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Our take on the Xfunctional Pant AR, an Everyday Tactical Pant from Arc’teryx

There’s no lack of options when it comes to shopping for tactical pants. But, so many look like grampa pants with their stretch waistlines and cargo flaps. They fit in fine on the range, barracks, or team room, but they look pretty out of place in all but martial settings. Or camping.

Arc’teryx released its Xfunctional AR Pant in 2016 to fill the gap between full-on tactical pants and Dockers. That means holding to a fashionable silhouette that won’t stand out in a coffee shop, while retaining the most important features one might need to blend in working security, running surveillance, or just doing anything that might lead to tactical activities in a semi-permissive environment.

DESIGN & FEATURES

Right off the bat, the Xfunctional Pant AR has a big plus. If a pant can hold a decent EDC loadout without sporting a pair of tell-tail cargo pocket flaps, we’ll call them exceptional on that count, alone. The cargo pockets on the Xfunctional pant are sized to swallow an iPhone 6, whole. They’ll hold, but not conceal a 30-round AR or AK magazine at the ready. A full-size rifle reload right at your fingertips.

An iPhone 6s fits in the cargo pocket.

An iPhone 6s fits in the cargo pocket.

30-round AR mag isn't concealable, but it is very accessible.

30-round AR mag isn’t concealable, but it is very accessible.

 

A pistol mag won’t extend out of the pocket, so you’ll have to dig a little. An alternative spot for stowing an easily accessible pistol mag is a small media card pocket that’s within the hip pocket; it’ll fit just the tip of a double stack pistol mag inside. With a Glock 19 mag in this pocket, the base plate rides just above the pocket hem offering a couple of fingers worth of purchase for a mag change. It might not be perfect for long term carriage since there’s no retention, but it’ll keep a reload at hand during a drill.

So, that covers reloads, but there’s a lot more to the Xfunctional Pant. As we alluded to earlier, the hip pockets are actually three pockets in one with room to organize a few types of gear. The main pocket contains a large sleeve pocket that’ll hold a broad, flat device, such as a smartphone suspended above the pocket bottom. Having it raised from the pocket bottom will prevent a set of keys from smashing a phone screen. Inside that pocket is a media cable port that allows a cable to run from inside the pant to whatever’s in the pocket; headphone cable, a PTT button, whatever. On the face of that sleeve pocket is another, smaller sleeve that’s roughly the size of a matchbook. It’ll hold SD cards, or, as mentioned above, it can hold a pistol mag in a pinch.

One of the hip pockets turned inside-out to show the two inner sleeve pockets and the knife pocket.

One of the hip pockets turned inside-out to show the two inner sleeve pockets and the knife pocket.

That little square with the slit in it is the backside of the reinforced media cable port.

That little square with the slit in it is the backside of the reinforced media cable port.

 

Outboard of the main pocket is a slim knife sleeve with a reinforced top that features a wide stiffener. That’ll help the pocket take the abuse of a pocket clip, all while making it easy to slip the knife in. We found this pocket worked for slim folders such as the Spyderco Endura 4 shown, but something the size of a Benchmade Adamas Folder, or our EDC favorite Surefire EW-04 Delta Folder, is a no-go–the opening is just a bit too narrow and larger folders get hung up on the edges.

The back pockets are wide and capable of holding the most Costanza of wallets. It might be a coincidence, but they can also hold a pair of Magpul 5.56mm PMAGs mags, spine to spine.

The large belt loops work with the Arc'teryx Riggers Belt as well as any other belt.

The large belt loops work with the Arc’teryx Riggers Belt as well as any other belt. We aren’t sure what to use those black loops for.

The cargo and knife pockets have a stiffend opening for durability and access.

The cargo and knife pockets have a stiffend opening for durability and access.

The belt loops are one inch wide and a hair more than two inches tall. They are set up to hold an Arcteryx’s H-150 Riggers Belt for sure, but will accommodate plenty of other belts. The loops are also bartacked and reinforced with a backing material on the inside. This is to prevent the weight of a duty belt from tearing the stitching through the 50/50 NYCO blend base fabric. Reinforcement is also present in the rear waistline seam for the same reason.

There are a couple of small, black gear loops on the waistline at four and seven o’clock. These are for hanging small items such as keys or… we dunno. They seem kinda like bull tits to us. They’re available if you need them, or just cut them off if little black loops offend you.

Plenty of belt loops to keep things from going south in the rear.

Plenty of belt loops to keep things from going south in the rear.

The fleece lining helps reduce friction and the white fabric is reinforcement for the belt loop stitching.

The fleece lining helps reduce friction and the white fabric is reinforcement for the belt loop stitching.

A comfortable, triangular gusseted crotch keeps things together in the nether regions and a light fleece lining around the beltline helps dissipate sweat. Additionally this offers a little welcome padding to spread out the load of a duty belt. This isn’t a unique feature to the Xfunctional pant, but a reflection of Arc’teryx’s expertise in designing clothing for alpine pursuits crossing over into the tactical realm. Other pants and shorts in the Arc’teryx lineup that are meant to wear with belt systems and climbing gear have a similar lining.

Joint articulation is a hallmark feature of Arc’teryx’s clothing, and the Xfunctional pant sports inlet cuts on the knee panels that anticipate and encourage athletic movements.

Articulated knees.

Articulated knees.

Cargo pocket carries a smartphone or a 30-round AK mag.

Cargo pocket carries a smartphone or a 30-round AK mag.

CONSTRUCTION

From the top down, the pant is built with strength, comfort, and mobility in mind. The felt-lined waistband and inner lining supports the belt line. There are a ton of seam junctions that are bartacked at the ends for strength. All of the main stitch lines are double or triple stitched, and the pocket bags are edge-hemmed and then stitched a second time for added durability.

