Commonly there are two types of work pants, your everyday jeans that get a little past "casual" and new work pant made from a thicker more sturdy material, like you find with Carhartt pants. The folk at Blaklader (forgive us for not making the squiggles over the As) have taken the professional work pant to an entirely new level. We got a pair of the Bantam Pants with Utility Pockets to test out and had found we were very surprised, frankly how many little details went into to making these work pants.
Our thoughts before we received the Blakladers: Work pants with knee pads, that’s pretty cool. Is the Bantam with 8oz cotton going to be heavy duty enough for me or do I need the Heavy Workers we saw on the guys at the BrickLayer 500? Do these Swedish guys seriously sell work Kilts?
Once we received the Blakladers: The Bantam 8oz ($44, Amazon) is definitely a heavy duty work pant, the Brawny 12oz ($54, Amazon) would be really serious, probably alright for outdoors work in the winter and the Heavy Worker 12oz ($55, Amazon) poly-blend would feel like cardboard the first few wears and probably best suited for masonry and other trades in seriously abusive environments. Yes, they do sell utility kilts, but not very many, more just to be funny we think. These pants have many more features than just knee pads and triple stitching that make them them a serious work pant. We highlighted some of the features below.
Pant Pockets: How do you improve a pocket, was our first thought. All the pockets are folded at the bottom and then sew over which means at the bottom of the pocket there is no seem just folded material which is much stronger. The front pockets also are sewn on the outside of the leg material so they are heavy duty cotton all the way around, not flimsy white cotton you find in your regular jean pockets. The back pockets are lined with Cordura (a synthetic fabric from DuPont, 10x stronger than cotton), this feature really blew us away because clearly it raised their production cost but nobody notices it before they buy them. They still felt it was important for the longevity of the pants and that attention to detail is very impressive and not lost on us at all.
Utility Pockets: The front pockets are optional and would be unnecessary if you preferred using a tool belt or one of their tool vests. The pockets are a good size and perfect for wire nuts or even nails and screws. Similar though went into these pockets with no seem at the bottom and 45 degree cuts on the corners to make it easier to reach those last few screws. The utility pockets also fit nicely inside the regular front pockets so when the work day is done and it’s time to catch happy hour they look more like regular pants.
Leg Pockets & Tool Holders: Again a lot of thought went into these side pockets, the right hand tool pocket (ideal for pliers or screwdrivers) is made with a flap so you are not jabbing yourself in the leg when you knee. The left hand security pockets have a button and Velcro and are fit an iPhone very nicely. Even the hammer is made from a webbing material that surly is not going to break easily.
Knee Pads: This was the first feature we noticed about these pants and still probably the most useful. The knee pad pockets are again made of the super strong Cordura material to ensure long life. They actually insert from the bottom which makes them a little harder to put in and take out after the work day (when wearing them) but they do this to ensure no debris ever gets into the pocket which could come in between the pad and knee, making for an uncomfortable situation. The “light duty” (don’t be fooled by the name) knee pads themselves are very comfortable for kneeing. The light duty indicates not for 40 hour/week use like the “heavy duty” pads. For use several times a day on smaller jobs these pads provide more than adequate comfort in our opinion.
Overall: Clearly our thought, if it wasn’t clear, is these are very nice work pants. It was really the little details that would otherwise go unnoticed that impressed us the most. Did we mention the lifetime warranty on stitching? Apparently these guys really stand behind their pants. On their website it says “Every pocket, seam, button and fabric must be a beacon of functionality.” and after wear them for a few weeks we are believers they actually mean it. More pictures in this photo album.