Review: 5.11 Tactical Apex Pant – Marriage of Purpose and Comfort

511 apex pant

The folks over at 5.11 Tactical came up with a pair of pants which I think will please the pickiest of tactical shoppers. I’m going to come right out and drop a bold statement: The 5.11 Apex pants are the best pair of pants I have ever worn in my life. I was very excited to try these, and I’m equally excited to share my thoughts here on the Military Backpack Guide. Let’s not delay any more, and get right to it.

Overview

The Apex pants are marketed as a “next-gen cargo pant” ideal for tactical, casual or covert wear. I’ll expand on that, and argue that I think these pants are ideal for every situation imaginable. I can’t think of any reason not to wear these pants. The “cargo” part of the pant is very low key and almost indiscernible. The Apex pant is available in (7) colors which are Black, TDU Green, Dark Navy, Battle Brown, Tundra, Khaki and Storm(sort of a light grey). Available waist sizes range from 28″-44″ in even numbers except 31″, 33″ and 35″ sizes. Inseams are 30″, 32″, 34″ and 36″.

The Apex pants are constructed of 6.4oz Flex-Tac® which is 511’s own blend of mechanical stretch Polyester and Cotton which is also Teflon® treated. This fabric is definitely stretchy, but feels really durable as well. I haven’t had these pants very long, and have only worn them about 8 times or so as of right now, so only time will tell. As with most things, 511-apex-pant-frontlongevity will vary depending on how you’re utilizing your gear.

No shortage of pockets on these bad boys either. There are a total of (8) visible pockets if you’re including the rear pockets which are essentially a two-for-one. Each side of the rear has a large, normal sized back pocket, and just inside that, there is an almost half-sized pocket as well, which serves quite well for a couple extra pistol magazines, but is also perfectly sized for an AR magazine. Inside each of the side cargo pockets, you’ll find (2) AR sized pockets close to the leg, and then the full sized cargo pocket itself. The Apex also has a few covert pockets. Inside the waist band, you’ll find a spot for flex cuffs, and another small pocket inside the rear waist band area. There’s also a small pocket on the inside of the left leg cuff – that’s the most covert of them all. So, visible, hidden and covert, these pants have a whopping 15 usable pockets in all.

511-apex-pant-magazine-cargo-pocket

Inside of cargo pocket with a 9mm Glock magazine

The stitching and general design of these pants is well thought out. There are multiple locations which are Bartacked for strength, and the fabric is gusseted in all the right places. 5.11 also threw in some locking(more on this in the next section) YKK zippers – no expense spared? Check.

Notable Features

511-apex-pant-boot-cuff-pocket

Hard to see but this is the little pocket inside the left leg cuff

The first footnote in this section is going to be the stretchy waistband. I’m a 34×32 and these pants fit me perfectly. However, there have been times(particularly the last 2 months of every year) when that 34 may or may not become closer to a 35. For that reason, my hat’s off to 5.11 for the stretchy waistband, because it’s not only perfect for those of you who carry a firearm inside the waist, but equally perfect if you carry an extra inch of waist itself at certain times during the year. What happens though, when you’re out of shape and you carry inside the waistband? Don’t answer.

Also worthy of a special shout, are the locking YKK zippers. I had actually never heard of a locking zipper until I saw these pants. I noticed the feature on or about the second donning of these pants, and it’s a pretty neat idea. If the zipper tab is straight up or straight down, it will not unzip. If the zipper tab is perpendicular however, it’s unlocked and easily glides up or down. Not sure how important of a feature that will be to many folks, but I for one, really like it, and it’s something you won’t find on a cheaper pair of pants.

Pros

  • Comfort – you’ve just got to try them to see what I’m talking about.
  • Locking zipper
  • Stretchy waistband
  • Almost no printing when the pockets are reasonably loaded up

Cons

Move along folks – nothing to see here. I guess if you haven’t actually had these pants on your body, you could argue the $80 price tag. But believe me, once you don a pair of Apex pants for the first time, you’re going to forget about the cost. Not only that, but these pants are so well made, they’re easily worth the price anyhow. Again, take me at my word – you can thank me in the comments:)

Conclusion

You have got to try a pair of 5.11 Apex pants. I have only one pair of these, and it’s in Dark Navy, but I’m considering grabbing a few more pairs in various other colors because they’re just so damn comfortable. Easily my favorite pair of pants to date, and ones which I will grab for more than anything else I own. Plenty of pockets so you’ll have no shortage of places to put gear, and to top it all off, they look great! In what universe does a pair of tactical pants look nice enough to wear out to a casual dinner with your spouse?

5.11 Tactical did an absolute superb job with their Apex pants, and I highly suggest you pick up a pair – you won’t be disappointed.

Questions?

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Meet the Author

I'm a former US Marine, full-time father and husband, and part-time survivalist. I like old things, like music, furniture and time-tested survival technique, but there's always a place in my heart for new technology such as weapons and sleeping bag fill. I'm here to share my knowledge and experience, and I hope you'll share yours as well.