11 Best Elastic Waist Cargo Pants for Flexible Stretch


Elastic waist cargo pants help improve comfort, but they also help improve your range of motion while on the job. I like the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants not only because they have that side-elastic panel for comfort, but also because they are made with a water-repellent ripstop fabric that is lightweight, but still durable enough to take on a job site.

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These are my choices for the best elastic and flex waist cargo pants:

  1. Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Ripstop Regular-Fit Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  2. CQR Men’s Water Repellent Ripstop Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  3. Magcomsen Men’s Elastic Waist Band Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  4. Banana Bucket Men’s Full Elastic Waist Loose Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  5. *Big & Tall* Knockarounds® Full-Elastic Waist Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  6. *Women’s* LEE Women’s Austyn Knit-Waist Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  7. *Women’s* Forever 21 Elastic Drawstring Waist Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  8. *Men’s Scrubs* Cherokee Men’s Elastic Waist Cargo Pants (click here to view)
  9. *Men’s Scrubs* Dickies Men’s GenFlex Drawstring Cargo Scrubs (click here to view)
  10. *Women’s Scrubs* Dickies Women’s GenFlex Cargo Scrubs Pant (click here to view)
  11. *Women’s Scrubs* Cherokee Workwear Elastic Waist Cargo Scrubs (click here to view)

If you look at our list, one thing becomes quickly apparent: not all elastic waist cargo pants are the same. The hiking-style work cargo pants almost always use a partial elastic waistband. These types of partial elastic waistbands usually have a panel on each side that is elastic.

For example, the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants that I use have this side-elastic panel on the waistband. Here’s what mine look like:

elastic-waist-cargo-pants
columbia-work-pants
columbia-ripstop-material
columbia-cargo-pocket
columbia-zip-pocket

Obviously, flex waist cargo pants are also very popular for men’s and women’s scrubs. We included multiple cargo pant scrubs on the list above in case this is the style of stretch cargo pants you need for work.

In this article let’s take a closer look at the best flex waist cargo pants so you can find an option that fits your needs. Let’s also discuss several things to consider when buying these types of cargo pants.

Best Men’s Elastic Waist Cargo Pants

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Pants

Columbia specializes in making outdoor activewear, including a lot of hiking gear. In my experience, hiking pants can make for great work pants because they are usually lightweight, breathable, and easy to move around in.

These pants use side-elastic panels on the waist to improve comfort and flexibility. Here’s what these Columbia Silver Ridge cargo pants look like:

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

  • Material – These elastic waist cargo pants are made with a 100% ripstop nylon fabric. This is a lightweight fabric that won’t weigh you down, but is still designed to discourage tearing. The Omni-Shade exterior is a UPF 50 shield that helps protect you from the sun. Moisture-wicking fabric.
  • Fit – This regular-fit pant with straight-cut leg is not only functional and durable, but exceptionally easy to wear. Yes, these pants have a side-elastic waistband for comfort and also have an inseam crotch gusset for easy bending and crouching.
  • Pockets – Two front pockets, two tabbed rear pockets with hook-and-loop closures. These pants have side cargo pockets – the left leg cargo pocket is zip-close, giving you a secure pocket to store essentials. No tool loop.
  • Work – Again, although this is primarily hiking pant, it fits perfectly for those of you who prefer a super lightweight summer work pant. No, this won’t be the most durable pant on the list, but the ripstop fabric does offer some toughness. You’re buying this pant for its lightweight, breathable design.

Here I am wearing these Columbia Silver Ridge summer work pants. In my experience, these fit true to size:

columbia-work-pants

These flex waist cargo pants are very lightweight and won’t weigh you down. My size 32×34 weighs only 0.62 pounds:

columbia-weight

Despite being lightweight, they are made with a nylon ripstop to help discourage rips and tears. No, these won’t be as durable as canvas pants, but this helps add some durability:

columbia-ripstop-material

These pants have a large inseam gusset so you can comfortably bend and crouch on the job:

columbia-gusset

Yes, these pants feature partial side-elastic panels on the waistband so the pants fit comfortably around your waist:

columbia-elastic-waistband

These pants have a side cargo pocket on the right leg and also have a side-zip utility pocket on the left leg:

columbia-cargo-pocket
columbia-zip-pocket

If you are looking for something that is very breathable, moisture wicking, and lightweight, these pants are a great option. These are typically used for hiking, but the nylon ripstop makes them durable enough for most types of jobs.

Click here to buy these Columbia elastic waist cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are machine washable.


CQR Men’s Ripstop Water Repellent Cargo Pants

These CQR flex waist cargo pants are another good option if you are searching for lightweight, yet durable, work pants. Just like the Columbia pants above, the CQR Cargo Pants are made with a water-repellent ripstop fabric.

Here’s what these pants look like:

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

  • Elastic Waistband – Yes, the waistband has elastic built in to improve range of motion and comfort. These pants are also fade, shrink, and wrinkle resistant.
  • Lightweight – CQR is well known for making tactical work pants, which need to be durable, but also lightweight and responsive. These lightweight cargo pants will not weigh you down.
  • Ripstop Fabric – Poly/cotton blend that is a ripstop fabric to discourage tears. This allows the fabric to be durable without the bulkiness of a canvas work pant. These are water repellent cargo pants.
  • Pockets – Not only do these pants have traditional side cargo pockets, they also have several other utility pockets on both the front and the back so that you have plenty of space to store tools and essentials.

