10 Best Work Pants For Summer 2023!

by Cressida meale
Best Work Pants For Summer

Reviewed & fact checked: September 7, 2023 by Jamie Wilson (BA)

Looking to crush it at work this summer without turning into a sweaty mess? Well, gents, listen up. I’ve got the ultimate rundown on work pants that strike that elusive balance between durability and breathability. We’re talking about trousers that can take a beating but won’t leave you marinating in your sweat. I’ll break down my top picks, including standouts like the Carhartt B151 and CQR Hiking Pants, game-changers in the world of lightweight yet tough-as-nails work attire.

Trust me, I’ve field-tested these options in the blistering heat and can give you the lowdown on what to expect. I even weighed my own pants—yeah, seriously—to provide you with the most accurate info. So, if you’re tired of choosing between durability and comfort, read on. This list has got something for every guy, whether you’re framing houses or clocking in at a warehouse. Let’s dive in and get you sorted for the summer.

Head-to-Head: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Summer Work Pants for Men

Listen, when it comes to summer work pants, we all have the same checklist—lightweight, durable, and breathable. But you can’t always take a brand’s word for it. So I went ahead and did the dirty work for you, literally. I’ve weighed my pants, assessed their toughness, and tested their breathability. Let’s cut through the noise and get straight to it.

The Showdown: Key Metrics

PantWeight (lbs)Toughness (out of 10)Breathability (out of 10)
Carhartt B1511.3377
CQR0.68510
Another Carhartt1.2868
Wrangler1.5887
Columbia0.6259
  • Weight: This is based on size 32×34, for those wondering.
  • Toughness: Ranked out of 10, and remember, I’m speaking from experience, not some lab test. A score of 10 would be your heavy-duty 12-ounce canvas.
  • Breathability: Also scored out of 10. A 10 is basically the summer breeze in pant form.

The Verdict

My Go-To: Although CQR raises the best combined score for toughness and breathability, I lean toward the Carhartt B151s. Why? The canvas fabric. It’s like having a reliable old truck; it gets the job done.

Featherweight Champ: If you’re all about that lightweight life, go for the CQR or Columbia pants. CQR gets bonus points for vented knees, while Columbia is the lightest of the lot.

The Tank: Need pants built like a fortress but designed for summer? Your choices narrowed down to Carhartt B151 and Wrangler ATG. Wrangler edges out on toughness with reinforced knees and a solid canvas build, but Carhartt’s lighter weight and tool loops make it a strong contender.

So there you have it—whether you’re looking for the lightest, the toughest, or the best all-around, I’ve got you covered. Get a pair that won’t let you down when the heat’s turned up.

Carhartt Men’s B151 Lightweight Canvas Work Pants

Summer Work Pants
@bg_vintage_bg Via Instagra

Why They’re Solid:

  • Material: Lighter 7.5-ounce canvas. Tough yet breathable.
  • Fit: Roomy without looking baggy. Good news for your thighs.
  • Pockets: Front slash pockets are as easy as your Sunday morning.

Drawbacks:

  • It’s not sweat-wicking, so maybe not for marathon sessions.

Pro Tip: This is your pair if you’re gunning for that perfect middle ground between durability and comfort.

CQR Men’s Vented Knee Lightweight Cargo Pants

Summer Work Pants
@hangar_market_1996 Via Instagram

Why They’re Solid:

  • Material: Cotton/nylon/spandex blend—moves as you do.
  • Vented Knees: Only pants in the lineup to offer this. Basically, natural A/C.
  • Moisture Wicking: It’s like your sweat got evicted.

Drawbacks:

  • They are less demanding than canvas and better for lighter-duty days.

Pro Tip: Check for vented knees when buying online. Not all styles have ’em.

Carhartt Men’s Force Relaxed Fit Ripstop Cargo Work Pants

Why They’re Solid:

  • Material: 7-ounce ripstop fabric. Breathable and hard to tear.
  • Sweat Wicking: Thanks to Carhartt’s FastDry® tech.
  • Pockets: Enough room for your toolkit and your pride.

