Helikon-Tex began as an Army surplus dealer in Poland in 1983.  Since 2000 however the company has been manufacturing their own lines of field clothing for military,  milsim sports, hunters and outdoors recreational purposes.

Today, Helikon-Tex is a manufacturer of field uniforms, waterproof and windproof sets, fleece jackets, underwear and head-gear – as well as backpacks, equipment belts, MOLLE pouches and survival accessories.  Over the past couple of years they have also been steadily expanding their product offerings and their network of distribution partners.

If you’re an airsofter in Europe you probably already know their products, especially their camouflage field clothing and soft shell options.  In the field clothing area, H-T is probably best know for their “CamoGrom” camouflage pattern – a variation of MultiCam based on the “SUEZ” pattern originally developed for Poland’s GROM special operations brigade.

Urban Tactical Pants

First introduced a couple of years ago, the Urban Tactical Pants represented a move by H-T towards the professional security and law enforcement market.  It seems that any pair of pants that features cargo pockets is now called a “tactical” pant, and Helikon-Tex have followed this trend.  But, although the company describes them as a “tactical” pant, I actually see them as more of a duty or utility pant. In my view, a proper “tactical” pant is one that is designed for and will stand up to the hard use and abuse of dynamic tactical operations.

However, if you think of them as duty / utility pants, then H-T’s Urban Tactical Pants actually score better than if they were evaluated as true tactical pants.  I’ve been wearing a couple of pairs of these pants for about a year now, so let’s look at what’s good, not good, and somewhere in between….

The Good:

  • 2-way elastic stretch fabric (80% cotton, 19% polyester, 1 % spandex)
  • comfortable fit
  • gussetted crotch
  • built-in light knee pads
  • darts in the knees to give a more natural shape
  • legs constructed from several shaped panels to give a better, more athletic fit
  • a streamlined fit that doesn’t snag on things
  • ergonomically placed cargo pockets closed with heavy-duty zippers – easy to access and use, even when seated in a vehicle
  • ergonomically placed accessory pockets with Velcro flaps
  • additional discrete and concealed pockets for small items
  • wide belt loops
  • partially elastic waist
  • good quality of construction

The Not Good:

  • the big back pockets feature a small patch of Velcro to hold them flat, which is both unnecessary and annoying, as the Velcro doesn’t stay fastened and ends up making the lip of the pocket twist and roll-out on itself – I removed the Velcro from the back pockets on my pair and they are now much more functional
  • more expensive than other, better-known brands

The Somewhere-in-between:

  • the front slash pockets are cut snug to the body, which can make it cumbersome to use them – especially if you also load up the small accessory pockets
  • the pants feature a large patch of Velcro to close the waistband (rather than a button of snap) and whilst this makes it easier to fasten, and adjust the fit of, the waistband and also makes the waistband more comfortable under a belt, I have also found it to be a bit of a nuisance sometimes – especially if riding in a vehicle for an extended length of time – its also a bit embarrassing when you have to answer the call of nature and the loud “RIIIIIP” of that Velcro draws unwanted attention…

All in all the good points outweigh the bad and the somewhere-in-between points, and I do enjoy wearing them (for the most part).  And on a side note, I was asked by 4 people of different occasions at the SHOT Show what brand of tactical pants I was wearing…

So, would I recommend them?  Yes, but with the downsides and question marks above highlighted.  Ultimately though its down to you to think about what your needs are, and about whether or not the features of these pants would serve you better than an alternative – and also depending upon your budget.