Tiny bar tacks at high stress stitch junctions.

Tiny bar tacks at high stress stitch junctions.

The 50/50 NYCO fabric is quite light. Much lighter than other tactical pants. The NYCO is a non-ripstop material, giving it a much more comfortable hand and a less tactical appearance when viewed up close. Non-ripstop also means the fabric is going to suffer a larger tear if it gets snagged on a hard edge.

Something else that contributes to the softness of the material is the lack of a Teflon coating. Many manufacturers will coat overseas-made garments with a Teflon finish so they are considered rain gear by customs officials. They do this because imported rain gear carries a lower customs duty, which allows them to sell items at a lower price. The Teflon coating also helps with stain resistant. But, Teflon coated fabric definitely has a different, stiffer feel. Normally, clothing designers like to avoid the Teflon because of the negative effect it has on the hand, or feel, of a garment’s fabric. But, this is one place where the Xfunctional design team may have gone a little wide, because the fabric they chose seems to stain very easily. Teflon coating might actually have been a good idea on this one. In realty, this is probably a wash, since that Teflon coating is going to wash out after the first handful of launderings anyway.

The inseam. Fully bound and apparently double, or maybe triple stitched.

The inseam. Fully bound and apparently double, or maybe triple stitched.

Stitched and edge bound pocket bag seams.

Stitched and edge bound pocket bag seams.

 

Keep in mind 50/50 NYCO is going to wet out pretty easily, but it’s going to dry out quickly as you exert yourself. However. the cotton is going to retain some moisture and add a heavy feeling until it dries out.

The colors currently offered are Terra and Greenstone. We’re showing you Terra, which is a sandy brown with a lot less yellow than it appears in some online catalog photos. The Greenstone looks to be closer to the Arc’teryx LEAF Crocodile color.

WEAR

The typical Arc’teryx fit block is for lanky rock climbers, but the Xfunctional pant is sized to fit in a more forgiving manner. We normally wear a 33-inch waist with a 32-inch inseam and were fully prepared to go on a 6-week donut free diet in order to fit into the Xfunctional Pant. But, we didn’t need to. The pant isn’t huge, but even with a 33-inch waist, there’s enough room/give in the waistband to fit a Glock 19 MOS in a Raven Concealment Eidolon without needing to suck in our gut.

The Xfunctional AR pant seems sized to work with IWB carry.

The Xfunctional AR pant seems sized to work with IWB carry.

The large belt loops work with the Arc'teryx Riggers Belt as well as any other belt.

The large belt loops work with the Arc’teryx Riggers Belt as well as any other belt.

The pants billow a bit below the knee, especially with a pair of burly hiking boots. But, the pant offers an impressive combination of fit, material, and articulation that means you’ll never reach down and free up the boys or un-bunch a pant leg when crouching. This is no small thing. Many a garment in this category would achieve this freedom of movement by using stretching fabrics. This works but it’s a trade-off. Stretchy materials don’t generally have the soft hand of cotton and they don’t breath as well. Getting the fit and articulation down with a non-elastic fabric means the pants are going to be more comfortable all-around than those made using fabrics containing Spandex or Lycra.

The 50/50 NYCO fabric used throughout the Xfunctional pant breaths like a champ and is well suited to warmer temps. We like that the 50/50 NYCO is machine washable and can be tumble dried. So many of our nice clothes demand extra attention in the laundry room, and ultimately meet their demise in the form of a lost inch thanks to an accidental run in the clothes dryer.

The fit is generous.

The fit is generous.

The novel pocket arrangement helps keep things organized without making the pockets so large that things flop around. The Xfunctional pant doesn’t suffer from the auto-pocket dump syndrome some of its competitors, such as Vertx’s classic tactical pant, do. The stiff fabric and shape of the outboard edge of the Vertx hip pocket means whatever you’ve got in your pockets is at risk of falling out while seated. We’re pretty sure there’s a V-22 Osprey crew chief with an Afghanistan tour under his belt thanking Vertx for the new-to-him SureFire EWP-02 blue pen he found after we got off his aircraft a few years ago.

WRAP UP

The Xfunctional pant is an ideal warm weather pant for range days and spooky work. Based on the $129 MSRP, the Xfunctional AR will be a better value for those that need its specific features (hidden comms, pocket layout, high breathability…), though it’s a kick ass range pant that should last a few training seasons. Sizing is a little larger than typical Arc’teryx fit, so consider dropping down a size, especially if you’re not carrying IWB.

PROS
Fabric is light and breathable; excellent for warm/hot climates
Pockets layout perfect for a running firearm drills or toting a mobile phone
Reinforced stitching and seams
Wide belt loops fit many types of belts
Active fit without a bias for stringy rock climber bods

CONS
Fabric stains and wrinkles easily
Non-ripstop fabric looks good, but tears will run
Mags can be carried, but not concealed or mechanically retained

SPECS
Fleece lined waistband
Reinforced belt loops and rear waist stitching
Triple storage hip pocket with cable port
Separate folding knife sleeve pocket with reinforced, stiffened opening
Slash cargo pockets with stiffened opening suitable for smartphone or rifle mags
Wide rear pockets
Gusseted crotch
Articulated knees
Lightweight, 50/50 Nylon Cotton blend (machine wash & dry)
Two small gear loops on the waistline
$129

OPTIONS

Colors: Greenstone or Terra
Sizes:30-38-inch waist with 32- or 35-inseam

Care label. Because we care.

Care label. Because we care.


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