Drawbacks:

  • No tool loop. It’s a small detail, but it could be a deal-breaker for some.
  • Pro Tip: Put these in your cart for a sturdy yet lightweight option.

Wrangler ATG Men’s Reinforced Utility Pants

Summer Work Pants
@isaacsthreads Via Instagram

Why They’re Solid:

  • Material: 8.9-ounce stretch canvas. It is built like a rhino but moves like a gazelle.
  • Sweat Wicking: Keeps you drier than British humor.
  • Pockets: Store your essentials securely with a zip utility pocket.

Drawbacks:

  • Heavier than other options. It might make you work up a sweat.
  • Pro Tip: If you work in a harsh environment, this one’s a no-brainer.

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Pants

Summer Work Pants
@meachisdope Via Instagram

Why They’re Solid:

  • Material: 100% ripstop nylon. Feathery but surprisingly resilient.
  • Pockets: From standard to zip-close cargo, they’ve got your backside.
  • Fit: Comfy fit and excellent range of motion.

Drawbacks:

  • It’s less durable than the heavy hitters like Carhartt or Wrangler.
  • Pro Tip: For a super lightweight, breathable option, consider these. Ideal for less demanding jobs.

So there you have it, gents. A roundup of the best summer work pants designed to help you keep calm while you hustle. Choose wisely, and may your summer be sweat-free and productive!

Top Picks for Hot Weather Work Pants – Carhartt B151 Lightweight Canvas Work Pants

  • Best For: All-round performance
  • Material: 8-ounce canvas
  • Pockets: Multiple utility pockets
  • For years, Carhartt has been the go-to name in rugged work gear. The B151 pants offer a great blend of durability and comfort. Made from 8-ounce canvas, they strike a balance between toughness and breathability. These are your best bet if you’re looking for a solid all-rounder.

Dickies Relaxed Straight-Fit Duck Lightweight Carpenter Pant

  • Dickies isn’t far behind Carhartt in reputation. These are a solid pick if you’re into pre-washed, relaxed-fit pants. They are made of a 9-ounce cotton fabric that’s both comfy and rugged.

5.11 Men’s Taclite Pro Lightweight Performance Pants

  • With 8 total pockets, these tactical pants from 5.11 are perfect for those who like carrying their office. Ripstop fabric ensures you’re not getting torn up at work.

Duluth Trading Co. Men’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose CoolMax Relaxed Fit Cargo Pants

Summer Work Pants
@zira.kamata Via Instagram
  • CoolMax polyester isn’t just a name; it’s a game-changer for summer work pants. These pants keep you dry while allowing movement, thanks to a gusseted crotch and 7.8-ounce canvas fabric.

Red Ants Pants GSD “Get Stuff Done” Pants

  • Finally, something for the ladies who grind. Durable yet breathable, these are made in the USA and come in straight, curvy cuts.

6 Things to Consider When Buying Work Pants for Hot Weather

Crotch Gusset

Look, the last thing you need is a ripped crotch. Go for pants with a crotch gusset—extra material in the crotch area—for added comfort and durability.

Lightweight or Tough?

The Carhartt B151s are for you if you’re in heavy-duty sectors. They balance both durability and breathability. But lightweight materials like ripstop can do the job if your work is less abrasive.

Moisture Wicking

Sweat can be a real issue. Pants with moisture-wicking capabilities pull sweat away from your body, keeping you dry and a bit cooler.

Vented Pants

Let’s talk airflow. Vented pants allow better circulation and could be your saving grace on scorching days.

Hiking Pants as an Option

Have you ever considered hiking pants? Brands like Columbia offer pants that are both lightweight and durable—exactly what you need when you’re working in blistering heat.

Convertible Pants

Convertible pants that zip off at the knees offer versatility if you can get past the look. When the mercury rises, zip ’em off.

