Helikon-Tex UTP – Urban Tactical Pants

In Review by Jawor | Leave a Comment

UTP, the Urban Tactical Pants, are Helikon-Tex’s attempt to create pants which would have the advantages of tactical models while not standing out in the urban crowd. As far as the goal was substantially achieved, the results are not exactly satisfying due to a certain issue essential in the city’s landscape…

The cut

In accordance with its urban designation, the cut of urban tactical pants is more well-fit than that of typical combats, still it allows for a complete ease of movement.

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Waist

The pants are fastened with a Velcro strap (which allows for a certain degree of regulation) and an YKK zipper. Additionally, there is an elastic welt in the back adjusting the pants to the silhouette. At the top of pants, the producer placed 7 loops which will easily accommodate a 45mm wide belt. Two front loops have an additional attachment point which enables the user to secure pocket content with additional lanyards or carabiners.

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Pockets

The UTP have 10 pockets overall:

  • Two classical ones, with the opening directed upwards. The edges of the pockets are additionally reinforced against abrasions from flashlight and knife clips.
  • Two cargo pockets placed on the thighs and closed with reversed YKK zippers
  • Two smaller ones, placed right next to transport pockets and closed with Velcro flaps.
  • Two open back pockets, in each there is an additional longitudinal pocket allowing for an easy carry of objects such as Swiss army knives.
  • Two longitudinal internal pockets placed at the front

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Knee reinforcements

On the knees there are reinforcements with pockets for protective inserts (which can be mounted from the inside of the leg).

The material

The pants were made from a blend of cotton (97% ) and spandex (3%) ensuring a bit of elasticity. The cotton version is suitable for the colder part of the year – second half of autumn, winter and spring (thinner pants from rip-stop were designed for the remaining months, however, I haven’t had the chance to use them). The material performs very well, it’s resistant against tear and damage, but not against abrasions. The brighter lines visible on one of the Velcro pockets are marks after carrying a small flashlight.

Our thoughts

My pair was originally in the Jungle Green colour – a very nice, dark shade of green. Unfortunately, just after a few washings (with a very mild powder and a temperature below 40 °C) the colour started to fade. After a year of use the material has stiffened and the pants turned grey instead of green. Moreover, on most of the edges there are white marks. As a result, the UTP became rather unsuitable for everyday, urban, use – they lost their “civilized” look. (And it’s not just a matter of the dark color. A pair in Coyote has started losing colour just after two months)

Besides the aspect of colour, the pants offer a practical set of different pockets, which will easily allow to carry even a quite developed set of gear. At the same time, the pockets are designed to be undistinguishable and to not stand out in the crowd. It is undeniable however, that the tactical nature of the pants is still visible. Both the cut and the quantity of the visible pockets alike make it so the UTP should be recognised as a rather midprofile construction.

Urban Tactical Jeans

Another matter is the Jeans version. It is made from thick, sturdy material composed of cotton (90%), polyester (19%) and spandex (1%). Due to the thickness, it is only viable for winter – in any other season it is all too easy to overheat in them. Unfortunately, it washes off similarly to the cotton Jungle Green.

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Summary

The ease of washing off of the material is the biggest fault of the Helikon-Tex’s UTP. If not for the short lifespan of the pants, less than a year in an urban environment, UTPs would make for a really good pair of trousers. Their cut is great, the pocket arrangement allows for carrying lots of useful things and overall they don’t stand out as much as “typical BDUs”. Unfortunately, the pants are quite expensive (their current price is ~260zł), in addition to the color loss it makes it more viable to search for alternatives in regard to urban environment. However, if you don’t care about the colours (or the low-profile look), then UTP’s will still make a great choice.

 Pros:

+ Comfortable cut!

+ Good set of pockets!

+ Available in three different materials (and maaany colours)

Cons:

– Colour loss!!

– Jeans version is really thick

 

 

~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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