We could wax poetic about how cargo pants are the platonic ideal between fashion and function for about 2,000 words, but we’ll spare you the meandering ode by keeping it succinct: Cargo pants frickin’ rule. They’re more visually interesting than a regular-degular pair of chinos or jeans, come in an assortment of swaggy high-performance fabrics and interesting silhouettes, and there are tons of comfy-cozy styles for when the thermostat has bottomed out but you still wanna get ‘fits off. Whether you’re heading to shred some gnar, to a dinner with friends, or into your office twice a week, cargos should be your new wardrobe staple.
If you’re feeling like your closet has a case of “new year, new me” and want to turn up your daily hybrid-remote/office wardrobe, these are the best cargo pants for men—so you can look fly and stay hands-free (pockets for days = heaven).
The best cargos for flexin’ on ‘em
A classic pair of Dickies stretch twill cargos come in every classic work-pant color, from black to olive to khaki, with the added benefit of being able to lug around your headphones, extra rolls of film, Marlboro 27s, Krink markers, and whatever else you need on hand.
We’re also big fans of Nike SB’s Kearny pant, made from ripstop fabric that has a slightly wider leg that can also be cinched, so you basically get two pants for the price of one.
These Uniqlo cargo pants are perfect for the days you actually have to show your face at the office—yes cargos are business-casual, and very steezy if we do say so ourselves. Go from work to post-work drinks with the kind of versatility that should make a good (aesthetic) impression on both your boss and your date.
If you’re looking to make a statement on the bottom half of your body, there are plenty of options that will have streetwear enthusiasts wondering if they’ve seen those pants on Blackbird Spyplane. J.Crew’s recent collab with Japan’s Beams Plus bestowed a very sick pair of tartan drawstring cargos unto the word that would look absolutely incredible with a tuxedo jacket (IMHO) or even just some New Balance NB550s and a hoodie.
All the aforementioned options are definitely solid for dressing up the classic cargo, but let’s be honest for a sec: When someone utters the word “cargo pants” it immediately brings camouflage to the forefront of our brains. Camo and cargos are a match made in heaven—almost as classic as army pants and flip flops (RIP). You can’t go wrong with the classic color scheme from Ralph Lauren’s RRL, or for a more abstract camo, Carhartt WIP’s digitized print.
The best cargos for being active (or super lazy)
Who said the most convenient style of trouser has to be restrictive? The absolute best version of this classic style that makes a “return to fashion” every decade or so are cargo joggers and sweatpants—so you never have to
get off the couch go for a run without having the ability to hold your AirPods, phone, keys, etc. They’re basically a man’s best alternative to a handbag.
For a pair of sleek track pants that you can wear on and off the court, Nike’s cotton and nylon utility pants have an elastic waist and are as comfortable as they are practical (and good-looking). That said, if you’re anything like us, you’re still chasing the glory days of middle school when zip-off pants reigned supreme—behold these Nike ACG convertible cargos. Produced by the Swoosh’s cult-favorite, gorpcore-y sub-label ACG, they’re shorts, they’re pants, and they’re made from sustainably made water-repellent Cordura fabric. Score.
By now it’s clear that cargo pants are the epitome of form and function in one pocket-heavy package, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight one iteration that puts comfort at the forefront. Up your loungewear game with a very clean pair of French terry cargo sweatpants from Everlane. They’ve got a universally flattering straight leg, adjustable drawstring, and even a little cotton hammer loop, for IDK, carrying around your Theragun dupe?
Wishing you all a very pocket-filled new year. Amen.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals?Sign up for our newsletter.