Product Review: Duluth Trading Company Men’s Flex Fire Hose Work Pants
October 23rd, 2012 by Jason Giacchino
Admittedly, your ATV Connection editors are in no way affiliated with the fashion police. After all, we voluntarily wear brightly colored pajama wannabe outfits out in public each and every week.
However ATV/ UTV operators in general are known as a rough and tumble lot. We don’t panic when there’s work to be done on the farm, in the woods, around the yard or in the garage. As surprising as it is to us, sometimes the sweatpants you like to wear to watch Sunday football aren’t good enough for the job.
Enter Duluth Trading Co. These guys have been around since 1991 and have established a well-earned reputation for quality; after all, they began life as a manufacturer of fabric based tool transportation when a pair of tradesmen realized there had to be a better way. Throughout the course of the ensuing 20+ years, they’ve maintained that no-nonsense attitude and rep for durability. Their guarantee says it best: “If you are not 100% satisfied with any item you purchase from Duluth Trading, return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price. Simple, unconditional, no nonsense, NO BULL.” –Tough to argue with that!
We picked up a pair of their Men’s Flex Fire Hose Work Pants (#45507) in desert khaki color for $69.50 and set about throwing a few long days of riding, trail working, and downed limb removal at them. Would we flush out a weakness? Before we get to the results, let’s take a look at the feature set of this particular pair of pants:
· All the features of our regular Fire Hose Work Pants
· 8-oz. Fire Hose cotton canvas is 30% lighter than the originals, just as abrasion-resistant
· 3% spandex provides incredible flex as you work
· Prewashed, broken-in feel right out of the box
· Treated to resist stains and water
· Hidden crotch gusset for extra ease
· Mid-leg utility pockets and back pockets with tuckable pocket flaps
· Triple-stitched seams
Let’s begin by discussing fit- these pants are surprisingly comfortable right out of the box. Unlike casual khakis though, don’t expect a real relaxed feel, especially from the knee down. The Flex Fire Hose feel initially a lot like a good pair of cargo jeans, slimming and form fitting. However, the real charm of this configuration isn’t revealed until you crouch, squat or bend over. That 3% spandex all but eliminates that restriction/ fabric bunching so often associated with quality work gear.
In the field, the pants proved even more impressive. The design of the pockets, loops and flaps certainly speaks on behalf of this company’s heritage. Whether hanging a tool belt from the waistband or dropping a hammer into the side loop, it’s tough to find a single complaint about the storage solutions presented.
Additionally, don’t let the relatively light color we selected shake you, these babies are resistant to stains and water – and if you somehow manage to supercede the fabric’s natural repellent qualities, the pants are machine washable and tumble dry. No special regimens required and after a washing, there is no evidence we’ve ever worn the pants to report (much less did field work in a very swamped out NY during the fall in them for two day straight). We did experience a small degree of post watch shrinkage that quickly dissipated once we put the pants back on.
We’re also quite impressed with their ability to resist rips, tears and abrasions, even in those real high stress areas (like the knees and seat of the pants). Again even after much heavy use, ours look like they were never even worn.
Finally, and this may not be as important to everyone as it is to us, the pants have style! No we don’t mean “style for workpants”, we mean they look good enough to wear for casual use. In fact, a favorite trick of ours is to finish up on the trails, change jackets, and go straight to the restaurant to refuel after.
In all, it’s pretty tough to find a single complaint about the Men’s Flex Fire Hose Work Pants, they simply did everything as advertised and more and that’s not even including what is perhaps the most impressive guarantee the industry has to offer. This is money well spent!
For more information on these pants or all of Duluth’s product line, click here.