WHEN IT comes to versatile menswear essentials, cargo pants stand unrivaled in meeting the demands of everyday style and practicality. Fusing rugged utility with an urban appeal, cargo pants are a must-have for adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, city explorers, or any fashion-savvy individual in general.
More often than not, the best cargo pants for men will come in classic pants styles like sweatpants, joggers, and work pants. But the one definitive trait of these bottoms is that the best cargo pants for men need to feature an array of pockets, offering ample storage space for carrying all your daily essentials on the go. The best cargo pants for men should also be versatile and seamlessly adapt to any casual occasion, whether you’re planning a hiking trip, a laidback night out with friends, or just running errands.
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More than just ordinary trousers, the best cargo pants for men will elevate your wardrobe with a blend of utilitarian style and daily practicality. Hence, the best cargo pants for men will also be comfortable and come in designs that ensure an optimal fit. Below, our editors have tried on and tested dozens of options to find the 20 best cargo pants that will withstand the test of your everyday style and carry.
It would be remiss to recommend the best cargo pants for men and not include Dickies classic cargo. The brand got its start producing uniforms for the Second World War and it’s been making the best workwear-approved gear ever since. We love this pair for its relaxed fit and affordable price. In our testing, we found the fabric to be extra sturdy, tough, and actually moisture-wicking and wrinkle-resistant. The slim fit manages to make these cargo pants look tapered and elevated as well. The pockets are also deep. All in all, their ruggedness and functionality have turned into the go-to pants for lawn care, yard work, and home improvement projects for some of our testers, but they look and work just as well as everyday slacks too.
If you’re not ready to give up living in athleisure, we can’t blame you. These cargo sweatpants are just the right amount of baggy and the diagonal French terry material is crazy levels of softness. Pair with sneakers and an iced coffee and you may just get mistaken for a celebrity.
In addition, Alo Yoga’s cargo pants are also all about functionality. With a total of five essential pockets, they’ve got your storage and carry needs covered. Two side pockets, two front pockets, and one back pocket—all equipped with zip closures, ensuring your belongings stay securely stashed as you move. They’re also great for active guys. In our testing, we found that their knee panels provided extra durability, while the fabric felt stretchy and flexible to keep up with our movement. From running errands to outdoor excursions, these cargo sweatpants will become your ultimate companion.
A pair of cargo-chino hybrid pants shot an arrow straight to my heart, so I had to try L.L.Bean’s Tropicwear slacks on and even wore them to Central Park in the dog days to test last year. Made of almost entirely nylon, the beat-the-heat performance is no joke. Even when I was standing directly under the sun, the lightweight fabric lets my skin breathe and has never gotten hot (it also blocks out harmful UV light to boot).
The moisture-wicking property also took care of the sweat for me, and the nice amount of stretch let me walk and strut with no discomfort. The straight fit is also great for men with a slightly bigger, buffer build.
Carhartt means business, and these pants certainly didn’t come to play. These cargos have a comfortable fit through the seat and thigh and a straight leg opening to help you move around easily. These working pants are designed to meet high standards for stretch, recovery, and durability, so they’re ready for just about anything.
Some guys don’t like the baggy relaxed fit, we get it. We found Carhartt’s widely popular cargo pants in a relaxed fit that actually looks tapered while giving us the most amount of room. The canvas on the pant has just the right amount of toughness, and Carhartt also makes sure to work in a good amount of stretch so you can bend and get low in them. Here’s a rare instance where work pants can also double as casual pants if you ever need to go straight from the job site to dinner with the family.
Sure, cargo pants fell out of fashion in the last couple of years, but with the emergence of the gorp-core trend embracing all things utilitarian, it’s safe to say they’re back—and looking better than ever. We love how these have stretch for hours to keep up with the movement of our testers, and how the waistband lets us ensure a perfect comfortable fit.
Triple-stitched and coated with Teflon, the Taclite Pro is a work pant made to handle dirt, mud, and grease, you name it, while staying lightweight and cool. The pant is made with a cotton/poly stretch ripstop fabric that’s water-resistant and super breathable, making it a solid work pant for warm weather. The Taclite Pro also has lots of deep pocket space for optimized storage. While this pant shines bright in multiple areas, we found the Tactlite Pro’s combination of its fabric with a spacious cut allows elite breathability and movement—making this a pant you can quite literally run and jump in if needed.