What are the specific features of each of the recommended work pants? 

Absolutely, let’s break down those options so you know exactly what you’re getting into:

Dickies Relaxed Straight-Fit Duck Lightweight Carpenter Pant

  • Fabric: 9-ounce cotton fabric
  • Fit: Relaxed and pre-washed for comfort
  • Special Features: Carpenter-style, which means extra pockets and loops for tools

5.11 Men’s Taclite Pro Lightweight Performance Pants

  • Fabric: Ripstop material
  • Fit: Responsive and lightweight
  • Special Features: 8 total pockets for storage, gusseted crotch for extra comfort

Duluth Trading Co. Men’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose CoolMax Relaxed Fit Cargo Pants

  • Fabric: 7.8-ounce canvas with 30% CoolMax polyester
  • Fit: Relaxed
  • Special Features: Moisture-wicking, crotch gusset, cargo-style pockets

Red Ants Pants GSD “Get Stuff Done” Pants

  • Fabric: Lightweight canvas with some stretch
  • Fit: Offered in “straight” and “curvy.”
  • Special Features: Made in the USA, breathable fabric ideal for summer

Now that you know the specifics, you can make an informed choice based on what you need. Whether it’s extra pockets for tools or materials that wick away sweat, there’s something for everyone. Choose wisely!

How do the pants compare regarding weight, toughness, and breathability?

Great question, man. Knowing how these pants stack up against each other regarding weight, toughness, and breathability can make all the difference in your comfort level during those scorching summer workdays. Here’s how they compare:

Weight

  1. Dickies Carpenter Pant: These are mid-weight, coming in at 9-ounce cotton fabric.
  2. 5.11 Taclite Pro: These are on the lighter side, designed for quick movements.
  3. Duluth Fire Hose CoolMax: These are nearly mid-weight at 7.8-ounce canvas but made lighter with CoolMax polyester.
  4. Red Ants GSD Pants: Lightweight canvas but still designed for durability.

Toughness

  1. Dickies Carpenter Pant: These pants are made with durable cotton and are pre-washed for added comfort without sacrificing toughness.
  2. 5.11 Taclite Pro: Built for tactical needs, they use ripstop fabric, which is durable but less rugged than canvas.
  3. Duluth Fire Hose CoolMax: These are robust, with the company’s famous “Fire Hose” construction.
  4. Red Ants GSD Pants: Durable but lean more towards comfort and breathability than toughness.

Breathability

  1. Dickies Carpenter Pant: Decent, but cotton can sometimes retain moisture.
  2. 5.11 Taclite Pro: Very breathable, thanks to the lightweight ripstop fabric.
  3. Duluth Fire Hose CoolMax: The CoolMax polyester adds a level of breathability that wicks moisture.
  4. Red Ants GSD Pants: Specifically designed for summer, breathability is a strong suit, especially with the lightweight canvas.

In a nutshell, if you’re looking for toughness and don’t mind a bit of weight, go with the Dickies or Duluth. If breathability and lightweight comfort are your top priorities, 5.11 or Red Ants are more up your alley. Just weigh up what you need the most: toughness, lightness, or the ability to breathe easy, and make your pick. You got this, dude!

Conclusion

Alright, guys, there you have it—a deep dive into the world of summer work pants. The heat is relentless, but your wardrobe doesn’t have to worsen it. Key takeaways? Go for a crotch gusset for movement and durability, consider moisture-wicking materials to combat the sweat, and don’t sleep on vented or hiking pants for that added edge in comfort. But remember, balance is critical. Lightweight doesn’t always mean less durable, and heavy-duty doesn’t have to mean unbearable. Assess your job’s demands, pick your gear accordingly, and you’ll survive the summer and own it. Now, gear up and get out there. Time waits for no man, and neither does the heat. Cheers!

Feature Image from Photo by Arron Choi on Unsplash

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