12 Best Cargo Work Pants to Wear On the Job (2021)


In this article we discuss the best cargo work pants. For some jobs, having cargo pockets is not only helpful, but borderline essential. Despite that, not all cargo pants make for great work pants.

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These are our choices for the best cargo work pants:

  1. Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ranger Pants (click here to view)
  2. Carhartt Men’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pants (click here to view)
  3. Duluth Trading Co. Men’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose Relaxed Fit Cargo Work Pants (click here to view)
  4. 5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro Cargo Work Pants (click here to view)
  5. Carhartt Men’s Force Tappen Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  6. Caterpillar Men’s Trademark Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  7. Carhartt Men’s Rugged Flex Steel Cargo Work Pants (click here to view)
  8. Walls Men’s Vintage Cargo Utility Work Pants (click here to view)
  9. Duluth Trading Co. Men’s Slim Fit Flexpedition Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  10. Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  11. Dickies Men’s Straight Stretch Twill Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  12. *Women’s* Duluth Trading Co. DuluthFlex Fire Hose Cargo Pants (click here to view)

Cargo pants with plenty of tool pockets can make life much easier while working. But there are many different types of cargo pants.

Do you need water resistant cargo pants? Do you need cargo work pants with zipper pockets? Do you need a gusseted crotch or flexible material? Are you looking for lightweight cargo pants?

This list contains a little bit of everything. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular cargo work pants available on the market today. To see our list of the best work pants, visit our article: best work pants.


Best Cargo Pants for Work

Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ranger Pants

Many are familiar with Wrangler , but may not know that Wrangler has a specific line of apparel dedicated to work clothing called Wrangler Riggs Workwear. The Wrangler Riggs Men’s Ranger Pants are very popular and are my go-to for cargo work pants.

Here’s what these Wrangler Riggs Men’s Ranger Pants look like:

This is the current price of these Wrangler work pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Expect these pants to fit true to size, and have a relaxed fit.

  • Cargo Pockets – These pants have standard cargo pockets on both legs. They also have very deep front pockets, and have reinforcement on the front right pocket so that it can handle a tape measure clip without wearing out. These also have a hammer loop.
  • Ripstop Fabric – These pants are made with a 100% cotton ripstop fabric to help prevent tears and rips. They also have reinforced knees for long-lasting durability.
  • Roomy Fit – These pants have a relaxed fit that won’t hug tight against your legs. They also have a crotch gusset for easy bending, crouching, and driving.

It is important to understand that the first few options on our list are quite similar. The Carhartt Ripstop Cargo Pants we cover next are built very similar to these Wrangler Riggs Ranger Pants.

Which one is best for you might come down to your preference in brand. I tend to lean towards these Wrangler Riggs Cargo Pants.

Overall, these Wrangler Riggs Ranger Pants give you everything you need in a pair of work cargo pants. They’re tough, roomy, and have plenty of storage from a brand you can trust.

Click here to buy these Wrangler Ranger Pants at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Again, expect a relaxed fit that runs true to size.


Carhartt Cargo Work Pants

Carhartt is a trusted name in workwear, and a brand that many workers prefer to wear. The good news for you if you need work cargo pants is Carhartt has a wide selection of cargo pants to choose from.

Carhartt’s Ripstop Cargo Work Pants are a very popular pair of work pants. Here’s what they look like (multiple colors available):

This is the current price of these Carhartt work pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Expect these pants to fit true to size. Here are some details for these pants:

  • Ripstop Cotton – These Carhartt Cargo Pants are made using a 100% cotton 9.25-ounce ripstop fabric. This type of fabric is woven in a way that helps prevent tearing and ripping.
  • Double Knee – These pants have a reinforced double knee with knee pad pockets that can hold knee pad inserts.
  • Pockets – This pant has standard front and back pockets, and also has multiple utility pockets and multiple cargo pockets. It also has a hammer loop.
  • Gusseted Crotch – These pants do have a gusseted crotch for freedom of movement.

As I said above, these pants are very similar to the Wrangler Ranger pants. Both have double knees, gusseted crotch, ripstop fabric, cargo pockets, utility pockets, relaxed fit, and reinforcement on the front pocket for a tape measure. Which one is best for you might come down to brand.

One detail that sticks out about these Carhartt pants in a positive way compared to the Wrangler Ranger pants I wear, is these Carhartt pants have deep front ledge pockets, that make it very easy to get your hand in and out of your pockets. The Wrangler Ranger pants don’t have ledge pockets. Might be worth considering.

Click here to buy these Carhartt Ripstop Cargo Pants at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants have a loose, relaxed fit that won’t hug tight against your legs.


The Carhartt Men’s Force Tappen Cargo Pants are another popular pair of work cargo pants. One thing that stands out about these pants, compared to the others, is they are made with a lighter-weight fabric.

The 7-ounce fabric allows your legs to breathe a little bit, while still having enough toughness to handle a job site. These are nice cargo pants for working in hot weather.

Here’s what they look like (multiple colors available):

As I said above, these are great summer work pants, and actually do make our list for the best work pants for hot weather. There are two main reasons why these are nice summer work pants.

  • Ligthweight Fabric – Most Carhartt pants use 9-ounce or up to 12-ounce cotton fabric. These pants use a lighter-weight 7-ounce cotton, which allows your legs to breathe a little bit.
  • Moisture Wicking – These moisture wicking work pants are designed to wick sweat away from your body to help keep you dry in the summer heat.

The tradeoff here compared to heavyweight pants is obviously toughness. Seven-ounce fabric is about as light weight as you can find for work gear. If you are concerned maybe 7-ounce fabric is too lightweight, sticking with the first Carhartt pants on this list may be best.

