Helikon-Tex OTP – Outdoor Tactical Pants

In Review by Jawor | 2 Comments

The main advantages of Helikons’ Urban Tactical Pants included very comfortable cut and a set of well designed pockets. A year ago the manufacturer, Helikon-Tex, decided to follow their success and released a slightly modified version made entirely of the softshell material – Helikon OTP (Outdoor Tactical Pants) – a tactical trekking pants.

Design

The cut of the pants remained unchanged – just like their urban counterpart, OTP are loose and very comfortable.

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Waist

The waist was equipped with a set of 7 belt loops, two of which contain additional loops for securing the carried gear. In addition, an elastic band was sewn on their back. Just like UTP, Outdoor Tactical Pants’ are fastened with a metal YKK® zipper and Velcro panel.

Knee pads

Special pockets designed for carrying foam kneepads were placed on each of the legs.

Pockets

In OTP, the manufacturer has included a set of 8 pockets:

  • Two on the front, with reinforced edges to prevent damage from clips in folding knives, flashlights and other gear.

  • Two cargo pockets opened with reversed YKK zippers. In each of them an elastic band was sewn providing two compartments for carrying some of the equipment, this concept has already proven in Helikon-Tex’s SFU NEXT pants. Unfortunately, in the pockets of OTP there isn’t simply enough space. Firstly, usage of these compartments is simply uncomfortable, as the carried gear tends to interfere with legs’ movement. What’s more, even when they are empty, elastic bands can make it difficult to remove stuff from the pocket.
  • Two smaller front pockets with Velcro flaps, ideal for carrying for ex. flashlight.

  • Two back pockets with an additional partition that allows to safe carrying of smaller items, like a swiss army knife.

Fabric

The most important element of the Outdoor Tactical Pants is the fabric – a flexible, 4-way elastic, softshell that is a mixture of nylon (poliamide) and spandex (93%/7%). It provides user with excellent breathability, moisture wicking and wind protection. With a layer of Du Pont Teflon® based DWR, OTP offer a low level of protection against showers, as the water droplets aren’t absorbed immediately and may flow down the fabric. Nevertheless, a bit more intensive rain will be enough for the water to soak into the material, luckily OTP dry very quickly.

It is worth mentioning that all the pockets (including those for the kneepads) were made of fine mesh, which does not limit the breathability of pants.

When it comes to quality, Outdoor Tactical Pants perform decently. During almost a year-long testing they suffered no damage that would affect the user experience. What could be found is only a few protruding strands and a crooked seam, but the only thing which may cast doubt are a few worn seams on the inner side of the legs (the role of these seams was to secure the edges of the material from fraying and ripping). Interestingly, such damage has not appeared on my UTP (two years of frequent use) or Milo trekking trousers (very similar fabric, used a lot longer [I’m the pants’ second owner]).

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Our thoughts

I have been using OTP since the November 2015. During this time I had the opportunity to wear them on mountain trips in virtually all weather conditions – both on sunny days and snow or in the Irish rains. I was also wearing them during the 100 kilometers in 24 hours challenge, which I passed in April.

The soft shell fabric works perfectly during exercise thanks to its stretchiness, breathability, fast drying and wind resistance. It is also quite durable, the only damage (hardly visible) suffered by my Outdoor Tactical Pants was made by a contact with a bush of raspberries growing on one of the trails. Because of the fabrics’ properties, OTP performed well in a wide range of temperatures – from negative (of course with the appropriate thermal underwear) to around 20 Celsius degree; in hotter conditions Helikons’ pants may feel too warm. Nevertheless, what resulted from this combination of pockets, soft shell and tactical style is a pair of useful and versatile pants!

Summary

Helikons’ Outdoor Tactical Pants are a soft shell pants perfect for all four seasons (provided that the summer is not excessively warm). OTP protect against wind and showers, and after a downpour they will dry up in a blink of an eye. Many cleverly designed pockets will make it possible to carry the whole first line of your EDC. The only change that should be made would be improvement of the seams on the inner side of legs, which would prevent them from wearing. Despite this minor flaw, OTP are a very successful combination of tactical and trekking pants, which is suitable even for more challenging routes.

 Pros:

+ Durable

+ Quickly drying

+ Overall design

+ Pockets

+ Windproof

Cons:

– Fabric can be too thick for use during summer months

– Seams on the leg’s inside started to show minor signs of wear

 

We’d like to thank our partner, e-military.eu, for providing Helikon-Tex Outdoor Tactical Pants for the review purposes!

~ Jawor

 

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About the Author

Jawor

Hikes since he learnt to walk. Happy to spend hours discussing jackets, backpacks and other gear. Caver, diver and a leader of the Gear Insider project.

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