Click here to buy these CQR flex waist cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are machine washable.


Best Women’s Flex Waist Cargo Pants

LEE Women’s Austyn Knit Flex Waist Cargo Pants

Women’s elastic waist cargo pants are not as easy to find as they are for men. These LEE capri-style cargo pants have a knit-fabric flex waist to provide a comfortable fit around your waist.

Here’s what these Lee flex waist cargo pants look like:

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

  • Material – These stretch cargo pants are made with a cotton/spandex fabric blend that allow the pants to move with you as you move.
  • Flex Waistband – Unfortunately, there are not as many options for women’s elastic waist cargo pants as there are for men. These pants don’t have an elastic waist, but they have a knit-fabric waist that is designed to be flexible to provide comfort around the waist.
  • Design – These are capri-style cargo pants that finish on the calf. They have a relaxed fit that won’t hug tight against your legs. Not only do they have cargo pockets, they also have standard front and back pockets.

Click here to buy these Lee women’s flex waist cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are machine washable.


Elastic Waist Cargo Scrub Pants

Men’s Elastic Waist Cargo Scrub Pants

  • Cherokee Workwear Men’s Scrubs Elastic Waist Cargo Pants – These men’s scrubs have open-top side cargo pockets and have a drawstring elastic waist for comfort. They are made with cotton/poly/spandex blend so the fabric itself will also have stretch. These cargo pants have a regular fit, but do taper a bit below the knee to reduce bagginess near the ankle. Click here to view these men’s scrubs stretch cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
  • Dickies Men’s GenFlex Drawstring Cargo Scrubs – These men’s scrubs are similar to the Cherokee scrubs above in that they have open-top side cargo pockets and a drawstring elastic waist for comfort. They are also made with a stretch fabric blend and have a wide assortment of pockets for storage. The main difference is these pants don’t taper below the knee, so they will fit looser around the ankle than the Cherokee pants we discussed above. Click here to view these men’s scrubs stretch cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

Women’s Elastic Waist Cargo Scrub Pants

  • Dickies Women’s GenFlex Cargo Scrubs PantThese women’s scrubs have a low-rise fit with a straight leg that won’t taper near the ankle. They feature a wide assortment of pockets, including open-top side cargo pockets. Yes, these cargo pants have an elastic waist. They are also made with a cotton/poly/spandex blend so the fabric itself will also have stretch. Click here to view these women’s scrubs stretch cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
  • Cherokee Women’s Scrub Elastic Waist Cargo Pants – These women’s scrubs have a simpler design than the Dickies women’s scrubs we just discussed above. Yes, these pants have side cargo pockets, but overall they don’t have as many pockets along the front of the pants, and might be a nice option if you prefer a simpler design for your scrubs. These pants have a pull-on elastic waist and tapered leg. Click here to view these women’s scrubs stretch cargo pants (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

5 Things to Consider When Buying Elastic Waist Cargo Pants

Pockets

How many pockets do you really need? If you buy cargo pants that have too many pockets it 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.

Crotch Gusset

A crotch gusset is extra material sewn into the crotch to add extra comfort and flexibility to your flex waist cargo pants. Not only does it make it more comfortable to crouch and kneel, it also takes some stress off the crotch, which can help prevent tears and rips.

Here’s a look at the inseam gusset on my elastic waist cargo pants:

columbia-gusset

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. If you need work pants for hot weather, and prefer cargo pants, visit our article about the best lightweight cargo pants.

If you need water protection, most water resistant cargo work pants will use a ripstop fabric that is durable, but lighter in weight than traditional cotton canvas fabric (canvas vs ripstop fabric). Here’s a close-up look at the ripstop fabric on my cargo work pants:

columbia-ripstop-material

Comfort

Elastic waist cargo pants are popular because they provide comfort around the waist, and make it easier to move freely while working. But there are other ways to add comfort to your work pants. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Stretch Fabric – Yes, these are flex waist cargo pants, but would you also prefer a stretch fabric? Not all flex waist cargo pants will be made with stretch fabric. If you prefer stretch cargo pants, visit our article about the best stretch work pants.
  • Fit – You can find cargo work pants in all types of fit, including a slim fit. Most work pants have a relaxed, loose fit, and that is the case with the pants on this list. To read more, visit our article about the best loose fit cargo pants.

If you are also interested in cargo shorts, visit our articles linked below:

Moisture Wicking

As we discussed earlier, when you buy water-resistant cargo pants, they are built to fend off light precipitation. But some cargo pants are also “moisture wicking“. What’s the difference.

Moisture wicking pants are designed to pull sweat away from your body and disperse it to the outside of the fabric in a way that helps the fabric dry quicker. This can be especially beneficial if you are working in the heat.

The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants at the top of our list use a moisture wicking fabric. Click here to view those Columbia elastic waist cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

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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