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Go Commando with Vertx Phantom Ops Pants

Vertx Phantom Ops Airflow Pants – Going Commando Never Felt So Cool!

This past May archaeologists Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute discovered the earliest known pair of pants in Asia – 3,500-3,000 years old. While they were doing so, yours truly was coincidentally discovering the latest innovation in trouser lineage.

Behold the Phantom Ops Pant by VERTX.


I bought a pair last May in anticipation of an excruciatingly sweat saturated summer in the swamps of North Carolina (like that alliteration?). Teaching tracking for a living requires that my uniform is agile, durable, and whenever possible comfortable. Having experienced the summer months in North Carolinas Eastern forests and many hours working in a couple types of Arizona desert, I jumped on a friends advice to try these pants.

Vertx boasts that they are “The coolest pants you’ll ever wear”. Having now patrolled extensively in 95 degree Farenheit temperatures with 85% humidity, I can attest that these are in fact the coolest pants I have ever worn. A human executes 2 primary phases of motion while walking. First is the stance phase, which is the foot on the ground executing the rear to front cradling motion of the foot. 2nd is the swing phase, where the other leg/foot are in the air swinging across the center of gravity in the air on its way to initiate its own step.


It is while the legs are swinging forward that air is caught in the inner mesh in the Vertx Airflows. That air is then circulated upward toward the groin, then back down and emitted out of the cargo pocket mesh. What this simple design serves to do is huge. In austere conditions the smallest of victories adds up. The accumulating effects of these small victories serves to help us maintain a positive mental attitude. We do not disdain comfort, nor do we rely on it. Physiologically these pants can quantifiably improve performance. By reducing overall core temperature through convection, the body burns less calories and processes less water. The airflow is simply awesome on a hot North Carolina or Arizona day.

There are other advantages as well.  For instance, the mesh is excellent for wading through knee to waist high streams. Having swum in BDUs with full combat load during USMC swim qualifications and battling surf, I had a theory that the mesh would create less drag while swimming or wading though water. I jumped in the Salt River between Globe and Showlow, AZ to try it out. No kidding I can estimate 15-25% less drag in moderately flowing knee to waist high water while facing up stream. That’s a big deal for the Search and Rescue folks in my area who deal with dozens of swift water rescues a year. I attribute this to the positioning of the mesh inserts. Note: I was not able to tread water during this eval but will follow up with a video.


Aside from the mesh inserts, other features I liked include side stretch panels that increase comfort, triple bellowed cargo pockets which open wider than most BDU type trouser pockets. Cargo pockets are at perfect height too, unlike others that force you to do a half side standing crunch to reach the bottom. The extra slim line pockets are excellent for carrying tools like a folding knife, flashlight, or pens without having to navigate around the items which we traditionally carry clipped in a pocket. The size and depth of the slim line pockets add positive retention. Fit is excellent and one of the most comfortable pants I own.

As far as fabric goes, I understand the durability considerations of the fabric chosen but would like to see a version with lighter weight material. Perhaps in a future version?


The pockets of the pants are at a great angle and height but are a bit tight for getting in and out of regularly. The pockets also contain dual concealed zipper pockets.These are nice to have for small items that you don’t want falling out of or loose in bigger pockets. This brings me to the only thing on these pants I didn’t like, which are the back pocket flaps. The flaps fold over the top edge of the pocket which I have to contort my hand and wrist to get into in order to drag my wallet out.

Like the first pair of trousers worn by horseback ruff riders over 3000 years ago, these pants are turning heads, and making folks rethink what they are wearing. It’s nice to see some innovation in the functional clothing realm where one version of the same old same old has had my head spinning until finally Vertx brought these bad boys out. Great job Vertx keep em coming.


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