Hard to believe, but cargo pants for men are in the midst of a comeba—actually, you know what, guys? If it’s all right with you, I’m going to skip the hard sell on cargo pants being back in style this time out. It’s really not that hard to believe. In fact, we’ve been delivering the same impassioned declaration that Cargoes Hath Returned every single year since at least 2011. You get it already. If you aren’t on board by now, you never will be.
For those of you who are on board, we’ve got plenty of good stuff to talk about. Designers, as we pointed out, have been pushing this cargo renaissance for the better part of a decade, and they’ve really come into their own of late. The pants they’re making in 2022 fit better than ever, use radder materials than usual, and experiment with pocket placement and size in all kinds of clever, stylish ways. We’ve said it many times before, and we will most definitely say it again: Cargo pants for men are back. From everyday casual cargo pants to off-the-wall designer numbers, these 24 pairs prove it.
The Best Cheap Cargo Pants
Dickies first introduced the 874 work pant all the way back in 1967 and it’s been the brand’s best seller ever since. The workwear-approved construction and hardy twill fabric stood up at countless job sites before going on to dominate skate parks and, eventually, the fashion scene. These cargo-pocketed versions offer the same build quality and always-stylish straight-leg silhouette as the original 874s, easily warranting a place in anyone’s wardrobe. And, unlike the military-tinged 2000s Abercrombie-era cargo pants you’re trying not to remember, these are pared back and almost minimalist, giving them a ton of range to play in any style whether you’re wearing sneakers, loafers or boots.
The Best Cargo Pants/Shorts
Is there anything more gorpcore than a pair of hiking cargo pants that transform into hiking cargo shorts? These convertible Swoosh joints are as practical as they are handsome: they’ve been field-tested in the trying terrains of the Pacific Northwest and are replete with nifty features like hidden zip pockets (inside the cargo pockets!), drawstring hems for keeping out the elements, a built-in nylon belt, and a crotch gusset for ease of movement. For extra feel-good points, the water-repellent, nylon-elastic fabric is made with recycled material. Sure, they’ll look great with a pair of trail shoes and a hiking backpack, but you could just as easily kick back in ’em with a hoodie and sandals like you’re getting snapped in an NBA tunnel.
The Best Cargo Pants for Getting the Job Done
When you need a cargo pant built for tough labor, these Patagonia numbers are for you. You probably know the brand more for its range of outdoorsy clothes and gear, but these utility pants prove that Patagonia can hold its own when it comes to real-deal workwear. They’re cut in a relaxed fit from a duck canvas fabric that’s super abrasion-resistant and breathable thanks to the heavy dose of hemp. They’ve also got reinforcements and triple-needle stitching up the wazoo, so you can be sure they’ll get the job done (…and the next job…and the one after that). It’s easy to pair these with a denim shirt and burly boots for a full-on workwear fit, but don’t be afraid to swerve away from that and slip them on with a pair of wavy socks and Birkenstocks.
The Best Designer Cargo Pants
From his ginormo mules to his ‘roided-up woven bags, Jonathan Anderson doesn’t do anything halfway. It follows that the cargos the British wunderkind cooked up for Loewe are appropriately massive, cut from pooling yards of poly-blend fabric with pockets that look like they could easily stash an iPad mini. Thanks to their swishy make, though, they’ve got a flowiness that lends itself to easy weekend wear when the last thing you need is a pair of stiff jeans putting your calves in a chokehold—or hamstringing your big fits.
The Best Ridiculously Authentic Cargo Pants
For years, those in search of painstakingly recreated authentic Americana turned to one place: Japan. So, naturally, Orslow—the brainchild of Japanese designer Ichiro Nakatsu—makes cargos built just like the standard-issue military versions of yesteryear, tweaked ever-so-slightly for 2022. But the defining details, like an adjustable waist and durable cotton ripstop (which promises to hold up just as well as your favorite pair of jeans), remain blessedly intact.
The Best Ready-For-Anything Cargo Pants
It’s been years since cargo pants limped off the shelves of your local mall into the fashion arena, but their provenance is still rooted in utility. At the end of the day, their primary purpose is to help you schlep stuff from one place to another while remaining hands-free. In that spirit, Acronym’s riff on the genre—a favorite of would-be doomsday preppers and the details-obsessed clothings fanatics that dress like them—over-delivers on the premise. The Berlin-based label’s cult-loved silhouette has a tapered fit that’s loose in the right places and slim in others for optimal mobility, whether you’re roundhouse kicking a neighbor trying to storm your underground bunker or, y’know, biking to work. In typical Acronym form, they’re also kitted out with 8 different pockets—most of which you can’t even see!—which offer plenty of space for all your sundry knickknacks, reason enough to ditch that wimpy canvas tote for good.