Duluth Trading Company, that quirky purveyor of rugged clothing that still hand illustrates its catalogs, relies on a team of real world experts – carpenters, construction workers, farmers, a farrier, even a movie set designer – to test their gear. Their best-known piece of kit is their Fire Hose Work Pants, named for the thick woven cotton canvas used to cover fire hoses. That same material is used to make the work pants, and if you need testimonials, look no further. Duluth Trading Company has a loyal following and devotees often write in with the trials through which their pants have gone, including a commercial diver who wears them over his drysuit and a hunter whose femoral artery was spared goring by a wild boar by his faithful Fire Hose pants.
Having had a chance to wear the lighter weight, stretchy Duluth Flex Fire Hose Pants ($70) this summer, doing everything from yardwork to cave exploring and we can attest to the pants’ sturdiness but also their surprising comfort. Most heavy duty work pants feel stiff and hot and take months to break in. But the Flex Fire Hose Work Pants are supple and forgiving right out of the box but are still able to stand up to kneeling, scraping, climbing and bending. This is thanks to the 8-ounce cotton with a touch of spandex, which is triple-stitched and has a gusseted crotch for flexibility. Numerous pockets, smartly placed, hold tools, climbing gear, even a couple of beers. If you happen to spill or get dirty (and you will), the fabric is pre-treated to resist stains. All this goodness is guaranteed for life, so whether you’re facing down a charging boar or just some stubborn weeds, you can feel secure that your pants won’t let you down.
Buy Now: $70
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