Cargo Pants: These Work Pants Are Officially Cool Again

cargo pants
Courtesy of Gap & Banana Republic
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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.

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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

BEST OVERALL

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.

Uniqlo Men's Cargo Jogger Pants Courtesy of Uniqlo

Uniqlo Men’s Cargo Jogger Pants

$39.90

  

2. Banana Republic Organic Cargo Pant

RUNNER UP

A mid-rise cargo approach made with organically-grown cotton? Banana Republic has hit the nail on these ones. Whoever thought that cargo pants couldn’t look good-looking in formal scenarios was dead wrong. Dress these up for work or down for play by pairing them with the perfect shirt, jacket and shoes for your setting. Each pair of pants has a slightly rugged, worn feel you actually want draped over your legs. They’re tapered from the knee down to pull the look entirely together and come in a number of colors depending on individual preference.

Banana Republic Organic Cargo Pant Courtesy of Banana Republic

Banana Republic Organic Cargo Pant

$109.00

  

3. GapFlex Easy Cargo Pants with E-Waist

MOST STRAIGHTFORWARD

From a visual standpoint, these cargo pants are some of the most straightforward you’ve seen, right? They’ve got the shape, the pockets, the colors. Sneakily enough, these GapFlex cargo pants have gone the extra mile to bring wearers more comfort than they’d ever expect. These pants have an e-waist to give you that much-needed post-quarantine wiggle room to keep you cozy all day long. They’re complete with stretch technology which allows you to move better than you could imagine.

ON SALE!
GapFlex Easy Cargo Pants with E-Waist Courtesy of Gap

GapFlex Easy Cargo Pants with E-Waist

$48.00

  

4. Carhartt Men’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pant

BEST FOR WORK

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

Carhartt Men’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pant

$49.99

  

5. Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Cargo Pants

BEST SWEATPANTS

For athletic cargo pants for men, we turn to Nike. The Nike Sportswear Club Fleece 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.

Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Cargo Pants Courtesy of Nike

Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Cargo Pants

$55.00

  

6. River Island Cargos

BEST FOR STREETWEAR

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 takes 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

River Island Cargos

$80.00

    

7. Wrangler Denim Loose Fit Cargo Jean

BEST 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 Wrangler Denim Loose Fit Cargo Jean.

They wouldn’t be here at all if they didn’t have cargo pockets with button closures, but they’re also totally in-style due to the extra baggy approach. To top everything off, these Wranglers are just $26. Yup, $26. Just don’t buy up the whole store, got it?

Wrangler Denim Loose Fit Cargo Jean Courtesy of Wrangler

Wrangler Denim Loose Fit Cargo Jean

$26.00

  

8. H&M Cargo Joggers

BEST ALL-BLACK

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 Cargo Joggers 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 Cargo Joggers Courtesy of H&M

H&M Cargo Joggers

$39.99

  

9. Shein Letter Graphic Flap Pocket Drawstring Waist Cargo Pants

MOST AFFORDABLE

The Devil wears Shein now.

If you’re into fashion and you’ve yet to have ever heard of Shein, you’re not into fashion. This is a fast-fashion brand that offers clothing at extremely low pricing. Yeah, it might not be the best option for purchasing clothes due to a whole slew of reasons, but we couldn’t help but to fall in love with these gorgeous drawstring cargo pants. They’re covered in a blue-all-over color and stay true to size. Each is tapered at the bottom, making them a jogger/cargo combo we can’t get enough of.

Letter Graphic Flap Pocket Drawstring Waist Cargo Pants Courtesy of Shein

Shein Letter Graphic Flap Pocket Drawstring Waist Cargo Pants

$24.00

  

10. Old Navy Ultimate Tech Cargo Pants

BEST IN BEIGE

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.

$5 OFF!
Old Navy Slim Taper Ultimate Tech Cargo Pants for Men in khaki Courtesy of Old Navy

Old Navy Ultimate Tech Cargo Pants for Men

$50.00

  

11. Liquor N Poker Leopard Print Cargo Pants

BEST PATTERN

We’re all about kooky patterns here at Spy. Because why not? Blacks, whites and other neutrals are obviously great, but life’s way too short to not consider a fun pattern every once in a while. That being said, enter these wild-printed cargo pants that will make you look like one of the dopest animals in the jungle. These cargo pants are drenched in pockets and nicely merge the jogger and cargo pant look together well.

Liquor N Poker Leopard Print Cargo Pants Courtesy of ASOS

Liquor N Poker Leopard Print Cargo Pants

$64.00

  

12. Todd Snyder x Champion Utility Cargo Sweatpant

BEST COLLAB

You can’t hate on a collaboration — especially when the collab’s between two of fashion’s most iconic brands. Recently, Todd Snyder and Champion have united to drop a slew of looks we never knew we needed, and within this drop included the brand-new Utility Cargo Sweatpant. These pants merge the jogger and cargo aesthetic together into one of the coziest, best-looking sweats of the year. They’re made from a 20oz reverse weave that outperforms the make of numerous sweatpants today. Also, expect a vintage look that diminishes the potential for shrinkage.

Todd Snyder x Champion Utility Cargo Sweatpant Courtesy of Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder x Champion Utility Cargo Sweatpant

$168.00

  

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

BEST FIT

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

Wrangler Men’s Classic Twill Relaxed Fit Cargo Pant

$32.99

  

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

BEST DICKIES

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.

Dickies Men's Relaxed Straight-Fit Cargo Work Pant Courtesy of Amazon

Dickies Men’s Relaxed Straight-Fit Cargo Work Pant

$34.99

  

15. CQR Men’s Tactical Pants

GREAT PRICE

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

CQR Men’s Tactical Pants

$39.98

  

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