Elastic endings of leg sleeves, cargo pockets closed with Canadian style buttons, back pockets so deep that they reach the knees… It’s all enough for the Black Mountain Tactical’s Cedar Combat Pants to stand out in the crowd of military-tactical trousers. The only question is, are those solutions enough for them to succeed in a long run?
The cut of Cedar Combat Pants is more slim-fitting than you would normally experience while wearing “typical” military-tactical trousers. However, this makes the pants less noticable in the urban crowd, while maintaining the necessary comfort and freedom of movement.
The main material of the trousers (at least in black colour) is a rip-stop fabric consisting of cotton and nylon mix (50/50). The material is thin, breathable and durable enough for Cedar’s to survive numerous field activities. The knees feature another layer of the material acting as reinforcements and allowing the use of protective inserts (hidden in velcro-closed pockets).
At the waist, the manufacturer placed seven 6.5 cm wide loops and two elastic waistbands adjusting trousers to the user’s silhouette. The pants are fastened with a zipper (similarly to all the zippers in this model, made by Japanese YKK) and a velcro strap, which also allows for a further size adjustment.
Cedar Combat Pants have a set of seven pockets:
Two open, with a profile reducing the risk of accidental losing their contents. The sides of these pockets have been additionally strengthened with another layer of fabric to prevent damage from the carrying of of knives, multitools, flashlights or other equipment attached using the pocket clip.
Just above the left pocket there is a small pocket with a zipper. It is sized to fit a medium sized smartphone (Lumia 735), but it’s not a very comfortable solution – due to its stiffness, the mobile phone carried will interfere with any movement made by the user.
At the back there are two pockets with wide, zippered, openings. An interesting case is the depth of those pockets – they reach almost to the knee height. At first, it may seem like an exaggeration, but in the course of the usage, it turned out to be surprisingly comfortable. One of the advantages of such a solution is a fact that the medium-sized objects carried are virtually unnoticeable when a user sits. On the other hand, if you wear thicker gloves or multiple layers of clothing, access to the contents of pockets will be hindered. An additional part, without which the pockets would not be as practical, are small tapes sewn inside the trousers, which keep the ends of the pockets in the proper parts of legs (preventing the contents form moving uncomfortably).
Both sides of the Cedar Pants feature cargo pockets closed with Canadian style buttons. The pockets are spacious, but thanks to the well-thought-out design they retain a low profile (when they are not filled). Additionally, a part of their upper edge was made with use of elastic tape – this solution allows you to reach for the content (such as a phone hid in the inner compartment) without having to open the button. At the same time, the tape prevents the carried gear from falling out during the activities.
Leg sleeve’s endings
Leg sleeves of BMT Cedar Pants end with elastic cuffs which can be used to protect the inside of a shoe against falling gravel, sand or pebbles. In addition, plastic hooks on elastic tapes can be attached to the shoelaces to prevent them from slipping off. This solution works great with higher (for ex. hiking) boots, but it’s a problem with lower models – which are usually more comfortable in the summer conditions.
As you can see in the picture below, in such a situation the Cedar’s legs stop at ankle height and provide no protection against dust, pine needles, etc. A possible solution would be to apply an adjustment system that would allow keeping the leg sleeves’ endings loose while using lower shoes and tightening them when the higher boots become necessary.
During the year-long testing, I really enjoyed using the Cedars. A convenient cut, lightweight material and practical technical solutions – including the deep (and surprisingly comfortable) back pockets and cleverly designed cargo pockets – are what prooves to be strengths of this model. This mixture of clever and interesting design solution found in this model was what made me (just a couple of months ago) become a user of Redwood pants; a more urban model from the BMT.
In the case of Cedars, the quality of craft is decent – there are some protruding threads; in most places double double stitches were used, and the seams are mostly straight. The noticeable exception is the seam on the buttocks-reinforcing material. It looks like that at some point the sewing machine “lost” from its “route” and one strand of the double seam dropped from the material being sewn.
After the period of intensive testing, the trousers wear visible signs of wear – in a number of places (especially at the edges) the material began to wipe off and lost some of the colors. This does not affect the functionality of the trousers, but slightly lowers their aesthetic value. Nevertheless, I’d say this can be accounted as a normal effect of frequent use.
The short-haired velcro used to fasten the the trousers has also worn. Currently, it is already so weak that the Cedar’s tend to unfasten spontanously (however, the pants aren’t falling down thanks to the zippered fly). Fortunately, this problem was already solved by the manufacturer – currently made trousers are fastened using a normal, longer lasting, velcro.
In addition to the signs of wear the Black Mountain Tactical trousers show several signs of damage:
The inner compartment inside of the right cargo pocket has ripped off almost completely at one side. (I used to carry there a multitool or my smartphone)
Cracked double seam in the fly area (no effect on functionality)
Cracked thread in double seam securing the rear edge of the right open pocket (without affecting functionality)
Cracked thread in double seam securing the rear edge of the left open pocket (without affecting functionality)
It is worth noting, however, that in two of the three cases (in pockets) the double stitches passed the challenge – only one of the threads was cracked while the other still keeps the whole structure functional. The question remains, how long wilol it last?
Black Mountain Tactical’s Cedar Combat Pants are comfortable and practical trousers with a rather unique set of really cool technical solutions. The disadvantage of this model, however, are the durability problems (although they do not have much effect on Cedar’s performance [after changing the velcro]). In spite of this, I would say that from the trousers from this price threshold (259 PLN, ~60 €) one could expect a bit more – in either UTP pants (canvas, ~ 250 zł / 60€) or SFU NEXT pants (~ 150 zł / 36 €) which I used for much longer there are obviously some signs of wear, but not such a number of problems with stitching..
In the end, I would say that the very good cut, the material and technical solutions outweight the flaws of the Cedars. Still, there is a bit of a disappointment here – the feeling “how is it possible that such nice trousers start breaking so quickly”? All I hope for is that that the problems I encountered will end as “childhood illnesses” from which the BMT will cure their creation. It is a pity that such an interesting (and otherwise successful) model suffers from such shortcomings.
[Side note: right now, the trousers are available in black, coyote, olive, WZ.93, Multicam and PenCott Greenzone colour versions]
– Vulnerable threads!
– Velcro on the waist gets used up pretty quickly
– Endings of legs lack regulation
Special thanks to Black Mountain Tactical for giving us a chance for testing the Cedar Combat Pants!