Propper BDU 2.0 Work Pants review – More than basic

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REVIEW – Cargo pants have been derided as inappropriate for most settings, but they have a certain utility that appeals to those of us in the geekier, carry-a-lot-of-stuff professions. Enter tactical pants. A riff on the military Basic Daily Uniform (BDU) with a little more flexibility in fabric, patterns, and pocket layouts. I’ve used them from several brands over the years and recently was sent a pair from Propper, their BDU Work Pants 2.0 (Ripstop) summer weight tactical pants to test. Let’s see how they performed.

What is it?

The Propper BDU Work Pants 2.0 are long pants constructed from ripstop fabric with belt loops, side, and rear pockets like traditional pants, but added pockets and features for more technical/tactical use cases.

What’s in the box?

Just the Propper BDU Work Pants 2.0.

Design and features

from the manufacturer’s website

  • 57% Nylon / 43% Cotton Ripstop
  • Lightweight and durable NYCO blend fabric is breathable and quick-dry
  • Zipper fly with durable ribbon button closure with French fly reinforcement
  • Left-side cargo pocket top features drop-in cell phone pocket
  • Adjustable waist tabs
  • Microfiber comfort-lined waistband
  • Belt loops accommodate gear belts up to 2 inches wide
  • L-shaped hand pockets with knife reinforcement
  • Fused cargo and back pocket flaps with quiet button closure
  • Reinforced double-layered knees and seat
  • Alpha Sized with military BDU relaxed fit

Tactical Pants are similar to military BDU (Basic Daily Uniform) pants, but there are a lot of people who choose them for the flexibility of their pockets and other features. (On the website, there are reviews from municipal parking administrators, transit drivers, EMTs, and other uniformed workers using them, so it’s not just law enforcement.)

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Fabric backlit to show the occasional heavier threads in the weave.

The Propper BDU Work Pants 2.0 are made of a nylon/cotton blend woven in a ripstop manner. This means that every quarter-inch or so, there is a heavier thread than the general warp or weft. This deters rips a bit by requiring more force to break the odd threads. You’ve probably seen it on other light fabrics, even if you didn’t know what to call it. This cloth is very soft, even after only a single washing. It’s much more supple than other tactical pants I own. Of course, that means it wrinkles like crazy.

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There are two cinching buckles midway between the fly closure and the center midpoint of the waistband. This is ok for fitting, but most folks would wear these, as I do, with a belt. In some reviews, folks complained that these clinchers broke (the buckle, not the fabric). I don’t really see them as a benefit, but thought I’d mention it.

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Inside the Propper BDU Work Pants 2.0’s waistband, there is a wide strip of microfiber cloth to aid in keeping your shirt tucked in. It’s summer, so in-tucking of shirt tails is not something I want right now, but I did test it and found it very comfortable and functional. Other brands use strips of rubber, but this is nice and wide and much more pleasing to me.


The belt loops are well-spaced and double-stitched. They are sized well for up to a 2″ belt. There is a D-ring attached on the first loop on the right of the fly as you wear them.

The fly has a double-button closure with a heavy metal zipper. The waistband button is on a bias tape that allows for some adjustment as you move, sit, or stand. It “floats” up or down an inch or so, and there’s some give laterally as well. I liked this feature. You don’t feel the waistband pull against you when sitting in a car for long periods.

The pocket design is fairly standard with BDUs: two hip pockets, two back pockets, and two thigh pockets. (They advertise a 7-pocket design, but I’m stumped as to where the seventh one is.) I have others that have a magazine pocket in front of the thigh pocket on one side, but there’s not another on this model. There is a “cellphone pocket” entrance on the left thigh pocket, where you can access a phone without having to unbutton and lift the flap. (See header photo) I found it too difficult to use with my iPhone 13 Pro Max with a regular case on it. It’s just too tight to get in easily. Anyone using these pants in a more official capacity probably has a heavier-duty case than this one, so this seems a bit of an under-design.

The Propper BDU Work Pants 2.0’s side hip pockets have L-shaped openings, fully reinforced to allow for wear and for clipping tools onto. The 1″ flat “saddle” is great for knives, keys, or radios to sit steady without pulling the pockets open. (My keys are in the header image on the left side, but hard to see.) The rear and thigh pockets at covered by a double-thick flap of fabric and secured with two buttons each. Thigh pockets have dual internal bellows which are top-stitched on the pleats to prevent them from flapping when they are not filled. This preserves the clean lines of the trousers.

There are multi-layered knee reinforcement patches that protect from wear. These don’t have a sleeve inside to insert knee protectors into as some do, but they are a generous size. (I should note here that I have a shorter inseam than the ones they make for my waist, so I have to have them hemmed, which removes several inches of material. The fact these still cover my knees is great!)

There are blousing ribbons in the hems for tying over boots, but if you have to have them hemmed, these will be removed or cost a fortune to re-insert at the new cuff line. I opted not to. I read several reviews where they removed the ribbons since they aren’t being used.


The Propper BDU 2.0 pants are very comfortable to wear. I tested them during two 97º days here in humid Central North Carolina and while I’d rather have been in shorts, I looked a good bit more formal in these. The light fabric does what it can to provide ventilation, but our humidity is pretty strong. These will still feel warm in extreme heat.

What I like

  • Thin, light fabric is great for summer wear
  • Hip pocket design is great
  • Floating fly button is very comfortable

What I’d change

  • Offer shorter inseams for those of us with a larger waist.
  • I’m not a fan of the buttons on the pockets

Final thoughts

I’ve been wearing “tactical pants” for about a dozen years now. I started working in a place where we had a uniform t-shirt, and thus, needed a place to store my phone since my usual shirt pocket was no longer available. I love them so much, I also usually wear them when I don’t have to use the thigh pocket for my phone. They look good and fit nicely when I’m going someplace where shorts would be less appropriate.

These Propper BDU Work Pants are very well made and offer a lot of function at a really good price. I will be wearing these in spring and fall, once we’ve moved out of shorts weather. While I’m not a fan of the buttons on the flaps, I usually don’t rebutton them, so it’s not a big deal. I’d prefer Velcro®.

Price: $39.99
Where to buy: Company Webstore and Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Propper.

2 thoughts on “Propper BDU 2.0 Work Pants review – More than basic”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. In the military BDU’s were “Battle Dress Uniform”. They replaced fatigues in the 1980’s and have been replaced again with the “Army Combat Uniform”

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