Water resistant cargo pants can be critical if you need work pants that are both functional and built to handle some rain. Water-resistant and water repellent cargo pants are built to take on light precipitation and mist.
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These are our choices for the best water resistant cargo pants:
- CQR Men’s Ripstop Water Repellent Cargo Pants (click here to view)
- Caterpillar Men’s H2o Defender Pant (click here to view)
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Pants (click here to view)
- Duluth Trading Co. Men’s Fire Hose Relaxed Fit Cargo Pants (click here to view)
- LA Police Gear Men’s Operator Water Resistant Cargo Pants (click here to view)
- Duluth Trading Co. Men’s Slim Fit Flexpedition Cargo Pants (click here to view)
- L.L. Bean Men’s Water Resistant Cresta Pants (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Duluth Trading Co. DuluthFlex Fire Hose Cargo Pants (click here to view)
- *Women’s* CQR Flex Water Repellent Ripstop Cargo Pants (click here to view)
To be clear, the cargo pants on this list are either water resistant cargo pants, or water repellent cargo pants (which are very similar). These are not the same thing as waterproof cargo pants.
A water-resistant pant is built to take on light precipitation and mist. They are not built to repel heavy rain storms – for heavy rain you will need a true waterproof work pant.
- The options for waterproof cargo pants are more limited – I’d recommend these waterproof cargo pants by Carhartt if you need something that gives you protection against heavier rain (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
But, there’s no reason to wear a heavy-duty waterproof work pant just for mist or light precipitation. If mist is what you are fighting, I personally would stick with one of these water-resistant options, instead of buying a full waterproof pant.
No, these pants won’t hold out 100% of moisture in a heavy rainstorm, but they will add some water repellent protection to help keep you dry in light precipitation.
Let’s take a closer look at the pants on this list so that you can have a better idea what water repellent cargo pants might be best for you.
Best Water Resistant Cargo Pants for Work
CQR Men’s Ripstop Water Repellent Cargo Pants
CQR is a popular brand for lightweight, yet durable, work pants, and these CQR Men’s Ripstop Pants are a great option if you are looking for water repellent cargo pants.
Here’s what they look like:
This is the current price of these CQR cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these pants:
- 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 cargo pant.
- Water Repellent – Yes, 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.
- Other Details – These pants are also fade, shrink, and wrinkle resistant. The waistband has elastic built in to improve mobility and comfort (flex waist cargo pants).
Click here to buy these CQR water repellent cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are machine washable.
Caterpillar H2o Defender Work Pants
Caterpillar is a well-known name in industrial workwear, and their H2O Defender work pants are a unique take on water resistant cargo pants. Here’s what they look like:
This is the current price of these Caterpillar H20 Defender Pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these pants:
- Flex Design – These pants are made with a 7.5-ounce cotton/poly flex fabric that makes it easier to move around while you work.
- Knee Pad – These pants are compatible with knee pad inserts for those of you who spend much of the work day on your knees.
- Unique Pockets – Not only do these pants have side cargo pockets, they also have dual snap-off nylon holster-style tool bag pockets. These tool bags can also be tucked into front pockets.
- Water Resistant – Yes, these pants have a water resistant finish.
- Reinforced Knees – These pants have cordura nylon reinforcement on the knees to help these pants hold up longer.
Click here to buy these Caterpillar H2O Defender Pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are machine washable.
Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Pants
Eddie Bauer is another apparel company who specializes in making performance active-wear and work-wear. The Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Pants are hiking pants that can also work well as work pants.
Here’s what they look like:
This is the current price of these Eddie Bauer men’s pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these pants:
- Flex Design – These pants are 100% nylon, and are made with a two-way stretch technology making them easy to move around in.
- Water Repellent – Yes, these pants have a water-repellent finish to help keep you dry while working outdoors.
- Odor Control – The waist band in these pants has an odor-fighting property to help these shorts stay fresher longer.
- Pockets – These pants have 2 front slash pockets, 2 back pockets, and 2 side cargo zip pockets. The side pockets are low-profile and non-bulky.
Click here to buy these Eddie Bauer men’s pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are machine washable.
Duluth Trading Co. Water Resistant Cargo Pants
Duluth actually has a wide selection of cargo pants available, many of which are water resistant. They offer these pants in a wide range of fits (click here to view them all). There are 3 Duluth cargo work pants that I want to specifically discuss.
- Duluth Men’s 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 durable cotton canvas material and a crotch gusset for comfort. Yes, these pants have what Duluth calls a “FendOff Finish” which repels water and stains. 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, “FendOff Finish” that repels water. 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.
Best Women’s Water Repellent Cargo Pants
Eddie Bauer also makes their popular Guide Pro pants in a women’s version. Here’s what these low-profile cargo pants look like:
This is the current price of these Eddie Bauer women’s water repellent cargo pants available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These pants are lightweight, yet durable, and can be used for work or for things like hiking.
These pants have the low-profile zip cargo pockets that provide space to store essentials without being too bulky. These pants are made with a nylon/spandex blend that will have some stretch.
5 Things to Consider When Buying Water Resistant Cargo Pants
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.
A crotch gusset is extra material sewn into the crotch to add comfort and flexibility to your work 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 crotch gusset on my cargo pants:
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 looking for slim fit water repellent cargo pants, I’d recommend the Duluth Slim Fit pants we discussed earlier.
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.
Many water resistant cargo work pants will use a ripstop fabric that is durable, but lighter in weight than traditional cotton canvas fabric. Here’s a close-up look at the ripstop fabric on my cargo work pants:
As we discussed at the top, when you buy a water resistant or water repellent cargo pants, these types of pants are built to fend off only mist and light precipitation.
If you don’t like any of your options on this list, perhaps wool pants would be a nice option. Wool is naturally water-repellent. To see options, visit our article about the best wool cargo pants.
If you need protection against heavy rain, you will need a “waterproof” cargo pant. To see waterproof options, visit our article about the best waterproof work pants. For jackets and coats, visit our article about the best waterproof insulated jackets.