Cargo Pants: These Work Pants Are Officially Cool Again

best cargo pants
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Blame society or the patriarchy or whatever but men can’t walk around with any bag resembling a purse without getting serious side-eye from every other person. It’s stupid for sure, but that’s why fate invented cargo pants for men, so we could actually carry all the things we need when we go out.

What are cargo pants?

Perhaps you’re due for a refresher on cargo pants. Cargo pants are basically any pant with extra pockets beyond the two standard side pockets and two back pockets. Typically, that takes the form of two large pockets somewhere on the sides of the legs. Cargo pants were originally loose-fitting pants designed for tough, outdoorsy conditions in keeping with their military origins. While some might think they can look funny, especially when overstuffed with things, nobody can deny that pants with extra pockets are extremely useful when you’re loaded down.

So, are cargo pants hip again?

First of all, they were never not hip. OK, maybe cargo pants lost some of their luster in the ‘90s and early aughts, but the rise of streetwear brought them back and, in many cases, reworked designs for modern sensibilities (otherwise known as making cargo pants joggers).

But cargo pants were never not cool for their role as workwear staples, and those men looking for rough-and-tumble cargo pants made for actually doing stuff, while also carrying what you need, will have classic and new options to choose from.

So whether you’re trying to carry a bunch of junk or tools or just trying to give off some casual streetwear vibes, cargo pants are the solution you need.

That’s why we’ve rounded up cargo pants for men from some of our favorite brands. Some are more utilitarian and will hold up to work better while others are more for casual or athletic style. But regardless, they’re all incredibly useful when you’ve got too much to stuff for your standard front pockets. So check out our picks of the best cargo pants for men below and quit overstuffing your main pockets once and for all.


1. Uniqlo Men’s Cargo Jogger Pants

We’re not sure when it happened — it was gradual, for sure — but Uniqlo has become one of our first go-tos for trendy, well-made, reasonably priced basics. Unsurprisingly, the Uniqlo Men’s Cargo Jogger Pants look trendy and are fairly priced for their quality.

They’re designed to look sleek, with a slim fit and taper cut, while still delivering the casual feel and utility of cargo pants, thanks to the standard six pockets (two front, two back and two cargo).

If we were looking for some cheap, comfortable, fashion-forward, jogger-style cargo pants, these would be close to the top of our list.

Man wears khaki Uniqlo Cargo Jogger Pant Courtesy of Uniqlo


2. Zara Cropped Cargo Pants

You can always trust Zara for a more trendy, refined take on clothing, and that’s exactly what the brand delivers with its Cropped Cargo Pants.

These pants combine big carpenter style pockets, two cargo pockets, pleats and a cuffed hem for a look that says “I’m ready to work in style.” Made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane, these pants are comfortable, with a critical bit of stretch too. Pick them up in stone, black and a greenish khaki.

Zara Cropped Cargo Pants in stone Courtesy of Zara


3. River Island Cargos

For cargo pants with street flair, you can’t do much better than the River Island Cargos. Made from a cotton canvas fabric, these cargo pants aren’t meant for work so much as looking cool and feeling comfortable. Zip side pockets, cargo leg pockets and back pocket take care of your gear, and elastic cuffs and a tapered leg keep you on-trend. Storage plus style? That’s a win-win.

Man wears River Island cargo pants Courtesy of Asos


4. Nike Club Cargo Pants

For athletic cargo pants for men, we turn to Nike. The Nike Club Cargo Pants are made from a soft brushed fabric for next-level comfort. They’re standard fit, but because they’re jogger-style sweatpants they still look modern and fitted enough to roll around town in style and still loaded up, courtesy of the two extra cargo pockets.

Man wears Nike Club Cargo Pants Courtesy of Amazon


5. PacSun Medium Indigo Slim Taper Cargo Jeans

There are a ton of khaki-style and work-forward cargo pants out there, but there are great cargo pants jeans too, like the PacSun Medium Indigo Slim Taper Cargo Jeans.

They wouldn’t be here at all if they didn’t have cargo pockets with zipper closures, but they’re also flattering thanks to the slim fit and tapered legs. Lastly, they’re extremely wearable thanks to the cotton-elastane blend fabric.

Man wears PacSun Medium Indigo Slim Taper Cargo Pants Jeans Courtesy of PacSun


6. H&M Slim Fit Cargo Pants

Ahhhhh, H&M, we wish we could quit you. But we probably won’t because fly basics are as in as they ever were. The H&M Slim Fit Cargo Pants won’t last forever, but you’ll be styling in them for as long as they do. These more jogger-style cargo pants are slim fit, with a close fit at the thighs, knees and ankles, for a tailored look in a stretch cotton twill. But of course, we love them for their two snap cargo pockets too.

H&M Slim Fit Cargo Pants in green Courtesy of H&M


7. Topman Cropped Wide-Leg Cargo Pants

If you’re not keyed into pants fashion trends, we are here to tell you that wide crop pants are officially in. That’s why we love these Cropped Wide-Leg Cargo Pants from Topman. With their wide-crop leg opening, herringbone-patterned fabric and extra cargo pockets, they actually make cargo pants cool again. Pick them up in multiple colors, including olive, black and navy.

