Best Pants for Non-Fire Project Work: Propper Lightweight Tactical Pants

Not all work we do requires Nomex or other flame retardant clothing. Project work, whether prepping burn units, mechanical restoration or mitigation, or the like, poses many challenges in dynamic, harsh environments. Project work requires gear that works just as hard as on the fireline. Propper’s Lightweight Tactical Pant fit well, breathe well, and hold up what you throw at them.

The Good


The rip-stop fabric provides good protection from brush, thorns, and charred material. We’ve worn them in some nasty areas: blowdown in Yosemite, scrub thickets in South Africa, and waste-deep muck in central Florida. They hold up well and dry out quickly. Direct rips are possible, but they don’t extend far and are easily sewn shut.

Water Repellant

In rain, these pants shed water fairly easily. They can still get soaked through and won’t take a gully washer, but in light rain you’ll stay drier than if you had just had on cotton. Once they do get wet, they dry quickly.


The pants fit true to size and provide good range of motion for lifting, hauling, and squatting.


Side cell phone pocket

Side cell phone pocket

The best part about these pants are the quality pockets. The location and depth of the cargo pockets makes switching from Crewboss-style cargo nomex brush pants to these virtually seamless. I tend to keep my IRPG and Rite-In-The-Rain in my Pocket Pouch (AKA man purse) in my right pocket. With the similarities, I never have to reorganize that system in my head when I’m doing project work. Result? I know where everything is, always.

The cell phone pocket on the left side of the pants fits an iPhone in a case well, but better than that, it easily fits a chainsaw multitool. Perfect for when you need to make sure that scrinch is handy.

The Bad


The belt that the pants comes with leaves something to be desired. I sent mine packing to Goodwill and stuck with my Last Chance Belt.


All pants can blow out in the crotch eventually if you’re careful to have good squat form when lifting heavy objects. Both pair of my Topper’s have blown out slightly, but subsequent sewing has kept it in check.


Carhartts and Dickies are always good choices for pants that hold up to a hard beating, but they can be incredibly hot and hold water like nobody’s business. These pants are a nice alternative: lightweight, tough, and an easy transition from fire gear. They’re relatively cheap, to boot.

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