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Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

by , March 16, 2012

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

Calm down, take a moment, and lets talk.

Maybe only this one time, but yes, we Road Tested pants.  Every Day Carry (EDC).  That is why I reached out to Clothing Arts.  The owner, Adam, responded to my first email within 20 minutes, immediately agreeing to the Road Test idea, and they were in the mail about 5 hours later.  Whoa.  This guy is on point, sending me emails from New York then Amsterdam a few days later, a mover and a shaker.

Back to Every Day Carry.  I’ve mentioned several times on here that I nerd out on my keys, from the type and finish of split ring, to custom ordering black anodized key blanks, to minimizing the amount of keys (exactly 3, all black), etc.  The same idea goes with what I carry with me in my jeans pockets.  The rest of my life is pretty chaotic, but at least I’ve got this one little thing figured out.  Handmade slim leather wallet (with exactly 4 cards), iPhone 4, keys.  Fin.  With EDC blowing up, it would be a crime to you readers if I didn’t explore the topic more.  And believe me, I have been.  I know more about EDC gadgets than I care to admit.  Miniature pocket-sized stainless steel grappling hooks (used for finding trip wires), in multiple sizes.  That is just one example out of hundreds.  Some wild stuff.

I’ve been acquiring more gear, and made it a personal goal of mine to try and carry some of it.  But let me be the first to say, I’m not carrying a Surefire tactical torch in my pocket 24/7, I’m not carrying a $600+ Damascus-steel switchblade 24/7, etc.  Those might make sense for someone else, but not me.  I am carrying stuff that makes sense to me in my daily life; a small Moleskine, some pens, moustache wax, maybe a lighter, some other stuff.  This may seem trivial to most people, but I’m a carry geek who writes for Carryology and my full-time job is focused on various forms of carry, so yeah…I’m a nerd.  I’ve gone so far as to take every pair of jeans I own to the local alterations shop, and have them add a 6th pocket on the left side.  Maybe I’m less of a nerd and more of an insane person.  Anyway, you get to read about it.  So… to carry more stuff, I need more pockets, as I refuse the jeans pocket bulge.  Tsk tsk.

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)(Above:  Some of the features, taken from the Clothing Arts website.)

After searching around through Google and forums for “tactical pants”, “EDC pants”, “adventure pants”, and more, I discovered Clothing Arts and their seemingly growing cult following.  Its always exciting for me to discover these brands I didn’t know about, and find they have a large dedicated fan base, that usually is a good sign.  I found the P^cubed Adventure Traveler Pants ($109) on their site.  P^cubed = Pick-Pocket Proof Pants.  They appeared to have some really well thought out pocketry, and even though they have the exterior pockets just above the knee (known to you and I as “cargo pockets”), the pockets looked slim enough to not be too dorky.  So, as mentioned, I emailed Adam, and the rest is history.

A little about Clothing Arts…

Clothing Arts was born on a bus in Cambodia somewhere between Phnom Penh and Kampong Thom in late 2007. Inspired by the incredible beauty of the Asian countries around us: outwardly harsh and inwardly beautiful China; welcomingly modern yet traditionally centered Korea; chaotic yet effortless Vietnam; the duality that is Cambodia – home to the arguably the best and worst of humanity’s creations. After a year spent on the road, we decided that if no one was making the travel clothes that we wanted & needed, we would do it ourselves. As a result, Clothing Arts was born!

The Cloth Heart Collection is our first line of products – they are a line of shirts as durable and inspirational as they are comfortable, with 20% of our proceeds from each collection going to a partner children’s charity in the region that inspires it. Made from the finest Turkish cotton and designed to be worn under a sport jacket or up the side of a mountain, our Cloth Hearts will let you wear your heart on your sleeve wherever in the world you find yourself.