Can cargo pants be cool? Vuori took that question as a challenge and ran with it. Rugged yet refined, these tapered cargo pants take the cargo pant popularized by military men from America’s greatest generation and bring this classic style into the 21st century. Still tough, but with a softer edge. More importantly, Vuori’s cargo pants come with unbeatable functionality: the 4-way stretch optimizes flexibility and mobility, allowing you to move freely and comfortably in any situation; the quick-drying property has kept us fresh and dry even during intense activities in our testing; their moisture-wicking and odor control has also kept us feeling confident and composed all day long.
With convenient slash pockets and a modern athletic fit, Vuori’s cargo pants are also great for guys with big thighs. Their sleek look that can be dressed up or down renders them the most versatile cargo pants we’ve ever tested as well.
These cargos come pre-washed for a broken-in look and feel. Light distressing gives this pair of pants a vintage, lived-in look that pairs well with a vintage t-shirt and sneaks or cable knit sweater and winter boots. Better, they come with softness, stretch, durability, and adjustability at the cuffs at just 60 bucks.
These joggers fuse athletic comfort with a modern style and are built to seamlessly transition you from workouts to lounging and casual outings. Crafted with premium French terry fabric, we found these joggers extra soft, cozy, and stretchy as well to let us move with ease in any activity. The elastic drawstring waistband has given our testers a personalized fit throughout the day wear after wear. The large side slant pockets and cargo pockets with ample space make sure that you will never compromise on storage.
“The fabric of these joggers is sensational. They are so soft. They are lightweight so they can be worn in many different seasons. Slim fit and fabulous,” says one reviewer.
Conquer the gym like never before in these performance-driven cargo pants. From the ultra-comfy fabric to the water-repellent finish, every detail is designed with performance in mind to help you murder your gym session. The fabric wicks away moisture and dries fast without sacrificing breathability, and has kept our legs cool and dry during intense weightlifting workouts. With four-way stretch, these cargo pants moved effortlessly in every direction in our testing, allowing us to tackle any exercise with ease as well. For enhanced mobility, Under Armour even incorporated pleated knee construction, which we’ve found to be able to provide even more mobility where and when it’s needed the most.
Your favorite joggers just got an upgrade. Whether you’re out on the trail or spending a day running around in the city, these cargo pants from Nike move with you so you can travel comfortably in style. Cargo pockets and a flap back pocket hold your gear while a cotton/nylon blend gives in all the right places. (Additional tactical gear not included, just so you know.)
These Lee cargo pants are perfect for any action-packed day. Designed to keep up with your dynamic lifestyle, Wyoming lets us carry all our essentials effortlessly with plenty of pocket space—from your phones and keys to tools, everything stays within reach. Crafted with a durable cotton-blend twill, it also ensures breathability and moisture control. We’ve worn these pants to work (because the style actually looks quite decent instead of too leisurely) or run errands, and its roomy relaxed fit has kept the comfort going even during long work hours, while snaps on the pockets kept our belongings secure. Whether you’re out in the field or on the move, these pants have got you covered.
Not only are these Wrangler work pants a great deal at around $35, but they’re also constructed with 100% cotton rip-resistant fabric to help prevent holes and punctures. A lot of guys rave about the Ranger Pant’s cut, allowing just the right amount of space to move around in the pant without making it look like they’re wearing a tent. The pants accommodate boots too, so you won’t have any trouble slipping on your stompers. Other design notes that make this pant elite are the action gusseted crotch and the triple-needle stitching reinforcement in high-wear areas like the knees.
These cargo pants combine style and functionality seamlessly, courtesy of their performance build. Crafted in a unique knit material, they offer unmatched stretch and mobility for any occasion, making them as comfortable as sports pants but as stylish as casual wear. We also love how they are able to retain their shape wear after wear, wash after wash. The neat built-in UV protection also has let our testers enjoy activities out in the sun worry-free all day long.
Lastly, with these pants, you can say goodbye to damp discomfort thanks to their quick-drying capabilities that keep moisture at bay, allowing you to stay dry and fresh throughout your pursuits. The fit is roomy above the knees and tailored below, which is versatile for working out and going out.
