Mateusz Kanigowski takes a good look at Urban Tactical Pants designed and manufactured by Helikon-Tex in Poland.

If you’re someone who always carries pocketknives, a flashlight, a firearms and any other tactical accessories then you’ll hopefully enjoy this latest review as we take a good look at the Urban Tactical Pant designed and manufactured by Helikon-Tex in Poland.

A Polish company established in late 1980’s as a military surplus distributor, since 1999 Helikon-Tex has evolved into a manufacturer of high-quality law enforcement and military apparel. Leveraging their own research and development department, they’ve unleashed a series of clothing currently in use by various operational units and professionals throughout Europe and the world. This is just one of the components of Helikon’s Urban Tactical Line, which consists of textiles designed with a direct focus on undercover operator’s needs in hostile urban environments.

The UTP comes in two material variants: ripstop and Canvas woven fabrics. The basic differing factor being raw material composition; the ripstop version combines 60% cotton, 37% polyester, and 3% spandex whereas the canvas version is simply 97% cotton and 3% spandex. Both offer strong durability though the canvas material is thicker and heavier, which makes it a proper choice for colder days. The ripstop option is lightweight and breathable, ideal for hot weather conditions. The Canvas UTP weights approximately 800 g (1.76 lbs) while the ripstop pant is roughly 624g (1.37 lbs).

For our article we selected the ripstop nylon version UTP, although both raw materials feature two-way stretch technology. Spandex elastic fibers are woven into the UTP’s raw materials, offering a high-degree of comfort and freedom of movement while sitting in a vehicle or transitioning to a shooting or aid position. The UTP allows for a full range of motion with the only limit being the physical condition, not the apparel.

The ripstop fabric in khaki color keeps proper reflectance in the NIR spectrum. We successfully tested this using a third-generation PVS-14 NVD. The Khaki tone serves properly in both visible and infrared light conditions.

Sizing for the UTP is easy – measure in waist and length, for example 36/34 or 30/32. UTPs are straight-cut, traditionally designed trousers with a short rise (crotch to waist height). The fit is neither baggy nor loose. The UTP sits quite high on the waist, with the combined gusset providing enough room for your butt and crotch. A back yoke below the waistband prevents the pant from falling down and provides a more tailored-fit.

Here’s a breakdown of the UTP features; to begin with, UTP features an elastic waistband that allows for easy width adjustment using a VELCRO® fastener on the front. There are no external buttons. UTP’s Belt loops accept a whole range of duty and rigger’s belts available on the market. Also, the belt-loops are positioned to accommodate hip holsters and pouches while offering smaller accessory loops on the front. All neuralgic spots and edges are secured with reinforced seams.

The hip area features 8 different pockets: two traditional front pockets, two back pockets with combined two slim knife/flashlight/mag compartments and two internal waistband pockets. Front pockets are easily accessible. All edges are strengthened in order to stay functional with EDC gear clips. On the back wide pockets are adapted for dump-mag usage. Combined close-to-hip compartments with an adjustable seam depth are dimensionally suitable for pistol magazines and other similar sized gear. Inside the waistband, UTP features angled slim pockets, sewn in for low profile carriage of magazines and batons. This close-to-body solution makes it easy to hide contours with a simple-T-Shirt, hoodie or jacket.

Lower down the pant are four thigh pockets, two cargo pockets with single-folding for extra capacity, YKK zippers, and two slim pockets with VELCRO® flaps and adjustable seam depth. The flapped pocket is perfect for securing a smartphone device or a 30-round AR-15 magazine. Frontal positioning with low bottom line prevents magazines from interfering with wearer’s anatomy of movement while on the run or in kneeling and prone shooting positions.

The UTP’s construction concept features articulated knee parts that accommodate internal soft-foam pads. The pant adapts to a users knee position in all leg movements such as running, jumping, kicking, etc. The kneepad compartments are on the inside of pants, without any hook and loop fasteners causing possible skin irritation. Another layer of base fabric reinforces the whole knee area.
The edges of the UTP legs are equipped with slim channels outfitted with eyelets. A user can thread a piece of paracord through the eyelets to secure the pant opening against water intrusion, dust and other elements.

From all indications and testing we’ve performed, the UTP from Helikon-Tex appears to have delivered a very strong alternative for the tactical pant market. A good match for any casual style of clothing where you need to keep your EDC gear by your side.

Learn more at http://helikon-tex.com.

Mateusz is an active outdoor enthusiast and founder of Designed To Fight, a consulting service with direct focus on practical use of tactical gear and military apparel. He is also a firearms and shooting instructor and attends training often. For past three years he has worked as a copywriter and consultant for one of the most advanced European manufacturers of body armor and tactical textiles.

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