Cargo Pants: These Work Pants Are Officially Cool Again

cargo pants
Courtesy of Gap & Banana Republic

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For some odd reason, people seem to think that cargo pants are never and will never be in style. But, we’re here to strike down those notions, as the multi-pocket pants are in demand more than ever. Sure, they may have lost their appeal a few years back, but with the rise of streetwear and casual dressing, cargo pants have become a staple piece in many men’s wardrobes.

What Are Cargo Pants?

Perhaps you’re due for a refresher on cargo pants. Cargo pants are basically any pair of pants 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. The multi-functional pants derive from the military, as they were part of British soldiers’ uniforms. Cargo pants were originally designed with a loose fit to hold up against tough, outdoorsy conditions in keeping with their military origins.

Are Cargo Pants Really In?

Well, to be completely honest cargo pants were never really out to begin with. The pants are just now receiving the recognition they seemingly deserve, thanks to their reworked designs for modern sensibilities (otherwise known as making cargo pants joggers and sweatpants).

But cargo pants were always cool for their role as workwear staples. Those men looking for rough-and-tumble cargo pants made for actually doing stuff, while also carrying what they need, will have classic and new options to choose from.

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

For all these reasons, we’ve rounded up the best cargo pants for men from some of our favorite brands. Some are more utilitarian and will hold up to work needs better, while others are more for casual or athletic style. But regardless, they’re all incredibly useful when you’ve got too much 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. Ralph Lauren Canvas Cargo Pants

BEST OVERALL

Ralph Lauren is an all-American brand that has been giving us classic staples since the ’60s, and these men’s cargo pants from them are just another reason why they’re still at the top of their game. They’re made of a cotton canvas and designed to have a vintage look. The pants have a relaxed fit that sits comfortably on the waist. They offer plenty of storage space, thanks to their two front snapped pockets, a cargo pocket at each thigh, and two back snapped pockets. You can pair these cargo pants with an oversized sweater and your favorite sneakers for the perfect casual fit. If you want a more thought-out fit, layer up with a classic button-up shirt, a cashmere sweater on top of that, then roll up the hem of the pants and finish off the look with some work boots.

Ralph Lauren Canvas Cargo Pants Courtesy of Amazon

  

2. G-Starr Raw Cargo 3D Straight Tapered Pants

RUNNER UP

If you’re looking for some cargo pants that are big on style and comfort, then you can’t go wrong with this pair from G-Star Raw. Made from soft, durable twill fabric, these cargo pants aren’t meant for work so much as looking cool and feeling comfortable. Of course, that comes with an obscene amount of pockets with inset pockets, a coin pocket, cargo leg pockets and back pockets with hidden snap closures. The pants have a slim fit that compliments your body nicely. Not to mention, they are a pleasure to wear as they are made with elastane for added stretch and easier movement. The pants come in three color options: asphalt, dune and gray.

G-Starr Raw Cargo 3D Straight Tapered Pants Courtesy of G-Star Raw

  

3. Arc’Teryx Rush Pant

BEST FOR WINTER ACTIVITIES

These may not have the traditional cargo pant design, but they pack all of the same functionality. The rush pants from Arc’Teryx are the best staple to have for any winter-based activity. They’re made of windproof and breathable textile designed to protect against the harshest of weather. Durably constructed, these pants will last you for years on end, giving you many trips to the slopes. You can layer up in these with no problem as they have a straight, relaxed fit with plenty of room. And yes, the bottoms have tons of room to store anything you might need with pockets on both thighs.

  

4. MNML Snap Zipper II Cargo Pants

BEST DESIGN

Anyone who wants a pair of cargo pants with a modern twist should definitely start shopping with MNML. The LA-based brand designs affordable, high-quality streetwear pieces. What makes them so great is that they’re solely e-commerce-based, keeping their prices low without markups. These pants have a nylon construction that is lightweight and breathable. The design is a fresh take on classic cargo pants, featuring a four snap closure on the side of both legs with a zipper underneath. Plus, they have a Velcro closure at the end of the leg that opens up and a built-in nylon belt.