Made from durable stretch nylon fabric, this utilitarian pant not only looks great but works even harder. With UPF 50+ sun protection and a water-repellent finish, it’s ready to take on outdoor adventures and active pursuits. We also love how the fit and elastic waistband with drawcord have kept our testers all day long as well. Cuff at the hems for a park ranger’s off-duty look.
Featuring solid and durable rip-resistant fabric, this option from Patagonia is a sturdier version of traditional cargo pants. A relaxed fit that needs no breaking-in throughout provides greater freedom of movement for more comfortable all-day wear. We love that they are made from abrasion-resistant hemp canvas that’s great for cold weather. There’s also plenty of utility with these pants, courtesy of the gussets on the front pockets for tools and two deep pockets for even more gear.
As seen on Bullet Train Star Andrew Koji, these cargo slacks are one of the best for dressing up. We love their tailored, slim fit from the knees down and their jogger-like comfort from the knees up. We’ve easily styled these slacks with polo shirts to cop a business casual vibe, and we love that they’ve got a bit of stretch as well for mobility.
This elastic waist cargo pant is the epitome of a style that can only be defined as stoner chic. The loose fit, wide leg, and corduroy material bridge comfort and style. Open cargo pockets are perfect for hiding a joint and then immediately forgetting where you put it.
These vintage-inspired cargo pants are ready to hit the road with you—wherever you’re headed. Crafted from organic cotton with front, back, and side flap cargo pockets, remember to pack these before your next adventure-filled getaway. We also love that it’s garment-dyed for a lived-in look that gets better with each wash.
Fit can make or break a pair of cargo pants, and this pair from Adidas gets it just right. A slim silhouette, flattering pockets, and nylon ripstop material give this sporty pant a proper facelift. With the performance of workout pants and the comfort of sweatpants, you’ll be surprised by all the ways you can wear these utilitarian cargo pants.
This military-inspired pant has all the practical features one expects from a cargo pant: two cargo pockets on the thighs with zippered closure, adjustable snap cuffs at the hems, reinforced belt loops with key ring, stretch, and even a water-repellent finish. But what we love most about Duer’s cargo pants is their athletic fit—roomy through the hip and thigh and tailored from the knee to ankle—which is a godsend for our guys with big thighs and muscular legs.
How to Choose the Best Cargo Pants for Men
Fabric: Look for cargo pants made from durable and high-quality materials like cotton or cotton blend. Consider options with additional features like a stretch or ripstop fabric for added flexibility and resistance to tearing. If you’re wearing cargo pants for workouts or active pursuits, be sure to buy those made with activewear fabric like polyester and nylon that’ll wick away sweat and dry fast, and reinforced knee panels for durability. Also, consider the climate: for warmer weather, look for lightweight and breathable options, while colder seasons call for thicker and insulated materials.
Fit: Cargo pants look best when they’re fitted well around the waist and hips. A slim or straight-leg fit will thus add a modern touch while maintaining comfort. A relaxed fit, however, will ensure the cargo pants fit well around the waist, hips, and thighs without being too tight or too loose. If you live an active lifestyle in cargo pants, look for a comfortable fit that allows ease of movement.
Pockets: Make sure their pocket space fits your daily carry needs. Cargo pants typically feature multiple pockets on the sides, back, and thighs. Consider how many and what type of pockets you require for your daily essentials. In addition, check the closures of the pockets—Velcro, zippers, buttons, etc. Opt for a closure that’ll keep your belongings safe and secure even when you’re on the move.
How to Style Cargo Pants
Cargo pants are elevated casual wear, and can just as easily be paired with a pair of classic Chuck Taylor’s for an All-American look or combat boots to complete your vintage-inspired uniform. Or, take a streetwear approach and add a trendy sneaker and roll up the cuff of the pant to show off the shoes. Finish the look with a field jacket, denim jacket, or any sort of utility jacket and you’ve got a stylish daily dress code that’s as functional as it is comfortable.
In addition, you can balance the casual silhouette of cargo pants by tucking in a fitted t-shirt—this will create a more put-together appearance. Don’t be afraid to show off your ankle boots or stylish sneakers as well by rolling up the hem of your cargo pants. You can also elevate your look by wearing a button-up shirt with rolled-up sleeves to add a touch of class to your cargo pants ensemble. For a sporty, athleisure look, wear a hoodie with your cargo pants which make for an ideal outfit for casual outings or weekend activities.