P^cubed – Pick Pocket Proof Pants were built out necessity. After a run-in with a pick pocket in Xian, China – we looked down at our pants and realized that something was missing. After two years of development, what resulted is among the finest lines of [travel] pants to have ever been made. P^cubed puts security back in the hands of the traveler. Forget fishing around in your shirt or under your pants for your money belt. In our pants you’ve got it all right at your fingertips. Made using Wrinkle, Rain and Stain Resistant, extremely durable fabrics specially made just for us – P^3 is our dream travel wear…

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

Now, onto the pants.  I was instructed by Adam to give them Hell.  The first time I wore them, it was to dinner with my girlfriend.  I was told to spill wine on the pants, so I did.  The deep red alcoholic grape juice beaded right up, and rolled off, leaving zero trace of a stain or coloring behind.  Thanks to the “Advanced Dual Action DuPont Teflon” treatment to the fabric.  In fact, I’ve spilled water and beer on these pants, making me look clumsier than I actually am, just for the novelty of watching the liquid bead up.

They’re not jeans, they’re not cargo pants, they’re not “tactical pants”… heck, I’d even go as far as disagreeing with the description of the pants (as far as the style goes anyway), to say they’re not “adventure pants”.  I wear these around (I opted for the muted gray tone), with a black tshirt, or even a button down (untucked), and they feel comfortable, natural.  They just feel like pants to me.  I was hoping I wouldn’t feel like I looked like I was trying to look like “tactical Joe cool guy” or anything.  I wear enough tactical backpacks in public.  Happy to say, these pants feel normal to wear in public.  I make it seem like they’re MC Hammer fitting with bright pink with orange and purple shapes on them.  Nothing like that.  I just prefer simple clothing, which is what they are, visually anyway.

The zippers are all YKK (and are color-matched to the fabric perfectly to blend in).  The zipper brand is one of the first things I look for when it comes to purchasing bags/packs, pants, boots, etc.  Usually that gives you a clue to the brand itself, their philosophy and beliefs on quality vs cost.  There are a few brands I trust with zippers, YKK is one of the most durable and long-lasting examples.  Not too big of a fan of the no-name stuff, which self destructs after two uses.

The fabric is tough, feels great to wear, but is quite durable (and heavily water resistant as mentioned above).  It is a mid-weight 25% Nylon 75% Cotton Canvas blend.  “Feels and Wears like Cotton with the 10lb Tearing Strength of Nylon”.  Breathes well in the heat, also dries faster than cotton, which is a big deal when traveling and living out of a backpack.  Cool.  Plenty of areas on the pants are double layered with the fabric for durability and reinforcement, right where it is necessary.  These pants are made in India, by choice, not because India is the cheapest.  Their tshirts are made in Turkey, also by choice.  Their materials and manufacturing are all part of a bigger plan, mentioned above (Cloth Heart Collection).

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

There are plenty of “aha” moments when you wear these things, discovering new pockets and features.  Sure there are the obvious side “cargo” pockets.  They have a rainflap that buttons down, and then button snap to keep the pocket closed after that.  These pockets are slim, and won’t bulge out, just enough of a gusset to make them useful.  They won’t end up looking like the big floppy cargo pockets of the late 90’s/early 2000’s.  They’re there, but they’re not in your face noticeable.  Shown above; the construction of these side pockets is pretty serious, double layer of fabric for the pockets (for cut resistance, to prevent theft), lots of reinforced stitching, double needle, bartacking at stress corners, etc.

The back pockets are where things get interesting.  The back right (your right buttock, if you were wearing them) pocket has the same durable construction methods of the side cargo pockets,  but with even a little more security.  It has the doubled-up fabric rain flap held closed with two buttons, then a YKK zipper under the flap for additional security.  Just like the side cargo pockets, this pocket is slim, so no bulge.  There is a cool feature with the gusset here though.  There are two button snaps, one on each side, which will allow the pocket to expand if you’d like (shown below).  So there are multiple options here, expanded gusset, fully locked up or closed gusset, wide open or closed gusset, half open, etc, etc.  On the back left (your left buttock, if you were wearing them) pocket, they take it a step further with security.  The pocket is just like the one on the right side, except now once you’ve opened the button flap and unzipped the zipper to access the pocket, there is yet another hidden zipper (with tiny flap so it isn’t noticeable right away) against the back of your buttock.  This additional pocket can be used for your passport, your wallet, or whatever else you may want to keep out and away from unwanted hands.

