TAD (Triple Aught Design) Force 10 AC Cargo Pants, MSRP $99.00 at www.tripleaughtdesign.com
Author: Toby Asplin
Photos: Shelly Asplin
FTC Disclosure: The reviewed item was provided by Triple Aught Design, www.tripleaughtdesign.com
The Good: Juuust right
The Bad: The cargo pockets
The Ugly: The price tag
You remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, right? Papa Bear’s porridge was too hot. Mama Bear’s porridge was too cold. But, Baby Bear’s porridge was juuust right. Well, that pretty much describes TAD Gear’s Force 10 AC Cargo Pants. Not too hot (heavy fabric). Not too cold (thin fabric). Juuust right.
The search for a lightweight, functional pair of pants usually yields one of two things - heavy duty “tactical” or construction-oriented pants or lightweight hiking pants. For years, it has been nigh on impossible to find a pair of functional pants that walk the middle ground between too heavy and too light. Heavy pants don’t flex well and are hot in the summer. Light pants have great flex but often don’t stand up to the rigors of hard use for very long.
Enter Triple Aught Design’s AC pants. Relatively light (My test pants weighed in at 14.4 oz). Constructed of a breathable, quick-drying 3.4 oz. nylon durable water repellant (DWR) fabric. Triple needle stitching on the inseam and out-seam. Reinforced, double and triple stitched seat and gusseted crotch. Heavy duty YKK zipper fly. They have the build and features to be a true competitor in the lightweight tactical/functional pants game. They’re even cut and sewn in the good old U.S. of A.
Size-wise, the Force 10′s run a bit large. My test pants were sized in 30X32 (my usual size in ‘functional’ pants). I would say they run about an inch large in both dimensions. Better than being an inch small, I guess. Take note, however, when ordering online that these will run larger than average. The nylon fabric will not shrink, unlike some cotton-based competing pants.
If you’re looking for pants with features … the Force 10 AC’s have them in spades.
A couple features of note:
Inside the pants, on the flip side of the hip pockets, are two security pockets. These two pockets would be virtually impossible for a pick-pocket to reach. Keep your spare cash, passport or other slim valuables in these pockets and rest assured that no one will be able to access them.
Although the cargo pockets sag like cargo pockets from the 1980′s, inside the cargo pockets are several little gems. There are three internal pockets, which help minimize the sagging, as well as a D-Ring on a length of fabric. At the top of the cargo pocket flap is a narrow opening that allows you to reach into the pocket without unbuttoning the flap. I’ve seen more advanced cargo pockets on other pants, but the Force 10′s definitely have a nice set of features.
The Force 10′s front pockets have additional fabric sewn in at the corners where the clip of a knife or multi-tool might ride. Many pants in this category don’t have this feature. Frequently, this results in a hole worn at the corner of the pocket that makes carrying a clipped knife or tool inconvenient at best.
If you’re looking for pants that allow for the use of integrated knee pads the Force 10′s have you covered. A small hook & loop closure at the bottom of the knee pad pocket allows the pad to be inserted but not fall out. Any water that enters the pad pocket drains out through the closure at the bottom.
Although the Force 10 pants are a TAD pricey for this category, they fit a niche previously left largely unfilled. They appear durable in initial testing, including rock climbing and hiking through thorny thickets and sharp prairie grass.
Look for an update with more durability testing in a couple months. I plan to put them through the wringer, so to speak, during the 24 Hour Sniper Adventure Challenge in early September.
I also tested their moisture resistance on a long hike through tall, dewy grass. My legs remained dry after more than three hours in wet grass up to my waist. They also breathed well in the humid conditions allowing perspiration to escape. I was neither too hot nor too cold … juuust right.