of the pants is rugged and you can tell it will not give in even in the toughest of situations.
I have worn them on a few hikes, some longer and more demanding, some easier and more relaxed outdoors walks. The hardest I have put them through so far is probably the short hike we did in Yosemite.
The hike from the Yosemite valley to the Colombia rock viewing point is not that long when just the length of it is measured. But the elevation gained on that short distance is quite something else.
The Colombia rock is about 1000 feet high up from the valley floor and that distance is covered in a serpentine pathway. The monotonous zigzagging and raising of one feet after the other is going to put your legs and your pants too on a test.
The Recons passed the test with flying colours. The trousers are not the most lightest pair you will have, that has to be said. But the cotton in the fabric lets the pants breathe adequately, ensuring a comfy feeling even during high intensity activity, like hiking.
Also the cut of the trousers is generous enough to allow freedom of movement, but sleek enough not to get snatched on branches or looks too baggy.
I have not yet allowed myself to take the Recons on the range. But as soon as I get the time to go, I will be sure to wear and test them. But I have tested short sprints, kneeling and climbing over obstacles and they have given me no issues. So there is no shadow of doubt that the Recon’s would deal with a combat situation with ease.
Other Observations and Minor Whinings
There are however a few things that bug me about the pants. First is the pockets. This might be due to the fact that the pair I have might be a bit snug for me, but having some items in the pockets is too bothersome.
Mainly I mean keys. I usually have my keys in the other hand pocket, attached to the cord with my Luava leather key loop, or a small carabiner. It is unnoticeable until I sit down, when it turns to spike ball pressing on my groin area.
Other problem is the inset cargo pockets. They are great for flat objects, like my wallet or even my huge cellphone. But sometimes I put my keys there, because the pockets are easy and quick to use standing up. But again, when you sit down the bunch of metal sticks real deep into your thighs. Not nice.
Also the zipper pulls put a strain on the fabric on top of them. Quite quickly I noticed that the parts where the pulls are underneath show marks of higher scuffing than other areas of the cloth. This of course is due to the raise in the fabric. Over a long period of time this might cause the fabric to wear through. But then again considering the durability of the RS fabric, by that time the pants will be unusable anyway.
The zippered fly works ok, the YKK quality ensures that. But I am a believer in buttoned fronts in pants, and I wish the Recon’s would have buttoned fly, like the TAD Covert pants have.
This next point might again be due to the slight snugness of my pair of Recon’s. But the welt pocket on the hand pockets is a bit unneccessary in my opinion. It fits small flat objects quite nicely, like a Leatherman, or a smaller folding knife. Items are easy to put in it, but accessing the pockets contents is quite bothersome and crouching with something in them is a pain.
Conclusion and Notes
I do not want to sound fanboyish here, but to me the TAD EDC pants work. The Recon pant is a well-engineered garment with top-notch materials, so what is there not to like? I am quite sure not all will enjoy the peculiar looking inset cargo pockets, but in my personal opinion the pockets work and look cool.
If you are looking for a pair of all-around EDC pants, with limited carry capabilities and high durability, I definitely recommend the Recon’s. In short, these pants can take a beating on the trail or field, but also will look good on the street and still help you maintain your level of preparedness. If you are living/ operating in hot, humid environments, or with water, you might want to consider the AC version of the pants.
I will make a comparison article between the Covert and Recon pants, hopefully soon! Also, Triple Aught Design has started to put out more gray-manish garments and equipment in the past year or so. I actually bought a few of their newer “non-tactical” shirts on my US trip and after some adequate testing and musing, I will write a piece on those too and maybe reflect on the change in their image. So be on the look out for those, if the brand interests you.
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Adventure on, friends!
Likes and Dislikes
Tightness with larger items in pockets
Five points assessment
This article 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 and to read more articles like this.
I received this product via my own funds 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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