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TAD Gear Force 10 Legionnaire Classic Cargo Pants

You’d think that after however many thousands of years, pants would have stopped evolving. How much can you do with a pair of pants? Apparently, if you’re Triple Aught Design, just a little bit more.

TAD Gear’s Force 10 Legionnaire Classic Cargo Pants are an amazing pair of pants. I mean it. Really. There’s pants, and then there’s TAD pants. With a really big gap in between the two. And the TAD pants are on the upper end. Way up.

TAD Gear Legionnaire Cargos

The Legionnaires are made from 7.5 oz cotton “gabardine” – which is just a fancy way of saying twill (I had to look that up). (They’re also available in ripstop.) They have two front pockets, two rear pockets, two cargo pockets, and two thigh pockets.

The cargo pockets aren’t just normal cargo pockets – they’re 9” deep behemoths (that’s a Hebrew word for beast, by the way). They’re great. You could probably loose something in their abyss, but they’re somehow non-intrusive.

The two front pockets aren’t just normal pockets, either. They both sport clip reinforcements. That’s right: both sides. And they aren’t just little reinforcements on the seams, like on 5.11 pants. They’re diamonds that reinforce the whole shebang and provide a more secure hold for your pocket knife, thanks to the thicker fabric. The right front pocket also has an interior coin pocket. (Note: I’ve found that these pockets do not work with Emerson Knives’ wave opener.) I should also mention that the pockets are made of the same tough material as the rest of the pants – a welcome feature, to be sure. The first failures I always experience on pants are holes in the cheap material used to make pockets.

The back pockets are just normal back pockets. (You thought I was going to say they weren’t, didn’t you? Well, they do have the very stylish button-and-ribbon closures that are also found on the cargo pockets.)

The front of the pants have two D-rings, one on each side. Again, beating 5.11 pants by one. I really don’t know why more folks don’t put these on their pants.

Every single stress point on these pants are bartacked. All of them. There’s not a single point where reinforcements are missing. The butt is reinforced, the knees are reinforced and slightly articulated, every seam is reinforced.

The absolute best thing about these pants are the two front thigh pockets. It’s honestly hard for me to put on a pair of pants without these now. They’re a perfect fit for seemingly everything I want to put in them – cell phone, gps, camera, energy bar, notepad.

Another amazing feature – and one that makes me love TAD even more – is that the only logo on the pants (excluding the “TAD Gear green label” on the inside of the fly) is velcroed on to the right cargo pocket. Velcroed. TAD is actually giving the wearer the option of advertising for them. What other company does that? Everyone else plasters their logos all over their products and forces me to go to the trouble of cutting them off or covering them up. (TAD, Kifaru, and Arc’Teryx are usually the only companies I billboard for.)

Last June I used the uniform grant I had been given to buy a pair of TAD’s Force 10 Combat Pants (seen here on patrol) and I actually like the Legionnaires better. The Force 10’s triple reinforced knees added a good deal of heat in the sun and I didn’t find them necessary for my needs. I liked the top slot of the cargo pockets, but I found that the internal dividers would sometimes annoy me as I’d blindly reach into the pockets, groping for something, and put my hand into one of the smaller pockets instead of the main bellow. The ribbons on the cargo pocket buttons weren’t sewn down (as they are on these newer Legionnaires) and often got in the way. The one feature I really wish they’d carry over to the Legionnaires is the diamond gusseted crotch.

In case you haven’t caught on, the Legionnares are amazing pants. They’re expensive, but worth the money. Go hungry for a few days if you have to. I’ve worn these pants every day since I bought them last month, and if I had the money I’d purchase a second pair.

(MilitaryMorons, of course, has a better review, though his are a slightly older style. These new ones have a zipper fly instead of buttons and all pocket ribbons are now sewn down.)

Some people have been curious about my rolls. I started rolling my pants last year at MutantFest. I got too lazy to blouse them every day, but wanted to keep them out of the water and mud. After that, it stuck. I started riding a bike, and the rolling kept the right pant leg from getting messed up the chain. It isn’t dependent on wearing combat boots – I can do it with shorter hikers. I’ve since discovered that rock climbers roll their pants. I like to think that copying them makes other folk less excited than bloused pants with combat boots. But most of all, I keep doing it because I can refer to my rolled pants as “combat knickers”, which is a source of great amusement.


