There are plenty of work pants to choose from and some brands have a very long history and faithful following but they often lack innovation. The Blaklader Bantam Utility Pocket Pants are here to challenge what work pants are all about. With pockets in the right places and details that make life on the job easier, we really could not find any faults. Right out of the box they fit comfortable and did not require multiple wash cycles to get them pliable. While they might not win fashion shows with the outside utility pockets, most guys that actually have to work for a living won’t care. These utility pockets are just the right size and in the right location that they quickly become second nature to utilize them. Just in case you are slightly fashion conscious, there are pockets behind the utility pockets that allow them to be tucked away when not needed. If you ask us, we think that these just might just be the best work pants ever.
When ordering clothing online in the past, I have had mix success. Either the size did not match what I thought it should, or the color was off, or the clothing simply was not as comfortable or wearable as I would have liked. In the case of the Blaklader Bantam Utility Pocket Pants, I ordered my normal size (34×32) in khaki, along with a pair of the Light Duty Knee Pads (4011-1200), and waited for them to arrive. Once they came in, I took them home and started to sport them around the house – much to my wife’s dismay. Being the more clothing-concerned person in the home, she quickly told me that I could not wear the paints in public with her because of the flopping utility pockets at my waist. With my best sales tactics, I walked her though the great features, how amazing I thought the pants were, and how much more productive they could make me out on the job. Then, I simply tucked the pockets into the pockets located underneath, minimizing the “problem”. She acquiesced – but “never on a date night”.
Blaklader Bantam Utility Pocket Pants Features
So you are probably wondering “What’s the big deal, anyway?” Well, from the ground up, the Blaklader
Bantam Utility Pocket Pants were designed for doing serious work. Let’s just walk thought the main points, starting at the waist and working down. There are 7 belt loops and, depending on the belt loop location around the waist, they vary in width to make sure that your pants never sag. The fly has a heavy duty metal zipper. The front utility pockets are actually made up of two pocket styles: one single the left and one large and two smaller on the right. When the utility pockets are not needed, they can be tucked into the storage pocket located behind them. Even when the pockets are tucked in, they can still be accessed and used. The idea of the hanging utility pockets is that you can still have easy access to their contents, even when kneeling or squatting. There are two large back pockets as well that are lined with Cordura, which is a synthetic fabric from DuPont. Cordura is 10x stronger and more abrasion resistant than cotton. In addition to the extra lining, the utility pockets and the back pockets have two unique features: the lower edge of the pocket is not stitched, but folded and the pockets have angled interior corners. These two features make it easy to grab screws and small things because it keeps them from getting lost in the corners and seams. On the right hand side, there is a heavy nylon web loop for your hammer. The position of this loop puts your hammer exactly where you would naturally grab it if you are right-handed. Sorry south-paws, you will have to wait for a lefty version someday. Further down each leg are more specialty pockets. On the left there is a phone pocket with a flap that can be secured with a snap as well as a separate pencil pocket. On the right leg there is a screwdriver or utility knife pocket and another pencil pocket as well. The screwdriver pocket is cool because it is made so that the bottom of the pocket is not secured to the pants. This makes it so that when you kneel or sit, you won’t get jabbed in the leg. Each pencil pocket has button holes sewn-in along its length that make it easy to use your finger to get out the pencil once they are worn down to stubs. Each knee has a Cordura cloth pocket that opens towards the bottom. Using this pocket you can insert knee pads which are more comfortable and manageable then ones that have to be strapped on.
Testing and Use
For someone like me that likes to build things and is always getting roped into projects, the Blaklader Bantam Utility Pocket Pants are a great solution. Right away I quickly realized that I was able to leave my nice (but heavy) Iron Dog Tool Belt in the truck’s tool box and just throw the tools I needed into the readily available pocket space on these pants. Unlike some of the other carpenter pants that I own, the hammer loop is actually in a logical place that puts it where I can actually grab it with ease; with my right hand. When the hammer is slung from the loop, it does not obnoxiously hit me in the leg when I walk either. The back pockets were large enough to fit the regular size Speed Square. The front utility pockets perfectly accommodated my favorite Stanley 16 foot FatMAX tape measure with room to spare. I also discovered that I was able to dump a 1lb box of any size fastener or nail in the front utility pocket and they would fit just fine – even when I had to move around in an attic or crawlspace. At first I was wondering about them being called the “lightweight” pants, made with an 8oz cotton canvas material. Now that summer is upon us, I found that the material offers a decent amount of breathability and were comfortable to wear all day long – even in the 90 degree southern heat.
The knee pad pockets are a welcome addition as well. The hole for the knee pad faces down and there is a lip of cloth inside the pocket to tuck the knee pad behind so that it does not fall out. The reason for the down-facing access is to ensure that debris or fasteners don’t accidentally get stuck in the pocket and hurt your knee when you kneel on it. Since the pants fit so well, when I was using the knee pads, my knees were able to stay positioned on top of the pads with relative ease. Even with the lightweight knee pads in place, I found that crawling and kneeling came with a new level of comfort. Inserting the knee pads when the pants are off is the easier way to get the pads into place, but we were able to finagle them in place with them on as well.
With over half a century of making work clothes in Sweden, it is obvious that Blaklader has done their homework and understands what today’s workmen need out of their workwear. The Bantam Utility Work Pants goes to show that innovation can still be found in even some of the most taken-for-granted pieces of clothing we wear. These work pants not only performed well, but they also made it easier to do our work because our tools and supplies were conveniently in reach all the time. For our Performance rating we gave these pants a 10/10 because we agree with Blaklader Bantam Utility Pocket Pants when they say that every pocket, seam, button and fabric is a beacon of functionality. For our Value rating, we also gave these pants a perfect 10/10 simply because they come in at a price point that is comparable, if not lower than, what the competition has to offer.