But even though this fabric is very lightweight, it still has some toughness that can help it last on a job site. It is made with ripstop fabric to help discourage tears, and it has reinforced belt loops for added toughness.

Click here to buy these Carhartt lightweight gusseted crotch pants at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants have a relaxed fit with a straight leg opening. Expect a true-to-size fit. To read more about sizing, visit our article about Carhartt Pants Sizing.


Duluth Trading Co. Cargo Work Pants

Duluth actually has a wide selection of cargo pants available (click here to view them all). But there are 3 Duluth cargo work pants that I want to specifically discuss.

  • Duluth Men’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose Relaxed Cargo Pants – Although Duluth has several cargo pants, and several different styles of their “Fire Hose” cargo pants, these are probably their most popular. Made with a flexible material and a crotch gusset for comfort. Water repellent finish. Pre-washed to give them a softer feeling on the first wear. Click here to view these pants.
  • Duluth Men’s Slim Fit Flexpedition Cargo Work Pants – I want to highlight these for two specific reasons. First, these are slim fit. If you prefer slim work pants, it’s hard to find a lot of options, and so this is one that might work for you. And second, these pants use low profile zip cargo pockets. If you prefer zip pockets, these are great option. Flex fabric, crotch gusset, water-repellent. Click here to view these pants. If you don’t like slim, also available in relaxed fit.
  • Duluth Women’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose Cargo Work Pants – If you are looking for women’s cargo work pants, these are a great option. It is difficult to find tough, work cargo pants for women. These Duluth pants offer toughness and have plenty of storage. Flex 8-ounce fabric that is water-repellent and stain-repellent. Click here to view these Duluth women’s work cargo pants.

5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro Cargo Work Pants

5.11 is well known for making tactical service clothing, and many of their pants also function well as work pants. Some people like wearing tactical pants as work pants because tactical pants prioritize flexibility and pockets, which both are helpful on the job.

Here’s what these 5.11 Taclite Pro Cargo Pants look like (multiple colors available):

This is the current price of these 5.11 cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these pants:

  • Material – These pants are made with a 6.2-ounce poly/cotton ripstop fabric blend that is both lightweight and durable. An elastic waistband helps add comfort and flexibility (best elastic waist cargo pants).
  • Pockets – If you want to maximize your pockets, these will have more pockets (8 total) than many of the other pants on this list. For some people, the 8 pockets is overkill. For others, the 8 pockets are helpful and sometimes essential.
  • Crotch Gusset – These pants have a gusseted crotch for extra comfort and increased range of motion while bending and crouching on the job.
  • Teflon Coating – These cargo pants have a Teflon coating that is stain- and moisture-resistant.

Click here to buy these 5.11 tactical cargo work pants at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These cargo pants are machine washable.


Caterpillar Men’s Trademark Pants

These Caterpillar Men’s Trademark Pants are heavy-duty work cargo pants that also have knee pad pockets. This is a popular pair of work pants, for many reasons, but in large part due to the amount of storage pockets.

Here’s what these Caterpillar Trademark Pants look like (multiple colors available):

This is the current price of these Caterpillar work cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Expect these pants to have a relaxed fit that runs true to size.

One thing that distinguishes these Caterpillar Trademark pants is they have two front pull-out holster tool pockets. These pockets can tuck away inside the normal front waist pockets when you don’t need them.

If you prioritize pockets in your work pants, these Cat Trademark Pants and the 5.11 pants we just covered will be your best options.

I like to call this type of work pant a “specialist” work pant. These pants include much more than just your basic pair of cargo work pants.

For some people, that extra detail is perfect and helps them perform their job at a higher level. For others, it may just be overkill and wasted bulk.

Ultimately, you will need to decide if the extra storage space and finer details of pants like this will actually help you perform your job at a higher level.

If you are someone who benefits from extra storage space, this is one of the most comprehensive work pants on the market today. They really provide a wide range of details that can help a wide range of workers.

These pants have knee pad pockets and are brushed on the inside for comfort. They have hook and loop closures that help secure a tool belt.

These pants are made with an 8.8 ounce cotton/poly blend. They have a gusseted crotch for ease of movement.

  • Fit – These pants have a standard fit that isn’t too loose or too tight. As we discussed above, the crotch is gusseted so you have freedom of movement. Expect a true-to-size fit.

Click here to buy these Caterpillar Pants at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Again, expect a true-to-size fit.


How to Choose the Best Cargo Work Pants

If you are looking for work cargo pants, there are 4 things you need to consider when choosing what style will work best for you:

  • Pockets – How many pockets do you really need? Having too many pockets can be overkill and just add bulk and weight to your work pants. That doesn’t help anyone. But not having enough pockets can be a problem too. You’ll need to decide if just standard cargo pockets will be enough, or if you’ll need pants with additional pockets.
  • Knee Pads – Do you need knee pad pockets in your cargo pants? If so, several of the pants on the list at the top of this article do have knee pad pockets (but not all of them do).
  • Fabric Weight – Do you need heavy-duty work pants that use a heavyweight fabric, or do you need a lightweight fabric for summer? Obviously the heavier-weight fabrics will hold up better at a job site, but they also won’t release as much body heat. Some people prefer wool cargo pants for their insulating qualities.
  • Fit – You can find cargo work pants in all types of fit, including a slim fit. Most work pants have a loose, relaxed fit, and that is the case with the pants on this list. Several of the pants on this list also have a gusseted crotch for comfort. For loose fit, visit our article about the best loose fit cargo pants.

***In this article we discussed work cargo pants. To read more about work pants, visit our article about the Best Work Pants Made in the USA.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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