One should always carry the knowledge and skill to navigate in your place. Always in my pack is a Silva Ranger CL compass – a light, compact compass, for which I can use to navigate either with the terrain or with a map. The compass is stored in a TAD Gear BC-8 pouch, which I picked up on my pilgrimage to TAD while passing through San Francisco earlier this summer. The pouch can be attached to my belt, pack, or any other piece of webbing, assuring the compass always has a place on my person, without taking up precious pocket space.

In the field, I also carry a Garmin Etrex Vista Cx GPS device. The GPS is unessential and shouldn’t be relied upon for primary navigation. Its error is larger than that of a compass; it depends upon a clear line of sight to the sky, making it more of a hassle than a help to use in forested areas; and, of course, it depends upon batteries. I’ve had one occasion this summer where the GPS insisted that North was South and South was North, implying either a sporadic pole shift or shaky satellite reception. My primary use of the GPS is the trip computer – the odometor, my moving time, my stopping time, my average speed, and elevation shift. I’ll also use it for a quick reading of my coordinates to get a rough idea where I am, and occasionally the Tracks program, which can be used to retrace my steps.

Always carry a map. USGS 7.5” topo maps are the best. On my backcountry trips here in the Park, I carry a minimum of 3 maps: a Tom Harrison Map of the entire Park, a Tom Harrison Map more specific to my location in the Park, and the USGS maps for each quadrangle I plan to walk through. The map I primary reference is the second Tom Harrison, which is clear and easy to read and has mileage printed directly on the trails. The USGS maps I carry for cross-country travel or in case I get lost. The large Tom Harrison map is carried more for a sense of place and planning other trips.

Learn to read a map. I’ve never had a class in the subject, nor read a book, but I’m confident in my ability to utilize a map. The best way to learn is practice. Here’s what to do: buy the USGS 7.5” quadrangle for the area you live in. If you live in an urban area, try to buy a quadrangle for a nearby park or forested area – someplace that isn’t flattened and paved. (But buy the maps for the urban areas too! I have the 7” quadrangles for the city I live in, covering my home and commute, taped on my wall, for exploration and post-Apocalypse survival.) Now take your new map and wander into the woods. Figure out where you are. Find a feature on the map, such as a hill or a ridge, and then find it in your place. How steep are the contours in real life? Here’s a hint: contours “V” upstream.

Even if you’re unable to triangulate your position or perform other minute calculations, you should have the confidence to read a map and have a rough idea of what that means in real life. A few weeks ago, a visitor came in to the Visitor Center in the Park while I was working. He was interested in a backcountry permit. After glancing at the map, he asked how much water he should bring. I hate giving someone like that a permit. If you’re unable to read the steepness of the trail and the locations of water sources, you have no business in the backcountry. And everybody should have business in the backcountry. So learn to read.

Pictures of my gear may be found here.

Nemesis Hellion

Last winter when TAD Gear had their holiday sale, I picked up a Nemesis Hellion.

It’s an nice little neck knife – though I don’t often carry it that way. I tend to tuck it away somewhere in my jacket, or sometimes a boot, as a last ditch resort for when all my other blades have receded into the void and the cardboard boxes are out for blood.

For when I do carry it around the neck, I replaced the chain with gutted paracord and wrapped the handle Atwood style (also with gutted paracord) to reduce the amount of cold metal touching my skin.


The Kydex sheath is a tight fit. It takes a few wiggles to get the knife loose, and the blade often comes out with black specs cut from the inside of the sheath. (At least you can be assured the knife isn’t going to fall out and impale you in the toe.)

When it first came, the butt-end was almost as sharp as the tip. The next time I went out, I took a little sandstone to it and sanded it down.

Honestly, a knife this small doesn’t have much application (unless you’re Jack Bauer – I’m sure he could find a use for it). It’s more of a fun toy. I wouldn’t pay the $39.99 TAD currently asks for it, but if you can find it cheaper, it’s a well built blade and a worthy addition to any collection of Sharp Things.

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