Topman Cropped Wide Leg Cargo Pants Courtesy of Topman


8. Old Navy Ultimate Tech Cargo Pants for Men

Old Navy may have a reputation as Gap’s cheaper cousin (which, to be fair, it is in many ways), but that doesn’t mean Old Navy isn’t producing highly wearable clothing. The Old Navy Ultimate Tech Cargo Pants for Men are your traditional cargo pants just with more modern materials, an updated fit and nice little details.

The pants are lightweight and breathable with some stretch in the fabric and the elastic waistband for best in comfort. They’re soft on the first wear thanks to a pre-wash with a silicone softener, and moisture-wicking tech helps keep the pants dry, which should be doable thanks to the 17% nylon in the fabric.

And in a nice touch, the pockets are lined with a soft material to help keep your phone clean.

Old Navy Slim Taper Ultimate Tech Cargo Pants for Men in khaki Courtesy of Old Navy


9. Zara Technical Cargo Pants

We try not to overload a single brand because lots of brands make great cargo pants for men, but we couldn’t resist including another pair from Zara, the Technical Cargo Pants.

While the Zara Cropped Cargo Pants still keep one hand in the past, the Technical Cargo Pants are all the way in the future. They’ve got a streamlined appearance, with flat back pockets, a tapered leg with velcro cuffs and an elastic waistband. The pants themselves are made from a polyamide-polyester-elastane blend, giving the material that silky appearance with plenty of stretch for comfort or any spontaneous activities.

Overall, we think these Zara pants are some of the coolest and easiest-to-wear cargo pants you could pick up today, so if those are your goals, go for these Technical Cargo Pants.

Zara Technical Cargo Pants in green Courtesy of Zara


10. Theory Zaine Pants

For some super modern, lightweight cargo pants, check out the Theory Zaine Pants. They’re almost like a modern version of basketball sweats you’d see in the ‘90s. They’re made from a lightweight, non-stretch technical weave of nylon and polyurethane, with elastic cuffs and an elastic waistband. Taken altogether, these pants are as good for a run outside on a warm day as they are for hanging around the house. But unlike a lot of other cargo pants, you’ll feel modern and cool while wearing them.

Theory Zaine Cargo Pants in black Courtesy of East Dane


11. Stone Island Pocket Pants

Sure, you can get any old cargo pants out there for a heck of a lot less than the cost of these Stone Island Pocket Pants. But then you wouldn’t be wearing Stone Island (and flexing on all your friends), would you?

These pants not only give your bragging rights among the boys, but they’re also just well-made cargo pants. The tapered fit is flattering without being too slim, the pants are made from 97% cotton twill alongside 3% elastane and there are seven total pockets for whatever you need to bring for the day.

Stone Island Pocket Cargo Pants Courtesy of Stone Island


12. Carhartt Men’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pant

For a more work-oriented cargo pant, we love the Carhartt Men’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pant.

We like these pants for their added utility while somehow not managing to look, well, awkward and terrible like the cargo pants of your childhood.

Though these cargo pants aren’t slim, they’re more fitted than more basic cargo pants, which actually makes them wearable even if you aren’t using the added pockets. But they also stick to their workwear roots. The crotch is gusseted for added comfort and flexibility, the knees have double-fronts and the ripstop 100% cotton fabric resists tearing.

Man wears green Carhartt Ripstop Cargo Work Pants Courtesy of Amazon


13. Wrangler Men’s Classic Twill Relaxed Fit Cargo Pant

If you’re looking for some of the best basic cargo pants for men, you can’t not consider the Wrangler Men’s Classic Twill Relaxed Fit Cargo Pant. You won’t find any radical fits or extra frills here. These pants are basic, casual and simply meant to give you two extra pockets to carry your things around in comfort.

Man wears military khaki Wrangler Classic Twill Relaxed Fit Cargo Pants Courtesy of Amazon


14. Dickies Men’s Relaxed Straight-Fit Cargo Work Pant

Of course, if you’re in the market for the best basic cargo pants for men, you also have to consider Dickies Men’s Relaxed Straight-Fit Cargo Work Pant. Nobody does basic workwear as well as Dickies and these cargo pants have a surprising amount going for them in addition to their two roomy cargo pockets, such as study hardware and fade- and wrinkle-resistant cotton-polyester fabric.

Man wears black Dickies Relaxed Straight Fit Cargo Work Pants Courtesy of Amazon


15. CQR Men’s Tactical Pants

For some work-friendly cargo pants that really take the cargo to the next level, you should check out the CQR Men’s Tactical Pants.

With these pants, you get eight — yup, count ‘em, eight — cargo pockets of varying sizes. Plus the pants also repel liquids and dirt and are also resistant to fade, wrinkles, shrinking and tears, courtesy of the ripstop cotton-polyester fabric.

Whether you’re going for a hike or just headed outside for a long day, these CQR cargo pants will carry everything you need and many things you don’t need.

Man wears black CQR Tactical Ripstop Cargo pants Courtesy of Amazon


16. Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers

Swedish outdoor equipment manufacturer Fjallraven knows a thing or two about making warm, durable clothing because it’s only constantly freezing in Sweden. The company brings that first-hand experience to bear with its Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers. These pants offer plenty of storage with two sizable side cargo pockets, but what makes these pants great is how hard you can work them. They not only have reinforced knees but a reinforced seat too so you won’t even get rips on your butt accidentally.

Man wears dark Fjallraven Vidda Pro Cargo Pants Courtesy of Nordstrom


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