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

The two side pockets at your hip are the ones we’re all familiar with.  Though its nothing super revolutionary, they have the pocket inside the pocket.  The reason I’m into it, is because that little pocket holds my slim leather wallet perfectly (shown below), so I can put other stuff in the main part of the pocket without interfering with the wallet.  With jeans or other pants, if I put something else in there, sometimes when I reach in to grab my wallet or the other item, the wallet will turn sideways (perpendicular to the surface of my thigh), making it difficult to access.  Small issues, I know, but that’s why I’m here.  On the left side, the matching pocket setup fits my iPhone 4 snugly as well, keeping it right on my thigh, which is kinda cool.  I’ve missed plenty of calls or texts because the phone wasn’t coming into contact with my thigh inside the pocket (always my left front pocket), but now, the phone is kept neatly against my left quadriceps so I can easily feel the vibration.  There’s also one tiny “catch-all” pocket at the bottom corner of the right pocket.  Just the right size to hold some spare change in one little area, rather than all over the place.

If I had any gripes about these pants, I’d have to stretch pretty far and say that it is only a little bit difficult to get my cell phone out of my pocket while driving/sitting.  Then again, my hands are quite big, and I probably shouldn’t be grabbing my phone while I drive anyway.  Yeah, it’s a stretch, but I’m just trying to find any small qualms.

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

These side/hip pockets have 3 levels of security; A) fully opened, B) zipper closed, C) zipped closed, flap buttoned closed.  Nice to have options.  I haven’t really used “option C” day-to-day here in Austin, but I really think that flap is a cool innovation, especially for security purposes.  The logo detail on the flap when it is in “C mode” is a nice touch.  I like how you can keep the flap back and buttoned out of the way if you choose not to use it, clever.  Keep in mind, these are pants designed for traveling, overseas primarily.  They function great for me as pants with more carry options, straight up.

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)(Above:  1 & 2.)

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)(Above: 3 & 4.)

As far as fit, I usually am weary of ordering clothing online.  We all have weird figures, mine is just the same.  I have bigger thighs than most… So what?  I can punt a kickball to the moon, so there.  I don’t really go clothes shopping, but when I need a new pair of jeans, I usually have to try on several different pairs until they fit me.  I find even the “normal cut” jeans have been getting skinnier and skinnier.  With the P^cubed Adventure Pants, I ordered my size, true to fit, 36″x32″.  Upon my skeptical first test fit out of the box, I was shocked to discover that they fit perfectly.  Nice, even fit.  No fashion-y fit here.  Not baggy.  They fit like a pair of casual khakis are supposed to fit.  They fit like pants, and they look that way when I’m wearing them.  Nothing more to say on that topic of fit, other than they were surprisingly dead on perfect.

Here is a YouTube video of a short walk-through of the P^cubed Adventure Pants from Clothing Arts.

Other side notes… the back of the center pants have three belt loops, which is great.  My Levi jeans have one (or is it two?) back there.  They don’t sag at the points where there isn’t a belt holding them up via a belt look, because of these additional loops.  Side button waist cinchers are nice for additional waist sizing tweaks.  The included “Attachable Water Bottle Holding Pocket” is damn clever.  I can’t see using it day to day, but it would make perfect sense to me if I were walking through some rural streets of China, India, Indonesia, or Albuquerque.  I may end up giving it a use when I wear these pants during SXSW Music festival, where I’ll be walking and biking all over the city.  For now, I’ve kept this attachable pocket folded in one of the side cargo pockets, doesn’t bother me in there.  I also dig the pop of the purple tag (shown in photo near the top), and I don’t care what anybody says about that.

Road Tests :: Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants (?!)

In conclusion…

Have I begun carrying more EDC items because of these Clothing Arts P^cubed Adventure Pants?  Yes, a bit more, I admit.  I’m still not carrying a Surefire tactical torch or a $600+ Damascus-steel switchblade 24/7.

I find them super useful when I know I’ll be on my feet (or on my bike) for hours, running errands, picking up random small things (business cards, flyers for concerts/events, getting change from cash purchases, whatever other items I acquire during the day).  I find myself being able to carry my moustache wax tin easier, and some other small items might come with me, rather than stay at home on the shelf.  No new items have been added to the permanent EDC list, but there is certainly a possibility of that with these.

I think they’re great everyday/EDC pants, looking nice, and not looking overly tactical.  They would no doubt be amazing travel pants, if not, the perfect travel pants.  Next time I fly overseas for a backpacking trip, these will undoubtedly be the first pants I go to.

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