For accessorizing with cargo pants, less is more: you can enhance your fit with subtle stuff like a simple watch, a leather bracelet, or a cool cap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should cargo pants be loose/baggy or tight?
With their workwear origin, cargo pants are meant to fit loosely—if they fit too tight, the pockets will really bulge out once filled. In addition, a loose-fit cargo pant style lets you easily cop a relaxed, casual vibe while offering a comfortable fit with ample room for movement and even more breathing room as well. However, a loose fit looks less polished or tailored and might create a bulkier appearance.
Today, we are also seeing the rise of slim-fit, straight-leg, or tapered cargo pants. This style lets you sport a more tailored and polished appearance while accentuating the shape of your legs. Slim-fit cargo pants are also versatile for dressing up or down, though they might limit mobility and feel less comfortable during traveling and outdoor activities.
What brands are famous for cargo pants?
Brands that make work pants/workwear the best often make some of the best cargo pants as well, likeDickies and Carhartt. Outdoor clothing brands like Columbia, The North Face, and Patagonia also make rugged cargo pants suitable for various outdoor pursuits. Athleisure brands also take some pieces of cake here, like Vuori, Under Armour, and Alo Yoga, while brands like L.L.Bean, Lee, and Wrangle churn out cargo pants that are friendly for everyday wear.
How We Selected
To find the best cargo pants, our editors and writers have personally tried on over 40 different options since 2021 and tested each of them for at least two weeks by wearing them on different occasions, such as sporting Carhartt’s and Vuori’s to the office, going to the gym in Alo Yoga’s cargo sweatpants, running everyday errands in Dickies, lounging in. Brooks Brothers’ cargo joggers.
To get a feel for how these cargo pants really felt and looked, we vetted our tested options by taking notes of their style, comfort, fit, price point, versatility, and performance such as stretch, moisture-wicking, and breathability. We examined whether they fitted well and true to size, whether their fabric could withstand hours of movement in different temperatures, and whether they could be worn for more than one occasion.
In addition, our tested selection focuses not on trendy or trend-chasing cargo pants; instead, our picks of the best cargo pants for men all fit great athletic or buff guys, provide great value and performance at reasonable price points, and come in styles that will look great years from now (so no baggy fits or holes here and there).
Why Trust Us
A product review story that doesn’t actually test anything hands-on or in person isn’t worth your precious time. Thankfully, we at Men’s Health don’t produce any of that nonsense. In fact, you can rest assured that our product recommendations derive from first-hand experience. You can read more about our testing process here.
For instance, at Men’s Health, we have a fashion closet dedicated to calling in, trying out, and selecting the best as well as the newest products in menswear. We put them on stylish, fit guys to hear what their opinions are and see how the items look on them before making our final decision. And as style editors, we constantly go into the fashion closet to feel a product’s fabric or materials—even put it on ourselves for a spin—to test it.
Lastly, you can trust our opinions on shopping recommendations, whether it’s the products, styling tips, or trends. Not only do we have Fashion Director Ted Stafford and Deputy Editor, Commerce Christian Gollyan who actually know that polyester isn’t actually breathable, but we also have a panel of style experts—including stylists, fashion influencers, and designers—that we regularly seek shopping guides from. Therefore, our product recommendations and buying tips are all driven by professional, expert opinions.
Style and Commerce Editor
Maverick Li is the Style & Commerce Editor of Men’s Health, where he covers clothing, footwear, watches, and grooming. He was previously the Assistant Commerce Editor at Esquire.
Deputy Editor, Commerce
As Men’s Health’s Deputy Editor, Commerce, Christian Gollayan oversees all shopping content on menshealth.com. He relocated back to New York by way of Portland, where he was the Associate Managing Editor at TheManual.com. Christian’s work has also been featured in InStyle, Food & Wine, the New York Post, and Tatler Asia.
Ted Stafford is the Fashion Director of Men’s Health. He oversees all style and fashion content for the brand, and also styles their fashion stories. His active lifestyle informs his passion for translating great designs into real-life style, a favorite part of his job. Prior to joining Men’s Health he worked at GQ magazine and Calvin Klein