The best active men's cargo pants you can buy for work or outdoors
- Cargo pants are comfy, rugged, and great for the outdoors.
- Fit and fabrics have come a long way since the baggy pants of the 1990s.
- Our best pick, the Mammut Zinal, is comfy, durable, and offers a range of fit options.
When you hear the words "cargo pants," you might then think either "adventure" or "Sporty Spice." If you're in the latter camp, I'm here to show you the light. There's no doubt that the Spice Girls and Old Navy made thigh pockets cool back in the 1990s, but it's 2019 and things have changed a lot since you could buy a cassette from Sam Goody. These days, men's adventure pants fit well, use performance materials, and don't make you look like you just walked off the set of a safari-themed game show.
My wife got me a pair of active cargo pants to rock-climb in, about two years ago. Up until then, I was strictly split in my clothing: spandex for cycling and running, jeans and slacks for the times when I wasn't sweating. I didn't see the need for a middle ground, but I wore those cargo pants so much that I acquired two more pairs in an REI sale, and since then I have become something of an aficionado of the genre.
These days, I often go from the climbing gym to a restaurant or bar, and I like to be dressed appropriately in both places. Also, as someone living with diabetes, my pockets are always stuffed with the things I need, so the extra storage is very helpful. Even if you don't find yourself having many "trail to tavern" days, cargo pants are a great option for hiking, airports (hello, passport pocket), yard work, and everyday wear in informal environments. Modern cargo pants are athletically cut, meaning they'll stretch with your legs as you move, and breathe with your body as you heat up. This makes for a comfortable experience whether you're sending a peak or sitting in a plane.
Here are the best active men's cargo pants you can buy:
- Best active men's cargo pants overall: Mammut Zinal
- Best for the classic look: Sherpa Adventure Gear Gurkhali
- Best active men's cargo pants for travel: Icebreaker Connection
- Best for guys who live in jeans: Backcountry Workwear
- Best active men's cargo pants for fit: Mountain Hardwear AP
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