A few months ago, we briefly introduced Blaklader Workwear, a Euro-brand of tough work clothes. Blaklader sent over a pair of workpants for us to check out, and I’ve made my best effort to evaluate it in a fair and consistent manner.
Over the course of a few weeks, I wore the Blaklader workpants in rotation with my usual pants. Carhartts one day, jeans the next, then chinos, shorts, hiking pants, etc. I wore the pants while testing tools, helping out colleagues and friends with home improvement projects, working on my own projects, and even out to a shopping mall.
Let me tell you – work clothes are tough to review! Everyone has different fit and style preferences, making it difficult to make general recommendations about clothing. I tried my best to scrutinize and judge the pants from every angle I could.
Pockets, Pockets, Everywhere!
Wow, these pants have a LOT of pockets, sized to fit quite a few tools and accessories. The Bantam pants we tested have an extra flap of utility pockets on each side that can be tucked into the pants’ front pockets if you don’t need them.
You can use the reinforced utility pockets to hold tools, fasteners, or hardware.
Fabric and Construction
One thing we noticed right away – these pants are built very, very well. From the weight of the fabric to the stitching, the Blaklader Bantam pants feel secure and durable. Blaklader claims that their pants will last 2-1/2 times longer than other brands’ work pants. While we cannot really put this claim to the test, the Bantam pants do give off a better sense of ruggedness.
One of the things to love about Blaklader pants is the built-in kneepad pockets. You take the cushiony foam or gel inserts, push them up into the kneepad pockets, and you’re set. No tight straps, no bulky bands, just simple and effective knee padding for jobs that require you to work from down low.
Design – Subtle Design Features
The designers over at Blaklader did a GREAT job with these work pants. Aside from great construction and build quality, we noticed a few subtle features that made us absolutely love the Bantam pants.
When inserted, the top of the kneepads settle in just above the knee. When dropping to one or both knees, I found it necessary to pull the pants legs up slightly to center the kneepads over my knees. This quickly became habit, so it’s not a complaint, but a bit of praise. Because of the seemingly thoughtful placement, I could walk around freely without feeling the kneepad on top of my knee. It’s there, but you won’t feel it until you need it.
Bellowed Pocket Construction
The front and back pockets are designed so that tools, especially pointy ones, are directed outwards rather than inwards. Not only does this make loaded-up pockets feel less bulky, it makes me feel more secure in knowing that a pointier tool won’t likely poke a hole inwards towards my legs.
At first sight I considered that this feature was a way to expand pockets to hold additional gear, but they don’t really add much volume to the pockets. When checking the product literature, I realized that this is what Blaklader describes as bellowed pockets, and as observed, one of its main purposes is to prevent carried gear from cutting into the wearer’s legs.
Style and Appearance
With the utility pockets hanging out, these are unmistakably work pants. But remove the kneepads, tuck the utility pockets into the front pockets and remove most larger tools from your pockets, and you can probably pull these off as cargo pants in public. The tucked-in utility pockets aren’t at all as bulky feeling as one might think.
Fit-wise, the pants are just about on the money. The waist sizing is ever so slightly smaller than I’m used to, but variation between brands is expected. The pants have a very relaxed feel to them, and I never noticed any tightness, bunching, twisting, or constriction. Thumbs-up for a great fit.
Blaklader’s Bantam pants are quite different from any other work pants on the market today. They may look a little unusual, but they are very comfortable to wear and sport handy features designed for heavy duty work wear.
I’m a fan of the multiple pocket options, durable material, rugged construction, and reliable design. It took quite some time for me to be absolutely sure, but I love these pants and highly recommend them.
If lighter weight cotton pants aren’t for you, Blaklader also offers heavier weight work pants.
Blaklader’s website has a list of their current USA distributors. Of the dozen or so authorized web dealers, our first stop would be McFeely’s.
Thank you to Blaklader for providing the sample for this review unconditionally. Review samples are typically returned, donated, or in some cases retained for further testing or benchmark and comparison purposes.