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Have you ever wondered about the origins of cargo pockets, or how they evolved to serve as more than just extra storage? They boast a rich history rooted in practicality and continue to be refined to suit the requirements of modern military pants. But what makes a perfect cargo pocket?

In this blog post:

Born from military necessity

The origin of cargo pockets can be traced back to the 1930s, when the British military recognized the limitations of their formal uniforms for modern warfare. They sought a more practical design, leading to the creation of the "Battle Dress Uniform" in 1938. This new uniform prioritized functionality over formality. Cotton canvas trousers with large pockets, called "bellows pockets," became a key feature to provide soldiers with easy access to essential field gear. Soldiers could thus carry things like maps, field dressings (medical supplies), and other supplies directly on them.

What makes a perfect cargo pocket?

Demystifying the varied design and functionality of cargo pockets

There are many kinds of pockets, such as patch, flap, and side-seam pockets. However, cargo pockets offer the most storage capacity as well as organization possibilities, and the minimal profile.

The patch cargo pocket has the lowest profile, with a fold on the side and a flap to cover the top, although it also offers the least storage. A 3D cargo pocket, also known as a box cargo pocket, has more room for storage because its "side walls" enable it to bulge out from garments whether it’s filled or not. For this reason, such pockets can contain more and much larger objects. The accordion cargo pocket’s pleats and folds keep the pocket flat when empty, but can then expand to hold more items. While this is the most difficult cargo pocket to sew, they are more streamlined compared to 3D cargo pockets. In addition to this, our accordion cargo pockets are designed to minimize snag hazards and maintain a clean silhouette.

Dedicated storage solutions for every essential

Cargo pockets on tactical and combat pants offer a generous storage space for essential items that need to be within easy reach. However, organizing these items for quick and easy access can be challenging without proper compartmentalization. Our cargo pockets tackle this issue with several smaller pockets and compartments designed for specific items, including openings for double access. From magazine slots for ammunition to knife pockets and secure compartments for sensitive equipment such as GPS devices or navigation tools. Additionally, specific combat pants feature even more storage space and thus straps and elastic cords for fixation of larger items like MGs and SMGs are also incorporated.

Finding the sweet spot of cargo pocket placement for optimal mobility

Cargo pockets can be placed anywhere on the pants, but the question is how easy it is to carry, reach, and retrieve its load when you’re on the move, as well as how the pants can deal with the added bulk when you move.

Imagine having a cargo pocket filled to the brim and located at your ankles, that bangs against your leg as you run. A rear cargo pocket positioned on your buttocks could make sitting uncomfortable, with gear locked in place. A front thigh cargo pocket might rub against your leg as you move, limiting you when kneeling, and causing discomfort when lying prone.

Through trial and error, it turns out the ideal placement is on the side of the thigh. Positioned at a height so the full depth can be reached when standing, kneeling, or prone, with one hand and a slight side body tilt, without the need for extensive adjustments to the pants or pocket to get it right. However, an important factor in maintaining the pocket's position is the design of the pants. The size and fit of the pants and pocket should match your body contours, which helps keep the pocket sitting in place and out of the way, without pulling your pants down or making them turn around your waist or on your thigh, thus putting the pocket out of place and reach.

What makes a cargo pocket last?


The most commonly used seams for military clothing are flat-felled seams, due to their strength and durability. You’ll notice two pieces of fabric together with one edge folded over the other and stitched down, creating a flat, smooth seam on the inside and a reinforced seam on the outside.

In critical areas of the pocket, such as the top edge and corners, reinforced stitching is used to prevent seam failure under stress. You’ll recognize additional rows of stitching or using a stronger thread. For extra reinforcement, especially in heavy-duty cargo pockets, triple stitching is used and involves sewing three parallel lines of stitches, providing maximum strength and durability.


The materials used at and near the attachment points of the pocket to the pants greatly influence the seams’ effectiveness and material durability. This is particularly true for heavy and bulky cargo pockets, which put significant stress on the material and stitches. Therefore, high-quality materials reinforced to resist tearing and ripping are crucial. Woven fabrics are often the preferred choice because of their durability, which is due to the weaving technique where stronger, and often thicker, reinforcement yarns are interwoven in a crosshatch pattern, as with ripstop fabrics.

Closure systems


Cargo pocket closure plays a crucial role in keeping your gear where you stored it. From Velcro to zippers and buttons, each has pros and cons in certain situations, depending on where the pocket is located, what is stored inside, and how quickly you need to retrieve the contents. Velcro closures are typically the most convenient, as you can easily pull the flap open and press it to close. However, Velcro can pick up residue and dirt, losing its stickiness over time, which can be avoided by using buttons instead.


Pressure buttons and regular buttons, whether pressed or threaded into the garment, can easily break and tear off. In contrast, Canadian buttons are attached with a ribbon or webbing, making them extremely reliable. It should be noted that opening and closing buttons is the most time-consuming method of closure, and typically needs two hands to get the job done. Moreover, even though Velcro and buttons provide secure closure, they can be opened very easily by accident if, for example, you get stuck in the bushes. Small items can easily fall through any gaps between the contact points.


To play it safe in all scenarios, choose cargo pockets with zippers. They are the most streamlined and secure form of closure to keep your gear where you put it. Assuming that the cargo pocket is in the ideal location, YKK zippers with a stopper work can work miracles by enabling smooth, one-hand operation, preventing any accidental openings and ensuring that even the smallest items will stay securely in place.

In terms of field repair and maintenance, however, buttons and Velcro are the easiest to fix and replace, while zippers are much more challenging.

Combating moisture and keeping your gear dry

Incorporating mesh ventilation and openings into cargo pockets not only allows the heat and sweat that may build up under the pocket to evaporate, but also lets water or debris out, preventing rust on tools or dampness on essential gear.

How to avoid unpleasant surprises in the field?

Before making a purchase, try the pants on for a perfect fit. Then load both cargo pockets first with your regular gear and then with a more extensive selection of items. For each load test all static positions from standing, squat to prone, and dynamic movements from walking and running to climbing. While doing so, reach for your gear as you normally would and note whether the pocket is in position or in the way, how easy it is to open and close, and reach and retrieve each item.

Are you better with Velcro, buttons or zipper closures, and which is the best choice for the items you carry in your cargo pockets? Remember to consider the situations when you'll be wearing these pants and how best to prevent the pockets from accidentally opening.

The comfort level, especially in terms of the more advanced features, will become apparent over time, but you can get an initial impression by comparing these pants to your existing ones. Pay attention to any pressure points, heat building under the pockets, and whether the ventilation openings permit air flow while securing your gear. If all these factors meet your expectations, then you're close to getting a pair of pants with the perfect cargo pockets.


Cargo pockets emerged as a practical solution for soldiers needing to carry various essential items during combat situations, and have come a long way in the decades since, transforming from purely utilitarian features on military uniforms to a versatile design element in clothing for all walks of life.

This evolution highlights the importance of thoughtful design. Military needs demand pockets that are durable, accessible, and secure. Our cargo pockets incorporate these principles while offering a range of storage capacities, profiles, and closure options.

Having essential items readily available on the battlefield is crucial, and the perfect cargo pocket offers a balance of functionality and comfort, due to the clever design and care that went into its creation.

Published: 27-04-2024 // Tags: Blog // #tactical-gear #tactical-pants