MNML Snap Zipper II Cargo Pants Courtesy of MNML

  

5. PacSun Utility Olive Slim Cargo Pants

BEST FIT

Of course, if you’re in the market for some new cargo pants for men, you can’t skip out on PacSun’s Utility Olive Slim Cargo Pants. These pants have a trendy design that will take your outfit to the next level. They are canvas construction adding to the durability of the pants overall, giving you multiple wears out of them. With this pair of pants, they’ll sit comfortably on your waist and you can tighten or loosen them to your preference using the elastic waistband drawstring. For the perfect outfit, style the cargo pants with a hoodie, oversized puffer vest and finish it off with some low-top sneakers.

PacSun Utility Olive Slim Cargo Pants Courtesy of Pacsun

  

6. Sonoma Goods For Life Straight-Fit Cargo Pants

BEST VALUE

We’re all about a good deal here at SPY, especially when an item is half-priced. This is why we had to recommend these Sonoma Goods For Life Straight-Fit Cargo Pants from Kohls. 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. They’re made from a blend of cotton and spandex, making them super comfortable to wear all day. They feature a flatline waistline for a slimming fit. Be sure to cop a pair of these cargo pants, as we promise you they do not disappoint.

Sonoma Goods For Life Straight-Fit Cargo Pants Courtesy of Kohl's

    

7. Uniqlo Cargo Jogger Pants

HONORABLE MENTION

We’re not sure when it happened — it was gradual, for sure — but Uniqlo has become one of the go-to’s for trendy, well-made, reasonably priced basics. And not to our surprise, 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 of a classic pair of cargos. You’ll never find yourself losing your wallet or keys, thanks to the pant’s standard six pockets (two front, two back and two cargo) for convenient storage. 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 Cargo Jogger Pants Courtesy of Uniqlo

  

8. L.L. Bean Water-Resistant Cresta Hiking Zip-Off Pants

BEST FOR HIKING

You can’t go hiking without wearing the proper attire. Luckily, L.L. Bean has you covered with its hiking cargo pants. The pants are made of a blend of nylon and spandex fabrics with two-way stretch for added comfort and easier movement. You’ll find these pants to be lightweight but durable to withstand any outdoor excursion. The Cresta hiking pants are one of the best on the market, thanks to their water-resistant and abrasion-resistant properties. Not to mention, the fabric is equipped with UPF 50+ blocking technology. The pants also makeshift into shorts during a hot day. All you have to do is unzip at the knee, and the pants turn into 10-inch shorts.

L.L. Bean Water-Resistant Cresta Hiking Zip-Off Pants courtesy of L.L.Bean

  

9.  Alo Yoga Highline Cargo Sweatpant

BEST SWEATPANT

For athletic cargo pants for men, we turn to Alo Yoga. The Alo Yoga Highline Cargo Sweatpants are made from a soft diagonal French terry for next-level comfort. They’re a regular fit, but because of the jogger style, the pants will look well-fitted on you. These pants are perfect for rolling around town in style or hitting the gym for the ultimate workout. They even feature knee pads and a webbing loop with D-ring to keep your keys on you. You’ll find the pants to have plenty of storage space with front slash pockets, side flap cargo pockets, and zipper back pocket.

Alo Yoga Highline Cargo Sweatpant Courtesy of All Yoga

  

10. 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 16oz reverse weave that outperforms the make of numerous sweatpants today. Also, expect a vintage look that diminishes the potential for shrinkage. You can grab a pair of these cargo sweatpants in one of 14 colors.

Todd Snyder x Champion Utility Cargo Sweatpant Courtesy of Todd Snyder

  

11. CQR Tactical Pants

BEST FOR BUDGET

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.

CQR Tactical Pants Courtesy of Amazon

  

12. 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.

Carhartt Men’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pant Courtesy of Amazon

  

13. Ultimate Tech Pull-On Cargo Pants for Men

ON SALE

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. They’re soft on the first wear thanks to a pre-wash with a silicone softener. Meanwhile, 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.

Ultimate Tech Pull-On Cargo Pants for Men Courtesy of Old Navy

  

14. Banana Republic Heritage Cargo Pant

MOST TRADITIONAL

A mid-rise cargo approach made with organically-grown cotton? Banana Republic has hit the nail with these men’s cargo pants. 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 Heritage Cargo Pant Courtesy of Banana Republic

  

15. GapFlex Easy Cargo Pants with E-Waist

ALSO CONSIDER

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 ever expected. 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.

GapFlex Easy Cargo Pants with E-Waist Courtesy of Gap

  

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