5.11's new Quest Pants and Base Shorts are unbelievably comfortable.
If you are a regular conceal carrier, you know the importance of a quality pair of pants for maintaining comfort while carrying a firearm all day. Even more important than that is finding a pair that is both durable and comfortable.
We recently got the chance to try out 5.11 Tactical's new CCW-ready pants and men's base shorts and they are some of the most comfortable we have ever worn.
Read on to find out how 5.11 Tactical continues to produce some of the best outerwear on the market for shooters and guys just looking for the most clothing in existence.
5.11 Tactical Quest Pants
I already owned a pair of tactical pants from 5.11 that I bought several years ago, and they have been the best pair of pants I have ever owned, for concealed carry or otherwise. While I regularly conceal carry a Glock 19 inside the waistband in an Alien Gear holster with them, the pants proved to be so comfortable, I found myself using them in situations where I am unable to carry too.
So, given the chance to try the Quest Pants, I was excited, but did not think they could improve upon what I already owned. Especially with a pair of pants that was well-worn and broken in by this point. I was wrong. The Quest Pants are made up of a cotton, polyester and elastane twill body that makes them surprisingly light and soft to the touch. The tactical men's quest pants are as comfortable as a pair of Under Armour or sweat pants. Only these are going to be more socially acceptable for wearing in public or for casual work environments.
The Quest features an excellent hem guard in the waistband. The company says this includes "4-way stretch comfort waist panels." Not only does this extra attention on the waistline make the pants more comfortable, it also means there are few spots for your holster or firearm to snag, which is important in a defensive scenario. The belt loops on these pants feel especially reinforced, which is another important factor for concealed carry. Odds are, you will be using a heavy gun belt with these pants to support the weight of the firearm. The pants will not do you any good if the loops are not holding.
Now I know what some of you may be thinking. If these cargo pants are made from such a soft, comfortable fabric, will they print my firearm while I am carrying? I had the same concern and I am happy to report I had no issues with my gun or holster showing with these pants. How did 5.11 make such a great fitting pant with no trade offs on concealment? We have no idea, but color us impressed.
Of course, a tactical pair of pants also needs a lot of storage options. There is no shortage here, 5.11 managed to put eight pockets into this pair of pants. The front hand pockets are roomy and deep for a variety of flashlights, multi-tools or your cell phone. The back pockets are not super deep, but the rear hip pockets are. Those hip pockets are quite discreet and have a small strip of Velcro to help secure you wallet easily from potential pick pockets. The front thigh utility pockets are so discreet that I did not even realize they were there are first. They are slim enough to easily slip an extra magazine of ammo into without printing.
Fortunately, 5.11 did not just focus on the stretch panels, pockets and waistband. They also reinforced the bottom cuff of the pants and included gusseted legs and a spacious, articulated knee that makes it easier to do repetitive tasks in these pants. I am not sure I would classify these as hardcore work pants for someone who is moving all day on a factory floor, but the stretch fabric, comfortable inseams and other features make these perfect for guys who work in casual environments where they might occasionally have to do physical work moving boxes or other heavy items around.
5.11 Tactical Men's Base Shorts
With summer coming up fast, you do not always want to wear pants. That was why I also jumped at the chance to try out the company's new lightweight base shorts. These shorts feature an 11-inch inseam. The material here feels nearly identical to the Quest Pants, but 5.11 says these are made of a mechanical stretch polyester fabric instead of the elastane supreme twill that makes up most of the pants. Once again, they are quite comfortable. The company also included a running gusset in these shorts to make them compatible for a large range of motions not often seen in tactical shorts.
Obviously, there is less room on a pair of shorts for storage, but 5.11 somehow managed to fit seven hydrophyllic pockets into these shorts. This includes the dual back yoke utility pockets which are surprisingly roomy. There is enough room for a flashlight, a pocketknife or even an extra magazine in these shorts.
5.11 does not generally advertise these shorts as being for concealed carry. That seems to be something they reserve for their Apex Shorts and Stealth Shorts. However, I went out and made a run to a sporting goods store while carrying in these shorts anyway. Once again, it was the same setup as the pants. Glock 19, Alien Gear IWB 3.0. No printing, no problems. The contoured waistband is not quite as comfortable as the Quest Pants, but for a pair of shorts, it is not bad. These are some of the most comfortable shorts I have ever worn.
Since we are already talking about holsters and carrying in the summertime, one big problem that gets most people about carrying in summer is sweat. It can get rather uncomfortable with a heavy holster and you are over-heating from high temperatures. In extreme cases it can lead to some bad chafing along your body where your holster rests. However, these tactical base shorts are extremely light and have some great moisture wicking performance. I did not have any of the problems I've had wearing cargo shorts and carrying this time of year.
Even if you do not carry concealed, these are great shorts for hiking, fishing or even just travel during the warm summer months. If you are fortunate enough to work in an environment where you can wear shorts, they are stylish enough for that too.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for new pants and shorts, the 5.11 Quest Pants and Base Shorts are a solid buy. They offer incredible comfort but look nice enough to wear to work. My only advice would be to look at the size chart carefully. I ordered the same size pants as last time and was left wishing I had ordered just slightly larger. The pants feel just a hair too short, but that was on me and not the pants themselves.
Other than that, for work, play or concealed carry, 5.11 has another couple of winners with these products!