Monday, September 1, 2008

New Duds for the Cooler Seasons

As is normal when the summer months begin to come to a close, I venture out to find the best options for long pants wear and other clothes. New jacket in the fall, and warmer socks eventually down the line as well. However, generally the end of August signifies new pants specifically, this time around being no exception.

I have plenty of jeans, but I wear through jeans exceptionally quick, maybe getting the full use out of them for the duration of a couple seasons, until they become close to threadbare in the crotch and knees. An odd scenario considering what I do for a living requires next to no consistent physical activity. My single pair of traditional Dickie's workpants with double knee and cellphone pocket are currently my longest lived trousers, and I whole heartedly stand by the Dickie's name. Made specifically for people who really work for a living, Dickie's provide durability for frugal consumers. I liken them to Carhartt (more later) but for spenders on a tighter budget.

As much as I loathe contributing money to the Walton family business, a recent trip to Walmart saw me discovering a pair of rinsed black Dickie's cargo pants. Made from the same material as their standard workpants, these trousers are burly as hell. I love cargo styled pants, and am generally inclined to make the most use out of the additional pockets the style affords, though standard tactical wear found at your local surplus store are generally never durable enough. Dickie's takes the cargo platform and using their heavy duty cloth and then starching the hell out of it, make a pant that I have no fear of lasting me the next year or two. And at less than $20 from Walmart, I'm not one to complain about the price tag, either.

So far they have proven themselves well in regard to casual wear, and I will admit to being a bit hard on them initially, to really see how they would stand up right off the rack. Even with the cotton washed twill and starchiness common to a new pair of Dickie's, they offer amazing mobility and a tell-tale sturdiness that no wearer would question. These are my new favorite cargos that I own. I do plan to invest in the Dickie's EMT cargo pants in black as well, since a) they look completely badass, and b) if these standard cargos are any proof, will hold up amazingly as well.

Anyone who has known me over the years, knows that even more than my love for Dickie's affordable (and I say that from the perspective of folks not so easily convinced to drop more than $30 on apair of trousers) workpants, I have a huge fetish for all things Carhartt. This lurid compulsion started back in my crusty punk rock days of my late teens and early 20's and ingers still today past my 30 year mark. You will be hard pressed to find a pant more suitable to an active and rugged lifestyle than Carhartt's double-front work dungaree.

I call these "end of the world pants" because they will last through just about any abuse or mistreatment that you can dole out. I personally haven't owned a pair in years, but while clothes shopping within the last week, found an unbeatable deal so plunked down the cash for a new pair. They are stiff and rigid right off the hanger, but once they're on, they're on. They are surprisingly mobile for a pant comprised of tough ring-spun cotton duck, and comfortable to boot. The chap-style double knee is a must, and provides much needed stability and durability at the same time.

I liken the Carhartts to a tactical must, even though the additional pockets won't hold much in the way of extras like a cargo pant would, they perform well under fire. From my experience, an average pair of these bad boys will last well over a year through hard and abusive use, and still manage to offer a functional trouser even once their durability has worn thin. When the shit hits the fan, these will be my pants of choice, along with the aforementioned Dickie's cargo pants, I believe I am at least prepared for a fall and winter of being outdoors as much as I can afford, whether on the range or in the national parks, or prepping my log cabin in the middle of nowhere.

My only complaint about these trousers is the lack of ass and crotch support. I wear my pants baggy, though I don't low-ride my shit, I prefer the extra mobility afforded by a size bigger than I would normally wear, especially when it comes to clothes tailored for the working class. Typically when a pair of these finally does wear out, it's due to a blowout in the crotch area from the chafe of the chaps with no additional support between. A small complaint, as they will still live a good year plus before this occurs with proper washing and maintenance, but one worth mentioning.

I'm not usually so excited about outerwear, but when it comes to plugging Dickie's and Carhartt for their usefulness, comfort, and insane durability, I can't help but get up on my invisible soapbox and preach.

AARON'S 9/11/08 ADD-ON:
Eric got me thinking about colder-weather clothing. On a recent trip to Cabela's, my dad told me to pick out some birthday stuff. Needless to say, I can't go in there without looking at knives, and an article on my birthday selection is coming soon. I actually spent time looking at clothes there, a first. I was surprised at how reasonable their prices are on Carhartt and their Cabela's store brand. I picked up their 16 penny carpenter jacket, normally around $50, pops paid $55, because I inherited his height, and mom's dad's weight and shoulder-width. The 2XL tall fits me perfectly and I'm a fan of black, but I have lots of it, including a black Levi's jacket so I went with the darker sawdust color. It's much darker than the variant pictured on their site, but the thing is rife with pockets and will make a swell 2nd skin for shooting and hiking.

And, no, I'm not going to say anything about 9/11 because it'll only get me worked up and ranting about politics.


Aaron said...

Well said. I still have 5 pair of Carhartt black carpenter jeans that my old company paid for. I need to lose about 15 pounds and I'll be out there lifting logs and helping you dig your LastManOnEarth bunker!!!

Aaron said...

I realized today that all those carharrts I have are a longer way off from fitting than I thought, they're all 42 or 44 and I'm now at the smaller side of 48. I still have about 2-3 inches of spare tire to burn before they become serviceable again. All in good if I could just kill that McDonald's "southern style" chicken craving.